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What are the different types of hand drills and braces?

Shop for Hand Drills and Braces


Usual hand drill and brace design Whilst most hand drills and braces follow the same basic design, there are a few that look a little different.

Heavy duty fully enclosed hand drills

Heavy duty fully enclosed hand drills feature a metal casing enclosing the drive wheel and pinion gear as well as a breast plate and side handle and turning handle that can be repositioned from one side of the drill to the other These hand drills have the drive wheel, pinion and frame fully enclosed in a metal case. The case prevents dirt from entering and clogging the pinion and drive wheel. Heavy duty hand drills are made using the same materials as other hand drills.
Heavy duty fully enclosed hand drills usually come with a breast plate attached, so the user is able to apply more pressure on the drill bit making them better suited for drilling hard materials such as metal.
In order to attach the turning handle to the 2nd speed position on the other side of the hand drill it may be necessary to reposition the side handle to the opposite side of the hand drill first This type of hand drill will often have two speeds, which can be switched between by unscrewing the handle from one side of the drill and attaching it to the other. By doing this, the handle turns a different sized drive wheel inside the casing, switching between high speed low torque and low speed high torque.

Pistol grip hand drills

Pistol grip hand drills are grasped in your non-dominant hand as you would a pistol and the turning handle is then turned with your dominant hand Pistol grip hand drills do not have a straight handle like other hand drills. Instead, the handle is shaped to be gripped like you would a pistol or electric drill.
Unlike modern plastic pistol grip hand drills vintage pistol grip hand drills were made of steel or iron and hand the gears of the drive wheel and pinion exposed Modern pistol grip hand drills have a plastic handle which encases the drive wheel, pinion and frame of the drill in a similar way to a heavy duty fully enclosed hand drill.
The pistol grip design is said to give more control when performing small, intricate drilling, whilst the enclosing keeps dirt out of the workings inside. This makes them more suitable to smaller, more delicate drilling jobs.
Spare drill bits can be stored in a removable compartment on some pistol grip design hand drills The pistol grip and enclosed casing is made in two parts that screw together. Some feature a removable compartment between the two halves that can be used to store spare dill bits.

Corner braces

Corner braces were designed to help drill in corners of a work area. A corner brace is designed for drilling or driving screws in the corners of a work area, where the confined space would prevent you from being able to make a full turn of the sweep handle on a standard brace.

Corner braces have been superseded by corner power drills which can fit into tighter, smaller corners. As a result, there is not enough demand for corner braces, so they are no longer manufactured.

Corner braces hand a fixed corner side handle on an extended frame and have two gears to convert the turning motion through 45° Unlike other braces that provide a direct drive from the user to the bit in the chuck, corner braces have two gears to redirect the turning motion of the sweep handle through a 45° angle to the chuck.

They also have an additional part to their frame that forms a 90 degree angle that the sweep handle fits between. This additional part of the frame has a fixed corner side handle that is used to steady and apply pressure to the bit in the chuck, much in the same way as the head on a normal brace.

Ice auger and brace

The hand knob is used to attach and alter the height of the ice auger and brace The ice auger and brace consists of a very large steel auger bit designed to cut into ice and a brace attachment.

The brace does not have a chuck or ratchet and is attached to the auger bit with a hand knob that can be set in different positions to alter the height of the auger and brace.

Powered ice augers can be used to quickly drill many holes in a frozen lake but they are heavier than a manual ice auger and brace They are designed to bore holes through frozen lake ice for fishing.

Powered ice augers are now available, but weigh considerably more and do not have an endless power supply, so hand ice augers and braces are still used by many people.