Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category

I like old tools.  My favorite old tools to collect and rehabilitate are probably hand planes.  With hand planes, having a Cap Screw Screwdriver comes in handy for a properly fitted driver to adjust the plane iron cap screw.

Online retailers sell their version of these little tools for upwards of $20.  I decided to make mine from some of the things I had laying around the shop.

Here are the two versions of the Cap Screw Screwdriver I made.  One is hooded; the ferrule extends the length of and surrounds the blade.  The other has an exposed blade.  Both have turned hard maple doorknob style handles that fit nicely in the palm of the hand.  {I apologize now that this blog post is picture heavy.}


In this blog, I will walk through the process of making the hooded version of the cap screw screwdriver.  The exposed blade version follows a similar process.  I will include notes with some of the differences when making the two versions.

I selected a 11/16” spade drill bit to make the blades for both drivers.  I marked a line across using a permanent ink marker to indicate where I will cut the bit to make the two blades.  The point section will be used to make the blade for the hooded version and the shaft section will be used for the exposed blade version.  Note: I also marked a line on the shaft where I will cut it for the exposed blade driver.


A Dremel tool with a diamond wheel makes nice work of cutting the spade bit.  After cutting, we have the blanks for both driver blades.


The spade bit is slightly thicker than the width of the cap screw slot.  A few seconds at the belt sander works nicely to thin the blade to the necessary thickness.  Be careful not to let the blade get too hot while sanding.  We do not want to lose the temper in the steel.


Check to confirm a nice snug, but not too tight fit.


Selected and trimmed hard maple blank for both drivers.  This blanks is just over 2” square and approximately 7 ½” long.  We will make both handles from this blank.


Check each blade with my drill index to find the appropriate sized hold for each.  The hooded driver (point blade) will need a ¼” hole.  The exposed blade (shaft end) will need a 9/32” hole.


Mark the center and drill ¼” hole, approximately 1” deep for the hooded blade.  We will use this center drilled hole to index out live center on the lathe.


Using a four jaw chuck to secure the blanks and a 60 degree live center, indexed in the hole we just drilled.  Rough turn the blank round.


Mark a pencil line approximately middle of the blank.  Use a thin parting tool, to mark the divide between the two handle blanks.  We will turn from the live center back to this dividing line for our first driver.


Mark the length for to turn our tenon.  We will turn the tenon to ¾” diameter to the length indicated.


Instead of a caliper, I used an open end ¾” to help size the tenon.


Next, we will remover the blank and clamp in the bench vice so we can cut a slot through center of the tenon for the blade to fit into.  I used one of the pencil marks from when we found the center of the blank as a guide for cutting the slot.

Before removing the blank from the chuck, I marked one side with the jaw number, so I can make sure to return it to the same orientation after cutting the slot.


Test fit the blade, using a soft mallet to seat it firmly in place.  Remove the blade and return the blank to the lathe.  I marked two lines to indicate the length to extend the tenon and turn a shoulder to transition to the handle.


We will be using a piece of ¾” copper pipe for our ferrule.  After turning the tennon to the desired length, mark the pipe for the desired ferrule length.  This ferrule will extend the full length of the blade.  For the exposed blade screwdriver, mark the ferrule the same length as the tenon.


Let’s go ahead and turn down the shoulder to remove some of the material out of our way so we can polish the copper ferrule, we just cut.


The ferrule should fit snug on the tenon.  Using 1500 grit sand paper, remove any scratches and markings from the copper pipe.  After sanding, I polished with jeweler’s rouge polish.  Then removed the ferrule and set aside to finish turning the handle.  (Be careful.  Ferrule may be hot after polishing.)


Now we will begin turning the handle to our desired shape.  We are only roughing in the design here.  We will part this handle before finish turning.


Found a hidden crack in the middle of our handle blank.  It should not interfere with the function of our driver, so I will fill it with a little thin CA glue and wood shavings, then finish turning.


Decided the original marked length was a little much for our handle.  Turn down the hand to its rough form, then part off the material for our first handle.


Looks like our little fissure runs through our blank.  This driver is not intended to endure much force, so this fissure should not present a problem with our finished driver.  We will fill it with some thin CA and turning dust, then return to the lathe.


Switched over to a collet chuck with a ¾” collet.  Our tenon fits nicely in the ¾” collet and is tightly secured in the chuck for final turning and sanding.  Sanded from 100 grit through 220 grit, then using a wire burned a line for added decoration.  After burning our line, I we return to sanding from 22 grit through 400 grit sand paper.


Finished by applying friction polish, using a soft cloth.  Use the lathe to turn our handle creating the speed needed to create friction and build the desired level of polish.


