Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: bit and brace

A Simple Trick for Boring Accurate Holes by Hand.

I’ve always struggled boring accurate holes with hand tools.  I’ve tried using the “CD trick”.  I tried try-squares and mirrors.  I get close, but sometimes close isn’t good enough.  That’s when I came up with this simple trick (I’m sure I wasn’t the first one to use it): a guide block.

I first came up with this while drilling the draw-bore holes through the side of my top.  I have a drill press, but there was no way I could get the bench-top under the press.  Now, I’m using it to start my holdfast holes.

auger bit with guide block

Here’s how I made it:

  1. Find a piece of scrap that’s at least twice as thick as your hole and long enough to accept a clamp on either side of the hole.
  2. Joint an edge.  This will be the bottom of your guide.
  3. With the jointed edge down, bore your hole roughly through the middle of the opposite edge on a drill press (the table must be square to the bit).

You’re done.  I marked arrows on all four sides of mine to remind me which way to orient the guide.  A wider piece will yield more accurate holes, but may be harder to clamp to your work piece.

Crisp hole with bit and brace


Superior Hand Tools: The Bit and Brace

I’ve recently been using my vintage hand brace often.  I’ve discovered that there are many times when I prefer it to a power drill.  As long as your bits are sharp and you use a brace with the proper sweep, it doesn’t need much more physical effort than a power drill.  It’s easy to get crisp, clean holes and it’s a lot of fun to use.  It’s also nice not to have to worry about charging batteries all the time.  Watch the video below to see how easy it is to use a bit and brace.

Music is by ‘Hare and the Hounds’.  They just released their first album.  It’s a good one.  I highly suggest you check it out.