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Thread: Handmade Tap and Screwbox Project

  1. #1
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    Handmade Tap and Screwbox Project

    I have started a project to make a tap and screw box from fine woodworking, Spring 1977.

    So far I have cut made the tapand have to cut and install the cutter. See pic below.

    I will add to this post as I make the nut, screwbox and the threaded screw. I am working on this to cut a 2" screw with 3 TPI.

    I am interested if anyone else has made a wooden vise screw using this method.

    I seen Matt Evans' post a few days back and this inspired me to get moving on this project... Thanks Matt. I see you spent time cutting the threads on your vise. I am looking forward to seeing your tutorial.

    Thanks.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Heck, I will be happy to see someone elses project too! I made one of these a while ago, but did something a bit off, and it didn't work out well.

    All I can say is that the Tap is the key. You get a tap made and have it working well, and you are all set. Dies are easy to make, provided you have the inside threads.

    It looks as though you and I start out the same way though, mark it out, cut a saw kerf. Then, the methods part ways.
    King of the run-on sentence, ellipses, quotations and parentheses; master of the art of making a two word sentence last longer than a Victor Hugo novel, emperor of reiteration, redundancy and repetition. . .I could go on, but I will keep this brief.

  3. #3
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    Your diameter and TPI are right on for authentic looking threads.

  4. #4
    I made two bench screws using a 1-1/2 screwbox and tap (that I purchased, not made). Would have liked to go with a 2" at the time but no one makes them that big. The screwbox isn't a problem. As Matt mentions, they are easy to make with a piece of wood and an old square file (for the cutter stock). The hard part is the tap. Since I had no way of making a 2" tap (or any size tap for that matter), I settled for the commercially available one. I have to say, that while it may not be the "ideal" size, nor the historically accurate size and thread pitch, it has served me well for a few years now. I figure if it breaks, I'll just make a new one, that is unless I figure out an easy way to make the tap .
    Bob

    "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right."

  5. #5
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    I tracked down a copy of that same issue with the same idea (except I was shooting for a 3" screw). I ordered some hard maple 3" dowel stock from Beall, some 60 degree carbid cutters (I believe from McMaster Carr), and some replacement blades for the thread boxes that Woodcraft sells. I also have a 1 1/2" thread box that i purchased from Woodcraft.

    What I'm thinking of doing is using the commercial thread box to make a 1.5 inch "nut", turning a 1.5 inch tenon on the piece of 3 inch dowel stock I'm going to use for a tap, cutting threads in that tenon with the commercial thread box and combining all of that (with some spacers as needed) to cut the threads for the 3 inch thread box. Afterward I can saw the tenon off of my tap and all should be set.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Jerome. I will have to check into the 60 degree cutter. Let me know the progress that you are making on your project. Sounds like you have a great plan of attack.

  7. #7
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    You can get a 2"(really metric) tap and die from the Dick catalog,published in Germany. However,the last time I saw one,it was something like $1650.00 Euros. Then there are other taxes and shipping from Europe,etc.

    How do you intend to make the larger diameter of the head of the 3" screw by using 3" dowel material? I would think that trying to glue it on would not be satisfactory.

    I had to make a 5" diameter screw for the large book press in the book binder's shop in Col. Wmsbg.. We got an oak 8"X8" and turned out the screw threads,and the larger,iron bound head from that. It is hard to find a kiln dried piece of oak that large as it cracks during drying. This piece had lain under cover outdoors for about 20 years,and was old and gray. We rough turned the screw and head,then kept it inside the shop for about 5 years. During that time,it went oval. Finally it got stable enough to finish.

    Do you have the patience to do that? . Fortunately,the only other large screw we had to make was the 12" diameter cider press with each thread 2" wide.

    For that,I got a large beech log. I wasn't yet toolmaker(kept getting put on special jobs). I found a country machine shop with,among other things,a huge old lathe. I took the log and had a 2" hole drilled its length by an oyster boat shaft hole driller.We put the log on the lathe with a fork lift. It was fully green. My plan was to have the central hole so that the log would have it to shrink into without splitting open as they always do. It worked. I turned the screw down while water ran around it!

    The screw had a 15" or 16" bulge where cross beams were inserted to tighten it. Holes 5" in diameter were cross drilled for them.

    The nut was made from an old gray huge log I found in a country lumber mill's yard. Sure enough,it had barbed wire in it,but not where I had to bore and thread it.

    To shorten this story,which I already posted months ago,with pictures,the object was to have the green screw shrink more than the less green nut,which probably had about 20% moisture. Otherwise,the huge screw could get pinched tight,and you'd never get it out. It worked. The screw,to this day,still works. The job was done about 1983.

    I think Williamsburg wants to give the cider press to Mount Vernon. The director who had me make it was replaced,and the new director hasn't the same interest. It is a shame,because cider was the soft(or hard) drink of the day. Every real old house in England has had the side beams, leading into the basement from the outside,chopped away some. This is because everyone kept a big cask of cider there,and in the 17th.C.(IIRC) the standard casks were enlarged. This shows the great importance that cider had in those days. It was their Coca Cola,or,if fermented,an alcoholic drink that was reasonably cheap for the masses.

    In Williamsburg,Carter's Grove Plantation grew 36 kinds of cider apples in the 18th.C..

