Tap and Screw Jig Tutorial #2: Starting the Tap

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by CartersWhittling posted 01-18-2012 06:27 AM 16880 reads 32 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro/Screw Dimensioning Part 2 of Tap and Screw Jig Tutorial series Part 3: Finishing the Guide Block »


I have finally put out the second installment of the tutorial. I had to break up the video into two sections in order to fit it onto youtube.

In this part I begin work on the tap by making the guide block my friend Chris Legendre designed. The lumber you want to use for the guide should be a hardwood at least 2” thick. Depending on the size of screw you will be making the block can be 3” – 6” wide. It only needs to be surface on one face and one edge. Then drill the hole for the tap dowel in the centre of the guide block. The hole you drill will be the size of the internal diameter of your screw. For my 1” diameter screws with 4 tpi the internal diameter is 3/4”. Then cut the guide to length at about 5” – 8” long.

After the guide has been drilled and cut to size you can turn the dowel for the tap on the lathe, or buy a dowel of the proper size. Just make sure the dowel you use fits the hole in the guide nicely with little slop.

Then you can lay out the spiral on the dowel. To do this get a piece of paper (preferable grid paper but not at all necessary) and wrap it around the dowel and mark where the first edge meets the paper. The rest of this process may make more sense to see in the video than in explanation, so I won’t bother. Just remember when marking the diagonal lines on the paper make sure to go from bottom left to top right, otherwise you will get a screw that tightens counter clockwise. When making a 4tpi thread pattern go up by 1/4’s, with 2 tpi go up by 1/2’s, and when making 1 1/3 tpi go by 3/4’s.

In the next segment I will finish up the guide and possibly the entire tap with the cutter made. If anyone has any questions just ask. And if anyone wants to be notified of my next videos just go onto youtube, if you have a youtube account, and subscribe to my account.

<iframe src=”” frameborder=”0” height=”480” width=”640”></iframe>

<iframe src=”” frameborder=”0” height=”480” width=”640”></iframe>

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

33 comments so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3199 days

#1 posted 01-18-2012 06:43 AM

Great explanation. Keep up the good work.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Northwest29's profile


1661 posts in 2691 days

#2 posted 01-18-2012 07:28 AM

Curt, thank you very much for putting these two videos together for those of us that want to make wooden screws and nuts. You have done a good job explaining all the details and it is very easy to follow. I’m going to have to get busy and break down and give this a try. Your research and sharing what you have found out saves all of us a lot of grief. Thanks again! Well Done.


-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View Brit's profile


7545 posts in 3044 days

#3 posted 01-18-2012 03:50 PM

Thank you so much for all the time it must have taken you to produce such wonderful videos Carter. You explain things very clearly and I’m sure many people will refer to this blog series for years to come. I know I will.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View StumpyNubs's profile


7681 posts in 3002 days

#4 posted 01-18-2012 04:50 PM

Thanks for posting!

-Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
(The greatest woodworking show since the invention of wood is now online!)

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Adam's profile


84 posts in 3263 days

#5 posted 01-18-2012 05:56 PM

Thanks so much, these videos are great. I can’t wait to try this out.

-- Adam, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

View MShort's profile


1797 posts in 3619 days

#6 posted 01-18-2012 07:50 PM

Thanks for all the effort that you are putting into this tutorial. I am with the others—Can’t wait to give it a try.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2962 days

#7 posted 01-18-2012 09:31 PM

Very cool. Thanks again for posting this.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3353 days

#8 posted 01-18-2012 09:31 PM

Sweet. I have to start working on mine! Thanks for putting this together!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Julian's profile


1398 posts in 2892 days

#9 posted 01-18-2012 10:14 PM

Same comments as the others; great videos and thanks for putting in the effort to share this knowledge. Now I’m going to have to and make one myself.

-- Julian

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3316 days

#10 posted 01-18-2012 11:26 PM

thank´s for the toturial :-)

take care

View jackcamino's profile


21 posts in 2521 days

#11 posted 01-19-2012 10:55 AM

Hey Carter, thanks for sharing your knowledge. Lately, I’ve been doing my own research and I am glad that you tube suggested I watch the Roubo/Scandinavian workbench video. I hope it to be soon when I put in practice this new knowledge. Good luck!!

-- When you think that I am buried and I will revive. (folio 59ii RECTO). Codex Atlanticus. Leonardo da Vinci. c.1490

View Sylvain's profile


751 posts in 2701 days

#12 posted 01-19-2012 10:37 PM

Excellent tutorial and great video,
The description in your workbench blog was already excellent and very informative, including this very subject.

I have an ideas where i could use a wooden screw and bolt.

To stick the paper on the dowell it could be handy to draw a line parallel to the axis.
What about clamping a pencil to the lathe tool-support and dragging it along the dowell?

(I have no lathe so I can not try myself.)

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View CartersWhittling's profile


453 posts in 2875 days

#13 posted 01-20-2012 04:36 AM

Sure you can use a pencil to draw a line parallel on the dowel. Its just as easy to eye it though. Though like I mentioned in the video make sure you tape along the entire edge, not just in the centre, otherwise the paper can come loose.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

View bobwohlers's profile


3 posts in 2592 days

#14 posted 01-21-2012 05:48 AM

Nicely done!

View hhhopks's profile


654 posts in 2578 days

#15 posted 01-21-2012 05:24 PM

WOW! I am impressed.

So much for the complexi math of determine what the proper angle is. ;-)
You have made it a don’t care condition.
Carter, you definitely have made things simple. You are very talented.

It is very difficult to find information on making your own wood tap & die. The ones that I have come across have complex set up and hard to upderstand. Thanks for sharing.

Now, I have to get up, stop dreaming about it and start hunting down the materials and get working.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

showing 1 through 15 of 33 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics