Friday, January 25, 2019

Re-Handling a Tanged Gouge

One of the tools that was in the box of tools I won in an auction recently was a Buck Brothers gouge.  The business end just needed some cleaning up, but the handle was in sad shape.
Buck Brothers 5/16" radius gouge
Buck Bros logo
The handle was cracked and had black cloth tape wrapped around the "ferrule".  When I took the tape off, I found this.
Homemade "ferrule" made from wire
Apparently the original ferrule broke and the handle cracked (who knows - maybe simultaneously?) and a previous owner fixed it this way.
Took off the wire and ...
... the tang came out easily
The tang was pretty gnarly so I cleaned it up with a file
This shows the tang hole, the crack and the original lathe chuck marks
The back of this gouge was interesting.  There is a leather washer on the back end.
The leather is about 1/4" thick
It's actually two pieces of leather
They came off fairly easily - perhaps originally glued with hide glue.
The end tenon of the chisel handle was 1/2" diameter.
Well, having just built my bungee lathe, making a new handle was my first turning project.  It's a rather unremarkable handle, but so are my turning skills.  I wanted it to be shaped like my other gouge handles - just a gentle bulge in the middle of the handle's length.
Turning the new handle from mystery wood
(possibly some kind of mahogany - it was a piece of an old coat rack)
I turned a 7/8" cylinder at the left end that would receive a ferrule.  That's the same size as the original handle.  Unfortunately it looks too clunky to me.  The bolster is much smaller - about 1/2" across and the transition doesn't seem to flow just right (see pics further down this post).

When it came to fitting the tang, I used a technique that I learned from a Bob Rozaieski video.  I drilled with three sizes of drill bits, successively deeper as the drill sizes got smaller.  Then used the tang to ream the hole until the bolster was about 1/8" from the handle.
Handle perfectly level in vise
Small bubble level on the top of my drill makes it easy to judge level drilling
Using the tang to ream the hole
My ferrule was a piece of a copper plumbing connector cut to 5/8" long.  I made the ferrule area on the lathe just a tiny bit too small, so had to use some glue to affix the ferrule.
Ferrule attached
With the ferrule attached, I whacked the handle home and I now have a new gouge handle.
Thar' she blows!
This was literally the first or second piece of wood that I had ever turned, so it's not perfect.  And putting a few coats of BLO on it seemed to highlight some not-so-pretty area.  But I'm pretty happy about it anyway.

I love putting old, neglected tools back to work - can't wait to use it.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Bench Top Bungee Lathe Details

In my last post about the bungee lathe I promised to give some construction details, so here they are.
The bungee lathe
I started by squaring up a piece of 18" x 5 1/2" x 1 5/8" thick redwood for the headstock.  I wanted the pointed center of the headstock to be about 7 1/2" above the rails and I wanted a few inches of wood above that.  The rails take up 2 3/8" of the 18" height and what's left is held in the vise.  The 5 1/2" width is more than really needed, but I think having that width held in the vise helps keep the lathe from bending in use.
A 3/8" lag screw sharpened to a point provides the drive center
The rails are 22 1/4" x 2 3/8" x 3/4" thick red oak.  The tenons that fits into the 1/2" headstock  mortises are one-sided tenons.  That is, there is only a tenon cheek on one side, so they are basically a long rabbet at the ends of the rails.  I did it this way for ease of laying out the one inch spacing between them.
Spacing between the rails
Same spacing on back of headstock due to one-cheeked tenons
When I glued up the rails and headstock, I was very careful to keep the rails parallel.  When the lathe is held in the vise, the bottom edges of the rails sit directly on the vise chop.  The location is such that the bottom of the headstock almost (but not quite) touches the vise's stability rods.

The length of these rails allows a maximum turning length of about 15".  I didn't work this out ahead of time - it was just a couple lengths of oak that were available.  If and when I ever need to turn something longer, I'll just have to build something bigger.

