Working with Small Pieces
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Tagged: ebony dowel small
- This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 8 months ago by gdailey2.
8 July 2016 at 11:45 pm #138379
I am very new to woodworking and am working through the Winding Sticks episodes.
I am in the process of making the ebony dowel for the center dot, but I am having trouble getting a 1/4″ square strip. I have a roughly 1′ x 2″ x 1″ block of ebony. I tried cutting a 1/4″ section cross wise but then had trouble holding down the small 2″ x 1″ x 1/4″ piece down to get the other dimension.
So, first question is: how do you all hold down and cut thin and/or small pieces of wood? And what would be the best strategy for getting the 1/4″+ dowel blank I need? (I have no bandsaw or other major power tools)
On the second front, I’ve made them and for the dowels I used a similar technique as Paul–I have a thick steel plate with various sized holes in it. I’ve taken a relatively small piece of stock, shaved down the leading edge so it would go in easier and hammered it through the steel to get the dowel. Yes, the wood needs to be relatively close in size to the diameter that you want to create. I would hate to lop off a piece of that ebony block for a dowel since I know how expensive it can be–I would consider going to Woodcraft or Rockler or somewhere like that that sells pen blanks for lathes–I think that is a relatively good size of wood to use (you could probably cut it into smaller strips–blanks are usually around 1″ square). Anyway, the blanks are cheap–Woodcraft sells ebony blanks for $1.50 for example (I bet that 1’x 2″x 1″ block of ebony cost $20-30 by comparison).
To hold down the thin piece of wood, I would clamp it to a larger piece of wood (that is secured in your vise) that is sacrificial and just work your way down–sawing a bit, then moving the wood out a bit, saw some more, etc. Pretty sure this is how Paul handled cutting the ebony strip that he put along the top of the winding sticks.
Ebony can be hard/brittle but I’ve found it is also pretty workable. A zona saw or small razor back saw should work pretty well with the above technique. No power tools necessary.
10 July 2016 at 3:44 pm #138412
- This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by David B.
David that is a great idea buying a pen blank.
Steve Massie, I live in the great State of Florida, US
I agree – attach to a larger sacrifical piece. Clamping to a sacrificial piece is difficult, but double-sided tape or cyanoacrylate glue works well. Hot glue doesn’t penetrate the grain, which can be a problem with cyano. An intermediate layer of paper can reduce the separation force if the final piece is very delicate. Geoff.
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