So I picked up an old brace drill with intent to restore and use
occasionally. Only marking I can find is the top ball has "diehl"
imprinted on it. Seems intact, unbroken and functions well except for
a slight wood squeak in the middle handle. Cost: $5.75
So two questions...
1. Anyone know of Diehl? Or another way I can research the brace?
2. What do I need to watch for when searching for auger bits?
My plan is to clean it up, pick up a basic set of bits (some short and
a couple long) for those projects where a modern drill just won't do.
This one is a bit larger than I would have liked (have hand trouble)
but it was the best available for ths price. The best one was $50 and
in much worse condition.
*Side Note: I've got one of those friends who has multiple electric
and battery drills and I think is related to Tim Allen. Last time he
assisted me in a project, he broke two and still didn't get the depth
we needed to hit. A side benefit of getting this brace into shape
would be to use it to finish that project by hand and have him stand
there and scowl at me and stomp off. The face alone is worth it.
Appreciate any knowledge thrown my way...
That they have an intact screw. You don't HAVE to use auger bits, BTW,
twist drill bits will work fine. Also, a brace is really useful in driving
long screws, lots of torque. I often use mine to set Tapcons into concrete.
I bought mine in 1943...bought it, 4-5 auger bits, a hammer, a saw and a
smooth plane for $10.
If I'm not mistaken, Diehl used to make Craftsman power tools
for Sears, way back - 1960s and earlier. I don't recognize
them as a handtool maker.
Auger bits come in several different styles. Ideally you want
"double twist" bits - looking at the bit from the end, there
are two flutes, 180 degrees apart. Single twist will work too,
but IMO they're harder to start straight.
The bit should have two "ears" or spurs at the end - single
twist bits sometimes just have one, and "ship augers" don't
have any. For a hand drill you want two for easy cutting.
These get gradually worn down as the bit is sharpened, so you
want to look for bits that aren't too worn.
The center screw should have clean threads, and not too steep
a pitch. This screw pulls the bit into the wood, and needs
to be in good shape for the bit to work. You'll see bits
with steeply pitched screws, those are intended for power
drills (which can cut more aggressively). You will, sadly
find bits where some idiot has ground the lead screw off -
these are useless and can be thrown in the trash.
You'll want bits with a square shank. A brace can chuck a
round shank, but for anything bigger than maybe 1/4" you
can't exert enough force without the chuck slipping.
If you can find them, snag straight and phillips driver bits
with square shanks. A brace is an excellent tool for driving
Also, keep an eye out for a breast drill. Another good tool
to amaze your power-tool buddies with.
There's some info of Diehl at OWWM site but doesn't address any hand
tools they may have made--or, there may have been another Diehl besides
that one which basically made motors for Singer and the branched out
into other areas. Eventually Singer bought them...I forget the whole
history now but at one point the did build some early electric drills
and the like for Sears and then eventually the remnants were bought from
Singer and became the foundation of Ryobi USA. They still use the 315
product code for Sears.
I found nothing whatever on handtools, though, so good luck on that
Others pretty-much covered the bases there altho I'll reemphasize the
square shanks are pretty-much mandatory for any real use; the chucks are
simply not designed for a twist drill as they have no real clamping
force other than to remove the wobble; the square section provides all
the torque resistance of any amount.
Here is a link to photos of the old brace that I picked up...
I am unable to find any marking other than the one on the knob.
Not really, no. The chuck casting seems a little different than many;
if you're really interested in trying to track it down, see if can find
catalogs online of early manufacturers and compare...as another says,
I'm sure there are folks who are intimately familiar with all the
nuances; I'm certainly not one of them--I use grandfather's on occasion
that's still here and have a cheaper/more recent of my own but they're
just tools, not a hobby or passion...couldn't say otomh what either of
I'd agree with that, it looks like it was stamped with individual
letters, whereas a manufacturer would have their whole name on a
As for who made it, with no evident markings it's pretty hard to
guess. There were a bazillion brace makers, and guys who get
into that sort of thing can tell them apart by disassembling the
chuck and looking at the fine details of how it was designed.
But that's not me :-)
I would hazard a guess that it's a later model from one of the
lower-priced lines offered by the likes of Stanley and Millers
Falls - perhaps a Craftsman (which if I recall correctly were
made by Millers Falls). I beleive the lower price lines often
had an adhesive label or decal rather than a stamped manufacturer
marking, which likely has been worn off thru use.
sounds like it will be a shop talisman similar to what i mentioned
a while ago
maybe get a little graphite in there or some wax
lots of good used ones on ebay and many are reasonably priced
do not use the search results ebay gives you
you have to drill down to get to the real deals due to ebay tactics of
presenting the high priced stuff for their pay to play customers
of all the old tools i use my brace the most
easy to sharpen and durable and harder for the bit to wander compared
to a high speed drill
they do have their limits but the limits will become obvious when
you reach them
like trying to go through really well seasoned hardwood
this is the moment that you appreciate electricity and drill presses
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