I spent a few hours sweeping and cleaning in the shop, it needs a lot more work, and I have some major reorganizing plans in the works. More about that another time — but suffice it to say I have some new shop space in the offing that I can dedicate to woodworking. Before that I have a lot of cleaning and organizing, and at least two dump runs in front of me. I’ll leave that until next year (tomorrow).
One of the back burner projects I’ve had in mind for a while is to make a turnscrew — basically a fancy screwdriver. I saw one on eBay earlier this year that was stunning, it had neat filework along the sides. I should have saved a picture of it because now that I want to make one I can’t find a really nice looking one to emulate. This one is for sale on Jim Bode Tools:
The basic elements are a rounded, bulbous wooden handle (some had flats to keep them from rolling away), a flat blade that generally tapers in width and thickness from the handle to the tip, and s metal ferrule on the handle. I had most of the junk I needed to make one laying around. A piece of 1″ wide by 1/8″ thick hot rolled 1095 high carbon steel, a small block of wood for the handle and a bit of plumbing leftover for the ferrule. The dowel will be part of the mounting setup.
I started by stripping off the mill finish on the steel and daubed it with some blue dykem (layout fluid). While that was drying I drilled a 3/8″ hole in the handle and chucked it up in my lathe. I’m really liking this lathe, best $75 I’ve ever spent. I just eyeballed the shape, checking it with my hand periodically to make sure it was about the right scale.
I sanded the handle up to 400 and slathered it with oil/varnish mix and left it to dry.
I laid out a centerline on my steel, then striped in layout lines for the tank and blade. The tang is 3/8″ wide (to fit into the 3/8″ hole I drilled) and the blade tapers from the width of the ferrule to about .300″ at the tip. I used a belt sander with a 50 grit belt to hog off the material. You could use a hacksaw or bench grinder.
Here are the main parts laid out for a glamor shot. I’m liking it so far.
The handle feels great in my hand. I’m not sure what the wood is, some sort of figured hardwood turning block I got at the wood store. It’s lighter and finer-grained than Walnut, but darker than Maple. The color is going to look good with the copper fitting.
I used the belt sander to begin to taper the thickness of the blade, then switched to a slow speed disc sander with 180 grit paper . I need to do just a bit more on this still. It’s not absolutely necessary, but I think it improves the look in a (very) subtle way.
I’m not sure about the final finish on the blade. Maybe a sanded satin finish, although a blued finish would be nice.
I have several things left to do still. Filing the slot in the copper cap, fitting the tank and dowel fillers into the handle, adding the filework decorations, heat treating the blade and shaping the tip to fit a screw. I should be able to finish this up in a couple of hours tomorrow.