New toy: boring machine

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New toy: boring machine

Postby gavin » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:23 pm

At BB2013 Paul Hayden had his cunning boring machine. It's like the Millers Falls machine Mike Abbott shows in his first book, but a great deal cheaper than the £450 I saw paid for one at auction 12 months ago.
I ordered the ironwork from Paul and had a joiner pal make up the frame.
I now reckon my angles will be repeat-able. I have yet to try it fully; tonight was its first test run.
In some of these pix, I have a wooden handle thru the T-piece which is mounted in the socket welded on the shaft. If you have a ratchet-handle you can use that in the socket.
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Without handle
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With handle
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Chuck detail
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finger points at Jubilee clip which is depth-stop
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Edit: Below JRCaim asks about the chuck and the socket. These images may help:
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T-bar and socket. The half-inch socket can also accept a ratchet-lever
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Chuck detail
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby jrccaim » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:56 am

That is the neatest contraption I have seen in a long, long time. It can of course be set at any angle. I have to assume from the pics that the long shaft is threaded at one end to receive a chuck. The other end must have a square-drive stud on it, maybe I could file it square, and the handle obviously has a square-drive socket on it. Or maybe the other way around, no matter. The only difference between this thing and the Millers Falls 1890s boring machine is that you do not have a bevel gear drive. This means you are boring by the leverage of the handle; no gear reduction at all. But for that price I might even buy some bevel gears from the 'net and rig the drive handles somehow. I think I would make the uprights out of steel strap, or at least reinforce the upright with a couple steel straps. I would also add an adjustable lateral index, so I could just plunk the thing down on a beam and drill 25mm say from an edge. A piece of angle iron or even wood would do. Love the Jubilee clip depth stop (called a hose clamp in th USA).

Boring machines were primarily used in constructing timber framed houses or barns.They were used to rough out mortises, which you then clean up with a chisel or chisels. Tenon is easy, just saw it. See Roy Underhill. See also Jack Sobon, Build a Timber Framed House. Some of these joints had 1 1/2" (about 38mm) tenons and some even 2" (50mm) tenons. So you need a bit that large for the mortise. Those are huge bits to turn by muscle power and that's why Millers Falls et al. were geared. At least 4:1, maybe more. Some boring machines had gearshifts! They also had very long handles so you got leverage plus gearing. I can handle 1" ( 25 mm) with a brace. Barely! I made some trial joints that way in pine. I shudder to think of oak. You can of course use an auger. An auger is very well when you have a few holes to bore, as in a shaving horse. But when you have about 50 M&T joints to do, and each joint needs about 3 or 4 holes, an auger is out of the question. At least for me at my advanced age. You can of course spend $850 in the USA and probably twice that in the UK (y'all have all these taxes) and get a motorized chain borer from Stihl. This is very nice, but awfully expensive. Sort of like a chain saw, only it does mortises. You can also buy for much less than that a big slow electric drill, with a 12 mm capacity. Also well and good, but Sobon states that a boring machine is actually faster than an electric drill!. Plus, except when I am doing metal machining, I hate power tools.

Very inspiring post, Gavin. I may just yet own a boring machine, courstesy of this post and the pictures.
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby davestovell » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:58 am

Very neat, thanks for showing this Gavin. :D
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby Ken Hume » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:17 am

Hi,

That's a neat machine.

As mentioned above and by way of comparison please see below a picture of one of the Millers Falls boring machines that were used to make the Harcourt Arboretum cruck frame. This building is now complete.

Image
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby gavin » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:06 am

jrccaim wrote: I have to assume from the pics that the long shaft is threaded at one end to receive a chuck. The other end must have a square-drive stud on it, maybe I could file it square, and the handle obviously has a square-drive socket on it.

