DIY Pallet Wood Stool

It has been a year since my last pallet project.  For the past 3 years Sterling Davis hosts an event titled the “Pallet Upcycle Challenge” and this is my second time being involved.  For more info on Sterling’s event click here.

Plans are available in the sidebar in exchange for a donation amount of your choice.

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Since that first project, here, I had acquired several pallets and I needed to thin the herd.  I found a few different quick projects that I thought would be a good way to part with some of them.  One of which was this stool.  I liked the simplicity of it and seeing that I needed a better stool for my shop it would make a great temporary addition until I can make my Rush Seat Stool.

To get started with this project I had to break down a pallet.  Because this stool only used smaller parts I was able to cut the thin slats from the pallet supports with a jig saw.  These pieces were just over 19″ long.  The nails were pulled from the three thicker supports to ensure no damage to my power tool blades.

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Each slat then had an edge cleaned up at the table saw with a taper sled.  This allowed me to get a decent cut at the miter saw to cut the pieces to final length.  Then I ripped a taper on each let part.  4 pieces had a 1/2″ foot and a 2-1/2″ top and the other 4 pieces had a 1″ foot and a 3″ top.  This is because the pieces are 1/2″ thick and when they are butt jointed to form a leg they will look symmetric.

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The seat pieces were cleaned in the same fashion and edge glued to make a panel.  The legs were glued at the same time to cut down on the time wasted waiting for glue to dry as these 5 pieces were the only parts that were glued.

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To keep everything as square as possible during assembly (which is nearly impossible to do with non milled pallet wood) I made 2 sub assemblies with the top stretchers, or aprons, and 2 legs.  The aprons were positioned with the legs, pre-drilled, and nailed together with the pallet nails that I sharpened points on to help with the driving in.

When the legs were complete it was time to get a measurement for the other 2 aprons.  I did this by setting the 2 leg assemblies upside down on the seat and positioning them so there was a slight overhang on the seat.  Then I took the measurement and cut the pieces at the miter saw.  There were attached in the same fashion as the other stretchers this time using shorter nails as I was driving them into the sides of the aprons instead of the ends as done prior.

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With the 2 legs now connected I could now cut the lower stretchers.  This is just as simple as the aprons.  Take the measurement, cut to length, pre-drill, nail into place.  The only trick is to place them high enough on the legs so the but joints are hidden behind the legs.  This position is entirely dependent on the severity of the leg taper.  Mine had to be about 6-1/4″ from the bottom.

Not attach the seat.  It is as simple as placing it into position so the overhang is equal around the base, pre-drilling, and driving the nails in 4 corners.  Now you have a functional stool though it is going to be really rough as nothing has been sanded yet.  Do that now using 80-100 paper on a sander of your choice.  I used 100 grit on a random orbit sander and sanded for about 25 minutes.

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The surface could be sanded further if you like the plain wood look, which would have been nice as I had a good looking quarter saw piece of oak on the seat, or do as I did and whitewash, paint, or stain the stool for a different look altogether.  I used General Finishes Whitewash mixed with Vintage Cherry, Orange, and Medium Brown dye stains for added subtle color.  Once the wash was mixed I daubed and brushed it on with a sponge brush.  When mixing these colors on a surface it is best to use long strokes of each color overlapping the next then allowing it to dry.  This makes the colors blend and look like the piece had been painted several times over the years.

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With a 150 sanding disc on the random orbit sander I sanded through the wash to reveal wood beneath and broke the edges of the seat, legs, and stretchers even more.  This gives the stool an old worn appearance.

Finally the stool was given a good coat of Minwax Polycrylic water borne finish.  I like this finish the best for reclaimed wood indoor projects as it retains the natural wood look without darkening over time.  Also, the whitewash is water based and I didn’t want to use a topcoat of an oil based finish.  Just my preference really.

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After it has good time to cure I then lightly wipe the surface with 400 paper to smooth it out and it is ready for it’s photo finish.

