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crazy woodworking idea  RSS feed

 
Posts: 182
Location: near Athens, GA
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Does anyone know how to drill/bore a straight hole/channel through the center, end to end, of a 6 ft long closet/curtain rod?  Basically, I want to run a piece of 6 ft long metal conduit straight through.
 
pollinator
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Carefully split the rod in half. Use a router or similar to put a groove in the middle of each half. Glue it back together, using inlay shims equal in thickness to the kerf of the original cut.
 
garden master
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I don't know if this would work but maybe talk to a gun maker or gunsmith.  I believe they face a similar issue when making gun barrels.  Maybe they'd put your closet rod in their lathe and do it for you.
 
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I have thought about this same problem and what came to mind is the super slow and tedious method of heating a metal rod and grinding it into the pole and essentially burning it out, and repeating the process (would take forever). Also I thought of using a metal rod such as a piece of rebar and fashioning a sort of tooth on the end with a grinder or something to make an extra long bore tool. This could theoretically be chucked in to a drill and used that way (never tried it). Or you could perhaps just weld the drill bit onto the tip of a piece of rebar and use that either with some sort of power tool of even by hand if you could mount it and get good enough torque and leverage. Good luck!
 
pollinator
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I like Phil's idea on this one.   When you drill a hole, with a bit in the tail stock of a lathe, the bit will drift.   If you are doing a section that's like 12" you drill half way to center and flip it and drill from the other side (wood).  You might be able to use an auger bit if the wood has some diameter but a skinny dowel would be a challenge.   There are some pretty big auger bits out there, not sure if you want to drop the money.  The bit would have to be 3' plus enough for the lathe -tail- stock- chuck.    Sounds like a challenge for sure.    

Regards, Scott
 
Wj Carroll
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Thanks for all of the suggestions - I'll do some experimenting. 
 
pollinator
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does it need to be a curtain rod as certain trees have hollow stems - Elder for instance . Or you could split bamboo and it could be possible inset the wire and it will close up behind it 

David
 
Wj Carroll
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I had not considered elder - I'll look into that, thanks!
 
Posts: 243
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David Livingston wrote:does it need to be a curtain rod as certain trees have hollow stems - Elder for instance . Or you could split bamboo and it could be possible inset the wire and it will close up behind it 

David



This would be my suggestion too. You could also look into how people used to make wooden pipes; I believe that very long barrel augers were used.
 
Phil Stevens
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My hometown (Tucson) had some water mains made of redwood that were put in before 1900 and still in service 100 years later. They made from staves with angled edges, held together with wires or bands. The principle is just like a wooden barrel: fit the staves dry, then when the wood gets wet it swells and holds pressure remarkably well.

link with lots of photos of wood pipe tech through the ages:
http://www.sewerhistory.org/photosgraphics/pipes-wood/
 
Posts: 33
Location: Brevard, NC
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What is the goal?  The easiest way is certainly Phil's idea of splitting hollowing and gluing back together but that is not that easy.  Also, if you do want to actually bore it, there are long drill bits used by electricians that would be long enough.  It would take some practice and possibly some luck to not bust out of the side.  You could drill 3' from each side.
 
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this sort of hole making was done in the process of building wooden ships
using a brace and bit shipwrights would bore from the top of a stack of planks 
and then pound dowels into the many feet deep holes


http://www.history.org/almanack/life/tools/tlaug.cfm


if were mine i would run the closet pole through the table saw with the blade set to only go  halfway,
set the wire in place and then secure it with a wood filler strip glued into the saw curf 
 
Posts: 96
Location: Czech Republic; East Bohemia; Latitude 50˚ 12' 34"
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Wj Carroll wrote:Does anyone know how to drill/bore a straight hole/channel through the center, end to end, of a 6 ft long closet/curtain rod?  Basically, I want to run a piece of 6 ft long metal conduit straight through.



I've used specialty drill bits for electrical. They are for going down walls. You would have to set up a jig to keep it straight and go in and out of the hole numerous times to clear the shavings, but it would bore the rod.

Good luck,

Jason

I like the split it in half method too.
 
Wj Carroll
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It is really just a crazy, impractical, lark of an idea.... but I appreciate all the suggestions and will try them all until I can find the one that works best.  I'll post the results!
 
