I confess I’ve never used a gimlet bit in a brace. I acquired these over the years and had planned to ultimately use them in an 18th century demonstration. Today I took a good look at them in their current state. I’ll be careful in cleaning up the original rust. There is quite a range in condition. From the photo you can see that I have a good variety in size also. I’m not sure how to straighten these bits. I tried several braces to test out the bits. My quick trial showed me that these babies will bore quite nicely. The fourth bit from the top has a bend in it and I’m wondering if I should try straightening it. Let me know what you think!
My hope is that I can use them for cutting wedge mortises in molding planes. Larry Williams made a great point of encouraging their use in his DVD on making side escapement planes.
Here is how three of the bits cleaned up this afternoon.