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Shop AC Installation, Part 3: The Mini Split

With the garage door insulated I noticed a decent temperature reduction and stabilization throughout the day.  Typically, the shop would reach 101-103 degrees at 4pm when the sun was in full force.  With the door insulated the shop was now about 10-12 degrees cooler at that same time of day.  Still hot inside but 92 degrees is better than 103 degrees.

Here is a chart of indoor and outdoor temps I tracked for a couple of weeks after sealing and insulating the garage door and then installing the AC.  Aside from looking like a penguin lying on it’s back, it helps to show what steps can be taken to most economically reduce the temperature inside your shop.  Not everyone has the luxury of shop AC but weather stripping, insulating the bay door(s), and attic space insulation and an attic fan can significantly help balance the indoor temperature.

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Now lets install the AC.  I installed an 18,000 BTU 17.7 SEER 240V Pioneer Mini Split.  It starts by clearing a space to work locating studs and hanging the indoor unit’s bracket.  The screws provided were so wimpy that I replaced them with longer, 2″, self-tapping screws for added security.  The indoor unit isn’t that heavy to begin with but I would prefer 1.5″ of holding power in a stud vs 5/8″.

With the mounting bracket installed I then chose the location for the outdoor condenser.  It am placing it directly on the opposite side of the wall so there is no need to run long lines.  I made the form, placed some rebar in the middle of the form, then mixed and poured the concrete.  Once the form was filled, I used a 2×4 on edge to screed it and then troweled it smooth.  The concrete was left to cure for a few days according to the manufacturer’s suggestions.

Wiring the indoor fan for power was an interesting process, which I’ll address in a moment.  First you have to flip the unit over and remove the back corner panel for access to run the wire.  Then flip it back over and open the front cover to access the electrical connections.

Run the wire through the opening to bring the wire to the connection bar.  This particular unit was different than others I had seen as they labeled the wires 1, 2, 3 and the instructions made no mention of which was which.  I just looked at the corresponding wires on the other end and attached them accordingly.  Now wiring the unit was interesting because the U-lugs didn’t fit into the connections.  I ended up cutting the connectors off, twisted the wires, inserted them, and clamped them in place.  Now we are ready to proceed.

The hole was drilled in the wall, the lines were connected to the indoor unit, and they were run through the wall.  The hole to be drilled for this unit is 2.5″ in diameter and should be drilled at a slight downward angle.  It is best practice to drill through the wall and when the pilot bit passes through the siding on the outside then you drill from the outside to have a clean hole.  Once the hole was drilled the hole in the attic eave is located for the power line.  When that was being drilled I went into the attic and fished the line through the hole for the installer to save time.  Now here is the difference between doing something yourself and hiring someone to do it for you: Quality of work.  In an effort to not micromanage an AC installer I left him to do the work as he normally would.  Big mistake.  After he drilled the hole (no problem), connected the lines to the indoor unit (no problem), he then pushed all the lines through the wall and hung the unit.  He didn’t bother using the plastic sleeve and bushing to line the hole and seal the insulation from the lines.  It was partially my mistake not to notice this until the installer had hooked everything up and was about to cover the lines with a sheet metal cover.  When I mentioned it he said “well, it’s too late now.  I would have to unhook everything to fix that.”  What an idiot.  Both him (because he was) and me (for not noticing earlier).  So I just filled the hole with spray foam insulation and hoped that would be ok.

The final step was to connect the copper lines and wire the outdoor unit for power.  The copper lines need to be connected with a flaring tool.  This is the main reason I had an AC installer come out to do the hook up for me.  Once the lines were connected the installer then used a vacuum pump and nitrogen to pressurize and test for leaks (the second reason for an installer).

With everything working it was time to turn the power on and start up the unit.  From the chart at the beginning of this entry you can see the temperature difference in the shop to the outside.  It has been a pleasure to be in the shop on the hot days not only to work but to get out of the heat and cool down in my castle.