I like marking my shop built tools by inlaying a penny for the current year.  This gives me a historical reminder of the year the tool is made.  Rough up the underside of the penny with some 80 grit sand paper.  A drop of medium CA glue will secure the penny in our inlay.  By the way, a United States penny is ¾” in diameter, so a ¾” forstner bit is perfect for this inlay.


Now, it is back to the work bench to insert the blade in the handle.  A few drops of medium CA glue in the center hole will help secure the blade.  A soft mallet provides enough persuasion to seat the blade completely.


A little five minute epoxy on the tenon will secure the ferrule in place.  The epoxy gives us enough time to work the ferrule around and make sure we have complete coverage with the epoxy.  Clean off any excess epoxy then allow the epoxy to cure.  Be sure to clean any epoxy off the tip of the blade.


This beautiful tool is ready to go to work.


The process to make the exposed blade version of this tool is similar, so I won’t waste your time with the step-by-step.


I hope you find this blog useful.  Please feel free to add any comments or suggestions for improvement.


Created for a Purpose

Posted: September 17, 2014 in Christian, Woodworking
Tags: , , , ,

Four friends, each a craftsman, stand admiring a piece displayed in the gallery.

The first steps forward and says: “Gentlemen, this is a beautiful example of my craft of woodworking. Notice the choice of mahogany, maple and ebony expertly jointed and finished.  Look at the subtle curves and lustrous finish of this fine hollow form.  It is a talented woodworker that can make such an exquisite box.  This is truly a masterpiece.”

The second friend says: “I agree the woodwork is good, but what really makes this piece so grand is when the maker employed my craft of sculpting. Notice on this end the graceful scroll work and carving to form the handle.  The expert sculpting is what really makes this piece so special.  This is truly a masterpiece.”

The third speaks up: “Guys, the woodworking and sculpting are nice. But, the thing that really sets this piece apart from all the rest is the way the maker employed my craft of symmography.  Notice how the string work wraps around and beautifully completes the presentation by combining the woodworking and sculpting elements together to make a very beautiful display.  This is truly a masterpiece.”

The fourth man, a luthier by craft, says nothing. He steps forward, picks up the piece and admires it, as he caresses the beautiful finish with his hands.  Then, he nuzzles the beautifully exquisite sculpted stringed box to his cheek, takes another piece from the display and draws it across the strings producing a melodious sound.  After playing a beautiful concerto, the craftsman carefully places the creation back in its display.  He then turns to his companions: “Friends, I created this violin for the purpose of making beautiful music.  I placed that purpose within its design.  And, so it was waiting for my hands to fulfill.”

Three friends had looked on the same display, each through the bias of his experience. The creator knew the purpose and how to cause his creation to respond with that purpose.

A violin is basically a wood box with four strings. It requires the master’s touch to produce beautiful music.

My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.Psalm 139:15-16

God created each of us for a purpose. People may look at us through the bias of their own lives.  Yet, God knows the purpose for which He created us.  God placed our purpose within our design to be used by Him.  It is when we submit to the Master that we can truly become the masterpiece of His design.

I’m a tool junkie.  For me woodworking is a hobby.  It’s fun, but woodworking doesn’t pay the bills.  So, when it comes to tool collecting, I tend to be frugal.

Okay, okay, I’m CHEAP!!!

I search for nice quality used tools at yard sales, on Craigslist and eBay.  To me, the hunt is part of the fun of the hobby.  Over the years I’ve learned a few things about restoring tools to their prime working condition.

My goal is not restoring the tool to like new condition.  My goal is to optimize the functionality of the tool and its usefulness in my shop.  That includes making sure working surfaces are rust free.  When I find a tool I want, a little rust doesn’t scare me.

I have wanted a Skil HD-77 worm drive saw for some time.  I recently found one on eBay and was able to purchase it within my budget.

Here is a little story of how I restored it for my shop.

First a few pictures of the saw fresh out of the package. That rusted blade will be the first thing to go.


Fortunately for me, when I plugged in the saw a pulled the trigger, the motor ran smooth as silk.  The oil was clean and fresh.  The brushes on the electric motor are in excellent condition.  That is always one of the biggest risks, when buying a power tool without the ability to test it first.


Rust on surfaces that will be in contact with my project pieces is definitely a problem.  This plate will need to be rust free, before I use this saw on my next woodworking project.


Disassemble the problem pieces from the saw and group parts for rust removal.

These parts are headed for the electrolysis bath, for aggressive rust busting.


I will soak these parts in a little vinegar to soften the rust and restore the surface appearance.


I found plans online to build my homemade electrolysis chamber.  Google “rust removal with electrolysis” for more information on building your own electrolysis kit.

