I’m currently looking out for one of these braces. Not easy to find in the UK, but hopefully some US readers may turn something up.
North Bros. Mfg. Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, made a line of high quality braces, starting within the year preceding March 6, 1923. You can see the patent drawings courtesy of Google, via the excellent ‘George’s Basement‘ website. I cannot begin to describe the knowledge the author of this site has of braces, but one glimpse of the home page will give you a glimpse of just how deep the ‘tool-obsessive’ rabbit hole goes…
Personally, braces are one of those tools I’ve never become too freaky about. Unlike planes, with their fascinating unique qualities, I have always found braces a little dull. Even the different brass and ebony ‘Ultimatum’ confections leave me a bit cold, I mean, you can’t really tune them, they just twist round and round, right?
However, when I saw the North Bros “Yankee” 2100, I realised this was a brace I could learn to love! The design is beautiful, and if you strip it down, you can see that the component parts have really been thought through to give smooth-as-silk performance. The chucks on these bad boys have ball bearings all round, so they spin like a dream. Man, got to find one!
(NB: I have to extend my warm thanks to Isaac Smith of Blackburn Tools, who gave me permission to use his superb pictures of the Yankee brace for my post).
I buy old, good quality woodworking tools. If you have any tools you would like to sell, please get in touch using the contact form on the home page.
4 replies on “North Bros “Yankee” 2100 Brace”
Hi: I have a North Bros. Yankee # 81 tool. It looks like it would hold a screw or small bolt to start it. It has three position slide like the Yankee screw driver. One left, one locked to turn left or right, and one to the right.. Do you know what it is used for? It has been used, but not falling apart. I can send you a picture but don’t know how at this time. awj
Hi, the ’81’ is listed as a Ratchet Screw Driver. I’m guessing when you turn the screw, the driver is ratcheted so you can twist back and turn again, without leaving the screw? Pretty handy if you are holding something up whilst screwing it in.
sorry its not a reply…I have a question that I hope you can answer. I have recently started to collect the North Brothers Stanley 2100 or 2101 series of Brace’s. I noticed that there are differences in the mechanisms…or rather to the housing of the mechanism. One style has two holes in the mechanism for oil; one hole on top of the mechanism, the other on the lower side of it. Both are marked “oil”. The other braces have what appears to be the exact same mechanism, but it does not have either of the holes for oil.
Aside from the obvious difference, are there any drawbacks or advantages to either design?
Thank you for your time.
Almost 8 years now since this article so I’m not sure if this will get anywhere, but my friend, who I live with, got his hands on one of these 2100 braces. It’s in good shape, especially if it was manufactured in the 1920s. If you’re interested let me know