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Thread: Wooden Thread Tap

  1. #1

    Wooden Thread Tap

    I'm in the process of planning my new bench and something I have always wanted is the large 2" - 3" wooden screw to thread into the bench for the vice's.

    Turns out I can't find anything for over 1-1/2". Also, I have read that the current ones are not the proper threading for wood.

    Does anyone have any ideas or measurements for building your own tap & die. I know there are a few for the wooden thread box but I'm more interested in how to build a tap for an impressive 3" wooden screw.

    I'm thinking a wooden dowel with two teeth secured into them at just the right angle but not sure the angle/spacing/depth or even how to properly secure them for the massive torque I'm sure they will see. Once I have the tap built, the thread box should be the easy part.

    Thinking more, maybe a single piece of flat tool steel with a tooth ground on each end offset just right and then secured inside a steel bar and tipped with a wooden plug to keep everything aligned.. hmmm

  2. #2
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    We had a 2" cast iron German one at work. There is a German catalog put out by Dick. The 2" taps and dies in it are about $2000.00(were a few years ago).

    You need to have 3 threads per inch for authentic wood threads 2" dia..

    While I was toolmaker,we made and renewed all the wooden vises in Williamsburg with it. The hard part was getting good 4" thick hard maple.
    Last edited by george wilson; 11-28-2010 at 10:23 PM.

  3. #3
    Mike,
    I was going to say how about buying a steel nut but I just checked prices at MSC for a 2"-4 it's $66 for a 2 1/2"-4 it's $112 and if you want it in SS its only $818 hehehe

    I should have opened a business making 2 1/2" Acme Nuts

    ENCO has steel threaded shaft and nuts if you can pin a wooden head to the shaft..

    1 1/4" is about $60
    1 1/2" is about $100
    For a 3' Long Shaft and Nut

    You could trap the nut in between two aluminum plates morticed into the leg
    Last edited by Johnny Kleso; 11-29-2010 at 2:08 AM.
    aka rarebear - Hand Planes 101 - RexMill - The Resource

  4. #4
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    Roy Underhill shows how to make a big wood screw in one of the Woodwright's Shop episodes, I think season 2700, but not sure.

    Pam

    http://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/schedule/video.html

  5. #5

    wooden tap

    I was having the same problem about 10 years ago when I built my bench. I had been working in a carving factory on some old hammecher & schlemmer benches with wood screw vises that I wanted to copy. They had 2.25" dia. screws with 2 tpi. I knew how to make the threadbox, but it took me a whlile to figure out how to make the tap. Basically I made a wooden tap and inserted metal blades. There are pictures in an old post here http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?p=1152692

    I recently made a tap blank for trevor walsh on this forum. He was thinking the same as you . I can make vise screws, nuts or a tap blank. PM me if interested

    Here is a picture of the tap blank I made for trevor, and a picture of my tap underneath his, showing the blades.

    -Brian Millspaw
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    I advise against making your own large screws and nuts. There are several folks making these for reasonable prices like this company:

    http://www.bigwoodvise.com/

    no affliation, blah blah blah

    Making screws is a good thing to shop out. Good screws can last several life times.

    You can find antique tap and die sets. I have a 2-1/2" set. I think it's 3 or 4 threads. It is seriously hard work to make working screws and nuts. The nuts are particulalry hard to make. The screws require very careful turning prior to cutting the threads.

    I say buy them.

    Adam

  7. #7
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    If you want to make a lot of them, I think the example george gave is a very good one (setting up a router to cut the threads on the rod). It seems like you could make one threaded set with a collet on the end and use that to turn and pull a dowel past a jigged router.

    If it's just a couple, I agree with Adam. Let someone else figure out how to do them, and buy them from the person who figures out how to do them well and offer them for a reasonable price. It's hard enough to cut them by hand on an improperly made smaller import thread box.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Millspaw View Post
    Here is a picture of the tap blank I made for trevor, and a picture of my tap underneath his, showing the blades.

    -Brian Millspaw
    Those are really nice!
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  9. #9
    BigWoodVise.com is no longer accepting orders

    I would like to figure out how to do this anyway.

    Brian what you posted is VERY close to what I was thinking about. only issue is, what comes first the tap or the box? how do you put the thread on the box to feed properly without the tap. how do you make the threads for the tap without having the box.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Olson View Post
    BigWoodVise.com is no longer accepting orders

    I would like to figure out how to do this anyway.

    Brian what you posted is VERY close to what I was thinking about. only issue is, what comes first the tap or the box? how do you put the thread on the box to feed properly without the tap. how do you make the threads for the tap without having the box.
    buy a short length of 3 tpi steel rod with a nut. That's probably a lot easier to do than making one.

