The Brace and Bits are used together for boring holes which either from their size or other circumstances could not well be managed with a gimlet. The brace itself is nothing but the handle into which a bit may be fitted, and is made in quite an extensive variety of patterns, varying considerably in price. One of the most convenient forms is that illustrated, Fig. 25; but there are many who prefer the heavier-looking and more old-fashioned wooden pattern. In principle they are nearly all alike, the principal points to be observed in selecting one being ease of fastening and releasing the bit and easy turning. A brace which works stiffly is a nuisance. Though often sold with the bits, the brace may be got separately.

Fig. 25.   Brace.

Fig. 25. - Brace.

The bits may also be obtained separately. The complete set is considered to consist of 36, all of which will probably come in useful for some purpose, but smaller sets of 6, 12, 18, or 24 may be had. The entire set (36) may be had for IIs. black; if bright or straw-coloured they are more expensive without being any better, except in appearance. Many men consider the black bits superior to the others.

Probably the centre-bit, as shown on Fig. 26, is more used, or comes in for a greater variety of purposes than any other, as holes of a considerable size may be bored with it. The middle point acts as a guide, the other scribes the circle, and the bevelled edge opposite to it removes the wood. These bits, like others, are made in various sizes, but by using an expansion centre-bit one may be used to bore any sized hole. The best known is Clark's patent, one size of which bores anything between 1/2 in. and 11/2 ins., and the other from 7/8 in. to 3 ins. They are expensive, about 7s. and 10s. respectively. A much cheaper and equally serviceable, but not so well known, centre-bit is Anderson's patent.

Fig. 26.   Centre Bit

Fig. 26. - Centre Bit.

To enumerate all the bits supplied is quite unnecessary, as most of them are for boring, and are shaped in different ways to suit different kinds of work. The best way for the novice to become familiarised with their special qualities will be for him to practice on pieces of waste wood and notice the results. Some, it will be seen, cut more cleanly in some circumstances than in others.

Some of the bits, it will be noticed, are specially adapted for widening the mouths of holes, or bevelling them to fit them for screw heads. Those intended for wood should not be mistaken for those specially adapted for metal work. It will be found necessary occasionally to widen the screw holes in various brass fittings. The screwdriver-bit is often very useful, as greater power can be exerted by means of the brace than with the ordinary screwdriver.

A very useful little appliance, whenever it is necessary to bore several holes to exactly the same depth, is shown in Fig. 27. The gauge is there represented attached to a bit than which none is better for boring dowel holes. It can be fitted to any sized bit, and regulated to a nicety. The mode of its application is so clear from the illustration that nothing need be said about it.