NUTS! What one can learn from failure

I’m very happy to be in possession of a couple of nuts from Lake Erie Tool Company.  They’re beautifully made.

Nuts from Lake Erie Tool Company

As I mentioned to you in a previous post, I highly recommend that you buy your wooden bench screws and nuts from a vendor who is set up to manufacture them on a production basis.  Okay, the screws are easy enough.  Make them if you want to, but I’m still suggesting that you buy the nuts and save yourself a whole lot of headaches. 

Never being one to take my own good advice, I just had to try to come up with a way I could produce a higher quality nut for my own use with stuff I already had in the shop.  I had produced several screws that were undersized and I didn’t want to waste them.  So why not waste three or four days of my time instead?
I decided I could use my lathe as a spindle to hold a fly cutter.  I ground down an old spade bit and made a fly cutter with two 60 degree cutting edges.

Then I figured that I could use my “lunette box” from the screw making machine.  I could use the same lead screw.  All I had to do was make a hub with a couple of stand-offs to support the nut blank.

Then I’d use a center plug and mount the blank and simply slowly turn the blank into the flycutter and voila, a perfectly formed nut.

Okay, pull the plug, turn on the cutter, turn the leadscrew….

Then it all went awry.  Cumulative clearances, an over-extended leadscrew, a “too thin” cutter all came together to form the perfect storm.  Overwhelming vibration set in.  And, try as I might, I simply was not man enough to restrain the whole thing.  I did succeed in creating several nuts, all of which were over diameter and not nearly concentric. 

Though I lost a couple nice pieces of hard maple, I was reminded of a valuable lesson: failure can be a much better teacher than success, assuming that you can kick your ego out of the room while the class is being held.

So, once again I say unto you, make a screw, buy your nuts.

I think I’m gonna try to repair my old wooden tapscrew.  What the heck?????

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5 Comments on “NUTS! What one can learn from failure”


    dennis,if learning from failure is true ,then i feel i have failed so often,on so many different things i must be qualified to do anything on most any subject !!!!! larry

  2. Adrian Says:

    Have you seen MrCarters Account on You Tube. IT is a great example of fresh young mind that knows how to figure the nut die problem out. Check it out.

  3. Reinaldo Says:

    Mr. Laney

    I’m trying to assemble the entire apparatus to make the wood screws. Fabricated fly cutter was easy. Thanks for the explanation of the blog. I’m photographing everything and send the pictures when finished.
    I am passionate about carpentry and wood screws are a determination.

    Santos – São Paulo – Brasil

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      Hello Reinaldo,

      I think there might be a much better way than the method I used. Think about carving just the first inch (approximately) of the screw, then set up the “lunette” just after the router bit. As the router cuts the thread, it will be engaged by the lunette and pulled through the “thread-cutter”. I think that this will be a much easier device to build and the lengthe of the screws that you can make will be unlimited.

      Thanks for your email. Stay in touch and send me some jpegs of your work. I’ll be glad to put them on the blog, especially if the “pulling” method works as well as I think it will. BTW, The nuts are the biggest challenge. I think that splitting the nut and carving the threads is the easiest way, especially if you are doing different diameters.

      Good to hear from you and thanks for your interest,
      Dennis Laney

      • Reinaldo Says:

        Master Laney

        I’m buying the stuff and I’m going to study the process better.
        Not mastered the English and need to translate (Google), but I understand your suggestion.
        So you go through the process, I get in touch.

        beautiful jpeg
        beautiful wood screws

        Santos – São Paulo – Brazil

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