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Thread: Lathe chisel need to be re-handled...

  1. #1
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    Lathe chisel need to be re-handled...

    I have a set of Freud chisels I bought back in the 80s and the handles are the original Euro mystery wood with a bronze foil ferrule. I just made some Iwasaki file handles with copper pipe ferrule out of Chetchen and Purple Heart. Came out nice and now I want to re-handled my lathe chisels. Its a classic set of HSS spindle turning chisels. Skews, spindle gouges, parting tool and the diamond scraper everyone hates.

    I really like how the Chetchen handles came out with copper ferrules. Will Chetchen be a good handle material for lathe chisels? I have plenty on hand and not spending money whilst I get my meger skillset dusted off is important.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Danstrom View Post
    I have a set of Freud chisels I bought back in the 80s and the handles are the original Euro mystery wood with a bronze foil ferrule. I just made some Iwasaki file handles with copper pipe ferrule out of Chetchen and Purple Heart. Came out nice and now I want to re-handled my lathe chisels. Its a classic set of HSS spindle turning chisels. Skews, spindle gouges, parting tool and the diamond scraper everyone hates.

    I really like how the Chetchen handles came out with copper ferrules. Will Chetchen be a good handle material for lathe chisels? I have plenty on hand and not spending money whilst I get my meger skillset dusted off is important.
    Almost any wood makes good handles. Well, I might not use basswood. I've made them from maple to ebony. I especially like local woods like dogwood, cherry, and persimmon. For ferrules I've used everything from copper or brass tubing to brass fittings to wrapped with strong wire.

    These days I almost always make aluminum or steel inserts with setscrews so one handle can be used with various tools.

    handle_inserts.jpg

    I always put some type of texture on the hand for a better grip and because I like how it looks and feels. This one is bubinga.

    Handle_adpater_alum_IMG_6001.jpg

    JKJ

  3. #3
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    Hi John, thanks for your thoughtful response! Glad to here Chetchen will work. I pondered getting fancy on the ferrules but in the end I decided to KISS in order to keep the expenses down. Copper pipe from my local Ace will run under $5. I've spent a fair amount $$ getting my shop up and running after a decade of not being able to woodwork. It's time to stop buying stuff and start making stuff!

    How did you do the texture on the bulinga handle? It looks great and I'd like to add it to my new handles.

  4. #4
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    Texturing

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Danstrom View Post
    How did you do the texture on the bulinga handle? It looks great and I'd like to add it to my new handles.
    Thanks for the complement!

    I shape and sand the handle, mark out the area for the texture with pencil lines, then use a small egg-shaped carbide bit on a dremel and touch the tip repeatedly to the wood, trying to make it look as random as I can. I bring the "dimples" as close to the marked line as I can without going over. After completing the texture, I mark the actual extents of the textured area and use the skew to make a v-groove to clean up the edge and hide the unevenness.

    I came up with this texture some years ago and use it quite a bit since I like the look and the feel. Some other examples. The first one is a friend texturing a horse rider's crop for a present. The crop handles and the purpleheart wand are textured on raised bands.

    crop_handle_detail.jpg crops_comp_texturing_.jpg StL_wand.jpg

    carved_bowl_IMG_4211.jpg

    stoppers_ stippled_IMG_7385.jpg

    I do a number of other texture styles, shallow coves or beads, a series of v-grooves (sometimes burned at the bottom with a wire), texturing tool, knurling tool, distressing, hand carving, anything to enhance the grip and the feel. I practice on tool handles where if it's not pretty it doesn't matter much!

    Handle_adpater_brass_01.jpg handle_adapters.jpg crops.jpg

    Good fun.

    JKJ

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    Wow, very nice, you have considerable skills! I'm going to concentrate on making something similar to your simpler lathe tool handles My goal will be to replace all 8 Freud chisel handles with a dedicated Chetchen handle.

    If I may, another question;
    How should I bore the actual hole for the tang and assure the chisel/handle are straight?

    On my chisel handles I didn't concentrate on proper alignment and I see a slight bit of off-angle. I have a drill chuck for my tailstock but I'm not sure how I'd use it on a long handle so far from the drive chuck.

  6. #6
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    Drilling holes in the end of a long spindle

    Thanks!

    Please ask as many questions you can think of! There may be another reader or two interested.

    I almost never turn spindles between centers unless just turning a tenon on the end to grab with a chuck. I always use a scroll chuck (or some other methods that grip the left end securely)

    I hold the blank tightly in a chuck and let it extend towards the tailstock. I always drill the hole before I turn the handle. This insures the blank is as stiff and strong as it is going to be so the alignment is good.

