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Workholding


tsterling

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While developing my "Floating Treasures" concept (see the New Work or Show & Tell section), I noticed my work-holding hand (my left) was hurting from the effort of holding such small items. Remembering back to my metal machining days, I recalled a trapping mechanism sometimes used for holding work on lathes and mills. My version is shown below with a "Floating Treasures" platform blank installed, ready for carving. I adapted it work for the tiny platforms here (a little larger than an inch in diameter, but not very thick). The resultant fixture worked so well for this purpose that I'll be using it for many other kinds of small work. All that is required is a small tenon or peg either included in the work or attached.

 

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Here is the holding fixture without a work piece. It consists of four parts; a wood screw (tip ground flat), two short sections of dowel and a wooden disk. A short section of dowel, drilled longitudinally slightly smaller that the wood screw thread diameter, is glued into a hole that cuts through the disk from side to side. This dowel is shorter than half the diameter of the disk. A freely sliding dowel section is installed nest, with a 1/4 inch hole drilled vertically through both the disk and the dowel. The wood screw is flat-tipped so as not to dig into the sliding dowel. To use, the 1/4 inch diameter tenon on the bottom of the "Floating Treasures" platform slides into the center hole in the disk and the sliding dowel. Tightening the wood screw pushed against the sliding dowel, trapping the tenon between the disk and the sliding dowel.

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Here's a blueprint with instructions on how to make such a holding fixture. There's only one real trick to pay attention to during assembly: the sliding dowel and disk are drilled simultaneously, and unless your measurements are spot on center, you must assemble the sliding dowel and disk in the same orientation they were drilled, or the held object won't fit flush and flat against the disk surface.

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