Screwdriver bits for brace

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Reading an old book on boatbuilding, the writer says the _best_ tool for removing old corroded screws, or any tricky screwing operation is a screwdriver bit in an old brace (brace & bit cranked hand drill thing). Sounds like just what I need, but a quick search reveals no source. Were these items once manufactured? Are they still available? Posi also? in the uk? with the old square section tapered shank for locking into the chuck of the brace? Or can the brace be adapted to take a hexagonal shanked bit?
Tim w
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Not sure what kind of brace you have or talking about, but the old one my father had, used three teeth to grab any round bit or something with 3 sides. It also held the bit with the V notch in them that locked into place on those tools designed to use them.
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Still pretty much common in good old Europe. See e.g. http://www.dick.biz/cgi-bin/dick.storefront/DE/Catalog/NULL?action=Mediathek&PIG=NLFWINFO&PID 06_01_onlinekat Product No. 707182
regards Matthias
Tim W wrote:

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Matthias Muehe wrote:

http://www.dick.biz/cgi-bin/dick.storefront/DE/Catalog/NULL?action=Mediathek&PIG=NLFWINFO&PID 06_01_onlinekat

This link may work better: <URL:http://www.dick.biz/cgi-bin/dick.storefront/4423ac91000ddb90274050f33609064c/Product/View/707182
And have a look here also: <URL:http://www.fine-tools.com/bohr1.htm
JES
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Why not just chuck a common bit into your drill motor and go at it? Brace and bit might have been the appropriate tool years ago, but a decent motor with a tech adapter in it is the modern day equivalent.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

I fear I must disagree with that. A power drill is no substitute for a brace when it comes to what the OP is talking about. With a brace, it is easier to apply force parallel to the screw to keep the bit in the screw head; easier to tweak it out too since the rotation is as slow as one wants.
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dadiOH
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Don't fear it - I actually gave those two considerations some thought before I posted. Decided that the difference in force that one could apply to a brace versus a drill motor wasn't big enough to be concerned about, and that a decent variable speed motor will allow you to back a screw out with enough control. I know I've certainly fought many a stubborn screw out with my motor. In fact, it seems to me that it would be easier to maintain a well controlled angle with a drill motor which does not require you to bear into it while at the same time attempting to turn it.
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I want to extract the old screws without breaking them or messing the heads.
Tim W
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You seem to believe it's not possible to do so with a drill motor. Ok.
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Tim w
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With all due repect, one point in in favor of the brace & bit solution is the brace is designed with a large flat knob on the end of the handle that you can place against your chest as you rotate the bit, thus bringing your full body weight to bear on the screw head if necessary. (I hate to admit I'm old enough to have used one of these in my younger days). That's hard to do with a 'motor' drill as they are designed to be pushed by your hand which brings your wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints into play as you try to apply pressure. As Isac Newton said, it all comes down to physics ..... (sorry, I made that up).

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Point well taken, and in fact it was one of the factors that I considered at the very opening of this thread. Having extracted untold numbers of screws with my cordless or my corded drill motor though, I have to wonder just how much value that really is. (Point of diminishing returns). I've used brace and bit before as well, so that makes me equally reluctant to acknowledge what that says about *my* age too, but there are ups and downs to everything. A brace and bit is quite unstable before it can really dig in, which of course it can't do with a driver bit in it. With all of that body weight leaning into it at a further distance from the object, it becomes more unstable than a drill motor. Add to that that one has to apply a rotation to it which does nothing to help add stability - in fact as most who have used a brace and bit know - it tends to de-stabilize the tool. Sure, with a small amount of practice it's easily enough mastered, as evidenced by the existence of the tool over time, but that does not negate the natural tendency for instability. The amount of leverage provided by a 3" or 4" offset is not all that significant as well - particularly in the case of nasty stubborn screws. I see lots of potential for the very screw damage that the OP was fearful of.
I wasn't suggesting that the brace and bit would not work, or that perhaps it would even be a much cooler way of doing things. Heck - it could be a lot like using a hand plane instead of a planer. There's much to be said for some of the cool old tools. I originally replied just to suggest a common, every day solution to the problem. It works and it really does not suffer the pitfalls that have been posted so far. Of course - it is not an elegant, neander, cool way of doing things - I gotta give you that. And... I really do believe there is a lot of value in elegant, neander and cool.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

As I'm sure you know, the best way to minimize that potential with either a brace or motored drill is to use a bit that fits the screw perfectly. Especially but not exclusively slotted screws.
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dadiOH
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Oh yeah!
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Don't know that I'd agree with all of that. Certainly, if the brace and but was not centred, then it has a good chance of being unstable. However the biggest problem I've noticed with a drill and bit is the fact that unless you're extremely careful, it gets up to speed really fast, throwing the bit off what you're working on. The brace and bit on the other hand, is much more controllable at low speed, even with power behind it.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