Yes to all these - refer pix I have now added above.
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby bulldawg_65 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:32 pm

Impressive Gavin!!! :)
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby PeterS » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:34 pm

The Somerset Bodgers group has invested in two of Paul Hayden's fantastic boring mechanisms.
They really do help to achieve consistent angles every time!
Here's one in use on a recent stool-making course.
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby poomwood » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:02 am

Can I have the job of standing on the end? I love them kind of jobs
But seriously, these are really nice.
Here is mine but it's just not up to the job. It has a 3/8" - 10mm chuck and I want to drill bigger tenons than that.
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby jrccaim » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:24 am

I am almost at a loss for words. A rare event :). Thanks for all the contributions, everyone. And thanks, Gavin, for answering my doubts. You are of course limited by the size of the chuck, but a 1/2" (12 mm) chuck will take most auger bits. And you must use auger bits, you need the feedscrew to pull the bit into the wood. Note the genuine article, the Miller's Falls boring machine. See the long handles. Leverage. Note the bevel gears. Mechanical advantage. Several other manufacturers made similar devices, in the USA at least. Jack Sobon, previously quoted, mentions Snall and "The Boss" Double Eagle. In those days nobody would buy a house that was nailed together, as so many modern houses are :( . And also note the fact that the Millers Falls is made to be sat upon. Your weight anchors the machine. Allow enough room for you r a*se on the horizontal, the part that rides the beam. Observe in one of the pictures that somebody has his foot on the horizontal. Might want to allow a bit more room for the sitter's posterior. Or maybe find a heavier sitter :) but I cannot fault the machine. A marvellous thing indeed. It has really set off a lot of thoughts in my mind.
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby gavin » Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:32 am

PeterS wrote:The Somerset Bodgers group has invested in two of Paul Hayden's fantastic boring mechanisms.
Image.

Paul supplies them with metal straps if you like. Above you see the holes in the metal side-bars so you get consistent angles guaranteed. I opted for infinitely variable angles with a slot in the side-bar. I don't yet know which is best.
Image
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby Ken Hume » Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:12 pm

Hi,

Further to JRCCaim's comments made above I have added another picture showing Henry Russell sitting astride his trusty Miller Falls boring machine.

Image

A number of persons have expressed a desire to purchase new versions of this machine but to date I am not aware of anyone coming close other than making prototypes. These machines are long past needing to respect any intellectual property rights and so it would be perfectly possible just to copy the original design and make new ones.

Image

It is quite pleasant to sit on one of these machines and either listen to the birds or have a natter with a work mate without the need to wear eye protection, mask or ear defenders.

These pictures are taken from a series on building the Harcourt Arboretum Cruck Frame

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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby gavin » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:57 am

Ken Hume wrote:A number of persons have expressed a desire to purchase new versions of this machine but to date I am not aware of anyone coming close other than making prototypes. These machines are long past needing to respect any intellectual property rights and so it would be perfectly possible just to copy the original design and make new ones.


Ken,
Do you think the extra gearing the Millers Falls machine provides is needed? I speak from no experience of timber framing, but imagine you could just get a Paul Hayden style and insert a long bar for as much leverage as you need and then apply as much manpower as you want to that lever. ( Admittedly you could not always get leverage in a confined space e.g. inside a wooden ships hull. )The Millers Falls item needs precise casting or machining of gears and casting of the holes/ sleeves/ bearings to run the gears in, so it is a much greater undertaking to clone it than to pay less than £100 in money to Paul for his model.
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby Tom B » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:47 pm

I think the gearing helps most with speed of boring... in my experience it is an awful lot faster to bore a mortice with the machine than an eyed auger...
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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby Ken Hume » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:03 am

Hi Gavin & Tom,

I think that there is a huge difference between "hobbyist" boring of seat leg holes and cutting large number of holes for making mortices in timber-frame components. For the latter it is important to be able to perform the boring action on a fairly continuous basis. The gearing helps reduce the need for the operator to have muscles like Popeye and more importantly helps reduce the risk of developing repetitive strain injury [RSI] in the elbows and wrists.

The last OWG picture that I posted above shows that the simple augur can be used as an acceptable alternative to employing a boring machine and historically this was the main practice employed in timber-framing until such times as Yankee inventiveness came to our assistance.

Image

Early mortices were chopped out between a series of holes drilled within the section of wood needing to be removed to create a mortice. The drill size diameter (3/4 - 1") was not as large as the width of the mortice (1.5") and so this would have needed a fairly low torque to be applied to drill the holes. The Millers Falls type boring machine can accomodate much larger diameter (2") screw tipped auger type drill bit and consequently the torque needed to turn same would be much greater hence the need for hand crank reduction gearing.

Regards

Ken Hume OWG

Regards

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Re: New toy: boring machine

Postby Tom B » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:18 am

Interesting.
Is there any evidence of the sorts of chisels used for this historically?
With all that chopping out, would narrower chisels have been favoured, rather than the wide firmer-type chisels often seen today?

Apologies for the diversion of this thread...

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