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Old 12-19-2012, 12:20 AM   #1
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Tool question for Eric, Carl, other Puget Sounders

I am trying to find driver bits for my old-style brace. I have found this is the best tool on the planet for removing and replacing deck screws, grabrail screws, etc. I have a couple of bits that I found on eBay, but I'm wondering if anyone in this area is aware of any hardware stores that might still have old brace driver bits in stock.

I bought the brace itself in an antique store in La Conner but they did not have any driver bits. A good friend and retired marine engineer has a whole set of them but I don't like borrowing this kind of thing.

We're going to try the Marine/Hardware store in Anacortes this Saturday. We've bought stuff there before and it's a pretty amazing store. Whether they have the kind of tapered shaft drivers I need I don't know.

If anyone has any other ideas I'd like to hear them.

Thanks,
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:39 AM   #2
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Marin you might want to try these guys, they are great.
Hand Braces and Accessories - Lee Valley Tools
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:40 AM   #3
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Not sure if OSH(Orchard Supply Hardware) is in PNW or not. They stock the old style brace and bit tool you speak of. Kind of refreshing to see them sold adjacent to the most modern power tools.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:47 AM   #4
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Try Rockler or Woodcraft. Both have stores in Seattle.

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Old 12-19-2012, 02:05 AM   #5
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Marin you might want to try these guys, they are great.
Hand Braces and Accessories - Lee Valley Tools
Very cool. Thanks a bunch for that link.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:13 AM   #6
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Hardwick on Roosevelt is your best bet for vintage tools.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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Stop in at the wooden boat site on the South end of Lake Union. They can provide you the tool details and more. It is well worth the time anyway to see all the wooden boat skills on display.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
I am trying to find driver bits for my old-style brace. I have found this is the best tool on the planet for removing and replacing deck screws, grabrail screws, etc. I have a couple of bits that I found on eBay, but I'm wondering if anyone in this area is aware of any hardware stores that might still have old brace driver bits in stock.

I bought the brace itself in an antique store in La Conner but they did not have any driver bits. A good friend and retired marine engineer has a whole set of them but I don't like borrowing this kind of thing.

We're going to try the Marine/Hardware store in Anacortes this Saturday. We've bought stuff there before and it's a pretty amazing store. Whether they have the kind of tapered shaft drivers I need I don't know.

If anyone has any other ideas I'd like to hear them.

Thanks,
I expect you'll find a set at Marine Hardware as you suggest. In fact I have a mental image of them on display. Plus you can pick up a couple of cans of 40 year old paint while you're there.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:30 AM   #9
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Hardware Sales ??????

Maybe ------ But I'm sure you've checked there ...... they seem to have or can get everything!!!!!!! Merry Christmas..jp
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:08 AM   #10
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Did you see that Marin???


HARDWICK'S on Roosevelt Way in the U District in Seattle.


You'll find what you want there.....
And just about anything else.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:09 AM   #11
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Not would you are looking for but!

The best tool/screw driver to grab/hold a screw that is stripped and hard to reach is an Electrician screw driver. http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/search.shtml?searchQuery=electricians+screwdriver& op=search&Ntt=electricians+screwdrive&N=0&sst=subs et&cm_mmc=PPC:%20MSN%20Main%202-_-Hand%20Tools%20Screwdrivers%20and%20Nutdrivers-_-Electricians%20Screwdriver-_-electricians%20screwdriver&ef_id=UaZPiPYt7HEAAIIj: 20121219155947:s. They are also sold at most electric stores, like Granger Northcoast electric/Platt. The flat blade is split/slotted so the blade can be made wider/thicker to hold grab the screw. Great for removing deck screws with out damaging the deck. I been using them for years and have a set of different sizes.

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Old 12-19-2012, 12:51 PM   #12
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I would second (or third) Hardwick's in the U-District. If there is a tool to be had, you will find it at Hardwick's. Plus, the staff there really know their stuff.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:45 PM   #13
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Did you see that Marin???


HARDWICK'S on Roosevelt Way in the U District in Seattle.


You'll find what you want there.....
And just about anything else.

Yes, I've been to Hardwicks a number of times. I'll try them again if the Anacortes store doesn't have anything. Hardwicks is a great store and they carry a ton of stuff but it's been my experience that it's all new, or still made today, stuff. The same is true of Hardware Sales in Belingham, which we use a lot.

Definitely worth a try, though.
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:40 PM   #14
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www.jamestowndistributors.com/

Should be in stock.

The hammer driver type tool seems the best (after a bit of PB Blaster) to simply loosen a fastning , and the brace and screwdriver bit for removal.

There is an adaptor to fit a brace , and be able to use the throw away 6 sided little inserst.

But for a # 14 sized screw , only a brace will do it.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:35 PM   #15
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All this talk about a Brace started getting me all worked up (doesn't take much these days). Here's mine that came down through the family. It got quite a lot of use on our old wooden boat. Nowadays, not so much.
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:55 PM   #16
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Marin, I take it you find the brace and screwdriver bit give good downforce plus good leverage to turn a reluctant screw. I use a 1/4" drive ratchet with a long extension and a 5/16 hex socket on the end. Impact-driver bits fit nicely into the 5/16" socket and allow a nice straight push with plenty of torque. These bits are hard and keep their shape so they fit the screw heads properly - and that's half the battle.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:48 PM   #17
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Marin,

Stop in at the Anacortes store as I'm quite sure they have some bits.

I took that 45# Dreadnought back and was shocked when they gave me all my money back. I really didn't think it was going to be worth the drive out there and I don't think the guys there that day liked me at all cuz they were very smart lipped but they gave me all my money back. Perhaps they thought what I said was smart lipped. Must have a firm money back policy. So now we can buy anything and take it home and look at it for awhile and then take it back if it dosn't please us as much as we thought it would.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:51 PM   #18
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The issue with our situation is that the screws I'm working with are pretty big, and they are slotted head. Our deck screws are stainless, which is great because I reuse them for reasons I won't go into here. I used to remove and reseat them with a regular screwdriver and that worked fine other than one's wrist gets tired after awhile. The brace eliminates that problem.

But the screws holding the teak grab rails are bronze with fairly large heads and they are a good six or so inches long. And they've been in the boat for 40 years. I learned the technique for working them out from the shipwrights on the GB forum, and the tool they recommend as being the best for the job is the brace. Some people there advocate an impact driver but they also say this increases the risk of shearing off the head.

Unlike the stainless deck screws we do not reuse these long bronze grabrail screws. But we do want to get them out intact. If they shear off there's a whole different technique and tool for dealing with that which I've had to do with some of them. But the job is a whole lot cleaner and faster if I can get the original screw out in one piece and the brace does seem to be the best tool for that particular job.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:54 PM   #19
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I took that 45# Dreadnought back and was shocked when they gave me all my money back.
THREAD CREEP ALERT but it's my thread and I don't care.

Eric--- Why did you decide to return the Dreadnought?
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:48 PM   #20
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All slot head screws that I remove go over the side. A boat is not suited to screws that you cant undo reliably. If I could, I would have nothing but Robertson head on my boat.
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