A Gift For My Daughter

Upon returning from China after the completion of my daughter’s adoption, I decided to set out to make her a bedroom set.  I was ambitions with my design and chose to integrate cherry blossoms into her furniture pieces.  I started with her bed.  I took inspiration from other furniture we saw on the trip and continued designing until I found a style my wife and I liked.

This video below is a brief over view of the process.

This video is a little longer and shows more of the build in greater detail.  I chose not to narrate my work in this video as, chances are, very few if any people are going to want to make this same bed.

Due to popular demand I will quickly talk about the main construction of the bed starting with the foot board (head board is the same) and then the rails.

In the longer version of the bed build you will see that it starts with the lamination of the feet.  I started with an oversized laminated blank for each foot.  When the glue had cured I then milled the feet to the final thickness, width, and length then set them aside.

The next step was to create the cross pieces that would connect the feet for the foot and head boards.  These could be done in two different ways: 1) you could edge glue the top and bottom pieces from the three different thicknesses of strips to form the stepped profile or 2) mill the bottom piece to max thickness (about 5/8″) and cut a rabbet on each side about half way up to make a 3/8″ stepped double sided moulding (for lack of a better term).  I liked option 2 best as it would allow for grain continuity and the thinner piece would be centered easily.

With the lower rail shaped it was time to use the 5/8″ thickness to dictate the top rail.  I then milled a piece of material to 7/8″ thickness and repeated the double sided rabbet to form a lower step of 5/8″ to match the lower rail.  This is imperative that the thickness match as there is a middle stile that connects the upper and lower rail.  Which I will address in a moment.

Be sure to sand now because if you sand after you cut the mortises the rails will be loose.  Now that both the upper and lower rails are profiled it is time to cut them to length.  This is entirely dependent on the size of your mattress and the thickness of the feet (to account for the protrusion of the rail on the outer side of each foot).  All you need to know know though is that you need to keep an off cut from each rail to trace the shape onto the sides of each corresponding foot.  I started with the lower rail, tracing the outline of the rail with a marking knife, then drilling halfway through on opposite sides at the drill press to remove the bulk.  If you were to make these in a production shop I would make a template that could be clamped to the foot and then rout the material followed by some chiseling.  Or just use a hollow chisel mortiser.  If you go the drill press rout as I did, then you will have a fair amount of chiseling to do.  Just be careful to keep your chisels perpendicular to the faces of the feet.  When the lower through mortises are finished repeat the process for the top rails only this material can be removed at the band saw as seen in the video.

Now it is time to mill the middle stile to 5/8″ thick and how ever wide and long you want it to be.  I chose to use a version of a birdsmouth joint as seen in a lot of chinese furniture but a simple butt joint with a biscuit, dowel, or domino to reinforce it would be perfectly fine as well.  Mark the center of each rail and the stile make your joinery but don’t attach yet.

Now do a test fit of all the pieces, the feet, rails, and stile to see if everything comes together as desired.  The width needed to accommodate your bed should be addressed now.  Keep in mind the hardware placement in the feet and how far that is from the inside corners of the feet and the length of the rails between the feet.  A standard twin size mattress is around 35-1/2″ inches wide and the feet I made were 3″ square with 5/8″ wide hardware on center.  So 35.5 (overall inner width) – (2)1.1875 (the distance from the inner edge of the foot to the edge of the hardware*) = 33.125 or 33-1/8″  that was the distance between the two feet for a twin size mattress (don’t hold me to that, measure for your own application).

If everything fits well, glue it up.  Start by gluing the bottom rail through the feet checking for the proper width between the feet as you progress.  Now the middle stile needs to be glued in place if you are using dowels, biscuits, mortise and tenons, or domino joinery.  Just glue the bottom of the stile into place though.  Now place the top rail between the feet and glue the middle stile at the same time.  Clamp the middle stile and wait for the whole thing to dry.

Once dry, clean the tops of the feet and rail up with a block plane and prepare that surface for the cap rail.  I milled that piece to about 3-1/4″ wide but in hind sight I should have made it 3-1/8″ with the 1/8″ overhang on the outside of the foot board and not equally on the outside and inside.  That overhang made the rail assembly difficult without shaping the top corners of the rails which allowed them to drop into place, which I though of at the time but wanted it to work.  Goes to show you can’t beat physics.  The length of the cap rail is also dependent on the length of the foot board and the protrusion of the rails BUT I would suggest to keep the extension past the feet minimal.  Otherwise you will have sore shins, don’t ask me how I know this.

Glue that cap rail in place after some shaping and sanding and you are set to move onto the rails.  Again, a process that is entirely dependent on your design.  So here is a video on how to install that hardware.

Now you are armed with enough information on how I made the foot and head boards.  Watch the video (Ep. 52) to see how I assembled everything and feel free to ask questions either in the comments of this article, the video, or email me at sean@seanrubino.com.

*Note:  There has to be some material on the sides of the hardware at the ends of the rails.  This material allows for a space between the mattress and the rail so that making the bed is a little easier.  Though it is entirely dependent on the thickness of your rails.  See, lots of variables, plan accordingly.

Turning a Hollow Form and Vase

My father bought a few burls while on a trip to Oregon and brought them to my shop about 2 months ago.  One of the burls was an odd “L” shaped piece of madrone.  I cut the ends off to get a rectangular block leaving 2 burl caps to play with.  Once I made the first slice at the bandsaw I noticed there were worm tracks throughout the block.  Initially I was disappointed and apprehensive as I didn’t want a potential outbreak of bugs eating my lumber stash so moved the burls outside to monitor the worm activity.

A c0uple weeks later, I took the small burl caps and decided to turn one into a small 5″ vase and the other into a small spherical hollow form.  I mounted a blank to a waste block in the chuck with hot melt glue and pressed it into place with the tail stock.  Once the glue was cool and set I began the initial shaping of the outside form.  The video shows my process for shaping the outside.

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When I reached the desired shape of the form, I sanded through the grits starting with 150 grit and finishing with 600.  Then I drilled a hole in the center to establish the depth of the form.  I drew an image, seen below, though not the actual shape of the form I made, that shows the series of cuts to hollow the small vessel.

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I start the cuts at the center of the edge of the drilled hole and pull the scraper/gouge toward the outside making single smooth cuts.  As the form is hollowed further I switch to the bent hollowing tool and make push cuts in and toward the center.  Hollowing is much different than bowl turning as you can’t typically see what you are doing and all the cuts are done by feel.  Surprisingly, you can tell if there are ridges and bumps as the scraper will have some resistance as you level them out.  The final cut should be made with a scraper from the opening to the bottom of the form.

The vase was similar only more simply made.

To finish the pieces I used a wipe on Danish Oil.  The first coat was allowed to dry then sanded off completely and reapplied.  This helps to fill the grain for a very smooth surface.  Each subsequent coat was sanded with 600 grit and reapplied for a total of 5 coats.  After the final coat had cured, I buffed the surface with a 5,000 grit automotive sanding pad to achieve a satin shine.

 

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Though I am not finished working on these pieces one could call them done.  I am going to further this project by preparing the insides for metal leaf, either copper or dutch metal (imitation gold).  But that is a topic for another day.

My Polyurethane Varnish Technique

The video below is a guide to follow for any satin oil polyurethane varnish application so I will simply list the items you will need to do what you will see in the video tutorial.  All items are affiliate links.

Oil Finish:

Danish Oil, Tung Oil, Boiled Linseed Oil, or Teak Oil (for outdoor applications)

Gloss Oil Polyurethane (Minwax)

Satin Oil Polyurethane (General Finishes Arm-R-Seal)

Supplies:

Paint Filters

Containers

Cotton Applicators

Gloves

Mineral Oil

Mineral Spirits

Sand Paper/Pads: 320, 400, 600, 1200, 3000, 5000

DIY Hollowing Tool

A few years ago, I bought a router from Harbor Freight (HF) to use in my horizontal mortiser, which I still need to make.  The router came with a fence and the rails were removable.  Ultimately, I discarded the router base and all the accessories except for the two rails for the fence.  I felt there was some sort of purpose for them but didn’t know what at that time.

