From WoodworkersZone WoodWiki
Welcome to part 2 of the WoodZone Woodworkers Scratch Awl Class.
Part 2 deals with using different shanks and handles than in part 1.
We will be using both Hex and Square material for the shanks.
We will also be showing options other than turned handles.
I urge you to use heavy gloves and safety glasses, as this lesson shows how to heat and twist hot metal.
Let's start with a 6" piece of 1/4" hex material. Mark where you want the twist.
I first mark down 1" for the handle depth, then mark where I want the twist, usually a 1" or 1-1/4" long twist.
Then grab a tap handle if you have one. These are handy for twisting the shank evenly after heating. If not, a pair of vise-grips will work.
Attach the tap handle, mount the shank in a vise, and heat marked area until it's cherry red. Do not overheat and melt the shank. I use an acetylene torch with a small brazing tip as the heat source, but a propane or mapp gas torch will also work.
Here is a batch of twisted shanks completed. Some are single twist, some are dual twist. If you do a double twist, let the first one cool off before doing the second twist, as the first one might twist more.
Hex shanks, I twist them one full turn.
Square shanks are twisted 3/4 of a turn, making sure when you stop that the square sides are lined up as close as possible.
The round shanks are twisted 1 full turn.
Check to see if the shanks are straight after heating. If they are crooked, just put them in the vise and bend them straight again.
Here is an optional suggestion. Put a sawn ring on both ends of the twist.
Tape up the ends to keep them from getting scarred up. The more scars on the shaft, the more polishing it takes to remove them.
Mount the shaft in your lathe chuck, the twist end close to the chuck, and use a hacksaw to cut a slight ring on the shank while the lathe is turning at low speed. Keep the hacksaw against your chuck so the saw won't skip across the twist.
OK, lets get them polished up and sharpened. Part 1 covers the polishing and sharpening of the round shafts. The same is done with the hex shaft.
The square shank gets polished the same, but the sharpening of the point is different. All four sides are ground down, then finished by filing to a sharp point.
I use a stationary belt/edge sander to get the basic shape started and to remove most of the material. Take a little off of each side, trying to keep the 4 sides uniform in shape. Have a cup of water handy to keep it cool. Try not to let the metal turn a dark blue.
Before filing and sharpening the end, I chuck the blank back in the lathe. Mark 1" down, and hacksaw a groove with the lathe running in slow speed. Groove it till it is completely around the shaft.
Remove and grind the corners off, then finish up by filing the 1" top portion round on the lathe. Notice I positioned the toolrest under the end of the shank for support when filing. You may also chuck the other end of the shank in the chuck and have the top end protruding out. With the lathe off, turn the lathe head or pulley towards you with your left hand, while filing with your right hand. Keep the file moving forward as you normally do when filing any metal. File forward, lift and bring file back, then file forward.
Then I take the shank to the workbench and file the end sharp, turning it over every so often to keep the sides consistent. I just clamped it to the bench top, added a screw in the bench top to keep it in place. I also filed down the twist portion flat to the shank sides.
I started with a coarse file and removed the material until I got it shaped to a point. Then I changed to a fine file. After filing to a sharp point, I buffed the shank on a buffing wheel. Emery cloth will also work, though slower.
If you have the ShopNotes issue #109, they made a neat wooden jig to hold the square shank while filing the end taper.
Next up will be two different styles of handles cut from square blanks and shaped to size.
Both handles use a piece of squared up hardwood 1-3/8"x3".
I used a piece of 1/8" thick, 3/4"x3/4" brass on the end. This is optional.
Center the brass on the end of the stock and mark reference lines.
Bandsaw all four sides of the stock. The handle will now be tapered.
Side can be straight, tapered, or curved, whatever you prefer.
Make a center mark in the brass and on the wood handle, and drill both with a 1/4" bit, or slightly over. Drill each separately, then apply epoxy, center, then let dry.
I found that if I epoxied the brass on before drilling, the heat generated would loosen the epoxy.
Finish up the handle by sanding smooth, rounding over or simply removing the sharp edges.
Put some epoxy in the shank hole, then insert whichever shank you chose to make.
Tape off the shank and apply some finish to the handle.