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Tips from Old Millrat - James D. Thompson


File Handles


Here are 4 freshly made file handles.  Made from home grown, range fed, yada yada.....

Actually made from Bottle Brush tree wood.  I suppose Bottle Brush only grows around here.  The plant has spectacular flowers in the summer that are as big as Coke bottles with long brightly colored hair. It grows to about 8" in diameter and maybe 15 feet high, and has the most beautiful purple wood you have ever seen when it is freshly cut. Unfortunately, the color is transient, and disappears when the wood is dry, leaving just a dull tan color.

I turn the large limbs and small trunks on center so that I get the wild growth rings running around the handle rather that straight from end to end. I love the small knots that are scattered through the whole tree.

When the piece comes out of the lathe I buff the wood on a buffing wheel with compound.  I have recently learned that black compound works just as well as a dirty wheel covered with brass or copper.  After buffing with the black stuff I go to the other wheel, which is clean, and buff again with Tripoli compound, the brown stuff.  That tones down the black and leaves a bright, waxed surface.

When I have a small amount of time available I like to turn something useful, so file handles it is, until I get enough of them for all my files.  I need another 40 or so handles, so I will have something to do for a while.

September 23, 2005

James Thompson

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