Author Topic: New tools to share - round floats  (Read 2074 times)

Offline Curtis

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New tools to share - round floats
« on: November 08, 2018, 08:30:46 AM »
Howdy folks!  I had made my first plane float last summer at the NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar in George Suiter's class, then made a smaller one for use on stock moldings and such based on a float that I saw in Hershel House's shop.  I was so impressed by how smoothly the floats cut wood I decided to experiment with making some half-round floats to help with tasks that I sometimes struggled with using conventional tools.  I got the idea for the shape of the teeth from an 18th century barrel inletting tool that George had in the class. 

The floats were made a few months ago but I am just getting around to posting them.  I started with some drill rod (I think I used 3/16" and 3/8" for these), heated one end and bent it to a slight curve in a vice, heating and bending until I was happy with the shape.  The initial slots for the teeth using a hacksaw.



Next the backs of the teeth were filed using different sizes of three cornered files with at least one safe edge.  I used some dykem and a sharpie to help visually with the filing, and stopped just short of the hacksaw cuts.





To clean up the faces of the teeth I used a knife edge file and a Barret file with the back filed flat.  Once in a while I would switch back to a triangular file to even things up as necessary.







When finished with the filing I tested them on some soft wood, then hardened and heat treated the cutters to a dark straw color with a torch.





When finished with the tools I tested them out on an English walnut stock I was shaping.  I had already done the primary shaping and used the floats to refine some of the elements.  Here are some examples of use:





















A fun project if you need a special tool that makes a smooth cut!  I have even used them on flat or slightly arced surfaces to remove stock by pushing them somewhat diagonally.  I hope someone can get godd use from this idea.   :)

Thanks for looking,
Curtis
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
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Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline David R.

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2018, 03:00:51 PM »
I like.
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Offline KC

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2018, 03:01:34 PM »
I'm sure these would be great tools to have. The pictures show the process of making them so well that this post might be best saved in the "Shop Made Tools" section. Thanks for posting this.
K.C.
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Offline Bob Roller

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2018, 03:56:48 PM »
There is a lot of satisfaction in being able to make your own tools.
Even more when the idea works as you hope it will. ;D

Bob Roller

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2018, 04:04:11 PM »
Love great ideas such as this. Now to order some drill stock!
Craig Wilcox
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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2018, 04:06:03 PM »
Those might work well for those hollow moldings on forestocks.
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Offline t.caster

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2018, 05:39:29 PM »
Those might work well for those hollow moldings on forestocks.

That's what I was thinking. Thanks for the demo.
Tom C.

Offline David Rase

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2018, 06:06:29 PM »
One of the best features of your floats Curtis is that by hand cutting the teeth the spacing is slightly different on all the teeth thus avoiding chatter when you push them.
David

Offline Chowmi

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2018, 06:15:22 PM »
Nice tool making, Curtis!
Looks great

Norm
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Offline RJD-VT

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2018, 06:17:25 PM »
Thanks Curtis. I'm with KC. This should be put in the shop tools section.
Are these tools made of water or oil steel? Which do you like the best?
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Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2018, 06:24:21 PM »
 Those are really neat, guess everything else in the shop will be on hold today while I try one of those. Two other things, I often wondered but never knew the name of that file, the Barret. Number Two,  that screw head in the lock mortise, what's it holding. At first I thought that it held the stock to another piece clamped to the table so it would be easier to hold but I don't see a forward screw hole in the other pic. Whatever, I am going to use the screw through to a scrap to hold the stock idea.

 Thanks, Tim 

Offline stubshaft

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2018, 07:32:43 PM »
It looks easy enough for even me to make.
Joe
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Offline Long Ears

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2018, 07:45:30 PM »
Tim, my bet is the screw in the lock mortise is for a hook on the lock plate to hook under. He won't use a front lock bolt. Bob

Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2018, 08:32:19 PM »
Tim, my bet is the screw in the lock mortise is for a hook on the lock plate to hook under. He won't use a front lock bolt. Bob

 That's what I thought at first, maybe so and it just hasn't been cut down yet.

    Tim

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2018, 09:16:39 PM »
Curtis, you have answered a question I have had about some old rusty pieces of metal my brother rescued from my grandfathers estate. They were obviously parts of hand made tools, but we had no clue what kind of tools. He was trained as a violin maker as a young man in Germany, and served an apprenticeship, as was the custom back then. He once told me, and my brother, that part of his apprenticeship was to make his tools. I now believe these little tools were handless molding rasps. Thank you.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Scota4570

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2018, 10:31:45 PM »
Nice idea. 

