A Bit (of a) Dilemma
A few years ago, after my grandfather’s death, I inherited a couple boxes of his tools (he’d trained in high school as a cabinetmaker). His jointer plane is in my tool chest at work, and now sports a replacement blade. The tote needs tightening every time I use it for more than 20 minutes, but that’s OK; it works well enough (and though it would fix the problem, I really don’t want to replace my grandfather’s original tote). I also flattened the sole of his old Stanley block plane and use it fairly regularly, and I have his No. 3 almost ready to put back in action. I also have a couple of his wooden moulders, but alas, no matched set of a hollow and round.
But I haven’t gotten very far beyond rehabbing the planes. As shown in the picture above, I also got a great many auger bits in a bewildering array of sizes – especially given that the brace that was in the same box has a 10″ sweep. I can’t imagine trying to use one of those massive bits off to the left in that tiny brace off to the right. I’m guessing a brace with a 14″ sweep ended up with one of my relatives (and if so, if said relative is reading this, please call me!).
The brace has no markings on it that I can find, but it seems to be in good working order. I tried it out with a handful of the bits, and it worked a treat. The bits, on the other hand, are mostly orangey-brown with rust – but the screw tips are sharp, as are the spurs. There’s also a bunch of driver tips – while I’ll clean them up, too, it’s doubtful I’ll reach for the brace to drive a screw. And does anyone know the purpose of this curious little bit? It’s about 3″ long with a 45° bend at the end; that 1/2″-long part has a little trough in the middle. The other end has the typical brace-bit four-sided taper, so I know it’s meant to go in a brace and turn. I’ve been looking at it this way and that, and all I can figure is that it might be used to clean out the bottom of a hole?
So anyway, today, I bought a gallon of Evapo-Rust. Let the healing begin!
If you like old hand tools and their uses, check out our reprint of “Spons’ Mechanics’ Own Book,” (a book my Grandfather likely knew well in his shop class days). We selected the most useful 276 pages (the ones on woodworking, natch) and reprinted them as “Spons on Carpentry & Joinery: A Manual for Handicraftsmen & Amateurs.”