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Jfitz

Starting out - 8" or 10" brace

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I'm looking at picking up a brace as I build out some more hand tools.  There's an older Miller Falls no 33 brace (8" swing) on eBay that looks interesting, but I'm curious if I should shift gears and look for a 10" swing (which seems to be more common for the "recommended" one to start with).  Also, not sure quite what these normally go for.  Any thoughts/suggestions are welcome.

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 I have one with a 10" swing, but I've had it longer than most on here have been alive. So, Pricing  one now ?  I'd go to ebay and search then make an average of the ones you find and look for one in that price range. I prefer my 3 jaw chuck to any 2 jaw.

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8" might work in slightly tighter quarters but the extra leverage from a 10" helps unless you have arms like Popeye !  

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I have both. An I like my 8” Stanley better. It’s easier to the handle an hold plum when up on the bench or standing over it. But you do get more torque with the 10” an is just fine for hortizonal holes. Just to me you just have more control in the starting of the drilling with the shorter revolutions 

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Thanks for the feedback everyone.  Alas, I didn't win the auction - I could have kept bidding up but I think I need to become more familiar with the models and what to look for.  Maybe a local flea market would be a better starting point.

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I see A LOT of these in antique shops, they are usually easier to find than good hand planes. Look for an antique mall near you and you'll probably find one for $15. I've got one, but haven't actually used it yet, so I can't judge one from another, but they seem well built enough, as far as such things go. 

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I have both and it is not so much getting the brace, which is easy, but getting the bits. You can buy bits new with a limited range of diameters (with screw lead-ins) but vintage ones, with tapered square drives in good condition are difficult to obtain. Bent, chipped or worn out ones are the only ones I can find so far.

Miller Falls or original Stanley's are a good buy but make sure you see them or get as much information about them before you buy. Some are missing hard to obtain springs in the chuck as they can fly out when you loosen them. You may get lucky and find a peach along with a set of good bits.

Egg beaters are also good to have especially those with a decent gear ratio. Stanley still make a crap one (that unfortunately I have) that has a poor ratio and is good for regular round bits up to 3/16" (it has a 3 jaw chuck) but no good beyond that. I only use it now for drilling tiny pilot holes for #2 screws.

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