Osage Orange Nail Balancer Puzzle

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 10-19-2012 11:14 PM 5241 views 53 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been carrying around these nails for the balancer puzzle in the bottom of my tote for year. the object is to balance 10 nails on the head of one. It is funny watching people try to do this before they know the trick. I showed the trick so any Lumberjock will be able to do it.

Today I found this piece of Osage Orange for the holder to keep them all in one place. The piece had cracks in it but they turned away when I got to the size I needed for a holder.

I also wanted to try out my new drill fixture that works in conjunction with the index wheel on my lathe. The fixture is built to the exact center of the lathe spindle. It swivels in the banjo for any angle and there are bushings for the outer shaft to slide in and out and bearings on the inner shaft that the drill chuck is mounted to. I bought the Jacobs chuck on E bay and it is made in the UK and tightens in the opposite direction to the ones we use in the USA. It takes some getting used to but it was brand new!

There are 10 holes around the perimeter for storing the nails- the center nail is epoxied in. It is finished with EEE and Shellawax.


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

21 comments so far

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1251 posts in 2254 days

#1 posted 10-19-2012 11:25 PM


-- Joel

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Bob Collins

2595 posts in 3884 days

#2 posted 10-20-2012 12:12 AM

G’day Jim, I Like the nail trick adds a bit of fun to the work shop. Your drill fixture looks a handy addition.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2890 days

#3 posted 10-20-2012 12:59 AM

Dang, that’s cool. I gotta try that but I’m not sure I can balance all 10 even after you showed the trick. And you used one of my favorite woods.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3056 days

#4 posted 10-20-2012 01:15 AM

a very posh method


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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4423 posts in 3023 days

#5 posted 10-20-2012 02:00 AM

Nice one Jim have to try it. Like Bob I rekon that drill attachment would be a handy piece of gear ;)

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

View Woodfix's profile


343 posts in 3500 days

#6 posted 10-20-2012 02:56 AM

Very nice Jim and looks like flu to make and do. I think you have ailed it. Hehe

-- I would rather have the most memories, than the most money.

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Joe Lyddon

10321 posts in 4252 days

#7 posted 10-20-2012 03:08 AM

Looks tricky…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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18390 posts in 3876 days

#8 posted 10-20-2012 05:29 AM

Should be on the journeyman carpenter test ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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8166 posts in 2998 days

#9 posted 10-20-2012 05:44 AM

Very cool trick Jim.
What I really like is the drill fixture.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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1380 posts in 2824 days

#10 posted 10-20-2012 07:06 AM

Haha that’s great. Pic 4 is the “wow”. Never saw this done before. Very cool.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

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2737 posts in 3113 days

#11 posted 10-20-2012 09:56 AM

Bravo Jim! bravo!!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

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20952 posts in 3004 days

#12 posted 10-20-2012 11:11 AM

A nice puzzle project

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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Jim Jakosh

21729 posts in 3305 days

#13 posted 10-20-2012 01:39 PM

hey, thanks for all the nice comments. I thought you would like to see how it is done. There was a nail holder posted on here but I had to go to U tube to see the trick. It worked easily the first time I tried it. I used 16d nails and put one in a block and then the other 10 get the heads locked together by the way you stack them. Then carefully pick up the assemble and set it on the vertical nail and it will stay there balancing even in the wind.

I thought you would want to see how I drilled the 10 holes spaced just right on top of that radius so I posted my new drilling fixture. This is the first time I used it and it would have to be on an increment that is not a stop on my degree wheel on the back of the lathe. So that is why the calculator and caliper are there . I measured the distance between the 15 degree increments on the degree wheel and divided by15. It was .040” for each degree. Then I multiplied the amount of degrees it was past a given mark by .040” and added that to the location on the wheel to get 10 exact spacings. I only used the 0 and 180 degree spacing without adding to the location.. It worked pretty slick right away. Thanks for looking.

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

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2735 posts in 3798 days

#14 posted 10-20-2012 01:58 PM

What a neet project never saw a ‘Nail Balancer’ before looks fun to make. But…......Whats more I really like your drilling jig. I will have to try to slip into the shop (the one that I retired from) and make one of these. Great Project Jim!!

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View scrollingmom's profile


1191 posts in 2664 days

#15 posted 10-20-2012 02:12 PM

Good job Jim. What a cool project, I love your stuff.

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

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