Drill press turning
Making a plane knob on the drill press challenge.
Last week I needed a knob for a fence I was making for my no. 3 and 4 planes, and was ready to go to the lathe.
- But decided to challenge myself by making it on the drill press, with the simplest means I could find (yes I’m a child).
I also took pictures as I went along so I could share it with those who don’t have a lathe.
This was how it turned out.
A piece of wood, if you don’t happen to have a piece of a old parasol foot that are already round as I did, then cut it at least to a octagon before using it.
Find the center, and drill a hole in both ends or all the way through.
Now drive a screw into the hole.
(In the back you see the fence where I needed this and that at this stage it was a little rustic for the design…).
Now cut the head of the screw.
Make also a hole in a piece of wood (any kind, but long enough to be fastened), and put a short nail through the hole.
Mount the cut of screw in your drill press, and center the nail under, adjust the height, and fasten to the drill press table.
Grab a rasp and turn on your drill press – this is where the fun begins!
You need to move the rasp as you go, so it will not fill up.
(And as you can see of course I forgot to turn on my vac mount…).
Ok, I have these bad arms, so I fast discovered that it would be easier with a fence to hold the rasp against.
Two pieces of wood and a clamp, that’s it – we have a vertical lathe. So I even tried with the lathe chisels, but actually I found it more easy to use the rasp due to the position.
(But I must admit I had great fun).
Now we are getting there!
I just eye balled the shape of a plane knob, but you can use a caliper or just a compass if you want to be precise.
I choose to make a big base plate, since I was going to use it on a side fence and not a plane.
(On this picture it’s still fixed to the nail in the bottom).
Time for the files to get to a finer finish.
Different grids of sand paper, I choose to end a 360, and did not try to make it ‘perfect’.
Now remove the nail board so you can finish the top of the knob with the drill press spinning.
And here we are!
Cut of the extra (if you have any…).
(The little scrap piece of wood is to hold it horizontal while I cut).
Compare or not compare – that’s the question!
I drilled a little hole and mounted a vintage Swedish coin, just for the X-factor!
Gave it some Danish oil and then bee wax.
And the result.
I’ll post the making of the fence later or tomorrow as a blog also.
I will say the try was a success, it worked easy and smooth, and there are no costs for additional gadgets.
So there is no excuse for not trying.
I know there are many versions made, but I tried to keep it as simple as possible.
If you don’t want a hole in the knob, you can use a countersink as ‘hold’ while turning; just give it a bang with a hammer.
But then you need to be careful not to use too much pressure while turning.
It will leave only a little mark.
I hope this can bring some old planes back to life or be used to make a fence for your plane,
-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.