Posts: 40
Location: Dublin, Ireland
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Hi WJ.
Some great ideas but has anyone thought to turn the problem around, dare I say, permaculture-style? the conduit is metal and therefore probably reasonably strong. Soooo, cut your rod into short, drillable lengths, drill from both ends of each piece as already suggested. Then simply thread the pieces onto the conduit with generous application of glue to fill joints and hold the wood & metal firmly together. Bobs your uncle!
Good luck.
 
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Does it have to be wood?  Can't you just make a new rod out of the electrical conduit itself?  Rigid steel conduit is pretty strong over short distances.
 
Posts: 396
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I'm sure we're all dying to know--why are you trying to do this?
 
Wj Carroll
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Alright, I will tell... but remember, I admitted that it is an idea with little practical application - just a lark!  In my younger days, I studied kung fu.  Years and injuries later, I have forgotten most of the martial art but I always had an affinity for the staff forms.  Now, I practice Tai Chi and qigong daily... only occasionally practicing a staff form... but, I carry an eyebrow high staff of oak frequently.  I divide my time between the Appalachian mountains and the eastern swamps, so a staff is a very practical companion in the wilderness.  A while back, I was fooling around with a blow gun that belonged to a friend.  It was made by Cold Steel, and was, essentially a 6ft length of metal conduit.  The darts were made of sharpened, long, slender nails.  With a little practice, the darts were punching well into a 1 inch pine board at around 25 yards.  So, I wondered yesterday if I could combine the two into a staff that was solid enough to take multiple hard whacks, without breaking or bending the inner conduit.  Such a tool could be useful in an emergency, especially for quietly hunting small game.  But, that would take so much practice and skilled stalking that it would not be practical for most folks.  Right now, it is just a crazy idea.
 
Mike Jay
garden master
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Now we have something to work with   What's the diameter of the staff and what is the ID of the tubing?  I like Robert's idea of gluing up segments.  If the conduit is strong enough it could help support the oak. 

If the conduit is big enough maybe you could weld/solder an auger bit to the end of a piece of the conduit to drill through the rod.  It would add the stiffness you need to semi-accurately drill that far.
 
Glenn Ingram
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Another challenge here is to have the staff/blowgun be light enough to aim accurately as a blowgun without support yet strong enough to withstand contact as a staff.  Have you thought about ratan like what is used in Kali?  I know those are usually short sticks but I believe ratan has a relatively soft pith similar to elder that a drill bit could follow yet it is light and strong.  I don't know if it comes in large enough diameters though and you would obviously have to order it from overseas.  But it seems like an ideal material for your project being strong, light, and sort of hollow.
 
Victor Johanson
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Glenn Ingram wrote:Another challenge here is to have the staff/blowgun be light enough to aim accurately as a blowgun without support yet strong enough to withstand contact as a staff.  Have you thought about ratan like what is used in Kali?  I know those are usually short sticks but I believe ratan has a relatively soft pith similar to elder that a drill bit could follow yet it is light and strong.  I don't know if it comes in large enough diameters though and you would obviously have to order it from overseas.  But it seems like an ideal material for your project being strong, light, and sort of hollow.



Rattan is fibrous to the core. As a bohemian 15 year old, I lived and worked at Good Vibes Malletworks, a commune in Maryland, where we fabricated marimba and vibraharp mallets for a bunch of the top jazz luminaries, and we used rattan for the handles. It came to us in thick bundles about 20 feet long, each cane a quarter inch in diameter. I still have a set of the Gary Burton model; at least at that size there is no pith, but Wikipedia says it gets up to an inch in diameter so maybe there is on bigger ones. I doubt it, though; it's actually a vining form of palm, and in all my Florida upbringing I never saw a hollow or pithy palm. An inch doesn't sound thick enough for the proposed application here either, and it's also pretty limber, so would present a bending hazard.

Lots of people online trying to find this solution...here's one I came across on a woodworking forum:

"I'm facing a related issue, though not to tolerances so fine as you face. In the course of my researches, I learnt how boat builders stay true while drilling a hole for a propeller drive shaft several metres through the keelboard. They don't move the drill, they move the job using a jig similar to a saw table fence. But instead of a circular saw blade there is a spinning auger perfectly parallel to both fence and table. Build yourself a jig like this and you will be able to turn out Gandalf pipes by the dozen."
 
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SCA fighters use rattan fighting sticks during practice.  I've seen many different sizes. Take a look at sca.org.  There is probably a local group that could direct you to a source.
 
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What about drilling through a larger diameter log or board, then lathe turning it to the desired smaller diameter? Or (after drilling) turn a handle area, after ripping the stock to a hexagon or octagon shape? The corners / extra diameter might lend a little more strength and / or rigidity.
 
