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

Group K - Six Stanley (2101A-10 IN) braces, four of them made for the Bell System
by Stanley Tools after all the North Bros. patents had expired;
and one made without any patent markings and not for the Bell System

This is the classic GREEN GOO Stanley No. 2101A brace.  Someone (apparently at Stanley Tools, because this brace had the affliction and isn't stamped, Bell System B) had the bright idea that paying attention to three oil holes once every few years was too much resposibility for modern (ca. 1950 ?) consumers to shoulder.  Consequently, the ratchet mechanism was lubricated "for life" with grease and two oil holes were eliminated.   Unfortunately, the grease hardens over time, and chemical reactions between the grease and the nickel plating cause the grease to attain a green color.  The hardened grease gums up the ratchet pawls, which fail to catch.  Worse yet, the pushbotton directional selector gets very difficult to move, and some folks have been caught hammering the pushbutton, which is quite damaging to the internal mechanism.  Better to take a half hour or less and disassemble the brace to clean out the goo, which isn't so hard to do, now that georgesbasement has provided detailed instructions.  The present braces have been given THE TREATMENT, and they all work smoothly again.  This brace, designated B&D-K1,has been SOLD.

"Green Goo" 2101A Stanley brace not Bell System

Two-hole pad on 2101A-10 IN Stanley brace

Head of 2101A-10 IN Stanley brace

There's more ... Read on !

The following four braces were all made by Stanley for the Bell System.  They also had the GREEN GOO affliction, but I have already taken care of the cleanup operation, and so they now all work smoothly.  I left vestiges of the old lubricant to aid some future historian in following the technical history of these braces.  All functions are there - ball bearing chuck and pad, undamaged thermoplastic handles, etc.  Only the bottom brace has lost any significant fraction of its nickel plating, and it is priced accordingly.  The third brace from the top was my user all summer while I was making a shed in my yard, but it wouldn't hold the screwdriver bits very well, and I didn't find out why until preparing this group for sale.  The chuck was very tight - the ball bearings seemed to be broken or gummed up inside, and oil plus elbow grease failed to improve the situation.  So I drilled a little hole in the chuck shell to be able to get the snap ring out of its groove on the inside of the chuck's shell.  When I got the chuck apart, all the balls were shiny and intact.  But they had been jamming against the inside of the shell - there was one too many !  Now that it's all back together, keeping one ball back, it works great.  And the balls are the 1/8th inch size, not 3/32nd inch like North Bros.'s braces.

The uppermost brace is an eight inch size - 2101A-8 IN; it's designated B&D-K2 and is SOLD.  The second brace at upper left is a 2101A-10 IN like all the remaining ones, and it's called B&D-K3; SOLD.  The third brace at middle right is B&D-K4 and is SOLD. The fourth brace at bottom left is B&D-K5 and is SOLD.  Below that is B&D-K6, SOLD. Finally B&D-K7, SOLD.

Four Stanley No. 2101A braces with no patent dates

Top two pads

Top head

Second head

Bottom two pads

Third head

Bottom head

This is brace B&D-K6, whose ratchet was hopelessly jammed with the dreaded GREEN GOO until I soaked it with penetrating oil, took it all apart, and scraped off the stuff, which was harder even than candle wax.   The result is at right ==>
Overall view of B&D-K6
See also this image of the pad.  This brace has seen very little use.
Ratchet opened up after GREEN GOO was removed
About 99% of the chrome plating remains, with the exception of the two blemishes shown near the re-assembled chuck and ratchet mechanism, and near the model number, below:
Blemish near chuck
The first blemish is on the bow near the chuck as shown at left.

Note that this Stanley - made (not North Bros.) brace had the
GREEN GOO but wasn't made for the Bell System.
Blemish near model No.2101A-10IN.
The second blemish is near the model No. 2101A-10IN. at left.
Brace B&D-K7
This is brace B&D-K7 - SOLD.  Frankly, I don't remember what lubrication was inside the ratchet mechanism of this brace, but now it's just oil.  Everything works smoothly even though the plating looks terrible.  There aren't any snags at the edges of the remaining plating, so it's not ugly on the hands, at least. The marks are somewhat obscured by the missing plating:
The "A" in No.2101A indicates that this brace was made after the Yankee plant was moved away from Philadelphia.
Made in Stanley USA
I think this trademark was intended to be read, "Stanley Made, USA."
Head bearings - Brace B&D-K7
Chuck marks - Brace B&D-K7
The head or pad of this brace is in excellent condition and the plate underneath it is undeformed by overzealous use.  There are a few wrench marks on the shell of the chuck, but the ball bearings are OK and allow for smooth tightening.

Below, the extent of the plating loss is clearly apparent:
Brace B&D-K7
Brace B&D-K7
The handles are the black thermoplastic that was probably tougher than the thermosetting plastic (like bakelite, but not exactly the same as that) that the North Bros. braces have. 
The jaws are new old stock - unused in this brace.
B&D-K7 - chuck apart
At right it is fortunate that no frustrated driller hammered the ratchet cover much - there is only one small ding.
Ratchet box - Brace B&D-K7