    Before drilling, I start the hole in the end with a large center drill in the Jacob's chuck (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004MOJVKU). Starting with a center drill will help keep the drill bit centered and minimize drift. Since I drill a lot of holes at times I keep a center drill ready in separate Jacob's chuck.

    Substitute the drill bit needed for the tool and drill slowly, backing out frequently to clear the chips. Might have to hold onto the chuck with something to keep it from spinning. (If it spins it can mar the Morse taper in the tailstock quill to ill effect) This should drill straight. I've drilled deep holes this way. When I make the aluminum inserts I drill a very deep hole that will let me sink the back of the tool far into the handle to control the stick out. If drilling a deep hole I after the center bit I often start with a short bit the same diameter to minimize flexing (i.e., a screw machine drill bit) then switch to a long bit.

    After the hole is drilled in the blank and before turning the handle I devise a means to hold the end of the blank with a tailstock. Since there is now a hole, it's difficult to use a live center directly. Some people use a cone on the live center but that can cause splitting. I prefer to use a short wood tenon that fits that hole. Some ways: (1) From a short block of wood turn a small tenon that will loosely fit the hole and either press it into the hole and hold it tightly with the live center. (2) Drill a 3/4" hole on the back side of the block to fit over the threads of a Oneway type live center (or drill an appropriate hole and tap to fit the live center). (3) My favorite way, turn a short #2MT taper on the back of the block and hold that in a Nova live center which has a #2MT socket. The Nova is my favorite live center because it is so versatile! (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0064JIZGC Occasionally it can be found for about $50. Don't tell anyone but I bought a spare since I'd really hate to be without it if I left it in the lathe at a demo or something! BTW, to turn the tenon to fit the hole I first turn the #2MT on a short piece of wood held in a chuck then part it off, turn it around and hold it in the #2MT socket of the headstock, then turn the tenon to fit. How to turn a short #2MT in wood is another valuable thing to know!

    Holders to fit Oneway and clones (Jet, PM, etc) and the Nova live centers:
    live_center_threaded_IMG_7917.jpg live_center_MT2_IMG_7914.jpg

    BTW, I've done handles like this but in the last few years I've switched to a different type of drill bit that eliminates the Jacob's chuck. Taper shank drill bits fit directly into the tailstock quill. They are shorter overall and there is less chance of play or flexing and off-center holes.

    Some taper shank bits (the small ones are #1MT and need a Morse taper adapter):
    taper_1_IMG_20160919_094408.jpg

    Comparison of a small drill bit in a Jacob's chuck and the same diameter taper shank bit (in a #2MT adapter):
    taper_2_IMG_20160919_094945.jpg

    These are the methods I use. I do this for all spindles with holes, including the horse riders crop handle I showed. Some people will create some fixture to hold the blank vertical and use a drill press. Some will use a hand drill with a drill guide. Some will be satisfied with tools that are not centered or aligned straight with the handle.

    For square shank tools one way is to drill a round hole a little smaller than the diagonal cross section then heat the tang with a torch and force it into the hole, burning corners as you go. Or drill a larger hole and fill it with epoxy. There are other ways to do this.

    BTW, I recommend making all eight of the tool handles obviously different so it is easier to pickup the right tool. Perhaps stain or dye to add color, maybe just to coves and such. One reason I like to use a variety of woods and textures is to make them easy to distinguish.

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Danstrom View Post
    Wow, very nice, you have considerable skills! I'm going to concentrate on making something similar to your simpler lathe tool handles My goal will be to replace all 8 Freud chisel handles with a dedicated Chetchen handle.

    If I may, another question;
    How should I bore the actual hole for the tang and assure the chisel/handle are straight?

    On my chisel handles I didn't concentrate on proper alignment and I see a slight bit of off-angle. I have a drill chuck for my tailstock but I'm not sure how I'd use it on a long handle so far from the drive chuck.

  7. #7
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    John, thanks for sharing your work and knowledge. It has given me some ideas for my next turning adventure.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  8. #8
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    Hi John,
    Thanks for all the great info! I was hoping there was some clever trick to get both holes aligned but it looks as if a little more is required. Right now my chuck is a 30 year old Sorby Precision. I'm not buying a new chuck until I make a few items and show myself I'm justified to spend some more $$. Having said that I did pick up a Dremel tool over the weekend and a Nova live center set is in the mail (the PSI drive center set arrived last Friday...). So much for not buying more stuff, lol.

