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Thread: Tapered Reamers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Houston, TX
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    Tapered Reamers

    Trying my hand at hand-tool chair making. First project is the Pete Galbert perch stool. I've bored my leg holes through the seat. Using a 6-degree reamer from Elia Bizzarri. I'm finding out that my seat wood is probably too hard. Should have used pine (or similar). VERY slow going with the hand reamer. Looking to speed things up using a brace or electric drill with reamer bit. Problem is that I can't find a 6-degree tapered reamer (bit). Lots of 7-degree reamers available. My idea is to use a 7-degree reamer to get close, then finish with the 6-degree reamer. The inexpensive hand-crank 7-degree reamers that I've found are too small (~7/16" x 1/2"). Holes are 7/8" in the bottom side of the seat. I think a 7-degree ball joint reamer would work, but the cheapest I can find is ~$90. The Veritas reamers are ~12-degree. I'd rather stay with 6-degree tapers, for now. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    I have made a half dozen or more Galbert perches, usually with tulip poplar seats, but also pine, butternut and cherry. I use an old Elia Bizzarri reamer that I have never sharpened, despite perches and a number of windsor chairs. You have the right tool for the job. Maybe your technique is the problem. Don't push down on the reamer too hard, take slow even rotations, and if it is chattering on the end grain ease up on the downward pressure. Clean out the scrapings regularly, and check the amount of cut. Maybe the blade needs to be advanced a little to take a deeper bite. Too deep a bit will cause chattering. I believe Elia's newer reamers have a screw adjustment for depth of cut. Check to see the reamer blade has a burr on it, it is actually a scraper and needs a burr to work optimally.
    Stick with it and I believe in the end you will find the Elia type reamer is more than satisfactory and reasonably fast. I think your idea of trying to go from a 7 degree to a 6 will be a big problem on your first seat, but you may find that an electric drill solves one problem. You run the risk of having too big a hole before you know it and will have to make a new seat out of softer wood.
    You don't say what wood you used for the seat, but if it is too hard to ream with a properly adjusted Elia reamer, you will really enjoy carving the seat!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burslem View Post
    I have made a half dozen or more Galbert perches, usually with tulip poplar seats, but also pine, butternut and cherry. I use an old Elia Bizzarri reamer that I have never sharpened, despite perches and a number of windsor chairs. You have the right tool for the job. Maybe your technique is the problem. Don't push down on the reamer too hard, take slow even rotations, and if it is chattering on the end grain ease up on the downward pressure. Clean out the scrapings regularly, and check the amount of cut. Maybe the blade needs to be advanced a little to take a deeper bite. Too deep a bit will cause chattering. I believe Elia's newer reamers have a screw adjustment for depth of cut. Check to see the reamer blade has a burr on it, it is actually a scraper and needs a burr to work optimally.
    Stick with it and I believe in the end you will find the Elia type reamer is more than satisfactory and reasonably fast. I think your idea of trying to go from a 7 degree to a 6 will be a big problem on your first seat, but you may find that an electric drill solves one problem. You run the risk of having too big a hole before you know it and will have to make a new seat out of softer wood.
    You don't say what wood you used for the seat, but if it is too hard to ream with a properly adjusted Elia reamer, you will really enjoy carving the seat!
    All good info, especially the last. BTDT and didn't like the t-shirt .

    ken

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Reamer, LARGE.JPG
    Hmmm, wondered what this was....a No.3....3/8" to 1-1/2" by L.L. Lord Co. Meadville, PA.
    pencil is for scale...

  5. #5
    Just curious, did you a drill a hole first? Ive used a home made reamer with a janky old blade made from an old, cheap saw, and haven't had any problems on chair seats made from canyon oak, a pretty darn hard and difficult to tool wood...definitely pull the reamer frequently to clear the crud.

  6. #6
    Wow, I never realized my Veritas tapered reamers were double the angle of other standard cutters. This makes me wonder if the Lee Valley Literature means the angle from face to face is 12.8deg - not off the vertical. You might check that.

