Saturday, July 7, 2012


For my set of screwdrivers I decided I wanted custom ferrules. I'm not a fan of store bought, and I think that ferrules made of plumbing fittings always look like plumbing fittings. I have turned them on my wood lathe with high speed steel tools and files, but my success rate wasn't very good. Brass work hardens, and it is tough to shape the thin walls to completion without them self-destructing.

While at school I was able to stay ahead of the program and I found myself with some spare shop time to work on personal projects. I took advantage of this time to use the metal lathe to make my ferrules. Brass likes high RPMs, keen tools with zero rake, and cutting oil. Drill bits benefit from a light honing on the cutting edges to raise the cutting angle, reducing its tendency to grab.

I bought a length of 3/4" brass stock, and held it in a three jaw chuck. The end was faced flat, and centre drilled.

Then drilled with a bit with a slightly larger diameter than the screwdriver shaft. I wanted this fit to be as tight as possible.

That was followed by a bit with a slightly larger diameter than the handles tang portion, and drilled to a depth the same as the tangs length.

I then used a champher tool to undercut the edge of the ferrule, so it would seat tight against the handle bead.

I used a parting tool to cut a groove.

This groove is to allow room for the tool used to taper the ferrule. I can't remember the exact angle, I think it was about 5° included. The taper is cut with the compound.

I used an Acme threading tool to part them off. The zero rake cut cleanly, and as a bonus it left a pleasing angle to the end instead of it being left blunt.

Just off the lathe.

I got them all cut at school, and took them back to my shop for finishing. Mounted on a pen mandrel, I cleaned up the machining marks, and buffed them with honing compound on a rag.

After almost two years I'm finally done!


  1. Those look smokin. Nice job Darnell

  2. I love the clean, crisp lines and the detailing around the dome. Heirloom tools for sure.

  3. Wow! Will you make me a set?? :)

  4. Thanks Tyler and Kevin.

    Lighthearted, I don't think you'd like the price. After thinking about the time I've got into them I know I'd never buy them. If either of us win the lottery I'll make you a set. :)

  5. This is a beautiful set.

    What are you going to finish the wood with ? (Sanding Sealer and Shellac ?)

  6. Thanks, Neil.

    They're finished with two coats of post-cat nitrocellulose lacquer.


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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.