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If you like working with hand tools and enjoy timber framing, bushcraft, and other off-grid activities, your typical drilling device is a hand brace. 

Since most modern hand braces have limited torque due to their narrow-radius handle, drilling big and deep holes can be tedious or even impossible. T-handles for auger bits used to be quite common tools to help us drill in these situations, but they are harder to find and can only be custom ordered from blacksmiths or bought used. 

Last year I wrote about WoodOwl’s handle, a nice alternative to the traditional t-handle. Today I will show a readymade handle that, with some help from a copper shim or a metal chuck, could be perfect for those demanding drilling tasks. 

The Handle

Since I already had a large adjustable tap wrench handle (like this one) that clamps over the square shank of taps, I devised a solution to help the handle’s jaw clamp over the hex shank of my auger bits. My first idea was simple, find some scrap copper and wrap it around the jaws. I speculated that the copper’s softness would compensate for the geometric incompatibility between the square and the hexagonal shanks. I used a snip to cut a strip of copper. Then I folded and snipped it again, formed two shoulders, and tucked one shim inside the eye of the tap’s handle and around the stationary jaw.

I repeated the process on the moving jaw, but I tweaked the second shim a bit to look somewhat like the letter ‘W.’

Lastly, I inserted the auger bit shank and tightened the jaws on the hex shank. As expected, the copper’s relative softness helped mitigate the angle discrepancy between the two geometries. A few minutes later, I gave the handle and auger a try on an ash log and was really happy with the results.

Tighten the jaws using a small screwdriver or drill bit.

After drilling the hole and before reversing the direction of the handle to pull out the auger, you will most likely need to re-tighten the moving jaw to compensate for any copper compression.

 Next time I will show the fancier way, which involves an Amazon-bought chuck kit in addition to the tap wrench. 

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