    If you're a real glutton for punishment, and you don't have a metal lathe, you could probably make a card paper template cut on an angle, mark a dowel two or three times per inch around its circumference and then mark two or four lines along the length of the dowel. Wrap the cardstock around a dowel to mark the threads with the cardstock moving to the next marked circumference each time it goes around the dowel, and then cut the grooves square with a handsaw and chip them out with a very narrow chisel or gouge. I can't imagine doing that - it would take hours, but it could be done. Then once you make your first "good" threads, replace them in your "feeder" with the good ones.

    Jameel has a very good example of something similar on his blog for a totally different purpose, but the layout would be similar.
    Last edited by David Weaver; 11-29-2010 at 9:28 AM.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  11. #11
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    Do go find the Roy Underhill program that shows how to make the tap and box. Once you have the box,you can thread the rod. 3 threads per inch is plenty. 2 threads is o.k.,except that the root diameter of the threads is making your vise thread weaker. It is making the vise thread easier to twist off or accidentally crack. Look how small the root dia. becomes with 2 t.p.i..

    The wooden vise will most likely last you a long time,but we replaced the vise threads in the Anthony Hay cabinet shop in Williamsburg at least 3 times over the years (1986-2007) that I was toolmaker,but they were in daily hard use.

    Generally,you need only 1 tool steel tooth sticking up out of your tap,and it is advanced a little more each time through the box you are tapping. The ones Brian made look nice,too,though.

  12. #12
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    Here's the Woodwright's Shop episode from 2007 about making a screw box.

    Screw Box for Wooden Threads

    His example looks like about 1" diameter, and he used a commercial metal tap to cut threads into the screw box, so that part may throw you a curveball.

    There was an episode in an earlier season, before they started putting them on the web (), where he had an antique screw box for about 2" diameter, and he made a wooden tap to match. It was quite a contraption! But the central part of it was similar to what Brian Millspaw made above. By the way that larger screw box had two cutters, one set shallow for the initial cut.

    If you have (or your library has) his third book, The Woodwright's Workbook, chapter 3 is about screwboxes and taps, both small and large. There are numerous b&w photos and text description. Also included are a couple photos of the ridiculously large cider press screw that George Wilson made.

    Also in the appendix of his most recent book The Woodwright's Guide, there are two plates and his loose translation of the related text from Roubo's L'Art du Menuisier about screw boxes and taps. I think the earlier book is more informative, however; though I have not actually tried to make them.

    The screws on my workbench vises are from BigWoodVise. Another source is Lake Erie Toolworks.

  13. #13
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    The cider screw WAS ridiculously large. But it wasn't a ridiculously easy task making it!!

    It was a direct copy of an original in Somerset England. 12" dia. 6 threads per FOOT. The bulbous part was 16" in dia.,with 2 5" holes bored through at 90 to each other to put pry bars into.

    Since the large size threads did not offer a very high "gear ratio" for crushing up apples,they used a smaller "sampson" winch to pull on the beams inserted into the bulb of the larger screw. For some reason,I was unable to convince my stupid boss,Earl Soles,who WANTED this press made,that they used a smaller winch to tighten it. Eventually,I found pictures of them using the sampson. By then,I'd just decided to hell with it. Less work for me.

    Even better that I didn't build the Sampson,because they are thinking of giving the press and apple grinder to Mt. Vernon,which is a huge mistake. The making of cider was very essential in the 18th.C. It WAS their soft(or hard) drink. Near Williamsburg,at Carter's Grove plantation,I was told they grew 29 kinds of cider apples in the 18th.C..

    They seem to find plenty of money for their other building interests,but never could manage to house the cider press. Thus,an essential,authentic industry is lost to the museum,and they will never find anyone else to make another press for them. Visitors would love to see the HUGE press and apple grinder. I mean,it really is impressive.
    Last edited by george wilson; 11-29-2010 at 4:00 PM.

  14. #14
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    For what it's worth, after digesting all the effort it would take to make a large wooden screw and nut, including studying a Woodwright's video (2406 Wooden Thread Cutter, see Wikipedia for a complete list of episodes) and that book on it, and what it would take to buy tools to make it reasonably good (they only make sense if you're going into production) and what it costs to buy a screw and nut already made (sorry, Adam, but $145+ is not cheap for that many of us), I decided that if I were to buy I'd buy a metal screw. I'm still interested in making some big wooden screws, but this is on a very back burner.

    Making the screw is really pretty simple, once you work your way through handedness and the like; and all you need is a saw, veiner or other chisel, paper, and a lathe to turn the screw blank assuming you can't buy a good enough dowel. Roy has a show doing this. But the thread box is more difficult.

    This must be a journey we all take.

    Pam

  15. #15
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    I do not advise trying to use a dowel. Gluing it into the handle will probably soon fail from twisting stresses. Also,are there any 2" dia. dowels?

    Since I don't use dowels,I'm not familiar with what's available.

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