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    Nuts Are Us

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    stoneagebowyer
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    Nuts Are Us

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:34 pm

    This isn't a build-along, but just kinda showing off the work I have been doing on my little 10x4 lathe. This is one of those $450 Harbor Freight jobs, and while not a fine precision machine, it more than serves the casual crossbow maker or amature inventor.

    Right now, my antler is turned down to about 1.310". I am bringing it to 1.25". The good working part of the nut core (or whatever you care to call it) will yield at least 4 1" wide nuts, and maybe a couple of smaller diameter ones I can use for perhaps small weapons. This particular antler stem cost me about $70, so I can figure that being $17-$18 or so bucks per nut. Not cheap, but not too bad either.
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:02 pm

    I should probably post photos of the antler before I began working on it, in case any of you want to take this step and make nuts from moose stem. I got this from Moscow Hide & Fur, a great company with excellent customer service and fast delivery. This particual stem was about 8" long and weighed about 1.5 lb. You don't get to see the pieces normally you are purchasing from this company, but they never disapoint me. The stem is shed antler, so no moose were harmed for my hobby.

    I trimmed the rosette end a bit with a bandsaw, then fitted it to the lathe. Not hard stuff at all once you give it a go. If you happen to have a buddy with a lathe, all the better. Smile The turning is pretty simple using just standard lathe tools in the lathe tool holder. I'd say it takes about 2 hours to get a stem on the lathe and turned down. Use a digital caliper and go very slowly as you get closer to the final diamater, wear safety gear, and have fun. Considering this work was the second time ever I used the lathe, I think I am doing okay.

    In the second photo of me holding the stem, you can see my pug Davenport chilling out and keeping me company.
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    Basilisk120
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by Basilisk120 on Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:26 am

    Looks cool. Thanks for the pics.



    As a side note I am tempted to pick up one of those lathes. Do you like it? They sound decent for the money.



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    stoneagebowyer
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:13 am

    I'd very much recommend one. They are heavy, about 75 lbs, so be prepared to grunt a bit as you move it around your work area. You can do a lot to optimize and improve on them, and there are even user groups online you can join to help you get the most from these lathes. I have a few nifty attachments, such as one that converts it into a small woodworking lathe, some quick change tool holders, stuff like that.
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    mac
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by mac on Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:52 pm

    Stoneage,

    You go guy! Moose antler nuts are "da bomb".

    Here's what I do to finish them up after parting them off the stock...

    .....get thick piece of wood mounter in the lathe. It can be wood, MDF, or dense particle board. You can hold it in a chuck, or mount it to a face plate; your choice.

    .....carefully bore a nice straight sided cylindrical hole in the wood. Make it be the same size as the OD of the nut. It should be a nice easy press fit. If the hole is a bit too big, you can pad the nut up with some pieces of tape.

    .... press the nut into the wood "friction chuck". Take care to get it running nice and true.

    ....bore your hole in the center, using a bit in the tailstock. Starting the hole with a "center bit" like they use on a metal lathe will help to get it going straight.

    ....while you have got the nut in your friction chuck, face the side nice and flat, and polish it. A decorative line or too looks nice here, and they are authentic.

    ...pull the nut out and reverse it in the friction chuck.

    ....face, polish, and decorate the other side.

    While you have everything set up, you might as well do a bunch of them.

    Mac
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    stoneagebowyer
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:59 am

    Thanks for the excellent advice, Mac.

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    stoneagebowyer
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:39 am

    Quick question for you, Mac, if I can. How do you go about polishing roller nuts? Facing is simple, and I plan to make up a friction chuck later today or tomorrow. Sounds like a great way to face the nuts accurately. The decorative lines also sound like a nice way to give the nuts a bit of extra flair.

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    mac
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by mac on Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:20 am

    Dane,

    It's been a while since I last made a nut.....and now that I think about it, I think I got the surfaces down to about a well worn 220 grit on the lathe, and did the actual polishing on a cloth wheel. I think I used a tripoli compound. Almost any compound will work, but you want something with a neutral color, so that the residue doesn't show. Black emery and red rouge will leave traces of color in the grain of the material.

    I think you could probably get good results polishing right on the lathe if you put some compound on a piece of leather glued to a stick. This would let you get good pressure.

    Mac
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    stoneagebowyer
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:38 am

    That is exactly what I had planned to do, Mac. I have a drill chuck and arbor that replaces the regular live center, so drilling holes accurately is a breeze. I will pick up some polishing compound later today.

    Have a terrific Christmas, Mac.

    Dane
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by mac on Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:16 pm

    Have you got a center bit of the right size to get the hole started?



    Regular drill bits are not stiff enough to start straight in antler. They tend to wander off center as they enter the work, and then the hole ends up crooked.

    Mac
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:12 pm

    They are indeed center bits. Thanks!
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    Re: Nuts Are Us

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:55 am





    I did some more work on the lathe, and am very pleased with the outcome. The photos show the digital caliper as I check the outside diameter, and was going very, very slowly at this point. Then, polishing the workpiece. Following Mac's excellent advice, I glued some fine grit sandpaper to sticks, and did some basic sanding, then a leather pad impregnated with Tripoli polishing compound. I mounted the workpiece directly in the lathe chuck, although the wooden friction chuck idea is great, and this seemed to work out fine. I faced each nut, which went quickly with no issues. I ended up with four nice nuts, with all slightly different lengths, as I figured that interchangable parts are not something I am worrying about right now. Smile

    I still have to bore the center holes, and will take care of that as needed.

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