I see the teeth are made to cut on the push.  I find I get more control with similar tool when I make them to cut on the pull.   

Offline SingleMalt

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2018, 03:58:14 AM »
I like it!  That's a heck of a great idea!
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Offline Curtis

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2018, 08:14:08 AM »
Thanks for your comments guys!  I'll attempt to address the questions and some comments....

Mike- this type of tool would probably work well for making a forestock hollow, I hadn't thought of that particular use.  It would not be hard to make up a guide to fit the ramrod hole if one was desired.

Dave- the random spacing on the teeth does help with preventing chatter, I wish I could say I made them random on purpose!  You should have seen the 18th century barrel inletting tool that George Suiter had at the class, it was almost perfect like it had been made on a machine.  I want to point out to anyone making any type of float, the spacing of the teeth does not have to be perfect, and variation in spacing may help with chatter as Dave mentions.  HOWEVER it is CRITICAL that all the teeth are the same height or the cutting action will be less than ideal.

RJD-VT- I think the larger one was oil, air, and water hardening steel left over from a purchase several years ago, the smaller was definitely oil hardening.  I much prefer the oil hardening steel, and I used kerosene for the quench on these as it leaves very little to no scale on the steel.  I annealed the steel on both tools after bending, by heating them red hot and cooling in a bucket of wood ashes to accommodate filing.

Tim- the gun is an English sporting gun, the screw in the lock mortise is to engage a hook on the front of the lock instead of using a bolt from the other side as Longears surmised.   This was a common feature on English guns and eliminates any possible conflict of a forward lock bolt and the ramrod hole.





I don't have a photo of the hook I made on my lock but it is patterned after the one I have on an English pistol shown below:





Stubshaft- The tools aren't difficult to make however the filing involved is certainly an exercise in patience!  8)

Hungry Horse - glad I could help with solving your mystery!

Scota4570 - you could file the teeth in reverse if you think a pull stroke would help with control.

Singlemalt- thanks!

Curtis
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2018, 04:38:24 PM »
Curtis, others, I have been thinking about this.  If you cut the tool 6-8" long, you could put a 30 deg or so bend on each end, being bent in opposite directions.  Then one end can be filed for cutting on the push, the other end for cutting on the pull.
Just an idea.  I'll get me some proper tool steel and give it a try.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2018, 04:36:33 AM »
Well, Curtis, I did manage to get some steel, and made three of these.
The first two were of W-1 tool steel.  Good tough stuff, tho the jeweler's saw made short work of it.  That was the 3/8" and 3/16".  Then I found some 1/4" diameter 12L14, and made that one. 
Had some scrap 4/4 maple, made handles for the little tools.  Planed them to an octagon, keep 'em from rolling off the bench.  Practiced using the LM stains.
I did heat and quench (salt water), then baked them for about an hour.  They are remarkably hard, sharp tools, and make those concave curves very well.  I also set them up to cut on the pull - just a bit easier for me that way.
Really appreciate your "inventor's mind"!  Thanks, my friend.  I will see if I can post a photo tomorrow.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline Curtis

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2018, 08:34:33 AM »
It's great to hear you made some and they worked out well, Craig!  Post those pics when you can.  I was impressed with how smooth they cut.

Curtis
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2018, 01:26:52 AM »
Curtiss, the largest (3/8) and the smallest (3/16) were made from W-1 tool steel.  The middle size (1/4) was from a piece of 12L14 that I had.  I must confess that I do not know how to harden that last one.  The other two were hardened in salt water, dried, and oiled.  Cut really nice.
Some other tools shown are stabbing-in tools, but I am making replacements from 74/75 spring steel, which I am hardening in oil.  I am using the only oil I have, which is synthetic sperm whale oil.  It definitely has a "fishy" smell, even tho sperm whales are not fish.  Seems to work tho.

The carving knife is from Flextool, but I hated the cheap, bubbly finish, so scraped it down and stained and used some Permalyn.  Took the opportunity to put a good edge on it also.

You can see that I made the first cuts with the jeweller's saw, followed with a hacksaw.  Let me line up the cuts a bit easier.

Spike, of course, is Spike!  Polished and blued, helps with wire inlay, burnishing, etc.




Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline Curtis

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Re: New tools to share - round floats
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2018, 09:11:22 AM »
Nice work!  I like the spike too.  ;)  You can get case hardening compound from muzzleloader builder supply, or internet sources and case harden the 12L14 steel.  That should keep it sharp for a long time when used on wood.

Curtis
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing