First – A Personal Note
Happy New year all. Thanks to everyone who ‘gently prodded’ me about getting it back in gear.
Long time since last blog entry? Yup. What can I say – holidays at the best of times are busy, and if you have young children like we do, you’ll know that it also brings a severe increase in activity of the local TLF (Toddler Liberation Front) cells. Our home has been a haven for this crafty and disarming organization for the past several years, and the new recruits (codename: the twins) seem to have stepped up their mobility this year, as evidenced by a remarkable uptick in the organization’s chatter, and a few very close calls. One day I’ll be able to tell the tale of the Christmas Eve Pasta Offensive, but this is not the time or place.
The long and short of it is that it was easily the most wonderful, and also the most hectic, Christmas season I can ever recall having. Ever seen a 4-year old’s face when she first sees the hoof-strewn mess that Santa’s reindeer made of the cupcakes she left them? Ever had that sense of wonder interrupted as an overactive pair of fifteen month olds exploit the moment of freedom to finally topple the 9-ft. Yuletide Tree crammed into the 8-ft tall family room? Well, then you obviously understand.
New toy for Daddy
At any rate, the season also brought the addition of a new piece of machinery at the toolworks — one that marks a rather nice personal milestone:
The Daedworks’ own metal lathe – a WWII era Montgomery-Ward branded Logan with a 10″ swing and 24″ between centers. I know it’s not specifically a woodworking tool, but it’s significant as it allows me to bring the last outsourced bits of my planes in-house. Until now, I’ve had all the lever cap screws for my bench planes made by the extremely talented Johnny Kleso (known as rarebear to many). You can see a couple of videos Johnny’s posted on YouTube. Well worth a view for anyone interested, especially the Acme threading videos. Johnny’s lathe time is limited, though, and he’s stopped taking outside work with the exception of a couple of his old friends. So I’ve been considering how to move forward for a few months now, and finally decided I should just learn to make ’em myself.
So two days before Christmas, I picked up this Logan and the past two weeks of shop time have been devoted to setting it up, calibrating and aligning everything, and learning the rudiments of turning metal, knurling, and single-point threading. As an added benefit, this acquisition also lets me finally shift to using Acme threading on the lever caps, something that is fairly labor- and time-intensive, and is frankly rather costly to have someone do for you. The learning curve has been pretty steep, but so far I’m happy with the results. Here’s the first screw I’ve finished in the Bronze I prefer to use:
I’m not completely satisfied with the knurling at this point, but I think the step to Acme threads makes up for it. As I said, overall I’m quite pleased with the results.
Of course there are other things you can make on a good metal lathe as well…
I’ve freehand-turned a few plane hammers on my wood lathe in the past, but the results with a good metal lathe are really a notch up. This one is also the first time I’ve been able to incorporate a design feature I picked up from Jameel Abraham — a threaded post mount for the wooden head.
is one of my best secret (or once-secret, I suppose) sources of information.