Turning Hand Plane Knobs

by "Clovishound"

This article first appeared as a thread on the WoodNet woodworking forum. It was compiled and reproduced here for easier public consumption. All Text and Images are the property of "Clovishound."

I bought a lathe early this year with the idea I could make chisel handles and hand plane knobs. After 8 months I finally made my first tote(s). Even though the whole process was done with power tools, the end result will end up on a hand plane, so I thought I would post it here.

I started out with some pallet wood for stock. It was more or less 2" x 2". It was supposed to be Jatoba. I cross cut it the exact length of the existing tote from a low knob type 11.

I then marked the center and drilled the holes on my drill press. This is the blank with the holes drilled. I used a 7mm pen bit to run all the way through. I used a 7/16" spade bit for the top counter bore and a 5/8" forstner bit for the bottom. I would have used a forstner bit for the top counter bore, but didn't have one in that size. If you use a spade bit, drill the counter bore first. It will be a cleaner hole.

I then mounted the blank on my pen mandrel. This was an idea put out by someone on the forum. It works. I also made one without the mandrel, and drilled the holes later. That worked too, but not as well. This is the blank mounted on the mandrel. It looks skewed in the picture, but that's just the camera angle. It is square.

Next came the fun part, turning the knob. I measured the diameter at critical parts with a cheap plastic caliper. This is a knob rough shaped on the lathe.

When I finished shaping, I sanded and finished. This is the final result. I used a CA and BLO finish because it was fast and durable. I dulled the shine with some fine steel wool. I made this one a little more mushroom shaped than the original Stanley knobs. Not sure if I like it better than the original shape.

Thought I would post the sequence of pics and brief narrative of the process. I'm still a knob making newbie, but the process seems sound. With some basic turning skills, and a little thought it seems to go pretty smoothly.

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