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Mahogany Screwdriver

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Project by scottb posted 12-30-2006 06:05 AM 4130 views 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Almost a year ago, my brother-in-law (and fellow lumberjock) and I decided to swap homemade gifts for Christmas. I saw plans for one of these interchangeable screwdrivers in a woodturning magazine last winter, using parts from the ubiquitous orange handled reversible screwdrivers you can get at the local big box. I picked up three, so I could make a few. By the time I got started on the project… (almost a year later) kits had become available from through Rockler and Penn State (for about the same price!).

I took a hacksaw to the big orange handle, saved the metal parts, measured the depth and diameter of the hole, mounted a block of mahogany (salvaged from my In-laws new deck) on my shopsmith and bored out the middle, also counterboring for the nut, which I epoxied (and tapped in) snugly.

A few days of curing later, I had to file out some epoxy residue inside for the shaft to fit properly.

Next came the turning, I thought I could just mount the handle between centers (not having a 4 jawed chuck) but I didn’t have the proper centers to turn the handle safely. To solve this challenge, I put the shaft back into the handle, and mounted it on the lathe (shopsmith) with the drill press attachment. That, plus the live center in the tailstock worked like a charm!

I turned away just enough material on the business end to fit on the ferrule (bit of copper pipe from the plumbing dept!) which will help keep the handle from splitting if my nephew tries forcing open up a can of paint, or other such task we rely on screwdrivers for.

Next came time to turn the handle to shape. I pretty much let my muse and whim guide the design. I wanted something small enough to fit in the hand (and toolbox) nicely, not to chunky, but not fragile either. (but perhaps small enough to discourage improper use, and prolong the tools life?) At the time I had just started trying my hand at home-brewing. In fact I had just bottled my first batch the same day I took to the lathe. Looking at the bottle shape that just appeared, I guess my new hobby was pretty fresh in my mind.

Unfortunately, I lost the other 2 orange handled screwdrivers I picked up. I also can’t seem to find the older one I’ve been using for years, perhaps they’re afraid of their fate… if only they could see how great they’ll look after a quick makeover! If they don’t turn up in time for Fathers day, or perhaps next Christmas… I may just try my hand at one of those kits, and save myself a little running around for parts! If I had my druthers I’d have used a shorter pipe (or eq.) for the ferrule. I’m happy with the bottle design – I’ll be sure to use it on a sister piece, a bottle opener perhaps?

This was my first attempt at making a screwdriver. No other prototypes or failed attempts. Lucky, considering I only started a couple weeks before Christmas. The handle is a salvaged (but new) mahogany remnant from my mother and father-in-law’s deck (built by my dad). Finished with Howard’s orange feed and wax.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/





18 comments so far

View Don's profile

Don

2603 posts in 2930 days


#1 posted 12-30-2006 06:18 AM

Scott, making hand tools is a whole field in itself. You can make a marking knife from a hacksaw blade, a scriber from an old screwdriver shaft, all using the same basic techniques you shown us. Nice work.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3080 days


#2 posted 12-30-2006 06:29 AM

Well, wouldn’t you know a Marking knife is on my to do list....

Thanks!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2927 days


#3 posted 12-30-2006 07:02 AM

Hey, Scott, if you’re interested, I can get a hold of some osage orange. You could use it for your carving mallet. That’s what I used to make mine. I have some pictures around here somewhere… if I can’t find them, I can always take some more and post them.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3080 days


#4 posted 12-30-2006 07:15 AM

Thanks Ethan, That would be fantastic!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View RobS's profile

RobS

1334 posts in 3060 days


#5 posted 12-30-2006 07:40 AM

Thanks for the Christmas gift, I intend to get years of use out of it. Great job Scott. Really cool that I own your first screwdriver ever made and that the wood is from my parents.
Thanks again.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2927 days


#6 posted 12-30-2006 07:49 AM

Hmmm… I recently (six months ago) got a new PC, and it appears that most of my woodworking pictures are on my old PC, currently sitting in the closet of the second bedroom. It looks like I’ll have to boot it up and throw them onto a flash drive and dump them on my new PC before I have any access to pictures of several of my past projects…

The osage orange is at my brother’s neighbor’s house. I’ll be down in that area on Sunday; if he’s home, I’ll see what he has in the way of a turnable-sized piece. It might prove to be cost-ineffective, depending upon how large the pieces are and whether or not I can easily cut it down if it is too large. If I can find a piece that is a good 12” long and about 4” or so in diameter, then I’ll snag it for you.

He’s actually the one who helped me turn mine mallet; it was the first thing I ever turned on a lathe. Let’s see… how did he put it? “Learning to turn Osage Orange on a lathe is like learning to drive a ‘64 VW beatle stick shift. If you can handle that, everything else is a piece of cake.”

Unfortunately, I’ve challenged that statement almost every single time I’ve tried turning anything on a lathe since then, from pithy 2000 year old bog oak that splinters like nothing else to making cabachons for a paperweight/magnifying glass with highly figured wood.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3080 days


#7 posted 12-30-2006 03:51 PM

Hmmm…. so maybe my thanks are premature? Until now I’ve avoided turning another piece of oak – as turning it is like taking a beating… but I’ve had good luck with mahogany, beech, lilac, maple, cherry…. so the osage is worse?

