Bit Braces


GP Drills

Stanley Planes

Yankee Braces


Boring Tools and their Makers


Pexto Samson Brace Repair by Adam Maxwell

1 of 2

Adam R. Maxwell

  Pexto Samson Braces

I'm torn on whether to advertise how great the Pexto Samson braces are, because they can still fly under the radar on eBay, unlike the more-popular Yankee braces. However, the Pexto braces are one of the nicest-looking heavy-duty braces made, in my opinion, and the Samson chuck is superb.

The Samson chuck was Pexto's top-of-the-line chuck, with a ball-bearing head and the ability to hold round or tanged bits. Pexto claimed that it “Has tighest grip and easiest release of any Brace Chuck made.” in their 1923 catalog. In my experience, they work as advertised, and you actually have to be careful not to overtighten.

Braces with the Samson chuck include the 8000 and 8200 series, which are identical except for the enclosed ratched on the less-common 8200. Both feature ball bearing head and brass-bushed center handle, and were nickel-plated. Cocobolo and “tropical hardwood” were used in earlier and later models, respectively, and A, B, C, D, or E was appended to the model number as changes were made.


I sort of collect Samson braces, after buying an 8012E on eBay and being really impressed with the quality. To this, I added a couple of 8014 braces, another 8012, an 8008, and and 8016 (the last two digits are the sweep in inches). Most of these needed minor repair, particularly in the larger sweeps. I've noticed that some people have questions about how to dismantle a brace, so thought I'd share some tips on my “new” 8010A, which seemed to be in excellent condition.

The first thing to remove was the head, mainly to show how it's done. If the head is too loose, it can be removed and a bushing added inside the collar, but this was not necessary here. To remove it, simply remove the three wood screws on the quill plate, and then unscrew the wood head itself. Note that the wood is threaded!

This brace has a peened rod holding the quill on. Some later models use a horseshoe circlip, so are nominally easier to remove. After cleaning the bearings and oil hole in the quill, there's not much to do here.

The next step is to disassemble the chuck. Unthread the shell from the shank of the brace itself (you may have to remove a locking ring to do this on later models). I've taken the names of the parts from the drawing in Samson's 1923 catalog (scan courtesy of Rose Tools, Inc):

Next, remove the screw in the outer collar, and unthread the collar from the shell. Do this over a pan or catch basin of some type, as the ball bearings will typically fall out at this point unless you're careful. If you hold the chuck nose-down, the head will stay in place with the collar.

When you've done this, you'll end up with the following parts. Note the location of the ball bearings; these are easily lost, and this brace appears to be missing about a third of them!

A sticky point: I wasn't able to remove the screw for the ratchet shank on this brace, so didn't show that. In some cases, you'll need to remove that and add a new washer or bushing to remove slop in the shank. This one was tight, so it wasn't a major problem. I hate having slop here, as that actually affects how straight a hole you can bore.


I use WD-40, a bronze brush, and a toothbrush for most cleaning. If the nickel plating is gone, you can be more aggressive. The main thing to do is get the caked-on grease and dirt out of the threads and jaws. It's particularly helpful to clean the collar and head, since these are the ball bearing inner and outer races.

Cleaning the ball bearings is a nuisance, but I typically put them in a baby food jar with some solvent and shake them. Dump this onto a clean cloth or paper towel to avoid losing the bearings. If they're rusted, consider replacing all of them; chances are that you'll have to add some anyway, if someone has disassembled the brace before you.

Learn how. Discover why. Build better.

1 of 2

Bench Drills/Lathes




Copyright © 2005-2018, and Wiktor Kuc.  All Rights Reserved.  Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
No part of the content from this website can be reproduced by any means without specific permission of the publisher.
Valid CSS!