    My plan is to make accurate 90* angles on my blanks (table saw and jointer) then use the horizontal boring mode on my Shopsmith to get the holes aligned. It's a technique I've done many times. That will get things much closer and done right may be as accurate as using the chuck as you demonstrate. Thanks again for all your help. I'll be back if/when I need more help and of course I'll post my work when it's done. (Even if they'll be quite short of your spectacular results!) (Due to all your years of hard work!).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Danstrom View Post
    .... horizontal boring mode on my Shopsmith to get the holes aligned. It's a technique I've done many times. That will get things much closer and done right may be as accurate as using the chuck as you demonstrate. .
    Another way to get a hole perfectly aligned with the turning is to make the hole first then use a mandrel of some sort to drive the work. Pens, bottle stoppers, and zillions of other mostly small things are made this way but it works with larger turnings as well.

    If you drill a deep hole off the lathe, even if it's not perfect using a mandrel will insure it's perfectly aligned in the end. If the hole is a fairly big diameter (3/8 or larger), using the drill bit itself as a mandrel works well even for a fairly large blank if you take light cuts. In one of the pictures I posted earlier of the girl texturing a horse riders crop handle you can see the drill bit "mandrel" in action in the bottom photo.

    crop_handle_detail.jpg

    In this case the handle is already turned and the drill bit mandrel was only used to finish the end and to hold for the carving but it can be used for the whole turning.

    I mount the blank in on the drill bit then bring up the point in the live center in the tailstock and turn the piece. If the drilled hole is not perfect the point won't contact in the exact center of the end of the blank but that usually won't matter. As long as the bit is straight the handle has to be concentric with the hole. The flutes on the drill bit provide enough friction to hold the work as long as cuts are light. I use a very high speed. (I wouldn't do this with a small drill bit.)

    This "mandrel", BTW, is kind of a variation of the venerable pin chuck, a simple and extremely cheap home-made way to hold anything accurately with a hole. It consists of a steel rod with a short flat machined or filed on it. A small loose pin lays in the flat and gets jammed between the flat and the inside of the hole to hold the work very securely. These have been in use on lathes since the beginning of time. Well, almost!

    About pin chucks: http://www.penmakersguild.com/articles/pinchuck.pdf

    JKJ

  10. #10
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    Quick update:
    I've been making handles for other tools to rebuild my meager turning chops (it's been more than a decade). Combine that with the need to continue organizing my newly converted shop-space and rebuilding tools with dried out bearings (bandsaws, jointer, beltsander, jigsaw power heads etc) projects take a little longer than expected.

    I wanted to make handles with ferrules and I needed file handles for the Iwasaki files I bought. Perfect learning opportunity using scraps! I made several file handle versions to choose the shape I wanted and to get the knack of ferruling. I made a traditional pear shaped version but I prefer the shape in the first picture. Two are purple heart, two are chechen. I also made handles for Pfeil blades with some chechen scraps.

    Now it's on the the lathe handles. I chose the two chisels I never use to rehandle first (standard skews, ugggg, I suck at using these!). The last four pictures are of my first attempt using purple heart.

    My question is will the ferrule area survive without breaking or should I go to a larger diameter ferrule? These are 3/4" OD. I have 1 1/4" OD Cu pipe in my shop if that wood be better.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Eric Danstrom; 10-20-2019 at 11:48 AM.

  11. #11
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    Doug Thompson has an article on his webpage about making gouge handles.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Danstrom View Post
    Now it's on the the lathe handles. I chose the two chisels I never use to rehandle first (standard skews, ugggg, I suck at using these!). The last four pictures are of my first attempt using purple heart.

    My question is will the ferrule area survive without breaking or should I go to a larger diameter ferrule? These are 3/4" OD. I have 1 1/4" OD Cu pipe in my shop if that wood be better.
    How strong your connection needs to be depends on the tool, how strong the wood is, and how rough you are! (i.e., are you prone to big catches?) A big spindle gouge used on big stock or heavy bowl gouge on big blanks can take a beating. In general, if you have good tool control you should now get big catches and a relatively small amount of wood inside the ferrule should be fine. On the metal inserts I make for tools there is not much metal in the wood - someone thought they were not strong enough for lathe tools but I disagree - I've used them for years and they have all worked fine. (Perhaps he was kind of rough on his tools!) I could check some tools I've bought with wooden handles attached and measure, perhaps tomorrow. I've also made useful ferrules with wraps of copper wire, nylon string coated with glue, thin brass and copper plumbing fittings, etc.

    As for the skew, take a road trip to TN and I'll do my best to change your thinking on the skew! I always put a skew as the first tool in the hands of new turners, even those who have never seen a lathe before. Not one has ever had a catch in the lessons and several have said later the skew was their favorite tool!

    JKJ

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