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BCS
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I am making a magic wand from a walnut dowel and brass tubing for the ends.
My questions are:
What is the best way to cut the brass tubing to size (looking for a straight cut without jagged end). Would a pipe cutter work (a clamp like device that rotates around the tubing)? I am making a 15” and a 12” wand. Also what would be the best finish, a varnish, a spray on product or an oil finish?
Thanks,
Bruce
lin
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Hi Bruce,

I tried a pipe cutter (one designed for copper plumbing) on a piece of brass tubing from the hobby shop just the other day. The problem with the result was that the cutter depressed and slightly crimped the tubing (I had a "duh" moment when I saw that). The crimping's not a problem if you are repairing old sink fittings, but probably not what you want in a wand tip. You could straighten it out, but... using a hacksaw is more straightforward.

I usually cut brass tubing with either a hacksaw or a dremel with a cut-off wheel. I cut the tubing just slightly longer than I want it. Then I use a flat metal file to take off the extra and to square off the edge. If it needs it, I use a round file to clean up the inside edge. Polish the brass tips, if you do, before you attach them to the dowel.

On finishing: The product you choose depends mostly on your personal taste and how much use and abuse you want the wand to stand. Probably, I'd recommend a drying oil like a tung oil. It's easy to use and has a nice traditional sheen which you can adjust to taste by stopping application when it looks "right." On the other hand, it's not as tough/durable as a polyurethane--but unlike poly-u, you can occasionally reapply a drying oil lightly to "feed" the finish.

Prioritize the qualities you want in your finish: how much shine it has, how easy it is to apply, how goof-proof it is, how hard it is to do over if something goes seriously wrong [say, if the dog lies down on it before it's dry and no one notices for a while--not that this has ever happened to me], how fast it dries, how durable it is. Then it'll be easier to get a recommendation on what sort of finish would suit you.

Once you decide on the type of finish, try it out on a scrap piece of your walnut dowel first. Then you'll be sure that the wood will look the way you have in mind, you'll have a good idea of how the product handles and its drying time, and you'll have tested the supports you'll need to rig to hold the wand up while it's drying.

post some photos when you're done!

Lin
jay leslie
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Your next purchase should be a lathe
Tom Bartlett
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The tubing cutter can be used to score a square line all the way around the brass tube, and then use jewelers saw to make the cut.

If you are doing small metal parts it would be a good investment, to purchases a jewelers saw and learn how to use it. They can be used to cut coins, metal inlays, small steel parts and the list goes on. They are not expensive and have proven to be an indispensable tool in my shop.
Our friends don't have to agree with me about everything and some that I hold very dear don't have to agree about anything, except where we are going to meet them for dinner.
B Hackler
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Where is a good place to buy a jewelers saw?
Tom Bartlett
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Quote:
On 2008-05-21 14:41, B Hackler wrote:
Where is a good place to buy a jewelers saw?


http://www.sfjssantafe.com/all_toc.php?DepId=tools

They sell blades and other fine hand tool and jewelers supply.
Our friends don't have to agree with me about everything and some that I hold very dear don't have to agree about anything, except where we are going to meet them for dinner.
FunTimeAl
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Quote:
On 2008-05-21 01:02, lin wrote:
Hi Bruce,

I tried a pipe cutter (one designed for copper plumbing) on a piece of brass tubing from the hobby shop just the other day. The problem with the result was that the cutter depressed and slightly crimped the tubing (I had a "duh" moment when I saw that). The crimping's not a problem if you are repairing old sink fittings, but probably not what you want in a wand tip. You could straighten it out, but... using a hacksaw is more straightforward.

I usually cut brass tubing with either a hacksaw or a dremel with a cut-off wheel. I cut the tubing just slightly longer than I want it. Then I use a flat metal file to take off the extra and to square off the edge. If it needs it, I use a round file to clean up the inside edge. Polish the brass tips, if you do, before you attach them to the dowel.

On finishing: The product you choose depends mostly on your personal taste and how much use and abuse you want the wand to stand. Probably, I'd recommend a drying oil like a tung oil. It's easy to use and has a nice traditional sheen which you can adjust to taste by stopping application when it looks "right." On the other hand, it's not as tough/durable as a polyurethane--but unlike poly-u, you can occasionally reapply a drying oil lightly to "feed" the finish.