At the other end of the rails is a 1" thick piece of poplar that is screwed in place and this keeps the rails spaced 1" apart along their whole length.
Spacer at the tail end of the rails
This spacer is also used for attachment of the leg that supports the tail end.  That leg is a 40 5/8" x 2 1/2" x 1 1/2" piece of redwood that I had used for something else years ago and for which I had cut out two notches.  Turns out one notch was just about in the right location for it to fit around the rails and spacer.
The leg with it's countersunk lag screw
Closer view of upper portion
Attached to the rail-spacer-rail
I cut the leg a little too short on purpose and I use shims to make the floor contact.  This was in case I move the bench around and the uneven floor causes problems.
Bottom of the leg shimmed
When the leg is shimmed and the lathe is held firmly in the vise, it's really solid.  The tail end barely moves when pushed.

The puppet, or tailstock, is a 17" x 2 13/16" x 2 1/2" thick glue-up of redwood.  Its 1" thick tenon that fits snugly between the rails is 6 1/2" long.
Tailstock, or puppet (or is that "poppet"?)
To find the location for the mortise that would hold the puppet in place with the aid of a wedge, I put the tailstock in place between the rails and marked a line at the lower edge of the rails.
The upper pencil line is the location of the bottom edge of the rails.
The lower line is angled for wedging and is 1/16" further from the upper line at front than it is at the back.
Notice that the mortise was cut about 1/8" above the upper line.  That places the upper 1/8" of the mortise within the rails.  Without an offset, the wedge would not be able to tighten the puppet properly.

This 1" wide mortise is cut into the 2 1/2" wide tenon, but it's not centered.  Rather it's placed more forward so that there is more tenon shoulder behind the mortise than there is forward of the mortise.  This will help to resist the backward force of holding the turning work between centers.

The center is another 3/8" lag screw and it's location was not measured, but determined by putting the puppet in place, sliding it up to the headstock and butting it up against the headstock's point to provide an exact location.
Finding the location to drill the tailstock (left) from the headstock's point
The wedge is a 5 3/4" long x 1" thick piece of poplar, planed to match the angle of the mortise.  It's 1" wide at the small end and 1 3/8" wide at the large end.  It was originally longer and was cut to length after final fitting to the mortise.  The final length allows about 1 1/2" to stick out at front and back when tightened.

The tool rest has a base and an upright.  The base is 7 3/4" x 2 1/2" x 3/4" red oak, slotted for the 1/4-20 bolt that would hold it to the rails.  The head of the bolt is housed in a wider slot that is sized so that the bolt head won't turn when tightening the nut.
The toolrest
The upright is cut from a 6 3/4" long x 7 1/2" wide x 13/16" thick piece of maple.  The grain is oriented vertically so that the surface that tools rest on is end grain.  I'm hoping this will be more durable.  The top end grain area is rounded and sanded smooth.  The tool rest is sized to have it's top at the same height as the drive centers.
Side view of upper portion of tool rest
The maple upper part is joined to the base in a shallow rabbet and held with screws.
Tool rest joint

The nut that tightens the toolrest to the rails is a 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" x 3/4" piece of red oak that is tapped for the 1/4-20 thread of the bolt.

The tool rest nut
The bottom surface of the tool rest base has strips of sandpaper glued to it and this keeps it from moving at all during use.
Sandpaper keeps the rest from moving in use
The treadle is a 31 1/2" x 1 3/8" x 3/4" piece of pine that is screwed to the short side of a 14 1/2" x 7" x 3/4" piece of plywood.  That piece of plywood is hinged to a larger, 23" x 19" x 3/4" piece of plywood that I stand on when turning.  My body weight keeps the treadle from inching forward as I turn.
The treadle viewed from the turner's side of the lathe
And a view from the other side showing the hinged parts 
The nice thing about this lathe is I can disassemble the leg and stow the lathe easily.
Upper part of lathe stored in a shelf
Leg and treadle assembly stored beside parts cabinet

With the exception of the hinges, this lathe was built from materials I had on hand.  So total cost was about $5.  Well, that's all I can think of.  If anyone has questions, please ask.  Next time I'll show some of my first turnings.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Bench-top Bungee Lathe

FINALLY!  I have lathe capability!!

