Limited Edition Drill Brace: Spoford Brace
A hand brace is the traditional tool woodworkers used for boring holes. Braces have been around for hundreds of years. In the mid twentieth century companies like Stanley, Millers Falls, and others innovated and perfected their brace designs and manufacturing techniques, producing high quality braces demanded by woodworking professionals of the day. Most modern braces made today do not come close to the quality of these vintage braces made before the 1960's.
Fortunately, vintage braces are plentiful, but they have been sitting around unused and unmaintained for 40 years or more and need more that just an exterior cleaning.
Our braces are professionally restored to a better than new condition by Ernie Stephenson, our master brace craftsman. Watch the accompanying video to see Ernie explain how he restores each brace.
This is a Spofford brace, unique among hand braces. . Invented by Nelson Spofford in the late 1800s, these braces are unique for their type of split chuck, often termed a "clamshell" chuck. Different in that was not composed of separate pieces, the chuck is really a terminal fork of the frame that pinches the bit when tightened with a thumb screw. This design proved to be rugged and held bits securely. Stanley continued to produce braces using this design until at least 1942, making it second only to the Barber's Improved chuck in brace manufacturing longevity.
Spofford braces were made for quite some time with pewter rings holding the two halves of the wrist handles together and with the splits in their chucks cored into the molds for the malleable iron castings according to the March 23, 1880 patent.
Chuck: Clamshell type
Swing: 10 inches
Ernie's 6 Point Brace Restoration Process:
- BREAKDOWN & INSPECTION: Brace is inspected for over all condition. If it is too badly rusted or damaged for restoration the brace is rejected.
- QUILL BEARINGS REPLACED. All quills (hand grip) bearings are sized, replaced, and repacked with grease. If the bearing race has slipped too far forward, it is tapped back into place.
- FRAME STRIPPED AND CLEANED: Electroplating, surface rust, and mild pitting are removed. Metal is soaked and cleaned. Knurling is cleaned with a wire brush wheel to avoid "dulling" of the knurling detail.
- GRIPS STRIPPED AND REFINISHED: Wood grips are stripped and at least two coats of gun stock oil are applied. Resin grips are cleaned and polished.
- CHUCK DISASSEMBLED, INSPECTED, AND CLEANED: Chuck parts are inspected for excessive wear and replaced if worn. All parts are soaked in solvent, hand cleaned, then lightly lubed. Chuck is reassembled, polished, and packed with grease.
- PAWLS, JAWS,AND RETAILER NUT ARE GUN BLUED: While the chuck/pawl shaft is being restored, pawls, jaws and the retainer nut (on Stanley braces) are cleaned and gun blued.