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.