Chasing Threads on the wood lathe

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Blog entry by Jim Jakosh posted 324 days ago 4303 reads 4 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been wanting to chase threads on my wood lathe for a long time now and just could not find the parts I needed to do it. I wish I could have made a video but I have watched this one many times and I’ll add it here:
He makes it look so easy and I found out that it is!!!!!!!!!!!

All the threading tools they sell are either 12 TPI or 16TPI and they cost about $75. I wanted tools at 11 1/2 TPI- pipe threads because that is what the threads are on all the standard PVC and you never know when you might join the two .
I started looking for an old 1 1/2” or 2” pipe threading die for a couple of years now and could not find one cheap enough to destroy it to get the threaded sections…..........until last Friday at a flea market. I found this 1 1/2” pipe dies from a threading machine and it had one chipped insert.

I used 2 of the inserts and welded them into some 1/4” bar stock to make an internal and external threading tools:

I learned a lot from that video and the first thing is that you need to thread at 100 to 300 rpm.
I checked my lathe and it ran a little over 300 for the slowest and not 200 like advertized for the fastest.

I tried out the tools first on some rounds I had turned and this one was in the sap wood and it worked but the threads were rough.

But it fit the PVC. I did one for the internal thread and had the other piece of PVC:

Any way what you need to do it it start with a chamfer on the outer end of the piece and cut a relief on the inside for a place to stop with the tool before hitting a shoulder.

start withe tool on an angle to cut at least one deep thread.
Then straighten out the tool and let the pitch of the thread pull the tool in . You make and oval pattern of in to the relief then back and in to the threads and round a round like that. Add a little pressure each time until you get to full thread depth. Adding wax on the wood helps and it is best to use a hard wood and turn the piece with the grain and not across end grain

I did some threads on more scrap pieces and they came out pretty clean.
this one is pistachio male and juniper female.

I made a little picture of how to select the diameter of the mating piece

This is the thought process to get to the double depth of threads which is .150” for 100% threads. I go for 66% so I make the hole .100” smaller than what the thread finished at.

I thought this was real hard to learn but it is real simple once you get the right tools. This will open up a whole new realm of wood working for me. In some pieces it will be necessary to make the insert in hardwood and them glue them into the piece so that you don’t have crumbly threads or ruin the piece entirely.
I also think this will be extremely useful on funeral urns.

Enjoy…..........................Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

25 comments so far

View Ronald G Campbell 's profile

Ronald G Campbell

531 posts in 602 days

#1 posted 324 days ago

Jim great job. I have been using pvc recently and cutting the thread I need and using glue to attach them to the wood. I like this better. Many guys use a ring that they do the female side on and then glue that to the wood. The one guy used box elder and said he had more luck with that. Bring these to the next meeting.

-- Ron Campbell

View stefang's profile


12572 posts in 1932 days

#2 posted 324 days ago

Smart way to make thread chasers Jim. I have always wanted to try thread chasing, but the price has deterred me. I doubt I could find a plumbers threading tool like you found. Have fun!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View harry1's profile


512 posts in 883 days

#3 posted 324 days ago

Now who would have thunked of that! 200 to 300 rpm, you would have to to be quick at disengaging wouldn’t you Jim?

-- Harry, Western Australia

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4348 posts in 890 days

#4 posted 324 days ago

Nice write up with great photographs!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View doubleDD's profile


2322 posts in 641 days

#5 posted 324 days ago

Ingenuity again Jim. Same here, I want to be able to thread some projects myself. Just need to put my mind to it and do something. I understand the concept of this process but never experimented enough to get any results. I watched the same video a couple times also. I once tried using a pipe and end cap as a treader, the same principle as a Beall wood treader and had 60% good results with that but never pursued that idea after that. I will be trying at this again soon and glad you did the thinking for us. Thanks

-- --Dave, Downers Grove, Il. When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams

View Roger's profile


14114 posts in 1402 days

#6 posted 324 days ago

Gr8 stuff, Jim

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View luv2learn's profile


1632 posts in 901 days

#7 posted 324 days ago

Thanks Jim for giving us another avenue to pursue in thread cutting. Alternatives are always welcome.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View wiswood2's profile


1088 posts in 2294 days

#8 posted 324 days ago

You can buy the threading jaws by their selves no need to buy the complete set.

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View nomercadies's profile


497 posts in 937 days

#9 posted 324 days ago

Fascinating. Thanks.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11063 posts in 1704 days

#10 posted 324 days ago

Thanks, guys. In the video the guys say box wood is good. Is that Box Elder or is there a box wood??
I tried some scrap pistachio and that chipped too much.

Ron, I will bring the tools to the next guild meeting.. Maybe a threaded something , too!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Randy_ATX's profile


664 posts in 1040 days

#11 posted 323 days ago

Jim, I hope have have half as much fun as you when I retire someday!

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View doubleDD's profile


2322 posts in 641 days

#12 posted 323 days ago

Jim, there are many box woods out there, lets say a dozen with a hardness of 2000 and greater. Never turned any, or saw any. Maybe he is saying it needs to be a harder wood for cleaner cuts.

-- --Dave, Downers Grove, Il. When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11063 posts in 1704 days

#13 posted 323 days ago

Randy, I would recommend retirement to any one. You just have to stay busy .

Dave, the guy in the video mentions that hard woods work the best. I’m going to try some maple today.


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View peteg's profile


2816 posts in 1421 days

#14 posted 323 days ago

Enjoyed this thread Jim, you got me all fired up to have a go at threading, never tried before.
Think I’ll favourite this one
You made a couple of very nice tools to get ya goin.

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View richardkell's profile


7 posts in 330 days

#15 posted 323 days ago

....try threading firethorn.

Also, the old brass finishers at 26 tpi thankfully minimised variations of pitch required, at least for my metal based activity.

I find a rounded leading heel is essential.

-- richard kell:toolmaker

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