Smash cut 2 years later, I just finished gluing up my daughter’s headboard panel and had time to kill in the shop as it was still early (10 pm).  I saw one of the bars from the HF router sitting on my counter (yes, 2 years later it was still sitting on my counter) so I picked it up and decided it would make a good hollowing tool.  Yes, I have ADD but have not been clinically tested.

With my metal vice and a MAP/Pro torch I began heating and bending the shape of the hollowing tool.  There are two types to make.  One with a slight bend for initial hollowing and one with a more aggressive bend for final hollowing.  I chose the latter for this one.

After bending the shape I then ground the cutting end and heat treated the steel to harden and temper it.  While the steel was in the oven tempering I made the handle from a scrap piece of maple and a 3/4″ copper cap.  Didn’t want to waste time.

When the steel cooled I inserted it into the handle, spray painted it black, and touched up the top and the bevel at the grinder (15-20 degrees) and with fine sandpaper.  It was then time to see how the tool worked.  Surprisingly it worked well and I was happy with the result.  I will be using this tool to make more small hollow forms in the future.

DIY Kid’s Workbench

My son, Vinny, has been asking me to help him make his own workbench for a while now.  Since Father’s Day was approaching we made an agreement that he could come out in the shop and build his bench with my help on that day.  As an aside, I milled and cut all the parts to final dimension before we began the build.

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There is a plan you can purchase (see sidebar) and a video (below) that you can use as an overview on how the bench goes together.  It will take about a day to complete while you wait for glue to dry and if you decide to mill all the material the same day.

As a side note, I made Vinny’s bench with a split in the top for a planing stop and tool rack.  If you want a solid top be sure to measure the width of the legs and make the top pieces wide enough to span that distance.

The result is a nice bench for your apprentice to use for a few years and when he outgrows it you can use it as either a saw bench or a place to sit on your patio.

Enjoy!

Shop AC Installation, Part 2: The Insulation Installation

In part 1 of this series, I outlined what weather stripping product I used to seal my garage door.  Now it is time to insulate the oven, I mean, garage door for less than $150.  The afternoon sun beats down on the door as it faces west.  The heat that radiates from the inside of the door is a constant reminder, or question, about my reasoning for living in a desert.

Let me get to the work.  First, I needed to choose a type of insulation for the garage door.  There are kits available for garage doors but they are expensive, coming in at about $75 per box, which contains enough insulation for a single bay door.  That would cost over $150 for my double bay door.  Then there is the fiberglass insulation that is wrapped in paper, or a paper-like material.  These are usually pre-fit to the door panels or are cut to size and fixed to the door with “pins.”  Not wanting my garage door to look like a fluffy 1970’s headboard with buttons, I chose to pass on those kits.  4′ x 8′ rigid insulation sheets seemed to be the best option.  These come in a variety of thicknesses from 3/4″ – 2″ and some have a radiant “foil” side and a plain white “styrofoam” side.  My door panels are 1-3/4″ deep so I chose to buy 1-1/2″ thick sheets.  The R-rating, or value, is next to consider.  This doesn’t mean the inanimate sheets will start swearing at you randomly (though they should if you do stupid things in your shop).  The R-value is a measure of thermal resistance.  The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.  These ratings are also used with camping mats to insulate your body from the ground.  The inexpensive rigid foam insulation comes in at just over $15 for a 4′ x 8′ sheet and has an R-value of 5.78, which is better than nothing.  However, the polyisocyanurate sheets have an R-value of 9.4 and cost roughly $10 more than the former rigid insulation.  This was clearly the winner, thanks to Dyami Plotke for the suggestion.  Looking back at the cost of the kits ($150) and the cost of 4 sheets of the polyisocyanurate insulation at $26/sheet that is a savings of $46, which was spent on other materials.

