Friday, December 31, 2010
Millers Falls Auger Handles
After the last post about my drilling/boring tool panel upgrade, a reader (Alfred) was curious about the two auger handles visible at the top of the panel. He specifically wanted to know the range of auger sizes these handles could accommodate: "Do those handles accept the regular brace auger bits/ only the larger ones, or do they require special size bits?"
I promised to find out, and in the process my curiosity about the two handles was piqued. So here's the answer to Alfred's question and a bit more (okay, that one was not intentional ).
First up is the Millers Falls No. 2 auger handle, as described in their 1925 Catalogue:
Mine is a newer version (it has the Greenfield, Mass. address, rather than the older Millers Falls, Mass. address) but as far as I can tell it is the same as the one in the catalogue. Well, with the exception that someone seems to have gone crazy on it with some spar varnish. "Oooh! Shiny!"
This shot is the front side, with the smaller of the two square "jaws":
Here is the reverse side, with the larger opening:
It's a pretty simple device really. Just loosen the wing nuts, insert the auger, and clamp it tight, with one "jaw" holding the tapered end and the other the shank.
As their catalogue copy states, it can handle very large augers:
But it can't handle the smaller bits:
The auger in the handle is a 13/16ths, which was the smallest I could fit securely. The 4/16ths on the bench top was impossible to use in the handle.
Now on to the Millers Falls No. 4, again from the 1925 catalogue:
Mine might actually be a copy, as I can't find a single identifying mark on it, other than an owner's stamp of "Leo Putnum".
Here you can see the beefy two jaw chuck:
And from this angle you can see the ratchet control lever to the right of the auxiliary handle attachment point:
Speaking of the auxiliary handle placement - here it is:
The end part of that handle rotates on its own, much like the pad on a brace.
This is one versatile beast. It easily handles (not another one!) the biggest auger I have:
As well as the smallest:
Although, come on, that seems like using a sledge hammer to drive a 4d nail.