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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I made an ‘amplifier’ for my iphone.

CedarAmp in the Mist

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A Tale of Two Screwdrivers

Sadly my favorite screwdrivers of old are beginning to show their age.  Not much life left in the few that haven’t gotten lost or broken.  While searching the web for a good ratcheting driver, I found a very interesting screwdriver. It is called a double drive screwdriver. Kobalt makes it and Lowe’s carries it. After reading about it I may have drooled a bit.  It is a ratcheting drive that turns the screw when you twist the grip. It also turns the screw when you twist the grip the other way. It looked very plastic and aluminum, but it also looked solid, so I had to try it out.   I am a technician by trade, so I use a screwdriver constantly.  A good screwdriver is a must have tool.

The price was a bit high, around 25 dollars, but it looked like a pretty nice leap in tool art.  It if worked as advertised, it would also save me time.

For comparison, I also obtained an HDX screwdriver set from Home Depot. This costs about $7.  I had already tried these out and found them to be fairly nice.   They don’t ratchet, but they have interchangeable bits and still end up working as well as a fixed bit screwdriver.   I had already converted several to wooden handles and found them to be a real pleasure to use.

Two screwdriver sets in packages

I was very exited to try out the nifty blue screwdrivers.  fortunately I had a magnifying lamp and an air conditioner that I needed to put back into working order.

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Striking Saws

I am charmed by rustic tools. Extreme simplicity, implied durability and the clear functionality speak strongly to me. I am delighted when I can capture that in a tool that I make.

Here are several recently made tools that are unique, simple, solid and quite functional.

Sheithed Saws
Striking Saws and a Hammer

This shows them sheathed and unsheathed.   I tried quite a few variations on sheath making and am finally happy with one of the results.  All of the saws have handles made of pecan.  The difference is how the wood was preserved.

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Warrington Hammers

Things coincide.  A bit of talk on best weight for a Warrington Hammer.  A Warrington Hammer is a Cross Peen designed for driving tacks.  The idea is that the thin end can slide between your fingers as you hold a tack.   It has been on my list of classic tools, but until I read Paul Sellers’ superb article on them, I did not have any good criteria for choosing one.  He likes them from 8 to 10 oz, so this gave me a starting point.

While I don’t have a need for one, I do drive tacks and this may be a safer and more efficient way to drive them.  So I may actually need one without knowing.  There have been a few discussions of them, so the impulse urge to have one is suddenly there.

Meanwhile, I have an old couch that is going to be a pain to get through the door.  I brought it in, back when my back allowed me all sorts of contortions, but now I have to be careful.  So I am going to take the couch apart first.   This couch is a leather couch I got in exchange for some programming ages ago.  Taking it apart reveals all sorts of weirdness.  It is made of ash, red oak, plywood and pine pinned together with zillions of tacks, nails, staples, brads and odd fittings.    No saw will survive this long and the angles prevent use.  So I decided to hack it apart.  Not by swinging an axe, but by putting a cheap axe/chisel/blade down and pounding it with a 3lb sledge.    With that and a few pry bars, I figured i could do it safely.

So I go to a dollar store that has a bunch of cheap odd tools, all for $1.09 each.   I get a couple of hatches and a couple of hammers to sharpen into handled wedge/chisels.

So first I try pounding a hatchet into a joint.

Broken Axe

The axe, as you can see fractured.  This tool is total junk, more dangerous than functional.  I will be throwing both axes away.

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