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Lamp augers and lamp technique

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Hi, Folks,

I am going to be tackling a floor standing lamp this year, and need to get some equipment to pursue the project. Anyone have experience with the Crown or Hamlet lamp augers versus a much less expensive bellhanger's drill instead? Any issues with tracking straight? Any other advice? I will be using an heirloom piece of wood for the main body, so I can't afford to mess this one up.

I'm turning on a Stubby that has 3/8" through bores in the head and tailstock, and will get the Oneway hollow drive center. I will have to bore through the headstock as I don't have enough clearance for a long drill on the tailstock end, especially with the Stubby bed extended. I will have to drill halfway and reverse the piece to drill from the other end and meet in the middle. I expect to turn the body in two pieces and join them, using a long threaded lamp pipe with nuts at either end to pull the whole thing together tightly.

That's the rough plan. Do you see any flashing yellow lights? Anything you would recommend to make it go well?
Thanks!
 

john lucas

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Gary nailed it. Very hard to drill long holes perfectly straight. A lamp auger is better than a standard drill when trying to keep it straight. You have to cut slowly and remove the drill very frequently to clear the shavings. 2 things. On long hhjolllees you will.probably not get them to meet perfectly. You can probably pull a wire through but it won't be straight enough to run a lamp rod. The hole.is also too small.for a lamp rod. I screw and glue short pieces of lamp rod in each which works great. To run the wire I suck a piece of string through with a shop vac.
I did a 5 foot long piece by splitting the wood to.follow the grain. Then I hand carved a.groove as close to center as I could. When I glued it back together you could.barely see the joint.
 
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The project that you describe is next to impossible for a floor lamp even if it is made in two pieces between 24" and 30" long. The wood needs to be straight grain uniform hardness then the drill must be started perfectly true and centered and then it will still wander plus the length of the tailstock must be subtracted from the length of the bit. The best and least expensive method is still, as others have already noted, the split method. The way I have done it in the past is to use two identical pieces full length with the top end having a 3/8th inch wide by 11/64" deep half round groove about 10 inch long and the rest of the length use a 1/2 to 3/4" wide half round groove. The two sides are glued together with a 12" long lamp pipe in the top ten inch groove with 2 inches exposed and lots of glue around the pipe, then less amounts of glue in the lower areas to prevent squeeze out into the groove/hole. The turning is then done with the blank centered on the pipe and the hole on the other end and it is guaranteed that the lamp pipe will never come loose.
 
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Thanks you guys. I had really hoped to avoid splitting the wood, because - well, it's just a beautiful piece of macassar ebony and I feared that the split line would show, or you know - Murphy's law might be in effect. (You have no idea how many bowls I have screwed up on what seemed to be the last possible step, and how many different last possible steps there are.) That being said, what glue would you recommend that will work well on the ebony and make for an invisible glue line?

Yes, the Stubby runs in reverse, although that's not an issue if I'm not boring it on the lathe. I won't be able to turn the whole thing at once on the stubby, though - even extended the bed isn't long enough. I'm going to have to turn it in two pieces, then combine. The single length of lamp pipe up the middle and secured at the top and bottom had been suggested as a simple way to pull the two halves together securely. Don, it seems to me that your method could be adapted to two lengths, no?
 

john lucas

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I forgot to mention that I bore the holes and then use the holes to mount the piece so it is turned perfectly concentric to the holes. I built a special drive center and used a No a Live center with its 3/8 inch cone. Try boring holes in scrap wood first to learn. Before I made my long lamp I did a lot of tests. I would bore the hole from.both ends and they wouldnt meet so i would cut it in half to see. When i finally did get the auger to go past.the center point from both ends the hole still wasnt perfect and you could not run piece of 3/8 " drill.rod through it. You could get a 5/16 " rod through. Lamp rod is a hair over 3/8". I also found that the auger needs to be sharpened. Not sharp.enough from the factory. I use small diamond hones on the outside and touched it really lightly with a white stone grinder in my dremel for the inside.
Aircraft drills with air pumped through them.will bore a straighter hole but they are expensive and easily broken and I ha ent looked to see if you can get bits longer that 12".
 
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Thanks you guys. I had really hoped to avoid splitting the wood, because - well, it's just a beautiful piece of macassar ebony and I feared that the split line would show, or you know - Murphy's law might be in effect. (You have no idea how many bowls I have screwed up on what seemed to be the last possible step, and how many different last possible steps there are.) That being said, what glue would you recommend that will work well on the ebony and make for an invisible glue line?

Yes, the Stubby runs in reverse, although that's not an issue if I'm not boring it on the lathe. I won't be able to turn the whole thing at once on the stubby, though - even extended the bed isn't long enough. I'm going to have to turn it in two pieces, then combine. The single length of lamp pipe up the middle and secured at the top and bottom had been suggested as a simple way to pull the two halves together securely. Don, it seems to me that your method could be adapted to two lengths, no?
The best way to split the piece is to first square the blank on 2 adjacent sides and planed on the other two sides, then rip saw with a freshly sharpened thin kerf saw blade. The rip fence on the table saw must be parallel to the blade to prevent pinching or drift away from the fence. The 2 jointed sides need to be one against the table and one against the fence and should make full contact with the table and fence as in 2 adjacent square sides. The use of a finger board just behind the blade will help hold the piece against the fence, then slowly and steadily feed the stock into the blade and have a push stick at hand for the final push past the blade. The result should be a good clean glue joint unless the cut releases internal stress that pinches the blade or just the opposite. Note: This cut could prove costly if you don't have a spiral carbide head on the joiner that you may or may not have, because ebony will probably dull high speed steel knives in the first 2 to 3 " of cut.
The the 2 piece assembly can be accomplished with round mortise and tenon joinery.
 
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john lucas

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Here are photos of the aircraft bits. They are 13'". They have custom adapters to blow air through the bits to clear the swarf. They were designed to have cutting fluid flow through. Obviously the length is a problem if you have to go through the head stock or tailstock. I haven't looked to see if you can buy longer ones.

20200525_092758.jpg
 

hockenbery

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well, it's just a beautiful piece of macassar ebony and I feared that the split line would show, or you know -

my limited experience with ebony - it has no visible grain lines to hide the glue joint.
It might not show because of the blackness of the ebony but ....

I have made hollow balls from walnut split along the growth rings hollowed glued glue line is invisible.
Only needs sanding to 320 because the grain lines hide the sanding marks after 220.
Ebony shows sanding scratches at 400 so needs sanding to 600 at least.
 
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You could also look into gun drills, which are better engineered and made than lamp augurs. Expensive for very long bits, though! If you really need the hole precise and straight, you'll have to drill first as straight as you can and then ream to size.
 
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Wow - you folks are all over this. John Lucas, I appreciate the boring guidance, but I think the arguments against boring and for ripping in half, then routing a center channel and regluing, are taking the day. Lucas and Hockenberry mentioned the black color of ebony, but this is macassar, not gaboon - it's like milk chocolate and dark chocolate swirled together, not jet black. And Don Wattenhofer, the detailed guidance to ripping is very useful, but I was referring to needing to crosscut the full stem of the lamp into two shorter pieces so I can turn each separately on the Stubby. So it sounds like prep, rip, rout, and re-glue the full blank, then crosscut into two and turn each. Establishing the center holes first and then using them to align the turnings is clearly essential. So I'm still interested in A) glue recommendations/procedure advice, and B) best way to handle the joining of the two halves, and between the bottom half and the base. I really appreciate all the wisdom, if you aren't fed up with this yet.
 
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A) glue recommendations/procedure advice, and B) best way to handle the joining of the two halves, and between the bottom half and the base. I really appreciate all the wisdom, if you aren't fed up with this yet.

A) try checking with Franklin Glue ( the makers of Titbond glues)
B) The simplest method would be to use a round mortise and tenon or if you don't want to sacrifice any of the primary ebony for the tenon just turn a big hollow dowel and bore the the mating ends to accept the dowel. The diameter of the dowel/tenon is dependent on the smallest finish diameter near the joint such that the mortise leaves enough material to support the joint.
 
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Long time ago we made a metal lathe setup for drilling flute blanks. I don't remember all the details. It used a long gun drill running compressed air to blow the chips out. As long as you got a centered start the drill wouldn't follow wild grain.

We made a new hollow tailstock quill so the gun drill passed through. There was a steady rest type deal at the lathe headstock that centered the drill as it entered the wood blank. What I don't recall is whether the drill was hand fed.
 

john lucas

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Gluing the 2 halves is just paying attention to detail and making the wood flat. One thing g you have to.consider is getting glue in the hole you routed or carved. I learned to route a shallow groove.on each side parallel.to the central.hole. this traps the glue. However that only works if you ha e a large enough piece.
As far as gluing sections together make the joint at a naturally occurring detail. Use the central.hole to align my piece . Then I make a tenon to fit a mortise. Then make the joint where there is an naturally occurring detail such as in between 2 beads. Look.at.traditional la.ps.and just ask yourself where could I hide a joint.
 
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Interesting thread, reading and learning.
I would suggest degreasing the surfaces with acetone before gluing.
As for mounting and turning the two parts with little risk of breaking or splitting:
How about making a mandrel the size of the hole - much like pen turning...
 

john lucas

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I dont make a mandrel per se ut do make custom drive and tail center depending on the size.of.mortiss and tenon I use to mate the lamp parts.
 
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I have been thinking of making a couple floor lamps as well. I want mine to just be equall to the height of a traditional lamp setting on a table so about 50 inches or so. So I glued up some 2x6’s and I will use them as test pieces I will turn them and refine the shape I want first. The hole is a definite issue. I will cut them first and run a core box bit down them then glue them back together. Might I suggest this to you Steven. Making mistakes on pine is much better than a beautiful piece of ebony. Once you get it all worked out then you have a temple of sorts.
 
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Thanks, Dean, and everyone. That's essentially my plan, too - scrap wood trial run. I was thinking about routing out the center with a 1/2 inch core box bit up to the last inch or two, then regluing, then drilling a 3/8 inch hole at top and bottom for the lamp pipe, and that will register the pieces with the live center in the tailstock. That way, having the drill wander isn't an issue, I've got the snug fit for tightening everything up, it should all align, and I won't need a bunch of new accessories. Definitely envision using a custom fit drive center, and I still gotta make sure my design allows for mating tenons between lengths and into the base. Don's suggestion of using a dowel as a mating intermediary is an excellent idea.
 
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Thanks, Dean, and everyone. That's essentially my plan, too - scrap wood trial run. I was thinking about routing out the center with a 1/2 inch core box bit up to the last inch or two, then regluing, then drilling a 3/8 inch hole at top and bottom for the lamp pipe, and that will register the pieces with the live center in the tailstock. That way, having the drill wander isn't an issue, I've got the snug fit for tightening everything up, it should all align, and I won't need a bunch of new accessories. Definitely envision using a custom fit drive center, and I still gotta make sure my design allows for mating tenons between lengths and into the base. Don's suggestion of using a dowel as a mating intermediary is an excellent idea.
According to this you are still planning to us a lamp pipe to attach the two pieces together, but are you sure you can get a lamp pipe that long? Note: lamp pipe is the same thread pitch as 1/8" pipe however the pipe is very rough inside and the thread is tapered and may not work with the standard lamp socket female thread. The other consideration with your idea to not cut the last one to two inches and then drill with a 3/8" bit could be difficult to maintain alignment. The simplest method is still to use a stub length lamp pipe glued in place per my original description then if necessary put a threaded sleeve onto the exposed end to clamp in your chuck to drive the piece for turning.
 

Bill Boehme

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Note: lamp pipe is the same thread pitch as 1/8" pipe however the pipe is very rough inside and the thread is tapered and may not work with the standard lamp socket female thread.

I have used brass ⅛ IPS lamp nipple as long as 36 inch all-thread. I doubt that you could find longer lengths than that. The diameter of ⅛ IPS is just a whisker over ⅜ inch and the thread pitch is 27 TPI. For a slip fit a 7/16 inch hole is recommended as a ⅜ inch hole would probably be too tight. BTW, lamp nipple is not tapered. I agree with everybody who says to just use a short lamp nipple at each end. Be sure to tie a knot at each end and also to use an Underwriter's knot at the lamp socket.

IPS = Iron Pipe Size
TPI = Threads Per Inch

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=jpdTG1-YJpM
 
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Here are photos of the aircraft bits. They are 13'". They have custom adapters to blow air through the bits to clear the swarf. They were designed to have cutting fluid flow through. Obviously the length is a problem if you have to go through the head stock or tailstock. I haven't looked to see if you can buy longer ones.

View attachment 33694
Those look exactly like the ones I have except the adapter I made uses 7/8" hex bar stock so that a 7/8" box end wrench can be used to counter the rotational force as I feed the drill into the work.
 
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