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steveperry

Drill press hollowing system suggestions

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I hope this hasn't been obviously answered somewhere already!  My hands are tired and I am older now.  Machines will help!

 

I already use a Wagner power planer for rough outside wood removal on some instruments.  Suggestions on control and layout systems would be extremely helpful!

 

Now I am looking to control interior wood removal and to remove waste efficiently.   I have used Forstner bits, modified spade bits, and tried a few other things, finding them perhaps less than optimal.  I have seen people use a chainsaw type circular bit running in the open and holding the plate up to throw wood chips all over.  This makes me extremely uncomfortable.

 

Suggestions and ideas would be extremely helpful!

 

Thank you very much. 

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Hi 

I find that forstner bits work very well. To avoid getting dimples on the outer surface it's well worth spending a bit of cash on a really good one that will cut efficiently with minimum pressure. I use one of these:

 

http://www.workshopheaven.com/tools/FAMAG-1622.013-13mm-Bormax-Forstner.html

 

I also treated myself to an Alberti depth stop a little while ago. Much quicker and far more accurate than messing around with the depth stop on the drill. One of those things that seems decadently extravagant but i've never once regretted the purchase. 

 

http://www.albertidesign.com/node/173

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Hey Steve,  I just use a 1/4 " or so drill on the drill press with a post from an old electric  light fixture for the plate to sit on.  I do mine backwards, so I'm taking wood off the outside, not the inside.  I just did it on a cello to rough it out.  I did it in halves, and then glued it together.  Worked just fine.

post-53723-0-75313000-1422289099_thumb.jpg

 One thing to consider is this:  The post, even though it is smooth and round, and the drill is small and sharp; will always leave dimples.  Maybe not everywhere, but there will be some; so I always do this in the roughing stage where the inside, or outside if you prefer, is close, but not done.  Then, you can rough the outside, or inside out so that it is close.  Then you can work from both sides to finish it up.  

For roughing I always use my little Lie Nielson plane.  

post-53723-0-77226400-1422289226_thumb.jpg

  It can make shot work of stock, and is easy on the body.  I have arthritis and tendonitis, and it works great for me.  I also like that the plane doesn't get me in trouble like a gouge can.  Admittingly, the aches and pains go away completely when I'm working, and only bother me when I am not moving!

post-53723-0-38327800-1422289171_thumb.jpg

For finishing I switch to the lever arm spike do dad that has less tendancy to leave dimple marks if you have a light touch, and are already close.  Mine is just barely big enough for the cello.

 

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 One thing to consider is this:  The post, even though it is smooth and round, and the drill is small and sharp; will always leave dimples.  Maybe not everywhere, but 

 

I never get any dimples. :)

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I also treated myself to an Alberti depth stop a little while ago. Much quicker and far more accurate than messing around with the depth stop on the drill. One of those things that seems decadently extravagant but i've never once regretted the purchase. 

 

http://www.albertidesign.com/node/173

Thanks for showing this John.  I had thought I saw it on the LV site and was going crazy trying to find it.

 

-Jim

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http://www.woodcraft.com/search2/search.aspx?query=king+arthur+tools&keyword=king_arthur_tools&refcode=06INGOOG&gclid=CNG58va6ssMCFRJlfgodAqYAyg

 

http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?q=grinder

 

 

Kind Arthur tools on a cheap grinder are very quick and easy...I can be dangerous so you have to be onit, but once you get it,its very precise as long as you are steady.

