I’m kind of in-between things these days. the museum opens this weekend, so lots of cleaning & sharpening in my shop right now. Then I will get back to some projects. One thing I hope to work on soon are some tools; I have some plane-making to resume, and I want to make a brace & bit for my shop. I dug out some of the braces I made years ago for review. Here’s two of the same general design, based on an oldie at Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth. I made mine out of maple; “pads” are hickory I think. Heads are ash, it looks like. These tools have seen regular use for about 10 years or more.
The head is made in two pieces; I think I made this up. The original when I saw it was in a case…I never handled it. So I turned a pin with a head, & that is fitted through a hole in the top end of the brace. Then the head itself is bored through as well, and the tenon end of the pin fits through that & is wedged.
The bits are probably early 20th-century…and Mark Atchison fits them into pads I make. The pad spreads like a clothes pin, you squeeze the end of it to insert it into the brace. Mark grinds the tapered tangs into flat, tapered tangs. then bores holes for them, & burns them in…one got fitted with an iron ferrule, (first photo here) that might be after the fact; once it started to get beat up.
Here’s the old one I photographed; come to think of it, I had some measurements, so we must have had it out of the case years ago. then this photo was just maybe 5 years ago…that’s when I shot it through the case. So maybe I didn’t make up the way the head fits…