I generally use pencils, but last year a co-worker came to me and said “I know you like to build things in your wood shop, but have you ever done any working with metal?” He then showed me a scribe someone had given him to use in HIS shop (he’s an amateur blacksmith). I was interested in trying these and so I put my creative side to pondering…. And within about two weeks I had made about 20 of them. I gave him 10 to share with his blacksmithing buddies and have given several others away to folks I’ve met at my store. I dont know who came up with the original idea so I dont know if I’m supposed to give credit to anyone, but here’s my take on making scribes ( and they work as good on wood as metal)
I start with an assortment of “stuff” that I think might make good handles and adornments, Some are cabinet knobs and some is just stuff I find in my hardware, plumbing, and electrical parts. The shafts are made of simple bar stock.
Depending on what kind of handle I’m gonna use, I might have to grind the stock to make it “rounder” so I can cut threads on the end. I also usually have to drill and thread any cabinet knobs I use
Then it’s on to the griinder to start shaping the pointy end.
I use a buffing wheel to start cleaning up the bar. I own a motorcycle, and any of you that also have one know that I have 2 full shelves of polishes, rubbing compounds and cleaning agents. So there’s plenty of polishing stuff to chose from LOL
I use a “hot wrench” (that’s a propane torch for you non-mechanics out there) to heat the shaft getting ready to twist it. You can use a pencil torch to generate heat at different areas of the shaft to get more than one spirial shape if you like)
When it’s glowing red-hot I use a large adjustable wrench to make the twists. I tried vice grips but they bite into the hot metal and leave some pretty deep gashes that takes too much grinding away to remove. The more you twist, the tighter that spirial gets.
I chuck the shaft in my drill press and using several grits of sandpaper I start finishing the point.
Now it’s back to the buffing wheel to do the final polishing. I made thie one yesterday and it took me about two hours total. You can see the cabinet knob and brass ferrel I chose in the first pic above.
Oops, I forgot to add. I heat treat just the tips by heating them to VERY red-hot, then SLOWLY lowering them into a can of common motor oil. I forgot to take a pic of that. Then I re-polish out the dark burn marks again.
And here’s some of the ones I made last year when he first told me about these. As you can see, you can use your imagination on how much or how little to polish, and on what kind of spirials you want. Also think outside the box when looking at things to use for knobs and adornments. I have some pieces of plumbing fittings, lamp parts, copper tubing, brass ferrells, and even a wrist pin from a car engine in that top picture.
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