    We have NO representation of this extremely necessary industry in Williamsburg(except for the selling of cider by the taverns.) It is just too bad that they can't get the impetus together to build a simple shelter to put the press under. They will never again find anyone who will undertake that huge scale screw,and I don't mean to brag. The other craftsmen are too focused on what they want to do,to be willing to branch out. I was the musical instrument maker at that time,but I was interested in many things,and wiling to take the challenge. There is a certain amount of snobbery amongst some of the craftsmen about their trade. This leads also to a lack of knowledge beyond the narrow path some have taken. I don't know how else to phrase it. The job was important to the museum at the time,and I did it. Otherwise it would never have been done. It must have cost over $200,000 all told. I hope I don't sound arrogant about this. That isn't my intention. Actually,I came down at the time from the higher trade of making violins and other fine instruments to do this.
    Last edited by george wilson; 01-17-2010 at 12:50 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    We have NO representation of this extremely necessary industry in Williamsburg(except for the selling of cider by the taverns.) It is just too bad that they can't get the impetus together to build a simple shelter to put the press under.

    Thanks for sharing this, George. I agree with you that it is a shame for Williamsburg to give up the ability to demonstrate this important aspect of Colonial life.
    -Andy, who has a mere 5 gallons of the good stuff fermenting in his cellar...

  9. #9
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    Wow George. That is quite a career that you have behind you. Thanks for sharing your story. I seen the price from germany and ouch. I am a hobby woodworker but willing to take some time to learn not only the new ways to do things but looking to learn the older way to do things as well. To make a 5 inch screw and then do a 12 inch one later, holy mackeral... I will be extremly happy if I can get the 2 inch screw to work.

    I am going to try and turned a larger diameter down and make it all one piece, hopefully it will work out in the end.

    You mention that you posted some picture months ago.. Was it on the creek? I will see if I can locate them.

    Thanks and have a great day.

  10. #10

    Cider Press at CW

    Hello George
    Wondering if the Director of that project was Jay Gaynor? I didn't see him on the bill for the FWW/CW conference this year? I suspect Jay might have moved on with the personnel changes made last year?

    Dan

  11. #11
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    Michael,yes,it was in this Neander section,too. Actually,I had to make the 12" screw first. The 5" was years later,after I became the toolmaker.

    If any of you go into the Bookbinder's shop down there,it is in the big book press in the back of the shop-but only 10' from the visitor's area,so easily seen.

    The original press screw was made many years ago by someone who didn't know how. They used square threads instead of 90 degree "V" threads. The square threads kept breaking off over the years,until the press would hardly work.

    The pressure on the threads needs to be met in the deepest part of the thread,and not out near the maximum diameter,as the square threads were apt to do. They got snapped off that way. 90 degree threads are stronger for wood as they are beefier than 60 degree metal type threads.

  12. #12
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    No,Dan,it was Earl Soles.

  13. #13
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    They should set the cider press up for use.

    Tourist would be happy to pay $10 for their kids to be able to turn the screw and drink a pint of fresh cider. They would likely pay extra for pictures or a book about cider in the day.

    jim
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  14. #14
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    The trouble with that,Jim,is sanitation codes wouldn't allow it. I do wish they would set up the press though.

    The problem might be that a huge press like that wouldn't be in the city. They've even let the windmill go to rot and ruin.

    I think that if the town was really authentic,no one would come there. The streets would be 2' DEEP with mud,horse droppings,etc. It was so mentioned in an 18th.C. letter.

    Other than that,it was a quiet little frontier town where nothing was going on except when political meetings were in session. So,in practical reality,the town is a very cleaned up version of the truth. No one kept their houses and fences all neatly painted,and all manner of farm animals were allowed to run loose. Those cute little fences were there because it was YOUR responsibility to keep other people's animals off your property. Today,it is the reverse.

    Those big,shady trees? There were NO trees allowed in town back then because they wanted the town to look like a CITY,not an outpost. Why don't they get rid of those? The tourists wouldn't like it without the trees.

    I could go on,but it isn't really possible to have 100% authenticity,but they nit pick about other stuff as if it IS possible to be authentic.

    A demonstration of a 10' cider press would be very interesting,as WAS the paper marbling and paper making demonstrations. Those no longer exist,either,nor does candle making,which many liked to see. We had outdoor trades like shingle making.That's gone,too. People LIKED those demonstrations.

    When I first came there,there were many more interesting things to see than there are now. The research weenies are really downsizing the entertaining and interesting things you used to see. Things that might not have been done in Williamsburg,but things which WERE done in the 18th.C.. The trouble also is,if some letter or document doesn't mention some trade,or some entertainment that went on in town,they feel that it didn't exist.
    Last edited by george wilson; 01-17-2010 at 4:17 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    Every real old house in England has had the side beams, leading into the basement from the outside,chopped away some. This is because everyone kept a big cask of cider there,and in the 17th.C.(IIRC) the standard casks were enlarged. This shows the great importance that cider had in those days. It was their Coca Cola,or,if fermented,an alcoholic drink that was reasonably cheap for the masses.
    I'm from the UK and I lived in the South West which is one of the country's best apple producing areas where cider is a way of life (cider being a highly intoxicating alcoholic drink and not just apple juice. Perry is the equivalent drink made from pears). Basements seem to be prevalent in the US, but not so in the UK. I'm aware of one or two large houses in the South West with cellars, but they were wine cellars and not modified to keep cider. Cider was a working class drink and often farm workers were part-paid in cider. Most farms had their own presses and many still survive, although some have been moved to museums or tourist centres. There are still quite a few working cider mills in existence, some can trace their origins back hundreds of years. Regional varieties of apples and therefore variations in cider were/are legendary, to the same extent as wine, champagne and brandy varieties and vintages. My preferred cider mill is the one at Burrow Hill at Kingsbury Episcopi near Martock in Somerset where Julian Temperley produces dozens of varieties in a rickety old timber barn with equipment that's over 150 years old.
    Small ale (low or zero alcohol beer) was the drink consumed at breakfast, lunch and dinner by children, men and women of all classes because it was safer than the available untreated drinking water in the more densely populated areas.

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