Tools for Working Wood

 Joel's Blog at Tools for Working Wood

Some Tips On Using Braces Pt 1: Ratcheting for more leverage  


In the picture I am boring a pretty big hole. Pulling the handle of the brace towards or against me is pretty easy, but rotating the handle from left to right when the handle is far way from me is a different story. With my arm outstretched, moving from left to right, I have no leverage, and very little strength. On a small hole this isn't a big deal, but I struggle with larger diameters. The solution, with a common American ratcheting brace, is to use the ratchet. Instead of trying to move the handle in complete circles and have no power for the left to right parts of the stroke, I just ratchet the brace forward and back, on the part of the stroke where I have the most arm strength. Drilling a big wide hole becomes pretty darn easy and quick. I think this is one reason why American style ratcheting braces became, in the late 19th century, so popular worldwide and drove the English ultimatum brace out of production before World War One.

In the picture the green lines show the back and forth part of the powerful part of the stroke where I am ratcheting away, and the red line shows where you have very, very little arm strength by comparison.
Tags:Woodworking Tools and Techniques
Comments: 2
08/05/2010Tico Vogt
Nice tip. Thanks!
I love my ratcheting brace! As a short, weak, middle-aged woman, I find the
increased torque helps me with everything, from drilling to screwdriving. This
was the first "galoot" tool I used, and I will not part with it.

At the moment, it has a screw gun check and a Phillips bit in it, for tightening
the connector hardware on a kitchen full of Ikea cabinets.

I've been using the ratchet for quite a while, usually just pulling towards me.
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