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The down side of these sheets is that both faces are covered with the “foil” lining.  I didn’t want a reflective surface in the shop, for filming purposes, so I decided to paint the inside face white.  This was done with a rattle can of Rust-oleum Universal Spray Paint (affiliate link).  This stuff sprays on easy, thanks to its trigger but it didn’t last long.  I needed a case (6 cans) which cost me $35 and that covered all the panels with $11 to spare.

I cut the sheets in half to be more manageable at the table saw and then painted the surfaces.  Once dry, the sheets were ripped to width and cross cut to final length.  Half of the door had different length panels so keep that in mind.

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Now there are several different ways to install these sheets.  One is to cut them slightly oversized and rabbet the ends and sides to fit the door panel frames.  Another is to cut the slightly oversized and bevel the edges to allow you to slip them into place.  I used both and found both to be equally as difficult as they were annoying to install.  One thing I did to utilize the off cuts of insulation was to put the strips in the deep sides of the frames.

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After some serious finagling I got the sheets to fit into the frames and the door completely insulated.  I won’t lie.  It was a lot of work and it took a full day.  And at 115 degrees outside and 108 inside the shop it wasn’t pleasant but the end goal is in sight…A/C.

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Make a Scratch Stock

The Nicholson bench I will be building in the coming months require a profile on the edges of the ship lapped boards for the shelf.  Well, it isn’t required but I like the detail it will add to the bench so I am going to make it a requirement.  I want to build the bench with mostly hand tools and I don’t have any moulding planes so the solution is the scratch stock.  There are plans available for this and the Nicholson bench on the sidebar.

I searched the ether for a few minutes and finally came to a scratch stock style that I liked as it looked comfortable in the hands and functional for different sized cutters.  So the build began.

I have a sizeable scrap bin in my shop (as most may) and I rummaged through it looking for something that would pair well with brass.  I found a perfect sized piece of rift sawn 8/4 walnut I had left over from a coffee table build but it had a good deal of sapwood in it.  Not a problem as Dark Walnut Danish Oil blends it fairly well with the heartwood.

I pulled out 3 washers, 3 threaded inserts, and 3 brass knurled thumb screws to use as the holding power.  Some of the designs I saw simply used machine bolts and nuts that you tighten with a Philips driver each time you need to change the cutters.  I wanted something a bit faster and stylish, naturally.

To start, I sliced a 1/4″ off the material at the band saw and set it aside.  At the drill press, I bored a few 3/8″ diameter holes 1/2″ deep for the threaded inserts.  Changing out the drill bit for a 1/4″ bit, I bored the holes through until the brad point exited the other side.  Flipping the piece over and finishing the hole so I didn’t get any blow out.  I used a 1/2″ bit to mark the countersink for the washers.  Finally, I used a 1/2″ Forstner bit to flatten the countersink so the washers wouldn’t bend over time.

I resawed the material in two equal parts.  Initially I cut the piece leaving 1″ at the back to hold the stock together.  This made it so I couldn’t fully tighten the thumb screws at the end completely to hold the cutter fast.

Now the inserts were driven into the 3/8″ holes.  I used a machine bolt to help drive the inserts into the stock.  The machined slots are too soft for a slotted driver and will strip so using a bolt adds the ability to use a Philips driver for extra control.  After all three inserts were in place and slightly countersunk, I glued the 1/4″ slice back on keeping the grain aligned.  After the glue was dry I cleaned it up with chisel and plane, then cut the reference faces on the stock.

The bevels on the horizontal reference surface were marked and cut.  These allow you to tilt the scratch stock for the initial cuts to establish the profile.  I cut these by hand and then cleaned them up with a chisel.  You could cut them at the bandsaw if you tilt the table.  It was just faster for me to cut these with a hand saw.

Shaping was the last order of business.  I chose to round over the corners that were to be handled and then chamfer the edges.  I used a combination of rasps for the round overs and a block plane for the chamfers.  In the end, the feel and look of the scratch stock are great.

The cutters were made from pieces of my old Wood Slicer Bandsaw Blade.  I cut the piece to length, drew a profile on the face at the corner, and used a combination of flat and round files to shape the profile.  To sharpen the the cutters you can just rub the faces on a stone as you would a marking gauge cutter.

A little of the aforementioned Danish Oil was wiped on and it was ready to go.  Simple, quick, and a good use of the scrap wood and old saw blades you may have laying around your shop.

Make a Point Tool

While at Woodworking in America 2015 I attended a class with David Marks showing his woodturnings.  He passes some tools around and one that caught my attention was the tool he referred to as the point tool.  He went on to say how to make it and I left with an idea for a new tool in my turning arsenal.

After making the brass mallet from an old machinist mallet seen here, I had a 6″ length of bar stock in my possession.  What to do with it?  Turn it into a point tool.  But it was plain mild steel.  Tools need to be more durable than mild steel to keep an edge.  I have seen plenty of videos on how to make knives from old saw blades or rail road spikes to know how to harden and temper steel so I decided to give it a shot.

So I began.  The first issue was how to get the three bevel equally around the bar stock.  The solution was within the high school subject of Geometry, triangles specifically.  The equilateral triangle has 3 congruent sides and 3 congruent angles.  There is part of the solution to my problem.  The next was finding the center.  There are different types of center in triangles: Centroid, or the center of balance in a triangle, the outcenter, the center point which a circle can circumscribe a triangle and touch each apex of the triangle, and the incenter, the center point which a circle can inscribed a triangle and be tangent to midpoints of each side.  Since I had to drill a hole for the steel rod to be fixed into the answer was simple: the incenter.  To find the incenter the intersection of the angle bisectors need to be found.  For any other triangle this isn’t as simple.  A compass needs to be used to bisect the angles.  BUT since this is an equilateral triangle, the nature of the triangle states that the angle bisectors will pass through the midpoint of the opposite sides.  Hence, all I needed was a straight edge.

Now with the incenter found I drilled a 7/16″ through hole and glued the rod into it to keep it from slipping or twisting whilst grinding the bevels.

I then started grinding slowly until the bevels were approaching the appropriate length, which was found by multiplying the diameter of the rod, 7/16, by 1.5.  So 7/16″ x 1-1/2 (or 3/2 for ease of multipying) = 21/32″.  I then drew a line on the grinding platform as a reference point for the grinding block (triangle) and finished the bevels.

Now to heat treat the steel.  Using MAP/Pro torch, I heated the 2″ of the end to 1500 degrees (when the steel turns red) and then quenched it in oil.  Water could be used but oil is better for mild steel.  Then the steel is tempered in the oven for 4 hours set to 400 degrees.  No need to dilly dally here, use this time to turn the handle.

I chose a piece of figured Maple with a copper cap as the ferrule.  I like to use caps instead of pipe because the cap covers the end grain in the handle.  I drilled a 7/16″ hole in the blank, in the cap,  and turned the tenon on the end to fit the ferrule.  The shape of the handle is entirely up to the user.  For fine detail tools I like to have a shorter handle.  This may change over time and if it does I will just remove the rod from the handle and make a longer one.  No glue on this means it can be disassembled.  It is still very snug but it can still be disassembled.

With the handle shaped, sanded, and the ferrule on, I applied the finish.  My finish of choice for most tools is a Natural Danish Oil.  It wipes on easy, brings out the figure in the wood grain, and dries quickly.

After the steel has had time to temper and cool to room temperature it could now be driven into the handle.  I put a scrap block of wood down with the point of the tool on the block and tap the handle with a dead blow mallet until it is seated.  Then I regrind the bevels and it is off to the races for this new (reclaimed steel) tool.

If you are interested in making a point tool of your own I would suggest buying a length of high speed steel (HSS) or tool steel bar stock so you can skip the tempering process.  It will also hold an edge much longer.