Making Wooden Screws – Lessons Learned
Well, just a few minutes ago my big wood tap screw went KABLOOIE!! It was made out of cherry, so I didn’t expect it to have an extremely long life. I’ll have to make another one, maybe.
If you’ve been reading the blog over the past few weeks you know that I became completely enchanted by the big wood screw making process. Now I can share with you the wisdom I have acquired as a result of this process.
If you’re willing to put in the time (and a little money), making the screws is pretty simple stuff. The nuts, on the other hand, are difficult to make, at best. They’re not that challenging in a technical sense. It’s just extraordinarily laborious work. Using the type of traditional tapping machine that Underhill shows (shown in previous articles in this blog), the nutmaking process requires hours of manufacturing time and a significant amount of elbow grease. Fitting is required and though serviceable, the internal threads show an appreciable amount of damage, created when the scraping cutter traverses the “against the grain” quadrant of the “face grain” presented block.
The long and short of it is this: I’m glad I did it. And since I’ve built the fixturing, I may well make more screws in the future, a few for working, a few as gag gifts. But my STRONG suggestion is this – BUY THEM. Wooden bench screws are great for any bench application. For hundreds of years they were the standard. They’re still great! But do yourself a favor, buy your bench screws from a reputable supplier; someone like Lake Erie Tool Works . If you want to make your own screw, so be it. But save yourself a lot of headaches and buy the nuts. You’ll be glad you did.