    I have both their 'pro' bit-brace version and the electric drill version. I like the electric drill version. It works very well.

    Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure the Veritas reamers are close to 6-7 degrees. I've built 3 of the Galbert Perches. While I now use my the matching Veritas tenon cutter to make the tenons, on the first I did it using his method. My 6 degree tenons cut and measured at the lathe mated into the reamed holes from Veritas. Now, don't go by me, because while it seated and wedged and is holding just fine, I can't say for sure if the fit was absolutely perfect - nor that I'd be able to tell if there was a several degree difference.

    Long story short: shoot LV an email.
    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 08-12-2019 at 4:38 PM.

  7. #7
    I love Elia’s reamer! I used it today in 2” walnut with no issues. I’ve done a bench and two perches with Lee Valley’s tools and honestly I think Elia’s are smoother and easier. Maybe check with him for some sharpening tips? He has been very helpful with some questions I have asked by email.

  8. #8
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    I have to drill a 3/8" hole first...more to guide the reamer along....

    Might even have a couple #6 bits...
    Drill bit rehab, the after 2.JPG
    Maybe...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    20
    Thank you all for taking the time to respond with your comments and suggestions. Much appreciated. Yes, I'm sure that a good portion of my difficulties were due to poor technique. I was able to successfully complete the seat/leg holes with the Bizzarri hand-reamer. I re-honed the blade to produce a less aggressive burr. Concentrated on slow, steady, but firm rotations. Also, I kept the reamer body waxed until the last few rotations in each hole. Hopefully, I quit applying wax soon enough so not to affect the glue bond.

    I believe the Veritas kit (reamer and tenon cutter) is ~12+ degrees included angle (6 degrees + 6 degrees) and the Bizzarri kit is 6 degrees included angle. I'm sure there are merits to either angle-of-attack (pun intended). I'm a novice, so I won't go there. Still, I'd like to have a 6 degree reamer bit for if/when I need to'cheat' with a brace or electric drill. Please let me know if anyone has a source for a reasonably

    My novice-to-novice advice is to keep in mind that once you choose your preferred mortise/tenon angle and start buying hand tools, you're on the hook. You can't put a 6-degree tenon into a 12-degree mortise. You can spend a considerable sum on new kit if you decide to change your preferred mortise/tenon angle.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Galey View Post
    Thank you all for taking the time to respond with your comments and suggestions. Much appreciated. Yes, I'm sure that a good portion of my difficulties were due to poor technique. I was able to successfully complete the seat/leg holes with the Bizzarri hand-reamer. I re-honed the blade to produce a less aggressive burr. Concentrated on slow, steady, but firm rotations. Also, I kept the reamer body waxed until the last few rotations in each hole. Hopefully, I quit applying wax soon enough so not to affect the glue bond.

    I believe the Veritas kit (reamer and tenon cutter) is ~12+ degrees included angle (6 degrees + 6 degrees) and the Bizzarri kit is 6 degrees included angle. I'm sure there are merits to either angle-of-attack (pun intended). I'm a novice, so I won't go there. Still, I'd like to have a 6 degree reamer bit for if/when I need to'cheat' with a brace or electric drill. Please let me know if anyone has a source for a reasonably

    My novice-to-novice advice is to keep in mind that once you choose your preferred mortise/tenon angle and start buying hand tools, you're on the hook. You can't put a 6-degree tenon into a 12-degree mortise. You can spend a considerable sum on new kit if you decide to change your preferred mortise/tenon angle.
    Robert,

    I've found the 6 degree mortise and tenon is more forgiving, not as prone to splitting the seat if you give it one more whack pass the that sounds "right" one. That could also be an effect of having new hearing aids .

    ken

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    I have the 12 degree Veritas reamers, plus I made my own 6 degree reamer, tenoner, and a couple of travishers. The 6 degree grips more tightly, which is probably why Pete Galbert uses it. On the other hand, many (including Chris Schwarz, who does a fair wack of staked furniture) use the Veritas tools. They are certainly more robust and easier to use. I’m about to make a set of stools, and it is a toss up which I’ll use ...





