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By sunnybob
In a very rare departure for me, I have just bought a hand tool at a sunday market.
Its a Brace.
In reasonable and useable condition, but I fancy doing SOME refurb to it. Not a full renovation mind.
I'll get a pic later, but its a 2 jaw, reversible ratchet 13cm swing with real wood.
So far I cant see a makers name.
Now the questions
Where would I expect to find the make?
Does that centre wood come off? If not, did they actually bend the thing with it on?

Whats the best way to improve the look of the metal?

I have no plans to use it, just wanted it. Cheap enough at 15 euro (£12.88)

He had a box of old wooden planes of all lengths, including one that was fully painted what I at first thought was white, but am now convinced would be RAF blue.
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By AndyT
Well done! Welcome to the hand tool greasy slope...

Name - generally stamped on the round bar, where you'll possibly see the size. That will probably be 8 or 10 inches, measuring diameter, so yours is a 10. Many braces are unmarked but there might be something hiding under rust or dirt.

Improving, to my mind, just means removing any loose dirt or rust so the tool doesn't make your hands or workpiece dirty. I'd use wire wool or scotchbrite equivalent with a little wax. I put some pics in the hand tool restoration sticky.

The middle handle doesn't come off. They really were bent with it in place. Video evidence exists! If it's stiff, dribble some WD40 down, then some oil.
By sunnybob
Andy, my hand tool days are done, and I've never gotten the restoration bug. I just want it to look ready to use next to my stanley eggbeater without donning gloves and glasses. :roll:

Youre right; I just found some lettering and used a brass bristle brush to reveal STANLEY on one arm. MADE IN ENG on the other side.
On the other arm is No.909 - 10IN.

I'm pleased its what it is rather than a fake junker. I am confused though, I thought the 10" referred to the throw, obviously I now find its the entire diameter of the arc. which makes me even happier.My dad had one, but it got lost, and I havent used a brace and bit since 1966 :shock: :shock:

Its been well used but not abused. How difficult is it to get the ratchet apart? the teeth have some wear that can be tidied up with a file. If its a three day job it can stay as it is. 8)
He had another brace, but the teeth crossed over themselves as the chuck was tightened and it was not as whole as this one.
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By AndyT
Re ratchet dismantling - let's hope someone experienced such as Boring Geoff will post soon, I'm sure he'll have done a few.

But I can offer the video evidence of bending after fitting the handles. It's from Millers Falls, in 1943. You may need to pause or slow down the video to see what is going on - this was mass production at pace.
By sunnybob
I dont know why, but I assumed it was hot bent : (hammer) But being hand operated theres no need to harden a 1/2" rod.

I certainly dont have goncalo alves or cocobolo wood on mine :roll:
I did a small whoopsey. fiddling to get the chest pad off i launched the bearings across the workshop floor and even outside. I found 8. It looks like a couple are missing but theyre back in and greased and all fit for purpose.
I've just spent an hour trying to get back to bare wood, for me to clear coat or stain, but the black paint is so far ingrained its another coat of black. The wood is very hard, I dont think its beech (I use a lot of beech) its more pale .Its light, but amazingly resistant to sandpaper.
But as its nothing rare, I shall just recoat with black.
Here comes the usual question;
whats the age range on this one?
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By AndyT
Quick answer - as it was made in England, after 1934 and probably after WW2. I could check in catalogues later but a picture or two would help.
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By ED65
Interesting how difficult the stamped branding and other markings are to spot sometimes isn't it? This can even be the case where you know where to look if the brace is in rough enough cosmetic shape; I've had multiple braces where I couldn't see a thing 'in the brown' but the stampings were quite clear once the rust was off.

sunnybob wrote:I am confused though, I thought the 10" referred to the throw, obviously I now find its the entire diameter of the arc.

Yes it's the diameter, referred to as the sweep.

sunnybob wrote:How difficult is it to get the ratchet apart?

A bit tricky through to impossible. You're experienced enough with machinery that I'm sure you can see how to go about it without needing any guidance, other than to watch out for the spring between the two pawls. It's just that the pins can be absolutely unbudgeable sometimes, so it's a try-it-and-see proposition.

sunnybob wrote:the teeth have some wear that can be tidied up with a file. .

Be warned, some (later?) braces had hardened jaws and not the softer jaws that were typical of older models. The one or two I've come across are perhaps not as hard as a chisel but hard enough that you risk compromising your files working on it. Obviously you can wrap some wet 'n' dry around the file if needed, or use diamond files instead.
By sunnybob
thats saved me some work. it all does what its supposed to do and i honestly dont have any jobs for it the moment, so it can stay as it is.
i'm happy with what I paid, so its a win win.
By Boringgeoff
There's nothing meaningful that I can add to this conversation, apart from, the idea of bending the frame with the handle in position was patented by Harry Bartholomew in the US in 1861 (US Pat' 32347). Thanks for the video, Andy, I always marvel that the operators of that type of machinery have still got all their fingers.
We've had a conversation recently about the Stanley No 909 MADE IN ENG, I'm still looking for one of this model for my collection, so if any of you find one I'd appreciate a call.
By Boringgeoff
Hmmmm Bob let me think, (clunk, whirr) you paid 15 Euro equals about $Au25.00 + 10% markup for you + postage $Au30.00? That comes to $Au57.50.
Cost to me to replace 4 x 1/8" balls that escaped out your door.
Would you take 5 Euros?
And I'd love to see a photo or two.
By sunnybob
I didnt realise you lived at the bottom of the world. :shock:
UK could have been on the cards.
I never sell anything at a loss, not even with parts missing :roll:

For what it cost me, I'm happy to let it sit here in the sun.
Who knows, I might even use it one day, as I have a couple of spade bits that I have also never used. 8)
By sunnybob
As requested. I dont know if this is normal or not, but the crank at the chest pad end is not 90 degrees to the handle. But looking down the brace the chest pad is in line with the chuck.