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AndyT

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That still makes me smile however many times I see it as a chapter heading.

As it's been a bit quiet on here lately I thought I'd follow up my discovery of the Amobrequin with another installment on my recent bulk purchase of assorted boring tools.

A pair of braces is always useful, even if they don't match, so I was pleased to find this old 'sixpenny' brace:




This one still has its locking screw to hold the bits in place, which is useful, as it can be hard to match the thread on something as old as this. They are very light weight, with a sweep of only about 7" and handy for small drills. No maker's name and impossible to date as the style kept going for so long.

My assortment also included this one:



which is by Melhuish, and marked STEEL 8"





- presumably to distinguish it from inferior iron braces. I think this might be it, in the 1921 catalogue:



but if so, it had got separated from its set of 24 bits. The button lifts a spring-loaded catch which should engage in a filed slot on the square tang. It doesn't fit any of the notches on the bits I tried, but that doesn't seem to be a problem. I think the handles are rosewood, and the head feels like it has ball bearings under it.

Now, that's all very well for ordinary hole drilling, but there comes a time in any woodworker's life when you need to drill round a corner. I don't know when that will happen to me, but when it does I shall be ready, and it's all thanks to the wonderfully named Quimby S Backus:

His name appears on this lovely bit of old iron:



as you can just about see here:



The lettering is a bit worn, but it clearly matches this one:



"Q S Backus
Pat. Nov 5 1872
Holyoke Mass."

which comes from this page at George's Basement where there is a huge amount of detailed information including patent dates. He makes it clear that the patent claim is for the chuck, not the swivel joint, and dates the tool to between 1876 and 1890. The full story is here and to me, the mixture of bright ideas, ambitious businessmen, patents and lawsuits seems ever so similar to the world of software and gadgets of today.

The chuck is actually really efficient, as it combines the tapered socket of the scotch brace with a pair of jaws that grip the round shaft of the bit:





- so I guess I will have to keep looking for a brace with the Quimby chuck. There is just about space left in the braces corner of the workshop:



but it's getting tight!
 

jimi43

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I wonder what the collective noun for brace is....perhaps a brace of braces?

Andy...you have more braces than me...but I have a bigger belt sander...

It's always nice to know that between us we have it all covered...belt and braces! :mrgreen:

Before I get my coat...might I say that Mr Backus wins for me...typically madcap American...beautifully made...and who can resist owning a tool made by somebody who has suffered being called Quimby for his entire life! 8)

Thanks for sharing...I shall be reading the research later!

Cheers

Jim
 

Tony Spear

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jimi43":3vu9o2oy said:
I wonder what the collective noun for brace is....perhaps a brace of braces?

Andy...you have more braces than me...but I have a bigger belt sander...

It's always nice to know that between us we have it all covered...belt and braces! :mrgreen:

Before I get my coat...might I say that Mr Backus wins for me...typically madcap American...beautifully made...and who can resist owning a tool made by somebody who has suffered being called Quimby for his entire life! 8)

Thanks for sharing...I shall be reading the research later!

Cheers

Jim

All that inventiveness AND the voice for Mr. Magoo................... :mrgreen: Hat, Coat etc...........
 

Richard T

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A brace of partridge is two so a brace of braces is a pair. I'm wearing mine now and they're holding me trousis up.

Very nice Andy. I must look out for more interesting braces on my bootfairing excursions. I'm getting a healthy lot of period bits and it would be good to have the braces to match.
 

condeesteso

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A fine collection there - the group shot looks like one from a shop I'd like to find. Do you happen to have a North Bros - I was looking a while ago, gave up for now but might try again some day, thin on the ground though, even in the U.S.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Braces are only half the story, though, aren't they? To be a really useful addition to the workshop, they need to be paired with some pointy things.

Which raises many questions, such as; if you have a reasonable collection of Jennings or Irwin bits, do you need some Centre bits as well? Are spoon bits better, as good as, or worse than a hand-drill and a set of lip-and-spur bits? Are countersink and screwdriver bits worth it?
 

AndyT

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condeesteso":flnn87t5 said:
Do you happen to have a North Bros - I was looking a while ago, gave up for now but might try again some day, thin on the ground though, even in the U.S.
Well, not a brace from North Bros, no but the bumper bargain buy did include this fine item, which was just visible leaning casually on the floor in the group shot:



- recognise that anyone?

And yes, I do have a nice assortment of several different varieties of pointy bits to go in them!
 

AndyT

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Ok, I'll stop teasing - it's just that I was dead chuffed to get one of these and didn't realise in advance just how good it is.