Victor Johanson
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Robin Dyer wrote:SCA fighters use rattan fighting sticks during practice.  I've seen many different sizes. Take a look at sca.org.  There is probably a local group that could direct you to a source.



They're for sale as Kali/Escrima/Arnis sticks, used in Filipino martial arts. The thickest one I found online, marketed as "jumbo," is 1.5" diameter (but only 28" long). Maybe a 6' piece can be found that's perfectly straight, but rattan is a vine and the long pieces I've seen were all pretty wavy.

A blowgun staff would be pretty cool.
 
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Bamboo is hollow except at the knuckles. Using a long electricians bit should get you through the knuckles and the hollow sections will work as a guide to keep from blowing out the sides.
 
garden master
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Wj Carroll wrote:A while back, I was fooling around with a blow gun that belonged to a friend.  It was made by Cold Steel, and was, essentially a 6ft length of metal conduit.  The darts were made of sharpened, long, slender nails.  With a little practice, the darts were punching well into a 1 inch pine board at around 25 yards.  So, I wondered yesterday if I could combine the two into a staff that was solid enough to take multiple hard whacks, without breaking or bending the inner conduit.  Such a tool could be useful in an emergency, especially for quietly hunting small game.  But, that would take so much practice and skilled stalking that it would not be practical for most folks.  Right now, it is just a crazy idea.



Regarding using elderberry for this, don't. There are cautions against this in many foraging books. The berries are edible, all other parts are poisonous. There are reports of severe illness and death in children from doing this.

Maybe you could construct and attach a mouth piece though?

Doom and gloom over. I look forward to seeing your solution!
 
Posts: 61
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Wj Carroll, you led us astray with the closet rod... glad you came clean.

I remember a NOVA or NATURE episode of South or Central American natives making blowguns by splitting a pole in two, carving out the slot in both halves, then binding it back together to make the tube. The darts were quills or sticks with fiber wound around the rear end like a Q-Tip.

The groove cut in two boards then glued together with the pipe will be the simplest/easiest method.
The "filler strip" idea in the first reply, if made in a contrasting wood, might make a nice sighting line...

The conduit/packing tape/drywall screw blowgun turned into pandemonium one summer as a teen while working to install office furniture in new buildings with all the other trades present, leaving "supplies" everywhere... as we built a maze of cubicles.
 
Wj Carroll
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I usually use closet rods for staffs - except for one that I made out of white oak, which was a beast!  I buy them 6ft long and the diameter is about an inch and a half to two inches depending on where I buy them.  I think 1/2 inch metal conduit would work best, but I need to experiment with that - the wider the conduit, the more puff needed.
 
gardener
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SCA fighters regularly get lengths of rattan at least 6' long and around 1 1/2" diameter. It is used to make swords and polearms, and swung full strength, occasionally with enough force to dent steel armor. It wouldn't last forever, but would hold up to normal hiking and occasional vigorous use for years. It is fibrous to the core. What diameter of conduit are you talking about? I would think nail-like darts would want a pretty thin tube. I also think, for dart shooting, you would want a straight through boring; working from both ends would likely put a kink in the hole.

On the other hand, I think boring a hole through your oak staff, if you can keep it centered with one of the methods discussed, could require just a 3/8" hole or whatever the nail plus wadding needs. If polished up after drilling, the inner surface would be strong and smooth enough that you wouldn't need any metal liner. You would need some sort of cap on the bottom, or else the hole would get jammed up pretty quickly.
 
Glenn Herbert
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Another thing that occurs to me... how long are typical blowguns? If it can be effective at 4 or 5 feet long, you could inset a tube of the right diameter into the side of your staff, with the mouthpiece at the top, and the exit a foot or so above the bottom. This would avoid the issues with the outlet being damaged by walking staff use. Just arrange it so the flight path will clear the bottom side of the staff.
 
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If you have access to a large lathe, which would take your closet rod, and can find a seven foot spoon reamer in an appropriate diameter, you should be able to put a nicely centered hole down the length of your rod. Maybe buy one or two spares for practicing... The wood spins, the reamer is held by hand, with the help of a tool rest and a vice grip.
 
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ever seen a hole saw? you could use a piece of conduit or whatever pipe, file teeth into the end of the pipe and fashion something that could fit into a cordless drill. you would have to be dead straight with the wood though.
 
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