How to Use Brace and Bit Drill?

The questions of how and where to use a brace and bit drill aren’t asked often. This is because power drills and drivers are more popular nowadays. But you will be surprised many DIY enthusiasts consider the hand tool as a must-have.


Where Do You Use a Brace and Bit Drill?

A brace and bit drill is a hand tool used in drilling holes in various sizes. The materials drilled are usually soft and hard woods, such as oak, birch and maple. The holes are made by applying pressure to the top while the tool rotates through its U-shaped grip.

The silent strength of the hand tool makes it such a joy in a workshop with the buzz of power tools. This is mostly used when cleaner results in the wood are desired. This is because the brace and bit drill cuts and slices more readily than a power tool. Plus, it doesn't have the latter’s excesses, too.


The hand tool is also great for small jobs where only a few holes will be drilled. You will also love its ready use because it doesn’t need electricity and battery power.

How to Use a Brace and Bit Drill?

While a brace and bit drill isn’t a power tool, it still has its share of safety risks. The bits are sharp, too, while the dust can also get into your eyes and nose.

For this reason, safety measures are a must. Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves, as well as avoid baggy clothing and jewelry. Be aware of the safety measures when using manual tools, too.

In the following sections, we will discuss the actual drilling process. Let’s start with the right stance when drilling, a must in your safety and efficiency.

When drilling vertically and horizontally, be sure to keep a steady hand on the head of the brace. You can use whatever part of your body for this purpose while still being comfortable in your stance.


Indeed, a good stance is a must, too, a fact whether you’re using a power or a hand tool. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Stand with your feet apart while facing your work piece. Be sure to secure it first, such as clamping it or holding it steady with a vice.
  • Lean forward slightly. Rest your forehead on the back of your hand holding the head of the brace. This will keep the brace as steady as possible since it’s braced against your body part.

The stance makes sense when you consider the rotation of the auger bit. As it rotates. The auger bit’s edges are cutting with and across the wood grain. You will find that cutting across the grain demands more effort than cutting with the grain.

Thus, your job becomes easier and harder alternately with each revolution. But the head of the brace remains steady, thanks to the brace provided by your body part.

This is also true when drilling horizontally. You can use your hip, chest, belly, and shoulder in steading the head of the brace. Your slightly leaning forward stance also contributes to efficiency.

As the auger bit advances into the hole, you can take up the resulting slack. Your hips should move forward but keep the head locked against it.


Let's take a look at the two methods in drilling a clean hole through wood. These methods are useful in avoiding a tear out (i.e., auger exits the hole).

  • Drill from the face side. Feel on the backside on a periodic basis to check the thread hasn’t exited yet. Remove the auger bit and turn over the work piece. Pick up the exit hole, drill on it, and finish the hole.
  • Place the work piece and scrap piece on a bench. Secure both with a clamp. Drill straight through both from the face side. The technique makes it easy to determine whether drill has penetrated the work piece.

Tip: This is suitable for stock with a thickness of 1 inch and above.

Tip: Pair a dark wood piece with a light wood scrap. When you see light wood chips being ejected, then you’re through.

brace drill

This is also true for pairing a hard wood piece with a soft wood scrap. When you have an easier time turning the handle, you’ve drilled into the softwood. The second method is better because you will get a clean exit hole. Let’s proceed to the actual drilling work:

  • Use an awl in marking the center of the planned hole.
  • Locate the thread on the mark.
  • hand-o-right
    Place the auger bit on the mark.
  • hand-o-right
    Start drilling slowly. Check that the spurs are scoring the wood. Adjust your angle of approach when one spur begins to score before or more than the other one.
  • hand-o-right
    Turn the handle in the other direction to remove the auger bit. Never pull out the bit since it can damage both the hole and the drill.

You have to apply good pressure when turning the handle. Since this isn’t a power tool, your arms and hands should do the work of turning the handle. You may also find these tips useful.

  • Use two squares when drilling vertically. Set them 90 degrees to each other. The auger should be parallel to both squares.
  • Use an Irwin or Jennings Pattern auger bit when drilling at an angle.
  • Measure up from the cutting edge when drilling a blind hole to depth.

A mattress that’s too soft will not provide the optimum support so it will not be comfortable, too. A mattress that’s too firm, in contrast, will push on the body’s main pressure points and put it out of alignment. In both cases, your mornings will be marked by an aching body.

Final Words

The brace and bit drill still occupies a place of honor in a woodworkers’ toolbox. The setup has many advantages including ease of setup, portable use, and versatile applications.

But like any tool, you have to respect its capacity as a potentially hazardous object. You must be mindful of its sharp bits. Your decision to wear personal protective equipment and adopt safe drilling methods is great!

Related Resources:

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments