Where can I get a tapered drill?

by Cliff

I want to drill a bunch of tapered holes. The large starting diameter is 1 3/8" and it tapers down at 11 degrees to ~ 3/4"diameter at 3" deep.

I don't know about getting a tapered bit, except for small countersinks used to pre-drill holes. For the size you are looking for I'd recommend drilling a stepped hole then using a reamer to make the taper.

In other words, drill a hole that is 3/4" wide at three inches deep, 1" wide at 1 1/2" deep and 1 3/8" wide at the top, or whatever the depths work out to. I definitely recommend a couple test holes! The more steps you have the easier it will be to ream it out.

If your holes have to be exact and you need to make a lot, it might be worth seeing if someone can machine a reamer to your exact specs.

You could also try calling a woodworking shop and see if someone knows about a tool that would work better. If you find one, please let me know.

Hope this helps.

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What is the name of this tool?

by Jim
(Chillicothe, Oh. USA)

contour gauge

contour gauge

Q: It has sliding parts that conform to the profile of a piece of molding or some other odd shaped part or material.

A: I have attached a photo of the tool I think you are talking about.

It is called a contour gauge or a contour duplication gauge. It a useful tool. I don't use it often, but when I need to match a profile nothing else works as well.

I like to trace the contour onto a piece of 1/4" plywood, both the positive and negative profiles, then I have a sturdy reminder of the profile I need. I have a pile of saved profiles hanging from a hook with the information about the job, materials, paint color, etc. That way if I need to duplicate something again I have all the information in one place.

Click on the link for information about other woodworking tools.

Hope this helps.

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Types of machines I should have in making wood supplies (such as 1" x 2", 2" x 3" etc)


I can get ample supplies of logs of smaller sizes (diameter between 4 to 8 inches) that can be turned into wood supplies of various sizes such as 1x2, 2x2, 2x3 etc.

What are the types of machines I should have to do such work? By the way I'm not a carpenter in the true sense of words but I like to tinker around with my mitre saw, hammer, nails and screws.

I use recycle woods (crates, pallets and construction woods) thrown by the contractors!!!. Thank you.

A: I guess that depends on your budget, how much wood you are going to be milling, the size of the lumber you want to end up with and whether you want rough lumber or finished boards.

There are various milling machines on the market (at least here in the US) that will cut your lumber into slabs. They range in size from heavy machine drawn saws that will rip a log up to several feet in diameter, to various jigs that can be attached to a chain saw. They are all useful for ripping long logs into boards of rough lumber.

However, if you are working with smaller diameter logs you could probably use a bandsaw to rip the logs into rough slabs. I recommend making a jig to hold the logs so they don't roll as you cut them.

I have information about bandsaws here.

If you want rough lumber then once you rip the wood you are done. For finished lumber start with your rough slabs then use a jointer to flatten one face. Once you have one face flat you can run the wood through a planer to make it a consistent thickness.

Before doing any milling you should pay attention to whether your wood is green or dry. Green wood should be handled differently from dry wood. I have more information about wood movement here.

If you are interested in how lumber yards mill wood check out this link. It might give you some more ideas about handling your material.

If possible it would be good to use the various tools before buying them. You might find you prefer one over the other.

By the way, great idea using recycled wood. Most construction sites have plenty of usable "waste" and if you ask they are often happy to have it carted away. After all they have to pay to dump it.

Best of luck.

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Bandsaw is leaving ridges in the cut

by Charles

Bandsaw ridges

Bandsaw ridges

I am building bandsaw boxes and when I changed the blade the last time, I started getting ridges when I get at certain angles to the grain.

It looks like a well plowed field. I have the blade at at least the tightness prescribed by the saw manufacturer.

I am using a 1/4" blade. I have tried feeding the wood as slowly as I can but I still get the plowed field on part of the drawer cuts and on the outside cuts also. When I go slower, the rows are closer together.

The set is the one to the right, one straight, and one to the left. Would the regular one to the right and the next to the left help?

Thanks for your help.

A: Hi Charles,

Bandsaws are wonderful, but they can be tricky. There are several issues that can casue ridges like you mentioned. First - use a sharp blade. Nothing helps if your blade is dull. It sounds like the trouble started when you put on a new blade, so if it isn't dull some issues may be:

Blade size and shape: You may have the wrong blade for your task. I assume you need the thin blade for the radius of the cuts you want. However, you are cutting thick material with a thin blade so you may simply be getting bogged down. If that is the case you may need to use a larger blade or thinner material.

The offset of your blade sounds fine. You didn't mention how many TPI your blade has. You should be using a blade with fewer teeth than if you were cutting thin material. For more information on choosing the correct blade check out my page on bandsaw blades.

Next you want to make sure the blade is tracking down the crown of the tires when you spin them by hand. Tracking is adjusted by tighten or loosening a knob usually placed on the top or behind the machine.

The next issue is guide adjustment. Every time you put on a new blade you need to adjust the guides to the blade and if you get it wrong you have trouble, including the "plowed field" look you described. Adjustment includes the tension, but it is also important to have the guides and bearing(s) correctly placed.

Most saws need to be adjusted so the guides are as close to the blade as you can get them without touching. The standard is to use a dollar bill between the guide and the blade. That never works for me, so I just eyeball it. I get it as close as I can, then spin the blade by hand and listen to make sure the blade isn't hitting. The guides above and below the table should be adjusted in such a way. Depending on your saw, the back of the blade should be touching or 1/16 away from the back bearing. Check your owners manual for the adjustment for your particular machine.

Good luck and, as always, work safely.

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mitre saw terms

Q: What is the difference between a double bevel sliding mitre saw and a compound sliding mitre saw?

A: I believe it is just two ways of saying the same thing. If anyone knows otherwise please let us know.

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