 

Somewhere David B. posted a cool video of him doing a John Henry competition against on of these rigs. I think David won, but that's cause he's super buff and carries a big gouge :D

 

For those of us with less than strapping thighs, the King Arthur and Lancelot tools are a great way to cheat...Get it, Lancelot, cheat :lol:  :lol: :lol:  :lol:  

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I used this Proxxon chain saw with depth drilled holes having a safety margin of around 3-4mm.  To reduce the aggressive cut I ran it lightly on a sharpening stone.  I don't recall any mess other than around the plate. I had to stop making due to hand problems.

post-24779-0-79263700-1422307930_thumb.jpg

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I use a board with a wood dowel that has the end covered with leather (no dimples).  I use a small bit ( maybe 3/16 of an inch, not sure)  in my drill press to drill the depth holes down to maybe five mm thick plates.  It  takes all of about thirty minutes to rough out the inside of a back, less for top.  After I get it down to the bottom of the holes I change bits to a small two mm bit and drill the final depth holes.  I start with a flat number three gouge and finish up with finger planes and scrapers.  I also take a pencil and mark the bottom of the holes, it shows up as a dot.  This helps a bunch when carving, it gives you a visual that is easy to see.

 

I have carved at least 75 tops and 75 backs and I've never trusted myself to just start carving the inside out with out depth holes.  I am always afraid of going too far and ruining the plate.

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Thank you all.  Here is a Wagner Power Planer stepped mandolin plate: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=128271&d=1420101323

I am fairly quick with a gouge, but am looking to save strokes and add consistency so that my assistant can do more.

 

The Knight thingie really does look nice.  And I'll look into top notch Forstner bit work.  I probably have junk ones! 

 

I may have access to a Gemini that I can try.  Oddly, one of the issues I have is that I built my shop for hand work and I have no idea where I would put a copy carver, so using one might entail building a new shop.  Everything is connected to everything else, apparently!

 

The link to albertidesign was somewhat evil.  There's already enough junk I think I can't live without!!!

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A sharp half-round drill bit works well for depth spotting, as it has no center web to compress the wood fibers.

 

I haven't tried that, but I would be concerned about unbalanced cutting forces tending to rattle the plate around at the start of the cut.  

 

Personally, I prefer very small, split-point twist drills, but have to be careful that the spiral doesn't suck up the plate into the drill and go thru.

 

I recently got a safe-T-planer, but have not yet gotten any profile templates together so I can rough the external arch.

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The good thing about forstner bits is that you get to remove a substantial amount of material at the same time as drilling your guide holes for subsequent gouging/planing. And they also have no "suck up" tendency.

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I haven't tried that, but I would be concerned about unbalanced cutting forces tending to rattle the plate around at the start of the cut.  

 

Personally, I prefer very small, split-point twist drills, but have to be careful that the spiral doesn't suck up the plate into the drill and go thru.

 

I recently got a safe-T-planer, but have not yet gotten any profile templates together so I can rough the external arch.

 

I have a Safe-T-Planer and use it very seldom.  I found it difficult to control.  I believe that the people who use it succesfully have very large tables on their drill presses.  It is difficult to use on small pieces unless you can fasten them to something larger that you can hang onto safely.  I scared myself a couple of times.  I found a comment on another website about this and I agree with those comments. I quote:

 

High level of technique required. I never have a problem at all, but I wouldn't let anyone else use one in the shop!!!

Very sharp

Only a little at a time.

Big flat table - I have an extra slab of heavy ply that bolts on.

Stops - I use clamps, clamped down pieces of wood, etc.

Table has to be dead level with the planer head.

Slow feed.

I don't use it for edge thickness, just for setting arching height, leveling plates, thinning ribs, thicknessing neck blocks etc. If I end up with my father in law's planer I'll probably shift to it. If I had a jointer, I'd also be getting away from the safety planer.

Never a nick or cut with it here, though!

Eye protection a must.

If not sharp problems occur. Keep it Sharp sharp sharp."

 

There is another warning - Be careful if the chuck on your drill press has a taper fit.  Dril presses are designed for linear forces in line with the chuck and the taper holds just fine.  Lateral forces which can arise from using the Saf-T-Planer can loosen the taper chuck.  Then it can drop down disastrously at the high speeds commonly used for the Safe-T-Planer.

 

More here = http://forums.finewoodworking.com/fine-woodworking-knots/general-discussion/scary-wagner-safe-t-planer-accident

 

I'm not sure it should have been named the "Safe"-T-Planer.

 

By the way, it looks like the manufacturer has closed up so they are discontinued.  Colectible?  There are some similar items out there now and I imagine these comments would also apply.

