Making Wooden Gears

Glue blank from pie-shaped segments of quartersawm stock.

Glue blank from pie-shaped segments of quartersawm stock.

Cut away wood in center of wedges to reduce stress caused by wood movement a good idea, and if I wanted to use just one piece of wood, what would be the best type to use?

Wayne French Baltimore, MD

A I advise against laminating stock to make a gear. Laminated teeth will have a surface composed of long grain and end grain (like the edge of a plywood board), and the teeth will wear unevenly as a result. Instead, I recommend using a single piece of wood if the gear will be small (1 'A in. dia. or less), or better yet, gluing pie-shaped segments together. (See drawing.)

If you're making the gear from a single piece of wood, use a species that doesn't move much with changes in humidity and one that has adequate strength for those teeth that will have short grain running across them. My first choice would be black cherry, wliich is a fairly dimensionally stable wood. However, for strength it's necessary to find slow-grown material with closely spaced growth rings, about 10 to 12 rings per in. minimum. Other woods from which I have successfully cut gears are apple and pecan.

To make the gear from a glucd-up blank, use quartersawn stock and rout away material in the center of each segment to reduce wood movement. (See drawing.) Use at least five pie-shaped segments to make the blank so that the joints are as close to long grain as possible. Also, the teeth will be stronger if the glue lines fall between the teeth rather than on them. The easiest way to ensure this is to count the number of teeth on the gear and make the gear from some number of segments that can be evenly divided into that number of teeth (five segments for a 15-tooth gear, six segments for an 18-tooth gear, etc.).

Ray Levy Wooden machinery maker

Soquel, CA

Trimming Veneer

QWliat is the best way to trim away excess veneer that overhangs a surface?

Bob Schmidt Anchorage, AK

A You can hand-trim veneer by-using a sliarp knife at the point where the veneer overhangs the edge. Make repeated cuts until the overhang is separated, then sand the edge. The knife insures a splinter-free cut but the technique is, unfortunately, pretty slow going.

A faster method is to use a router and a laminate-trimming bit. This is usually trouble-free if you follow a few rules. First, use a new or freshly sharpened cutter, and pick one with the shortest of flutes. Keep the overiiang to less than % in. when laying the veneer, and "climb-cut" (run the router from

Cut away wood in center of wedges to reduce stress caused by wood movement

_______________________when number of segments b divisible into number of teeth.

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Wood Working 101

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