Those dimensions should make a fine carving mallet. Or, if anything, I can use a stouter piece for the head of something along the lines of a carpenters mallet, (big or little) and something contrasting for the handle…. if shipping poses a problem.

Just as an fyi
It only cost me 4.05 to send this screwdriver Priority Mail to TX… Robs gift to me, (which I’ll encourage him to post) was larger, but fit in a shoebox, was about $6 to send up.
However the P.O. has two different pre-paid shipping bozes for $7.20 (I think) regardless of content or weight, so it shouldn’t cost more than that. I’ll paypal you some cash to fill up one of those boxes! Or is there something I can send your way to reciprocate? Refill, and return the box with something from NH? Maple, ash, pinecones?

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1999 posts in 3159 days


#8 posted 12-30-2006 06:28 PM

Cool screwdriver. There is a true story that a famous woodworking tool maker today got his start as he first starting building furniture, and showed some of his work to Sam Maloof, who was not all that impressed. Then one day he showed Sam a Hand Plane he had made with hardwoods and brass and steel, and Sam said to go home and keep making tools. The rest is history, he now has a large company making only expensive, beautiful hand tools for woodworking. I read that story in some magazine, but I can’t remember enough details to quote, and I doubt I could ever find it again.

cool project,
Mark

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3053 days


#9 posted 12-30-2006 07:27 PM

Pretty nice. Everybody should have one.
It got me thinking about how many screwdrivers I own. I don’t know if everbody else is like me, but I have oodles of screwdrivers. I should round up all of my screwdrivers & take a picture of them. I may need a wide angle lense though. With all the screwdrivers I do have, try find the one you need when you need it.
We should start a screwdriver gallery on Lumberjocks.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View darryl's profile

darryl

1795 posts in 3080 days


#10 posted 12-31-2006 05:13 PM

That’s cool Scott. I’ve been putting off buying a scratch awl I know I can make my own with the kit available at Craft Supplies USA.

I’m not sure this is going to fit into my ever growing “to-do” list.

oh hey, I recently heard of a bowl turners club over here at Keene State College. The next meeting is coming up on Jan 16th (should be a tuesday). Think that you might be able to swing over this way?

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3080 days


#11 posted 12-31-2006 05:46 PM

Thanks for letting me know about the club Darryl… I can’t make it in Jan, prob not Feb either (defer you to my wife’s blog for the why), but let me know when they’re meeting next. I’ll be happy to swing by when I can. I try to get out that way every month or so anyhow. (not that it’s really that far).

I’ve yet to try any bowl turning, but it’s on the horizon. Do you know if they get together to turn, or swap stories and talk shop? (Should I bring tools and wood, is what I guess I’m asking.)

Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask, and perhaps this should be answered off site (e-mail)... Speaking of KSC, how do you know Tim?

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Gary's profile

Gary

1056 posts in 3077 days


#12 posted 12-31-2006 06:04 PM

Am I ever slow. That’s really nice. I’m not even gonna think about adding this to a list
that’s already longer than what I’ve got time for ;-)
Then again, ya never know…

Gary

-- Gary, Florida. http://www.penturners.org/forum/f70/servicepens-2014-a-111967/

View darryl's profile

darryl

1795 posts in 3080 days


#13 posted 12-31-2006 06:29 PM

Tim and I have been friends since High School. He graduated a couple years after I did, but the group of friends we had all hung out at the same place (did I mention I graduated first?? which also means I was the one with my own apartment!).

As to the details of the turning club, I’m still working on those. I beleive the club meets at the college’s wood shop, so I think (aka Hope) that there is some turning involved. I guess I’ll have a better idea in a couple weeks… I’ll let you know.

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3080 days


#14 posted 01-01-2007 03:00 AM

That’s funny Dick,

I was commenting elsewhere this morning that the one thing I told my wife NOT to get me for Christmas was screwdrivers. Well, wouldn’t you know this morning I spent 5 minutes tearing up the downstairs looking for one. Between 2 tool boxes and 2 “junk” drawers there wan’t one, where there should have been 4. Took me a bit of rummaging through the shop to find one!

New Years Resolution not to GET organized (which is relatively easy), but to STAY organized! (that’s the kicker)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3080 days


#15 posted 01-01-2007 03:06 AM

Gary, I’m sure you could pull one (or more) off in an afternoon, including finishing (not counting waiting for the epoxy to cure.

Darryl, with the links on your blog to him and mom I didn’t know if you were friend or family… we worked on the TV show together in my JR and Sr. years at KSC, funny we didn’t cross paths sooner. Please keep me posted about the turning club. I tried looking for information a year or two ago, (knowing there was a prof who did Turning) but had a heck of a time finding out about classes or anything, That’s why I ended up heading down to Worcester (1 hour min). KSC is only 30 miles door to door.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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