    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    I have the 12 degree Veritas reamers, plus I made my own 6 degree reamer, tenoner, and a couple of travishers. The 6 degree grips more tightly, which is probably why Pete Galbert uses it. On the other hand, many (including Chris Schwarz, who does a fair wack of staked furniture) use the Veritas tools. They are certainly more robust and easier to use. I’m about to make a set of stools, and it is a toss up which I’ll use ...





    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Derek,

    As always your shop made tools are beautiful. I've used both 6 and 12 degree tools, the Veritas ones are easier to use (a corded 1/2" drill is a powerful machine ). Maybe because I'm deaf as a post, I've had fewer ruined seat blanks with the 6 degree M/T vs. the 12 degree. Then it could also be I've learned a few things in the process. I did have a 6 degree M/T split out when I drove a cross grain wedge after a perfect seating of the tenon, go figure. Whatever, some days the magic works, some it doesn't.

    ken

  13. #13
    Wow, I didn't realize seat blanks could be ruined by the 'drastic' taper. Does this manifest when the tenon is wedged? I've not had this appear to be a threat yet. Good to know.

    I prefer a cordless drill to drive these; Much better control and ability to alter the leg angle. I would also think a corded drill risks burning or dulling the blade sooner. No?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Ellsworth, Maine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Galey View Post
    Trying my hand at hand-tool chair making. First project is the Pete Galbert perch stool. I've bored my leg holes through the seat. Using a 6-degree reamer from Elia Bizzarri. I'm finding out that my seat wood is probably too hard. Should have used pine (or similar). VERY slow going with the hand reamer. Looking to speed things up using a brace or electric drill with reamer bit. Problem is that I can't find a 6-degree tapered reamer (bit). Lots of 7-degree reamers available. My idea is to use a 7-degree reamer to get close, then finish with the 6-degree reamer. The inexpensive hand-crank 7-degree reamers that I've found are too small (~7/16" x 1/2"). Holes are 7/8" in the bottom side of the seat. I think a 7-degree ball joint reamer would work, but the cheapest I can find is ~$90. The Veritas reamers are ~12-degree. I'd rather stay with 6-degree tapers, for now. Any suggestions?

    I also have the Bizzarri Reamer and I think this tool is more than adequate for hard woods. I've made two perch stools and am currently working on a Shaker/Thos Moser style stool that uses this tapered hole mortise and tenon technique. My first Perch stool was made in hard maple (stupid decision) and this reamer worked amazing in this very hard wood. As someone else mention the reaming is the easy part compared to the seat carving when using hard woods. I unfortunately didn't have the Claire Minihan Travisher yet when I carved that seat so it was extremely time consuming to get it right. But the tapered holes where very easy. My second perch was in Walnut which also reamed beautifully and now the Shaker style stool is in Cherry which also reamed beautifully. All this has been done without sharpening the blade and I still feel like this reamer is plenty sharp to do at least 2 more seats without touching up the blade.

    As others mentioned the technique is the key to success. Use very little downward pressure and clear the waste more often than you think you need to. As soon as these load up they stop cutting. I am in the camp of the 6 degree angle only because of the sticking power these angle gives you. On a well fit joint you can twist your legs in place without stretchers and turn the stool right side up without them falling out. I don't think this 6 degrees was used by accident. The guys before us I'm sure have messed around with every angle out there and I will trust that they came back to 6 degrees for a good reason.

    Best advise is just take it slow and try not be in a rush to get this hole reamed out. Accuracy is key here so take enough time that you are confident in your reaming angle and that will dictate the speed at which you need to ream. I love the Elia reamer and with time I'm sure you will too.

    I posted a pic of the first Perch I did, unfortunately I don't have a finished pic uploaded here yet. The legs are cigar shaped due to me not having a lathe and having to shape them all with drawknives and spokeshaves.

    Perch Stool Assembly.jpg

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