Shopmade Turning Tools

Over the years, I've found that some of my best turning tools arc made from things I have ly ing around the shop. Pictured here are several tools made from alien wrenches, nails and screwdrivers. They are easy to make m m and quite effective in use.

Allen-wrench turning tool—

(Second row, left in photo.) To make a bent t<x>l from an Allen key, first turn a handle from medium-density wood. The handle should fit your hand—about 4 or 5 in. long is good. Drill a hole in the handle the same diameter as the cross section of the alien wrench. Then tap the wrench into die hole, so the shape of the hole conforms to the shaft of the wrench.

Next, remove the wrench, put in a few drops of "gap-filling" Super (»lue, spray the shaft with Hot Shot accelerator and jam the shaft back into the hole. (Super Glue and Hot Shot accelerator are available from Craft Supplies USA, 801-373-0917.) Grind the tip to the shape of a simple round-nose scraper, relieving the bottom edge 5° or so from the top edge. Hie lip should extend no more than % in from the bend. With the /Win.-dia. wrench shown here, 1 extend the end no more than lx/i in. from the handle.

Screwdriver turning tools— (Bottom four tools in photo.) Making bent and straight tools from standard screwdrivers is also simple. Stan by grinding the tips to the shape of a round-nose scraper, as with the alien-wrench tool. At this point the straight tool is complete. For bent tools, place the shaft in a vise and heat the shaft with a propane hand torch until it's red. Then grab the tip with a wrench and bend it to 45°. The finished tip should extend no more than in. from the bend.

These little scrapers cut very well, even though they're not made from exotic steel. And they stay sliaq) for a surprisingly long time. To re-sharpen them, use a Hat file-instead of a grinder. This removes less material and helps preserve tip life. If you want to harden a lip. heat the metal to cherry-red and plunge the tip into motor oil.

Cement-nail tool—(Second row, right.) This tiny scraper Is made from a hardened cement nail that's glue-d into a wood handle with Super Glue. The curved tip is not bent but shaped from the shaft of the nail with a chain saw file. Sounds primitive, but it works wonders.

Modified parting tool—<Top row.) While this doesn't strictly qualify as a tool made from scrap metal, it is a handy shop-made tool. I make this parting tool, which I call a "barracuda." by grinding away one-side of a Vifrin.-thick by Vin.-wide round-nose scraper. I sharpen the concave bevel upside down on the grinding wheel, so the tip is at least '/if, in. below die center line of the tool. On dense materials, the edge of this curve will produce a very clean, shearing cut.—D.E

If the sphere gets stuck in the compression chuck when you try to remove it, gently pry open the chuck's slits with a screwdriver.

The placement of the holes in die top of each sliaker is a matter of personal choice. I like to place them slighdy off-center from the top and in harmony with the grain of the wood. Whatever your choice, mark the hole locations with the point of a nail and drill carefully with a H>in.-dia. bit. Place the shaker in the compression chuck, and position the tailstock center in the drilled hole so the hole is on center when the shaker is in die chuck. Then, with the lathe running, flare die edges of each drilled hole by scraping with the edge of the tiny hooked tool. (See bottom photo, opposite page, and sidebar above.)

Finishing Touches

When choosing a finish for the shakers. keep in mind that salt and pepper shakers get a lot of hard use and often a lot of sun exposure. I use an acry lic-spray lacquer called "Crystal Clear" made by Krylon (available at art supply stores), although any clcar spray lacquer will do. After the finish has hardened, I buff off the residue with a hard, 6-in.-dia. stitched buffing wheel, using brown tripoli as a cutting agent (available from Gesswcin Jewelry Supply, Box 3998, Bridgeport, CT 06605, 800-243-4466). Then I apply wax to a soft, 6-in.<lia. unstitched buffing wheel and buff the shaker with it.

After buffing, set out the shakers for your friends to admire and use. And if you're really brave, you can surprise them by replacing traditional black pepper with Jamaican Scotch Bonnet hot pepper (available from Island Style Foods, Inc., 473 Gasper Ave., Dcltona, FL 32725, 407-574-5080).

At least you'll find out who your friends are. A

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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