Tool making exercise: winding sticks

Making a pair of winding sticks is a great exercise on precision dimensioning of wood: the more accurate they are made, the more subtle winding they can measure. These are made from Mahogany (a reclaimed piece that has been waiting in a cellar for two or three decades), African Blackwood for the center dot and Hard Maple inlays.

Winding sticks in Mahogany, African Blackwood and Hard Maple

So after carefully choosing the stock (a nice straight-grained quarter-sawn piece that has been a long time under shop humidity conditions) i re-sawed it and let both parts rest aside for a few days. This way the tensions in the wood are released and it gets back to an equilibrium state.

The re-sawn pieces se aside to liberate the fiber tensions.

Then, they are planed methodically to get six perfectly straight, flat, and square faces. With the help of calipers and an engineer's straight edge I got a 0.05mm precision (unbelievable, right?). Then, the dowel making and inlay wrap things up for a fun exercise.

Creating six flat, straight and square faces.

Chopping out the waste to create the inlay recess. Notice how deliberately and neatly this is made.

Chopping out the waste.

Shooting the inlay pieces for square corners and straight edges.

Shooting board work.

Glue-up with right size clamps.

Glue-up with right size clamps.

A clean-up shaving formed by the two species, held together by an invisible glue line.

Clean-up shaving

Once clean, it looks like neat and precise work.

A perfect inlay.

The tool at work.

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