Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The screwdriver story continues

Before I begin, please note that if you have questions on another project you would like to see the answers to - just put them in the comments at the bottom of the post. I read them all.

Click on the pictures to see a bigger version.

My friend Fred handed me this screwdriver in a baggie.



He told me it was the only physical item remaining to him of his father and asked me if I could put it back together.
No problem, I said. All the parts are still here, (mostly) and all I need is a bit of glue.

OK, I lied. I needed a bit of two types of glue. One type is hide glue, which I used to glue the handle back together, and the other was epoxy glue with an addition of generous amounts of sandpaper dust to make a filler for the bits that were missing from the handle.

I also used a grinder, a bronze wire wheel, a file, and a hammer. Plus a 200 pound workbench to hold the work and a couple of used bicycle tires and a couple of clamps.

First there was a bit of wood that had been crushed by the last hammer blow that had split the handle that needed to be pared away: You can see the little finishing nail that was inserted through the ferrule at some time in the past. Probably to keep the thing together because the tang and ferrule had parted with the handle, and probably before the invention of epoxy glues. I discarded the nail after removing it. It was unnecessary for the rebuilding, and in the way for reassembly.


Then the glue ceremony for the handle where it is wrapped with the old bicycle tires to make a snug fit.


I let it sit in the clamps overnight, having slaved all of fifteen minutes so far on the project. The next day I used the wire wheel to remove a bit of surface rust and clean up the metal so it would accept the glue to its surface with no old grease or stuff to impare the bond. A trial fit to be sure things will go together.


Followed by stirring up a mix of five minute epoxy (because I had some on hand and did not have the slightly stronger one hour stuff.)

The proper way to mix the epoxy is on a clean surface and with a little stick. I use coffee stir sticks from Second Cup.  I drink my coffee black but feel entitled to one stick per cup and prefer their coffee to Starbucks.

Stir the epoxy together for a whole minute to be sure the mix is thoroughly blended. The chemistry that makes the glue into one homogeneous mass needs to get the molecules of each part of the glue into intimate contact, and there is no magic involved. Just old fashioned stirring. After the glue is a single mess, I added a similar volume of sandpaper dust I collect from my disk sander dust bag. Stir another minute.

I do not trust to chance when applying glue to surfaces to be assembled. I actually spread it all over the surfaces to be glued before applying pressure, or assembling. So, using the stir stick I first spread a thin layer all over the metal, then ladled the hole with much of the remainder before shoving the tang of the screwdriver into the hole.

Glue oozed out when the metal tang went in, and then I buttered the cracks in the wooden part with more of my epoxy filler before hammering the ferrule down over the joint. The ferrule is that metal cap that is supposed to prevent the handle from splitting under stress when force is applied to the handle.

Glue oozed from every pore and even out the nail hole which was not an original feature.

After waiting a few hours to be sure about the hardening process, and polishing the excess hardened glue away, this is what the screwdriver now looks like. Ready for another century of rotating heads with slots.

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