Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Bismarck

Summer is usually a busy time, but this is ridiculous! Luckily for me, things are finally slowing to a humane pace as my teaching is subsiding and the Galbert Caliper 2 is in assembly.

My recent trip to Maine was a success in more than one way. Teaching away from home can be a huge amount of work, but sometimes I come upon things in the large classes that might never happen in the calm of my own shop. One of these things is the new bit that I call "The Bismarck" (for reasons that will soon be apparent)

Here's the how and why. A couple of students drilled the holes in the seat to the wrong sightline, not too uncommon or that big of a deal. I made a couple of pine plugs with my Veritas tenon cutter and glued them in with CA glue. When it came time to redrill the holes, the brad points that I grind and love wouldn't do the job. The issue is that brad points don't drill well into end grain, which now stared at us at the end of the plug. As much as I rail against twist bits, they are the tool for the job.

The main trouble with twist bits is that they are made for metal and best used in a drill press, but they eat end grain for breakfast. So in the heat of the moment, with 10 other students in a flurry of action around me, I chose to grind my lovely 5/8" bradpoint into a twist bit, but slightly different. This one has a horn.

The long center point now only guided the bit without the "wander" of a normal twist bit, but kept the bit spinning cleanly without a drill press. It worked great.

Then I started to take a closer look at the potential of the bit in other applications. One of the downfalls of my bradpoints is that student new to them often sink the center point into the soft pine while getting their position set, this can cause the side spurs to make contact before the drilling begins. Once they gun it, ouch, major tear out. Of course this is easily avoided by getting the drill up to speed before allowing the side spurs to touch, but experience has shown that it's easy to lose focus on the bit while learning to drill at angles.

The Bismark also works great drilling at extreme angles into the legs without any surface damaging issues. I am going to continue exploring this bit, most likely using it where folks tend to chunk out the holes.

To make the bit, simply follow the instructions in my brad point grinding posts, but omit the notch in the grinding wheel. You'll end up with a rather flat brad point. Then change the angle of the fence on the tool rest to make the wings fall away from the center. Perhaps a video is in order!

Besides tending to my lovely goats (Tee, I promise some pictures soon!), I've had a lot of students pass through,

Here's Bill,



and Bill, and then I was off to Maine.

One of my students, Kenneth, is Amish, and road five hours in his buggy to take the class. Here is his horse Melody. She spent the week quietly grazing on the school pasture. Watching her graze helped soothe my homesickness.

Here is Kenneth's buggy. Just being around him had a calming effect.

Here's Paul working away while I went to lunch!

and the whole class, tired but not beaten!

I plan on announcing that the new calipers will be available as of next Monday. Thanks everyone for your patience!


greg said...

I'm sorry I had to cancel out of the class. Is there any chance you can give us a picture of the pinched waist crest rail bending form you used in the class?

alan said...

I thought you had a notch in the wheel when you formed your Bismarck bit last week.
Didn't think you were a homesick type of guy!

Peter Galbert said...

I'll take a shot and post it soon,

In the class, I did use a notch in the wheel, but that was for the brad point. If all you were making is the "bismarck", you could do it without a notch. I am going to make a video demo of both!

alan said...

Can't wait!

Tee, Kerry's wife said...

Looks like a great class. We were amazed at Kenneth that "drove" five hours in the his buggy. I'm still waiting for photos of the kids, however, I realize you are a busy man. :-)