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Yankee Braces - A Type Study of Sorts
by George Langford
February 17, 2007 - Revised November 15, 2010

Group G - Four ten-inch swing braces made for the Bell System
by the North Bros. Division of Stanley Tools.

The middle brace was made first in this group while the last two patents remained valid.  The bottom brace came next, after all the patents had run out. The uppermost brace came last, in the era of the domed ratchet cover, with no oil hole in its center. 

They have all been repaired carefully by me, so they are smoothly & fully functional again.  The uppermost brace had no pad assembly when received, so I found an earlier one and machined it to fit securely.  The middle two braces came to me with frozen chucks, and so I had to drill a small hole in the chuck shell of each to make it possible to extract the interior snap ring.  The chucks' ball bearings each had several broken 3/32nd inch balls.  I replaced all the balls in each chuck with new, chrome steel balls from MSCDirect; they're sold in bags of 100 at about five cents each.  None of these braces is in original condition.

The images of the pads and chucks below align with the images of the braces in the mug shot at left. 

The uppermost brace (2101A-10 IN) is designated B&D-G1, has lost about 20% of its nickel plating in patches, has a replaced and incorrect but fully functional pad assembly, and is SOLD.

The middle brace (2101-10 IN) is designated B&D-G2, has lost about 80% of its nickel plating, and is

The third brace
(2101-10 IN) is designated B&D-G3, has lost nearly all of its nickel plating, and is priced at SOLD.

At bottom is the fourth brace, B&D-G4, also a 2101-10 IN, still made by North Bros. as a separate entity, although the chuck is from a later brace (SOLD).

Three Bell System Yankee braces

Heads in the same order as at left

The chuck closeups below show the small holes that I drilled in each to be able to push the interior snap ring out of its groove.  The pusher is a two inch nail with about 3/16ths inch of the end reduced to pass through the hole.  If you file a chisel edge at 45º and orient the slope to push the snap ring away from the chuck's front end, you will then be able to pry the rest of the ring out of its groove with a screwdriver.  One bag of 100 balls will fix two chucks with a few balls left over.  Be sure to put some oil on the races to hold the balls in place while you reassemble the chuck !
In mine, the hole is 1.26 inch from the open end of the shell.  You have to unscrew the chuck base to do this.

Pad of uppermost brace

Drilled hole for disassembling chuck bearings

Pad of middle brace

Drilled hole for disassembling chuck bearings

Pad of lowest brace

Below: Yankee brace B&D-G4 (SOLD) turned out pretty well, considering that it originally came to Howard Audsley with a totally incorrect set of jaws.  I tried explaining to Howard how to go about getting new jaws, namely that it might entail buying a donor brace somewhere, so he up and gave it to me.  Most of the plating is gone from the bow.
Then I discovered through Lori Goucher's expertise & generosity that Stanley still has suitable jaws in stock.  The head is marked with two patent dates like the other braces in this group, but the chuck shell apparently came from a later brace.
The pad is in quite nice shape, with the red still showing in all the letters of "YANKEE."

Yes, the chuck now has a brand new set of NOS jaws & spring.
Yankee brace B&D-G4 - two patent dates, later chuck
Head & chuck of B&D-G4
Pad of B&D-G4