A better view:



The usp of this plane is the wonderful patented ratchet design. You can see here that it has five settings:



These give you plain (no ratchet); ordinary forward or backward ratchet and locked (useful for tightening down the chuck) but also the "double ratchet". In that setting, you can work the handle back and forth for as small a motion as you like - and the drill rotates forwards, on both the forward and the backward stroke! Ideal in a tight corner, but also good for using the easiest part of the stroke - like you do when riding a bike - you don't have to do the difficult bit when the handle is in the wrong position for your muscles.

What's more, the two-speed adjustment is really good - using this little lever:




The whole thing is a really good quality build; all I have done is give it a wipe and put some more oil in the little oiling holes. It works really well - well enough for me to use it in preference to a cordless drill (the sort whose battery is usually not charged up when I need it).


These do seem to have built up a loyal following on US forums, and I can see why. I must make something that needs a lot of holes in it!
 

condeesteso

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Good grief!! If you won't do a shop, have you considered a small specialist tool-hire business? (Another beauty of course.)
 

Vann

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AndyT":1kc4pv1u said:
The whole thing is a really good quality build; all I have done is give it a wipe and put some more oil in the little oiling holes. It works really well - well enough for me to use it in preference to a cordless drill...
These do seem to have built up a loyal following on US forums, and I can see why.
They are nice drills :!: I just love the way the ratchet almost purrs. And I love the double ratchet action (although there's about 10 degrees of slack before it commences movement after a change in direction).
my1555b.JPG

my1555h.JPG


Unfortunately mine has half a tooth broken (doesn't affect its operation, luckily).
my1555d.JPG


Cheers, Vann.
 

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AndyT

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I meant to come back to this thread and finish it off - like a Boot Fair thread (these weren't from a boot fair but were pretty damn cheap).

Also included was a nice Archimedean drill - a bit heavier duty than the Hobbies brand that used to be included in fretwork kits.





I must grind down some little bits for it. Maybe use an old screwdriver blade as a 'donor' - I think the cutting edge needs to be a simple diamond shaped flat bit so it works forward and backwards - has anyone got any or made any?

But I was also rather chuffed to get a Millers Falls hand powered bench drill!
Here it is, getting a bit of a light brushing to get the superficial dirt off:



and here it is in place:







It's refreshingly simple (and seems to have been their most basic model, aimed at hobby users or hard-up school workshops, I think. Model 207, priced at $8 in the 1939 catalogue.)
You clamp the work to the table, turn the handle with your right hand, and spin the knob on the top with the left. This spinning lowers the quill to advance the drill. Bits up to 1/4" only, so similar capacity to a little no 2 hand drill. (Yes, I do have one of them!)
 

adidat

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you certainly love to gloat Andy :lol:. come on, spill the beans how much did this lot set you back?

adidat
 

jimi43

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Lovely bits of kit there Prof! 8)

I particularly like the butch Archimedes drill...that is wonderful.

Mind you...the MF isn't that shabby either and it's so refreshing to see that your workshop is just a messy as mine..shavings an' all!

Yes...how much did they set you back? :wink:

Jim
 

AndyT

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I must get round to tidying up the workshop a bit! It looks worse in photos than it feels to me.

I paid £20 for all seven items.

Which just goes to show that if you list a mixed lot on eBay for local pickup only and time it to finish at 9.30 on a Monday morning you aren't going to get hordes of bidders!
 

xy mosian

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AndyT":1bwb1w78 said:
Also included was a nice Archimedean drill - a bit heavier duty than the Hobbies brand that used to be included in fretwork kits.



I must grind down some little bits for it. Maybe use an old screwdriver blade as a 'donor' - I think the cutting edge needs to be a simple diamond shaped flat bit so it works forward and backwards - has anyone got any or made any?

Yup, I got one! with both ends intact. If you pm me your address, when I get to the Post Office early next week it will be on its way. I have been trying to find someone with a suitable drill, you've won. Saved it from a skip no doubt.

xy
 

AndyT

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Well thanks to Xy Mosian's generosity I am now the happy owner of a genuine tiny drill point from when his dad was a boy and fretwork was all the rage!



Trouble is, the drill I'm talking about here is a bit of a monster and it won't fit... it's posing with a drill from my Horace Britton multi-tool which looks like it fits, but doesn't really.



Fortunately, I had taken the precaution of equipping myself with a range of Archimedean drills, so I was ready with an alternative:



which fits it perfectly. What's more, in a burst of last century standardisation, it fits my other one as well:



so now I am all set to drill tiny holes wherever they are needed.

As it happens, I have an old fretsaw frame which used to be my father's - I think I might have to find some wood and have a go!

Thanks again Xy for taking the trouble and passing this on. I promise it will be used!
 

xy mosian

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Nice collection there Andy.
I don't see a Hobbies drill though. From my recollection about 200mm overall length with a steel chuck and pale wood fittings.
xy
 
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