Pardon please for a momentary distraction from our regularly scheduled, interminable, update on the construction of the Marquetry Chevalet. It’s nearly done after all, you wouldn’t want to rush it right? (As if…)
I’ve been following the dovetail tool swap over at Lumberjocks, I really enjoy seeing that community in action. I’m tempted to participate in the swap, but holding off so I don’t overcommitted. Meanwhile I’ve had Brother Cadfael designing tools I could make for the swap, so go figure.
One (of many) detours I’ve been down was to make a dovetail marking knife as laid out by David Barron. I love my Blue Spruce knives for general layout, and my Rob Cosman knife for dovetails — but this seemed like a quick and fun project. I’ve been gathering the materials over the past week, disposable scalpel blades from the UK, brass tubing and some pen turning blanks, so I decided to give it a shot after work yesterday.
I’d never pretend to be a competent wood turner, mostly because no one would believe me. I’m having some issues with the spur center holding the stock firmly enough. The first blank I tried, in Cocobolo, was a fail. I hammered the spur drive in, started turning and had it spontaneously split. I must have driven the spur in too far, although it certainly didn’t seem like it. The Cocobolo was turning really nicely though.
On the second blank, in Claro Walnut, I was careful not to drive the spur center too far. Just a light tap, ok? For the entire time I was turning, it was slipping. I tightened the tail stock to apply more pressure, and it would be ok for a moment, then it would slip again. It was a dance.
But I got it turned. Ish.
The neck where the brass ferrule goes was a little undersized. Just a little, maybe 10 thousands, but it was workable. The shape was a little fat and graceless, but ok for a prototype. The Walnut was really hard to turn too. In places it cut nicely, in others it was really prone to chattering.
The next step is to saw a kerf for the blade. I went gently, but it snapped off. I’m not surprised, I could see it was weak and the Walnut was really brittle.
I’m enjoying this process though. I like figuring out how to make things, and there are lots of little nuances to this. Figuring out how to use the lathe to turn a small part like this, how to turn section that is accurate to .002″ or so. I have another couple of pen turning blanks that I picked up, two feet of Brass tubing and a box of 50 UK scalpel blades so I’m confident I’ll get this figured out. Or, if not, I’m not out very much money or time.
I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving day. I’ll be making shavings while the bird cooks on the smoker!