A place for me to display some of the varied projects that come out of my shop, as well as to "talk" about some of my experiences working with wood.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

My own take on Nice Tools

Did I mention I like nice tools?

Buying those nice tools from Dave Jeske inspired me to do some more tool upgrades around the shop, but this time I would take on the task myself. The target this time was screwdrivers, and yes you need to be a little off to get excited about a screwdriver upgrade project....

I had bought a nice set of screwdrivers several years ago from Lee Valley (these ones) and have been generally pleased with their performance, the large guy was a bit too big for my hands so was not that comfortable - not to mention the very pedestrian look of the set, which is very important also!!

So I started where I always start, online looking for ideas. I was delighted to find that Lee Valley is selling the shafts of those same screwdrivers for just this purpose here  - I was off to the races. I was afraid I was going to have to cannibalize another set which was not going to be fun.

There are also many youtube videos and how-tos on woodworking forums, as well as folks online selling "custom" screwdriver sets. Armed with all this inspiration I sat down with pencil and paper and starting sketching, using several existing tools I found sizes and shapes that were comfortable in my hands and worked out a design.

My sketch and some nice Pau Rosa blanks
 with screwdriver handles hidden inside.

Wood choice was key here, I wanted them to be unique looking but I had O.D.'d on cocobolo so wanted something different - I headed over to see Darrell at Halifax Specialty Hardwoods to see what I could find - known as "The Wood Store" around the house, they are conveniently located to extract the most money from me. (I am really glad they moved Canadian Tire further away, it was getting too expensiive having them that close!!!!) I picked up some nicely figured Pau Rosa turning blanks in 18" lengths which would give me the three sizes for each tip from one piece.

Using the story stick I made (shown in photo above), I laid out the rounded blanks and cut the material to length. The turning is relatively straight-forward and the lathe drilling went well, so in no time I had 3 nice handles ready for assembly. Now it is quite easy to turn individual pieces, the real challenge is turning 3 sets of handles that all match in shape and size, we will see how it goes for the phillips and robertson tips.

Ready for Glue-up!

While I plan to write an article on the project, which will give all the gorey details, some folks may want to see how they go together, so this shot is the large guy ready for some glue-up with super-thick CA, notice I added a rubber washer which hides messy underparts...

 And here is a shot of the completed range of slot screwdrivers, having worked out all the kinks on this set, it will be easy to finish up the phillips and robertson sets in a day.

I am very pleased with the outcome!!

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