Custom made thumb screws

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Blog entry by ToddJB posted 03-03-2015 05:35 PM 2891 reads 4 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently just participated in the Dovetail Layout Tool Swap where I made a few items for LJ AgentTwitch. On the marking gauge I had made a couple of thumb screws and a few people were asking about them, so this blog will show how they were constructed.

I have a lathe, but I’m a relatively new turner and don’t have all the bells and whistle yet, so I’m sure there is a fancier way to achieve this, but this is what I had – a 2×4.

Traced a hockey puck – Go Avs!

Cut it out on the band saw and turned it round between centers

Once it was round I switched to the standard jaws that came with my Nova G3 chuck.

Drilled a hole in the center using my lathe which I didn’t get a picture of, but is by far the most crucial part of this whole procedure. If it’s not dead center everything else will be off. Once the hole was drilled I used a tap to thread it.

Then I took an appropriate sized washer and bolt and screwed it through the back of my jig.

Jig is complete, so now onto turning. I bought a pack of 5/6 – 18 threaded thumb nuts off ebay.

I took one of these and I screwed it on my jig and hollowed out some of the inside.

Then took off the nut and set it aside for the moment. At this point I took a small piece of wood. Drilled and taped it to 5/6 -18 and then screwed it onto the jig. Rounded it, and made a mating shoulder to the nut I just hollowed out.

Once that fit snugly I used epoxy to glue them together.

After the epoxy was dry, I roughed in my wood shape. then I applied epoxy to some brass all thread and screwed it through the whole set up and let it dry.

After that dried I removed the bolt from the back of my jig and screwed my new thumb screw into the front of the jig

And turned it to it’s final shape.

Here is a link to my finished project if you’re interested.

Click for details

Thanks for looking, and I’d love to hear some other tips and tricks about how others do this sort of work.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

10 comments so far

View terryR's profile


7733 posts in 3808 days

#1 posted 03-03-2015 05:46 PM

Awesome, Todd!
Thanks for showing me why my attempt at a screw chuck keeps failing…I’ve been attempting to tap and thread end grain! Doh!

Love the custom screws!!!
Thanks for the tutorial, bud. :)

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View AnthonyReed's profile


10196 posts in 3939 days

#2 posted 03-03-2015 06:10 PM

Beautiful result. Thanks for the schooling.

-- ~Tony

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 3393 days

#3 posted 03-03-2015 06:50 PM

So impressive, thanks

View summerfi's profile


4385 posts in 3186 days

#4 posted 03-03-2015 06:58 PM

Pretty ingenious Todd. I like it a lot.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View ToddJB's profile


8886 posts in 3630 days

#5 posted 03-03-2015 10:36 PM

Thanks guys. Terry, if I’m being honest, that was not intentional. Also, I would note that if you plan on doing it for more than just a couple screws, I’d make it out of something a bit more durable than pine. Or maybe drop some CA glue on the wood treads after you tap it to stabilize them a bit more.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View abie's profile


931 posts in 5270 days

#6 posted 03-04-2015 02:58 PM

Oh so sweet !!! thanks for sharing
some amazing work
keep posting

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View Brit's profile


8520 posts in 4342 days

#7 posted 03-05-2015 01:11 PM

Very creative Todd. They look great. I almost pulled the trigger on a Hamilton the other day, but you swap guys are making me feel like I should be making my own.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View AgentTwitch's profile


631 posts in 4996 days

#8 posted 03-06-2016 02:08 PM

So that is how you did it! I still admire that beautiful marking gauge every time I am in my shop. Its a really beauty!

-- Regards, Norm

View ToddJB's profile


8886 posts in 3630 days

#9 posted 03-07-2016 06:16 AM

I hope she’s holding up well for you, Norm

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View AgentTwitch's profile


631 posts in 4996 days

#10 posted 03-07-2016 05:04 PM

Like a champ

-- Regards, Norm

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