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Making a Nut Float

The problem with making tools, is that eventually you have all the tools you really need. I have met this problem and figured out how to conquer it! Simply manufacture the need! In this case I have decided to make a mandolin.

This requires a bunch of new tools! Since I want to learn luthery, I have started out by doing repair, adjustment and fine tuning. Repairing a range of instruments means even more tools.

One such tool is for cutting or adjusting the notch in the nut to take a string. Ideally you want a perfect fit. Of course you could just buy a set of nut files, but since you need a nut file per string size this could mean four files for a basic mandolin. If you broaden you range, you can quickly find a need for quite a few nut files.

Here is a small collection of string sets;
String Sets

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Testing For Lead

In my pursuit of toolmaking, I don’t want others to come to harm.  I use a lot of odd bits and bobs to make things with.  Brass and bronze have a special appeal.   The problem is that these items can be full of lead.  Leaded brass is easy to work and polishes up with ease.

As long as no one looks over your shoulder or cares about the dangers, there are a lot of good reasons for a business to use leaded materials.    Since compassion is only allowed in publicly traded companies when it is dictated by law, or demonstrably more profitable, it is just not safe to assume the products we buy are safe.

 10$ and free shipping for 8 test swabs is a bargain  considering that what you don’t know can make you and your children stupid and irrational. (Free shipping on $25+ orders, so you will have to get a few other items.   Getting this marshmallow gun with it will still leave you 2 cents short.)

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Making Tools with HSS Blanks

 
 
For under $5 you can obtain a set of HSS blanks from Harbor Freight.  Do this at a store, I have been so amazingly and expensively burned by online shopping with HF that I will never ever do that again.  The stores however are great as long as your are careful what you get.
 

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How to Make an Octagonal Handle, Shell Auger and Straight Drilling Guide

I will warn you, this walk-through is a big one!  The results, however, will let a woodworker without a lathe or mad shaping skills to have a reasonably high chance of turning a small chunk of wood into a lovely handle that can be held with comfort and pride!

I have been researching and experimenting with tool grips for quite some time. Recently I have begun to solidify my research and decided it was time to figure out how to make the perfect tool handle, make it well and make it consistently. Part of my goal here is to provide a handle form that does not need a lathe to turn. I wanted to make this something that would inspire and allow budding craftsmen to use, make and repair hand tools.

Lots of handle blanks

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Do You have Enough Tools?

I love posts about workshops in other countries.   They show other methods of work holding, and working with tools.  Often times you see amazing work being done with a few simple tools.   What I really like is the simple tools.

But in every conversation about these tools, someone has to make the cheap shot [...]