I've been trying to follow your logic on this, Mike, and I've got to admit I'm baffled.
For small screws - say #6 through #10 - and particularly in softwoods, your electric drill is fine. So is a plain screwdriver, a Yankee-type ratchet screwdriver, or even a brace and bit. With the larger screws, though - #14, #16, even #24 - a brace and screwdriver bit is the only way to go.
I just took a look at some #24 flat head wood screws. The head is 3/4" wide, and a 1/2" Stanley screwdriver bit fits it pretty well. The bit is actually about 5/8" wide but beveled to 1/2" at the tip. If I had a lot of #24 screws to drive (or remove) I'd probably grind it back somewhat to make it fit even better. I've never seen a bit for a drill motor that will fit a screw that size - have you? Or even one for a #14 slot, or for a #3 Phillips.
The bit brace is far more stable than an electric drill. It is longer, and the pad is designed to be braced by not just your hand, but also by your chest, thigh or even forehead if necessary. An electric drill is difficult to brace in that way. And, that extra support from your chest, thigh or forehead also translates into extra pressure holding the bit in the screw slot - which keeps it from camming out.
An offset of 3" or 4"? Those 6" and 8" sweep braces are pretty rare, although they are good for driving smaller screws. Most of the braces you'll find are larger. I've got a half dozen or so, with sweeps ranging from 8" to 14". The 14" brace is capable of driving a #24 screw into hardwood without any great effort. I'm guessing your drill motor would have a tough time with that, assuming that you could get a bit to fit it.
John Martin
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Hmmmmm... then it was poorly articulated. My logic seemed quite clear to me. But then it should, shouldn't it?

#24 I'd have to check into. Off the top of my head I do not know what that size is. I have though used my drill motor well beyond #10, and in other than pine. Likewise, not just wood screws, but machine screws.

#14 slot - can't speak to that one. #3 Phillips - I have several tips right in my drawer. They are quite common.

Several people have stated this so I have to believe there is truth to it. I did wonder though, how many of those who spoke did so not out of experience, but out of having heard it said. I know some of the guys do work with these tools daily and really do have first hand experience. I'm comfotable saying that it does not seem like the brace would be more stable to me, but it's based on my use of a brace and first hand knowledge that a brace can be quite an akward tool if not perfectly centered and held perfectly square to the work. This doesn't necessarily argue your point, it only explains why I hold mine.

Well, it would be interesting to see. I'm not about to say that a drill motor can drive anything that a brace can - hell, like I said, I don't even know off the top of my head what a #24 screw looks like. I have to say that I'd be surprised if it proved that the drill motor couldn't. But then again, I've been surprised before.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

You probably won't find any #24 screws around, nor even any #18s or #16s. They are for really heavy jobs, like mounting bench vises. Don't understand the part about machine screws, though. Are you using them in tapped holes in metal? That shouldn't require much torque. Or are you for some reason using them in wood?
You are right about the #3 Phillips bits - they do make them. I'm sure you know the importance of fitting a screwdriver to a slotted screw, and I've never seen a 1/4" hex bit large enough for, say, a #14 screw. I was wrong about the #3 Phillips, though.
It sounds like the drill motor is the perfect tool for you. Horses for courses.
John Martin
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No - sheet metal screws. I'm sorry, I used the wrong word and didn't catch it when I re-read before posting.

Yes indeed - I do appreciate the importance of fitting the right sized driver to the head. So tell me - and again, this is not in the spirit of argument, it's in the spirit of genuine question - will the bit used for a #14 or perhaps even a #16 (the bit you would use in a brace) not chuck into a 3/8 "or 1/2" drill motor chuck?

Probably better said that it has served me well in what I have done. Don't want you to take from this that I believe it's the ultimate answer. It may always be a good tool for what I do and I may never encounter a situation where another tool would truly be a better alternative, but all the same it is interesting to understand the real differences and benefits of another approach.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

Mike, you've just about convinced me. Especially as I get older, I realize that I shouldn't be taxing myself with hand tools when I can use power ones.
Chris suggested I look at a Milwaukee Super Hole Shooter. I think he might have been kidding somewhat, as it seems a tad large for driving wood screws, and I don't know where I would find screwdriver bits with #3 Morse taper shanks. Perhaps he had in mind a taper adapter with a drill chuck on it, but that gets a bit heavy and awkward.
What sort of drill motor and bits should I be considering?
John Martin
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