Saturday, June 3, 2017

Stanley No 923-8 braces

This is the one you saw in a size comparison with the larger Pexto model
It is a smaller 8 in sweep brace, a most useful size for most tasks

The Stanley No 923 was manufactured from 1905 until 1984.
It has a box ratchet and earlier models had alligator jaws.
Made in sizes from 6 to 14 in in 2 in increments.
Steel construction, nickel plated, cocobolo handles.
Average value $10-50. I paid $5 at a Flea market for mine.
6 in size $50-100 (because rarely seen)
John Walter's book prices

Stanley No 923-8

Also stamped BT Co, which stands for Bell Telephone Company.
This model was used by Bell linemen and service guys...for good reasons

The ratcheting mechanism is covered under Patent 2,485,991

Applied for 10 Apr 1946
Granted 25 Oct 1949

2 jaws chuck, closing tight

This chuck has two springs. 
You can see one peeking out on the side of the chuck

It does not sport the usual Alligator grip on the jaws,
 like the earlier models.

Note that this type of jaws are designed to hold square tapered bit shank, not round ones. As a result they are sometimes found with vise grip like, scored marks on the chuck in a futile attempt to grab on solidly round shank bits...Please don't do that.

These jaws were made under US Patent  1,880,521 which covers the spring arrangements.

Applied for 13 Sep 1929
Granted 4 Oct 1932

Chucks that uses springs should allowed the jaws to open and close smoothly when you open/close the chuck. Often they are sticking, because of roughness inside the chuck shell and/or accumulated grit and gummy dried grease. Both conditions easily fixed.

This is a Made in Canada Stanley

This small size, 8 in sweep, is probably the most used in cabinetmaking. The smaller 6 in does not comes up very often, while the 8 in and 10 in are very prolific out there. An indication of their all around usefulness.

The patent dates on it dated it from 1949 at the earliest, probably early 50s.
I used to keep a a small Millers Falls of that size on my bench, but it had some issues (worn out ratchet) This is my new 8 in going into my boring till to replace it.

Bob, about to go on a short road trip with Jean, the grand peanuts and Rudy.
Good thing I had the AC fixed in the car :-)


  1. Checked my brace that I bought in 1975. It looks like the 923 but it has some plastic parts in it. It's a Stanley model A02-922 with a 12" throw. Maybe I should buy one of the 8 or 10 inch bell system ones I see all the time. Will the 923 work with my tapered end shank auger bits?

  2. Hi Ralph
    Yes it will and do a good job at it. If you come across ex Bell system tools, grab them, they are good stuff


  3. So what happens with old braces like the one that has a worn out ratchet. Is it good for nothing anymore? Maybe just for collectors?

  4. I have one of these and have been really happy with it. I like that it's gearing is enclosed and that the chuck collar is a straight barrel, so it's easy to sight along it when you're trying to follow a set square or something.

  5. HI Matt
    NO worn out braces are no good for collectors, they tend to prized pristine examples. There are no shortage of these old braces around, when looking for one, pass on the dud and the worn ones and go for a good users. They are plentiful and cheap...still

    Bob, back home with Jean, the grand kids an Rudy

  6. Hi Paul
    You make a good point about the straight barrel chuck and sighting along. Note however that not all braces of the same model always sport the same type of chuck. The bulbous Barber chuck for examples shows up more on the older ones (late 1800s early 1900s) then changes along the years with the new and improved (?) models