The battery charger was a nice find at an estate sale for $1, a few years ago.  Electrolysis uses a combination of chemical (soda ash in water) and electrical reactions to neutralize rust on steel parts.

The reaction causes a mild boiling action in the water.  Electrolysis is one of those processes you can start and go do other tasks.  You really cannot over “cook” the parts.  These parts were in the electrolysis bath for almost eleven hours, while I did other things like cleaning off the old saw dust and gunk from the saw body (plus, running errands with my wife and mowing the lawn).


When you first remove parts from the vinegar bath, the surface looks black.  The acidic vinegar attacks the rust, but leaves a black residue (iron oxide) on the surface.  A little rubbing with some 00 steel wool will return the normal color of the parts.


Fresh out of the electrolysis bath, the rust has been neutralized leaving a black iron oxide residue on the parts.  A little rubbing with some 00 steel wool will remove the residue and restore the steel’s normal color.  Hint: Keep the surface a little moist during the steel wool scrubbing.

The foot plate will remain unpainted, so after the steel wool I dry the part completely. Then, give the part a brisk brushing with a copper pot scrubber (a Scotchbrite pad works nice, too).

The small parts wear originally painted black, so just the steel wool to smooth the surfaces for new paint.


Here is the nice shining foot plate, after a few minutes of 00 steel wool and a brisk brushing with the pot scrubber.  I’ll put a coat of paste wax on this plate, to help protect the surface and make it glide nicely when its back in use.  It is much easier to apply paste wax to the plate, before reassembly.


Here is a better comparison.

Electrolysis Process

These small parts were originally flat black.  All I had was gloss black in my paint supply.  Apply a quick coat of paint and these parts will be ready.  After the paint dried to the touch, I dulled the gloss by rubbing the parts with a terry cloth towel.

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I used a nylon brush, a brass wire brush and an air hose to loosen and remove the old saw dust from the saw body.

Rust is gone. Paint is dry. Saw body is free of old saw dust and debris.  Parts are on the bench and ready for assembly.


Here are a couple pictures of the reassembled saw, with a new blade.  It’s bright, shiny and ready to be put to work.

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All in all, I am really pleased with this little project.  I now have a nice new tool in my woodworking arsenal.

One last Before & After comparison:

Saw - Before & After

These saws retail for around $160 new.  A timely eBay find, a little know how and couple hours of hands-on labor I have this nice saw for less than a third the investment of retail.

Now, I’m ready to go make some sawdust.  Thanks for letting me share.

One of the benefits I enjoy from my woodworking hobby is the number of objects lessons it provides toward understanding Biblical truths.  Jesus was a woodworker, so the lessons should not surprise me.  But, the truths learned are often amazing.

Some time back, I asked a question in my Facebook status:  “What can a BOARD, a BOWL and a BOX show us about sacrifice?”  I included with it an invitation to join me in Sunday School for the rest of the story.

That Sunday morning I walked into class with three items; a board, a plate (shallow bowl) and a box to use as object lessons.

Board Bowl Box

How, on Earth, do these items help illustrate sacrifice?

Sacrifice can be defined as:  Giving something of value for the benefit of, or the attainment of something of greater worth.

This board was nearly ten feet long, when I purchased it.  At $9 a board foot, the board itself is certainly something of value.  So far this board has yielded the plate and the box shown in the picture, as well as pens and a few smaller items back home.

The beginning of the lesson discussed defining and demonstrating sacrifice.  Transforming sections of the board into other useful items requires some measure of sacrifice.  Sacrifices like taking time to measure and cut carefully; waiting for glue to dry; sanding over and over until completely smooth; and waiting for each coat of finish to dry before adding another.  Each step in the process required sacrificing something of value (sawdust, glue, time) to obtain a finished product of greater value.

The final passage in the lesson provided the best illustration.

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV):  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Paul makes a strong appeal to believers to live a lifestyle that honors Christ.  The phrase “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” in Greek is a specific phrasing meaning dedicate, consecrate and devote.  Paul appears to be using the word bodies to include their entire selves, not just their physical bodies.

Their entire selves, including thoughts, attitudes, motives, words and deeds.  Put another way, everything that identifies them as themselves.  Everything that identifies you as yourself.  Everything that identifies me as myself.

Living sacrifices, honoring God in our daily behavior.  We are called to be holy, set apart for His service and demonstrating moral purity.  Our lifestyles pleasing to God.

In other words, we are called to sacrifice the IDENTITY OF SELF to attain on the IDENTITY OF CHRIST.

Back to the board, the bowl and the box.  Eventually the remainder of this board will cease to be identified as a board.  Its identity as a board sacrificed.  Transformed into something of greater value, designed to fulfill a greater purpose.

Our calling is an identity, designed to fulfill a purpose greater than ourselves.