Planes restored - Because I can. #2: Making a knob without a lathe

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Blog entry by Don W posted 06-02-2011 10:58 PM 7113 reads 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Planes Restored - Because i can. Part 2 of Planes restored - Because I can. series Part 3: Making a new tote. »

Today I needed to replace a missing knob on a cheaper #4 I wanted to tune and get working. I wanted to make one, but I don’t have a lathe. I figured there had to be a way to do it with my drill press. I tried drilling a hole in a block and locking it down with nuts on a threaded rod, but the nuts kept coming loose, even though I doubled them to lock them.

I knew I needed something a little more substantial until I can pick up a lathe. I found an old drill that didn’t work anymore. I pulled the chuck and bearing end. In this case, the drill was so cheap, it wasn’t even a bearing but a bushing. I drilled a hole in a block of wood the size of the bushing (or bearing) and drove the bushing into the hole.

I then drilled a hole next to the chuck to place a rod to act as a tool guide. I didn’t need to attach the top, it sat in a groove where the spring case met the drill press frame, but you may want or need to attach it.

I then needed a drive center and a live center. Looking around the shop I found a couple old forstner bits. I chucked one in each chuck, made sure the bottom and top were centered, marked the center of the wood blank, raised the bed to tighten the blank and made sure the bits were connected in the blank.

I then happened to have a few turning tools, but some rasps would probably have worked as well. I created a guide from a piece of 1/4”plywood to match the knob I wanted to reproduce. Once it was shaped, I could sand and finish as I normally do.

Note this particular piece of wood was something I grabbed off the firewood pile. Next one will be a little better quality.

Also I found shaping worked best with the drill press spinning at a higher speed. Then I slowed it down a little for sanding.

Hope it helps

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

4 comments so far

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 4015 days

#1 posted 06-02-2011 11:34 PM

Nice Job so far !!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4090 days

#2 posted 06-02-2011 11:39 PM

thankĀ“s for sharing


View rhybeka's profile


4986 posts in 4096 days

#3 posted 01-16-2015 01:03 AM

Thanks for the blog, Mr.D! Going to have to do this for a 45 I just picked up with no knob. Any suggestions on best kind of wood to use?

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19842 posts in 3542 days

#4 posted 01-16-2015 01:43 AM

They were rosewood originally. Replacement doesn’t really matter.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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