|Project by nobuckle||posted 04-23-2012 08:48 PM||1750 views||1 time favorited||10 comments|
About three weeks ago my family and I visited my cousin and his family. Upon ariving I found my cousin in his garage working on one of his lawn mowers. As I looked around the pole barn I happen to notice and old brace and bit hanging on some peg board above a make-shift work bench. I asked my cousin if it was his and he informed me that it belonged to my uncle at one point. He notice that I had an immediate interest and told me I could have it. Upon further investigation I found that both the brace and the bit were in deplorable condition. This started me thinking. Given the condition and the style I wondered if it belonged to my grandfather who then passed it along to my uncle. I’m sure that this must have been the case because I mentioned the brace to my dad and he affirmed that, indeed, his father owned a brace like the one I described. All of that being said here is how I received it;
The day I brought it home.
As you can see I had quite alot of work to do. I immediately disassembled it as much as I could. From the very beginning I knew that I was going to use this brace and so I was not concerned about removing the petina. Within a few minutes time I was at the wire wheel removing years of rust and grime. In doing so I damaged the original handle in the middle of the brace. No matter, it along with the top handle were destined to be replaced. Here is how they looked when I brought them home (I appologize for the blurred photos);
I’m not sure what the original handle material was but I knew that I wanted to replace it using Walnut. I like Walnut because you can give an old look almost instantly. At least the way I do it you can. I already had material for the middle hanlde but was lacking pieces of Walnut large enough to yield the top handle. A friend kindly provided these blocks of Walnut (two in case I screwed up on the first one);
How was I going to hold this material? I have no lathe chuck to speak of. I do, however, have a faceplate. At first I thought that I could simply screw the faceplace to the block of material, but soon thought better of it. I did not want to take the chance of splitting the wood or hitting a screw while in the process of turning the handle. I ponderd this for quite a while and then came up with this idea;
As you can see the material is held in place by snuggly fitting in between the blocks that make up the side rails. At first I had plan to simply screw the block into the fixture through the side rails, but at the advice of LumberJock Darell I ended up gluing the block into the fixture.
Darell’s idea was the way to go. It provided the safest way to turn the block into the shape I wanted. Thank you Darell. Once I turned the handle to the rough shape I had to consider how I was going to drill the handle hole. I ended up using my drill press. This was not my prefered method becuse I know that my drill press does not produce holes that are exact. I need this one to be exact but had to settle for close enough.
After drilling the hole I remounted the fixture back on the lathe cut the handle free using a parting tool and a hand saw. After a little hand work and some sanding I was satisfied that I had successfully created a new top handle.
Creating the middle handle required a bit more thought. I knew that I had to do a glue-up in order to yield a handle that would finish at the size I desired. Also, I needed to come up with a way to create the hole in the handle. I though about using my drill press and a forstner bit, but like I said earlier my drill press is no the most accurate when it comes to drilling holes. I opted to used my router table instead. Using a 7/16” round nosed bit I carefully created the hole in the middle handle. I was able to create the hole so that it fit within a few thousandths of an inch. In order to shape the hanlde I held the two halves together with some two-sided tape and then place them in my vise. Using a Millers Falls No. 8 and a Stanley block plane I created a cylinder like so;
Upon reaching this point I further refined the shape so that it resembled the original as closely as possible. This was accomplished using a my block plane and scraper.
Sorry for the shakeyness
When the shaping was finished I did some hand sanding. I then parted the two halves and glued them in place around the middle portion of the brace.
After I epoxied the original ferrel on to the new top handle I created an old look by burnish both the middle handle and the top handle with a buffing wheel (no compund).
This project introduced some challenges that caused me to seek new solutions. I appreciate the fact that I have the experience of the LJ community to draw from. Thank you all and thank you for looking.
-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"