In October of 2017, I experimented with a bow lathe but had less-than-spectacular results.  (Read: it sucked!)  For a long time I've been thinking about how I might build a small, bench top, foot-powered lathe, since I don't have space for a free-standing one.  After scouring the 'net I found something on Lumberjocks that made sense for my bench and space.  It seems to be working well and is small enough that I can put it away easily.  And it's made mostly from recycled wood and scraps.
My bungee lathe
The lathe is powered by a rope that is attached to bungee cords that are stretched between the two end-frame steel perforated angle bars that support the garage door opener.
The end over the garage door.
The red bungee is routed over the cross member of the wood storage rack
to keep it away from the plastic parts of the garage door opener track.
At the other end, the white bungee is attached to the frame holding the opener motor
These two bungees give about the right amount of resistance for the lathe to work properly.  The other end of the rope is attached to a stick (the treadle) that I press with my foot.
The first treadle, hinged with a 1/4" dowel pin
This treadle kept inching forward as I turned so I tried different things to fix that.  The first was to step on a board that put pressure on the floor-contact part of the treadle.
The stick holding the treadle in place didn't work very well
Next I used a strap hinge, attaching the treadle to a piece of plywood that I could stand on and this worked much better.  However, this hinge was cheap and quickly got too flippy-floppy (that's a technical term).
Treadle hinged to plywood
I also found that with the treadle in that position I couldn't comfortably work at the left side of the lathe, and I got a far better idea.  Attaching the treadle to another scrap piece of plywood allowed me operate the treadle from anywhere along the length of the lathe.
The small piece of plywood is attached to the base plywood with two 3" door hinges
The head stock is a chunk of redwood clamped in the vise and the center is a 3/8" lag screw, filed somewhat conical at the tip.  The rope hangs just above that side, so the treadle works best just below that.  But the rope had a tendency to get caught on the vise, so I made a little guide to keep the rope away from the vise.
Top view of the rope guide
The bed rails are two pieces of red oak that are tenoned into mortises in the head stock.  The rails are supported at the tail end by a redwood 2x4.  That end of the lathe can wiggle back and forth a little, but it hasn't affected the turning.  The lathe is quite rigid.

The tail stock is made from glued-up redwood boards and its long bottom tenon is sized to fit snugly between the two bed rails.
Tail stock
Lower tenon of tail stock with mortise for wedge to lock in place
Tail stock with wedge in place
The tool rest is made from a piece of maple attached to an oak base in a shallow rabbet.  They are screwed together.  The base has a slot cut into it for adjustability.
The tool rest
... and from below
The rest is held to the bed rails with a long bolt and the "nut" that tightens it is a piece of oak that I tapped.
The head of the bolt is captured in a wider slot so it can't spin
The "nut" drilled and tapped to accept the bolt
This worked well, but the tool rest did move a little during use.  Adding two strips of self-adhesive sandpaper to the bottom of the base fixed that and now it's solid as a rock.
Stopped the tool rest from moving
I've been playing around a little before trying to make anything useful.  I've never turned before, so there is a learning curve.  But apparently I've picked up a thing or two from reading and watching because I was able to do something relatively quickly.
Some gentle shaping and some beads
One thing I did figure out quickly was not to try to turn soft woods.  My lag bolt centers wear away the soft wood quickly, loosening the work or worse, moving the center.
Tried turning this piece of 2x?, but the the end pilot hole enlarged and moved
This is exciting for me.  I've already made a few things that I'll post about later and it has been fun.  I don't think I'll be falling down the rabbit hole of turning, but it is exciting.

For anybody who is interested, next time I'll post some specifics about the construction of the lathe.