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View Full Version : Shaping handles:Tool recommendations



Line cooked
08-05-2011, 01:48 AM
I would like to start doing some western rehandle work for some of my stuff. Any tool recommendations(Hand files, belt sander, etc) would be appreciated. Trying not to break the bank but don't want junk either.

Dave Martell
08-05-2011, 01:56 AM
If you're only going to do a few here and there you could probably do well with a cheap-o Harbor Freight drill press & 1x30 belt sander (with 6" disk - important for flattening the scales), a 4" buffing wheel with arbor (to go in the drill press), some white rouge, sandpaper (coarse & fine), and some drill bits (carbide needed if drilling the tangs) . That'd be the basics unless you want to go tribal and use files and sandpaper only.

Line cooked
08-05-2011, 12:34 PM
You rock Dave....Thank you much!!!!

jmforge
08-05-2011, 12:38 PM
One thing that is great for roughing out wood handles is a Nicholson cabinetmakers rasp. Karl Anderson, who had a long career in furniture making and high end piano restoration before getting into knives turned me onto them. They are made in Brazil by hand these day, bloody expensive, but they work like a charm. It is the same type of rasp that the bespoke shoemakers in London use to make lasts, which are the individual "molds" of the customers foot. They cut fairly aggressively, but, for some reason, the finish that they leave seems to be easier to smooth out with sandpaper than the finish left by say a 36-40 grit belt.

Marko Tsourkan
08-05-2011, 12:44 PM
Dave listed a simple powertool setup. Here is a manual tool setup.

Granite plate (9x12 Woodcraft $42 with shipping) for flattening scales and handle after it is assembled and cured. Spray with adhesives and line it with a abrasives sheet (I prefer cloth backed)

Vise - number of choices, from a pipe vise that is most suitable for shaping handles, to a typical bench vise. I would buy an old Wilton from Ebay (bullet vise is the best) over any imports. Not even a nanosecond of hesitation.

Coping saw will be adequate for profiling handle scales before you assemble the handle and shape it. You would need to pick blades that are suitable to cut material you will be using.

You can drill holes in the scales with a hand drill, but you need to have a steady hand. Drill press (American-made vintage) would be my preference. Also, if you install corby-style bolts, you have to use a countersink drill bit, so a drill press will give you much better control. Besides, a drill press is a power tool EVERYBODY ought to own, especially if you live in a house.

Hacksaw for cutting off excess pin stock and bolts.

Round and half-round files will do most shaping. I would get course and medium. I have both #49 and #50 Nicholson rasps and while they work OK, for a fast stock removal, nothing beats coarse or a Bastard (between coarse and Second cut) files.

Strips of sanding belt (cloth backed strips from larger belts will work best and you can have in longer strips). Buy 6x48 good quality belt in different grits (60, 100, 180) and it will last you a long time. Final sanding with sandpaper. I prefer 3M Emperial to any other brands.

As you imagine, this will put you in the center of all action, but you should be able to complete a handle with this setup.

Marko

Line cooked
08-05-2011, 01:07 PM
As always,vthe inforamtion found here is plentiful and fantastic:biggrin:
Thank you all

AnxiousCowboy
08-06-2011, 04:02 PM
I have a belt sander that I've been shaping my handles on, and I live near you.

Line cooked
08-07-2011, 12:53 AM
I have a belt sander that I've been shaping my handles on, and I live near you.

Thanks for the offer....maybe I should pick up a drill press....then we are both half way there.....the only thing I would néed after that is time

AnxiousCowboy
08-07-2011, 01:28 AM
he only thing I would néed after that is time

Let me know where to find some of that stuff...

Lefty
08-07-2011, 01:34 PM
Marko, do you mean a drill press like this? :p
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/Lefty-T/3b77fd2e.jpg

jmforge
08-07-2011, 01:37 PM
Nice. There is an old Rockwell that looks like that sitting in my late uncle's garage in Ohio, I have to figure out how to get it, a micro-mill, lathe and anvil down to Florida in a 3 series BMW. No substitute for those old bulletproof American machines.
Marko, do you mean a drill press like this? :p
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/Lefty-T/3b77fd2e.jpg

Marko Tsourkan
08-08-2011, 05:52 PM
Marko, do you mean a drill press like this? :p
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/Lefty-T/3b77fd2e.jpg

that's a lowly old Walker Turner or Delta. It's missing cover (not essential, as long as you don't try to change belt as the press is running) and could use some lubrication and some scrubbing with Scotch-Brite pads and WD40 but ultimately, it is a fine press. Looks like you can get easily a few more decades of service out of it.

I traded my landlord a Walker Turner for some improvement work, but have not time to work on it.
M

Lefty
08-08-2011, 06:54 PM
You're bang on, Marko! It's an old Walker-Turner. Har any of you guys had any trouble finding replacement parts for old presses like this one? I'm likely going to "upgrade" to it very shortly, assuming it drills true.

Marko Tsourkan
08-08-2011, 07:09 PM
You're bang on, Marko! It's an old Walker-Turner. Har any of you guys had any trouble finding replacement parts for old presses like this one? I'm likely going to "upgrade" to it very shortly, assuming it drills true.

I think Dave rebuilt his, so he can chime on it, but I wouldn't be surprised if all you need is just cleaning, scrubbing and lubrication.

M

Lefty
08-08-2011, 07:27 PM
It's really a beauty, and it just feels right!
Thanks for the input.

apicius9
08-08-2011, 07:57 PM
Man, I wish I had the old German drill press that was in my Grandfather's metal shop. That must have been from the 50's, was huge and indestructible. I think my Dad gave it away :(

One more small hand tool I really like, the Japanese shinto rasps: http://www.japanwoodworker.com/product.asp?s=JapanWoodworker&pf_id=15.410.52&dept_id=12881 - Affordable and effective with a rougher and a finer side.

Stefan

Dave Martell
08-08-2011, 09:00 PM
You're bang on, Marko! It's an old Walker-Turner. Har any of you guys had any trouble finding replacement parts for old presses like this one? I'm likely going to "upgrade" to it very shortly, assuming it drills true.


I have the predecessor to this model, it uses a motor mounted on the base with a long ass drive belt and only two pulley speeds to chose from. I did rebuild it, well somewhat, cleaned it up more than anything. The biggest problem I had was finding a replacement key for the chuck since the model Jacobs chuck used hasn't been in production for 60 years. I got lucky and found a reference on an old tools forum to a Jacobs key part# that would work that MSC carries and there ya go. :)

Most of the parts that go bad in this smaller presses of this era are bronze bushings which can be replaced but I've read that some of them are oddball sizes requiring machining. My press has brass grease caps for lubrication that have to be filled every week at least or bushings run dry so maintenance with the old presses is important.

SpikeC
08-08-2011, 09:25 PM
Here's mine. My dad got it back in the 40's.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-gZ4uoEgxwc0/TkB_TzHSYgI/AAAAAAAAAS8/SnxMQasD7_Q/s512/IMG_2559.JPG

Marko Tsourkan
08-08-2011, 10:14 PM
Here's mine. My dad got it back in the 40's.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-gZ4uoEgxwc0/TkB_TzHSYgI/AAAAAAAAAS8/SnxMQasD7_Q/s512/IMG_2559.JPG

I love your mini-rolling mill

SpikeC
08-08-2011, 10:17 PM
If you are a jeweler it's not a mini!

Marko Tsourkan
08-08-2011, 10:30 PM
So true, but you do have a full size bench-top press.

Dave Martell
08-08-2011, 10:57 PM
Nice press Spike.

SpikeC
08-08-2011, 11:04 PM
Thanks, Dave. It still has the original motor and switch!

Dave Martell
08-08-2011, 11:58 PM
Thanks, Dave. It still has the original motor and switch!

That's great and it being your Dad's is the best thing of all.

Line cooked
08-09-2011, 12:02 AM
You sure make it tough on a guy.....now I am on the hunt for a serious drill press

Dave Martell
08-09-2011, 12:06 AM
You should check Craigslist, I see a lot of ones work checking out on our local listing almost all of the time.

Make sure you check for runout (play) in the spindle by extending it down and wiggling it about. You'll know when it's bad.

Line cooked
08-09-2011, 12:18 AM
You should check Craigslist, I see a lot of ones work checking out on our local listing almost all of the time.

Make sure you check for runout (play) in the spindle by extending it down and wiggling it about. You'll know when it's bad.

Thanks for the advice...I actually so one listed pretty close to me for a good price....I am going to see if I can check it out this week

Marko Tsourkan
08-09-2011, 12:29 AM
Thanks for the advice...I actually so one listed pretty close to me for a good price....I am going to see if I can check it out this week

Here is a jewel (located very close to me) but it is 3 phase motor and I already have a Walker Turner in 3ph. I think it is an old Delta, but could be a Walker Turner too.
http://newyork.craigslist.org/wch/tls/2529877535.html

M

obtuse
08-14-2011, 01:28 PM
Okay, this is probably a dumb question but I have no experience in this. Should I get a vertical or Horizontal belt sander or one that tilts from horizontal to 90 degrees like this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002CJLV0A/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller= I'm thinking the vertical sander would be more useful, like this http://www.amazon.com/Grizzly-H6070-122-3022-Sander/dp/B0007D2YAO/ref=zg_bs_552882_6 or maybe I'll just go tribal :(

Dave Martell
08-14-2011, 05:03 PM
What I'd miss on that 4x36 sander is not having a slack section for rounding edges but the disc sander part is nice for squaring stuff up. The little 1x30 has a slack section and disc.....this is the better option of the two if you ask me.

obtuse
08-14-2011, 09:39 PM
I went with a 1x30 with disc :) hope it's a start.

Dave Martell
08-15-2011, 12:40 AM
It'll work OK. :D

I was thinking about this and I think a good tip to give you is to cut the scales as close to shape as possible before sanding. The reason is that this sander is underpowered for hogging off material. Also use lighter woods and very coarse belts. :)

SpikeC
08-15-2011, 01:51 PM
A 12" half round coarse bastard file is a great tool for hogging off material. Put a handle on it and Robert is your mothers brother. Then go to the belts and life will be lovely!

obtuse
08-15-2011, 02:19 PM
Thanks for the tips! I'm sure I'll have more questions when I actually try to assemble the handle. I've been watching lots of you tube videos and there seems to be a lot of variation on how to do things.

jmforge
08-15-2011, 06:31 PM
That disc is not big enough to be your bestest friend in the whole wide world. For future reference, a 9 incher with a flat and a 1% beveled disc, a VFD with reverse and a foot switch fits that requirement to a T. With that said, it will be rather helpful as long as that fence is pretty square to the face.