 

Cheers

Bob

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Michael, funny you should say that.  I've never had that problem, the drill press is cheap, but it doesn't shake.  But yesterday I did open up the seam on a cello back sawing the outline with a coping saw while trying to hold it still on the table!  That was some serious shaking.  Got some fun ahead of me.  At least I found out the join wasn't good.

Ken

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I hope this hasn't been obviously answered somewhere already!  My hands are tired and I am older now. 

 

Thank you very much. 

 

How old are you? I could possibly be incentivized to travel pretty much anywhere in the continental US, and deliver decent  tips on tool use and anti-inflammatory practices.

If you're like a hundred years old, I probably won't bother. :lol:

 

Somewhere David B. posted a cool video of him doing a John Henry competition against on of these rigs. I think David won, but that's cause he's super buff and carries a big gouge :D

 

Thanks. I think it's more about practice and technique, than physical strength. Not totally unlike playing the violin.

If I had discovered a method significantly more efficient than hand-carving (for the product I am trying to produce), I would have been all over it in a heartbeat.

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I haven't tried that, but I would be concerned about unbalanced cutting forces tending to rattle the plate around at the start of the cut.  

 

Personally, I prefer very small, split-point twist drills, but have to be careful that the spiral doesn't suck up the plate into the drill and go thru.

 

I recently got a safe-T-planer, but have not yet gotten any profile templates together so I can rough the external arch.

 

 

I also use a smallish 1/8" dia. half-round bit.  No rattling around, as the point is in the center.  Keep it sharp (don't use carbide) and it will cut smoothly and efficiently, requiring less linear force than with a twist drill with a central web, thus also avoiding dimpling on the opposite side.  Also, the straight flute assures that it will not grab and auger into your work.

 

BTW, re the OP:  I'm about the last one to go beyond the traditional class 1 or 2 hand tools, and usually use a two-fisted gouge to rough plates for an occasional instrument.  However, I have experimented with a Lancelot 22-tooth wheel on a cheap angle grinder for roughing hard sugar maple mandolin backs.  At 11,000 rpm, it's probably not for the faint of heart.  However, I grew up around traditional farms as a kid in the '50s & '60s, harvested hay with a chopper, ran a combine, fed grain into a mill run by a belt to the tractor, etc.  I (we) still harvest, split & stack our own firewood.  A lifetime of opportunities to get in trouble, so perhaps I'm lucky to have been part of a generation that still believed the best toys were to be found in the junk pile or in a stack of old timbers behind the barn.

 

One simply has to be present and focused in a wood shop, no matter what the activity.  If you can use a chainsaw, you can use a Lancelot.  I think it's a terrific tool.  Wear your goggles.  No loose clothing.  Make certain that you have rotated the guard on the angle grinder to protect your right hand.  Make sure the tool is sharp.  Secure the workpiece.  Hold on tight and experiment a little bit on scrap wood.  Take a flattish, grazing approach with the wheel with light, easy swipes.  Yes, chips everywhere.  But then, this ain't no office job.

 

I haven't checked this out, but if your grinder has a DC motor, you may be able to use a speed control or foot pedal.  However, I don't know if this would be a good idea, as the wheel run slower with less power may have a tendency to grab.

 

There are other less aggressive rotary carving tools, abrasive flap wheels, etc.  These may be worth looking into, as well.

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I have marked out graduation depths with a sharp 5 mm., shop made, center point, twist bit and a pyramid shaped wooden anvil on several hundred instruments . No dimples, no problems with center joints and the one and only time I ever saw a plate climb up the drill bit was on someone elses fiddle and I not only learned a bunch of good Italian swear words but Michael Darnton showed him a really clever repair technique so it was a valuable learning experience all around.

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Oh come on! What's wrong with a Strad type spike, a big gouge, and elbow grease? No one needs machines for fiddle making. Converting the timber from large blocks, perhaps, but making? Are you all wimps? Its just a few millimetres even on a cello back. I bet some of you even saw outlines out with a band saw! Work up a sweat, its healthier.  

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