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Old 09-03-2017, 01:56 PM   #1
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Source for large brace bits

I am looking for a source for some brace bits to use to turn the bronze and stainless screws on my boat. They tend to be pretty large, 1/2" or 3/8" in diameter. It feels like if I try to work them with the standard 1/4" tool bit the heads will strip. It seems like that has to be a source for 3/8" and 1/2" diameter bits, but I can't find one. I suspect I am using the wrong terminology for my search.

Thanks,

Frank
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Old 09-03-2017, 02:23 PM   #2
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You might need to make some; cut the end off a large "pry bar" screwdriver and set that in the brace. The left over handle etc. could be ground into another tool. They are common tools and cheap. An angle grinder would do to cut it. If you got that end too hot and damaged the heat treatment it wouldn't matter anyway.
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Old 09-03-2017, 03:24 PM   #3
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How about a chisel, grind the end to need.
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Old 09-03-2017, 04:19 PM   #4
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Are these what you refer to as not acceptable?

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/pag...at=1,180,42337
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Old 09-03-2017, 04:23 PM   #5
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E bay may be of help. There are long and short swing braces. The long would be best for a big screw as it will develop more torque than the short swing.
https://www.ebay.ca/sch/i.html?_nkw=...sPageName=GSTL

Also might try:
https://www.jamestowndistributors.co...Name=Bit+Brace

Contact them to find out if they also offer screw driver bits. THis adapter to a hex bit might work also to use the now ,very common hex bits.
https://www.jamestowndistributors.co...er+Driver+Bits
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Old 09-03-2017, 04:28 PM   #6
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Yes, I have the brace. I just need the large bits to drive the screws.
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Old 09-03-2017, 04:40 PM   #7
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The taper square shank screwdriver tip bit adapters?
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Old 09-03-2017, 04:41 PM   #8
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Inherited a brace with a couple of screwdriver bits from my father. Came in very handy for use on #12 and #14 plank fastenings on the 40' wood boat we had for 23 years. Haven't used it since we sold the boat, but I'm hanging on to it nevertheless. Those old bits have lasted for a long time.

Suggest trying an antique tool company. I've seen such screwdriver bits in our local one.
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:09 PM   #9
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Another source might be impact driver bits...the set that I have might be just what you are looking for.
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:37 PM   #10
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Have you looked at Lee Valley?

You didn't comment on my "hack up a screwdriver" suggestion?
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:45 PM   #11
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When you say "brace" do you mean you are using a hand tool ? Why not use an electric ?
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:46 PM   #12
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This is it! https://www.fine-tools.com/schr3.html

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Old 09-03-2017, 05:51 PM   #13
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Xsbank for the win!
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:52 PM   #14
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I know you are looking for bits, not the drive part. But the drive method mentioned uses a lot of space and can be clumsy. A socket drive, preferably ratcheting,works a treat. Of course, whether you can find bigger bits for it, will still be an issue. Forced to use smaller bits, it may provide firmer more positive screw turning force.
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:22 PM   #15
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There is a mod to a brace that the wooden boat guys use to get the leverage with the smaller size, I'll try and describe it because I have no photo. Heat the brace where the handle above the bit holder makes its first turn and straighten out the handle so it is now long and straight. Put the wooden handle that you normally turn the brace with, on the end. Weld the round pad that you lean on, back on above the bit holder. You now have a brace with a long handle for lots of torque and smaller size for tighter areas. I have a feeling this is called a "shipbuilder's brace"?
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:28 PM   #16
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I use power tools all the time, have done most of my life.
But sometimes, like or not, the hand tools can do a darn fine job especially if you already own them and it means you don't have to go buy another $500 dollar power tool.

My old planes, screwdrivers, chisel, handsaws, can often be done before I can even set a simple power tool up. And they don't need batteries or extension cords.

Sometimes you can "feel" something is not right with a hand tool that a power tool will just wreck.

99% of the time the power tools are best for speed and power but that is not always the best way. On the other hand I will not go looking to collect handtools.





Xsbank. Thank You. I have seen these bits before but I could not find them today. I have now bookmarked that site. Somewhere there is or was a domestic offering but I could not see it.
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:30 PM   #17
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Here is a set of used ones on eBay.
Vintage (Mark) “Handyman” No. 1226- 1/2", 3/8", 1/4" Screwdriver Brace Bits | eBay
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:32 PM   #18
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You're welcome. As these are no longer made you might get one at a flea market or make your own.
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:42 PM   #19
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That eBay item is what I needed... well half of what I needed. Now I just need to find the Phillips version, although I am not sure that Phillips bits were widely used back when braces were leading edge.

The issue I am having is finding a big enough bit to leverage the 3/8 to 1/2 inch screw heads made from stainless and other soft metals. A modern 1/4 inch bit isn't a large enough diameter to fill the head and without that diameter the inner portion of the isn't strong enough to accept the torque required.

As Xsbanks suggested, it may be possible to fabricate something, the wrench end has a particular tapered square cross-section that would have to be welded up and then milled down to shape. His second suggestion, the link to a firm that sells the part will probably be easier.

I've ordered the blade bits off eBay, so that is a start.

Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xsbank View Post
This is it! https://www.fine-tools.com/schr3.html

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Henery Hardware in Port Townsend, WA has those kind of screwdriver brace bits in stock. I saw them in a locked glass cabinet of the kind used for expensive small tools, but I don't recall seeing a price on them. They don't appear to be listed in their online catalogue under the expected name, but a phone call or email to the shop with a pic should ID them by whatever name/code they use.

Not that surprising given the history and current wooden boat expertise in Port Townsend. And an indication that they are still a 'go-to' tool for certain jobs.
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