Prioritize the qualities you want in your finish: how much shine it has, how easy it is to apply, how goof-proof it is, how hard it is to do over if something goes seriously wrong [say, if the dog lies down on it before it's dry and no one notices for a while--not that this has ever happened to me], how fast it dries, how durable it is. Then it'll be easier to get a recommendation on what sort of finish would suit you.

Once you decide on the type of finish, try it out on a scrap piece of your walnut dowel first. Then you'll be sure that the wood will look the way you have in mind, you'll have a good idea of how the product handles and its drying time, and you'll have tested the supports you'll need to rig to hold the wand up while it's drying.

post some photos when you're done!

Lin


Excellent post Lin!
Michael Baker
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Although I don't use brass tubing for wands, as all of ours are turned from solid stock, I do use K&S brass tubing for several other things.

I always cut it with a tubing cutter. You should use a lighter touch, as you are not a plumber cutting water pipe. Light pressure and more revolutions of the tool and you'll reduce the turned in crimp, but you'll get a very straight smooth end. Be sure to use a cutter with a nice sharp blade.

But here is the key... ream out the end with some kind of tapered metal tool. You may need to be creative, depending on the diameter of the tube. I have used tapered steel punches, the back end of a tack hammer, an old butter knife, the head of a flathead screw driver, and probably a few other things, too. Again, use a light touch and gradually flair the opening back to an equal inside diameter.

This will give you ends on the tube that are far nicer and easier to do than what you'll get with other sawing/filing methods. Trust me, I've tried them all.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
BCS
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Michael,
Thanks for your tips,I will try them this weekend.

Everyone Else,
Thanks, what a wealth of information you all are.
lin
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Mr. Bartlett,

now I want a jewelers' saw...


Chad,

thanks!


Mr. Baker,

I'm having another "duh" moment. Thank you too!

:)
Michael Baker
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I've used a jewler's saw to make a couple safety pin gaffs, and they are real nice. If you buy one, be sure to buy a few extra blades, too. Those things break faster than invisible thread in the hands of a gorilla.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Tom Bartlett
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Do a search on ebay for: German Style Heavy Duty Jewelers Saw + 144 Blades

I looks like a fair price and it come with a variety of blade sizes.

A good rule of thumb, about which blade to use is; no less than three teeth touching the material wile cutting.
Our friends don't have to agree with me about everything and some that I hold very dear don't have to agree about anything, except where we are going to meet them for dinner.
B Hackler
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Thanks tom for the information on where to buy a jewelers saw. I belive I will be buying one in the next couple of days.
marty.sasaki
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It's going to be severe overkill for this, but I cut tubing using an arrow cutoff saw. This is made to cut aluminum and carbon arrow shafts to length. It consists of an abrasive cutoff wheel mounted onto small motor with fixtures to allow setting the length of the tubing.

After cutting, you do need to clean up the cut edge with a bit of sandpaper or something similar. It cuts really fast.

I got this to cut arrows (I shoot target archery) and kite sticks (kites are often made from carbon and fiberglass tubes).
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
Michael Baker
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Quote:
On 2008-05-25 15:45, marty.sasaki wrote:
It's going to be severe overkill for this, but I cut tubing using an arrow cutoff saw.


I was not familiar with these, but found this link.

http://www.fsdiscountarchery.com/index.a......odID=462

It seems to be a pretty useful device, and the price (at least for this one) is very reasonable.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
MickeyPainless
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I agree Michael, not a bad price at all and I can see it's merit in my shop! I think I may even have enough spare parts out there to fab one up myself!
Tom Bartlett
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Yes it is, a nother cool tool!
Our friends don't have to agree with me about everything and some that I hold very dear don't have to agree about anything, except where we are going to meet them for dinner.
malaki
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As I have been reading through old posts, & I have seen this subject come up quite often, so I will contribute my 2 cent's worth...

I am a wand maker (standard and HP), and I have been cutting brass and copper tubing for several years now. Any time it needs to look good (when does it not?), I use the tubing cutter. A light touch will keep from creating much of a groove, but that groove is needed to allow the cutting wheel to track properly to make the cut.

The key to straightening the tubing is the wedge-shaped piece of metal on the side of the cutter. This is mounted so that it will pivot outward, some are even spring loaded. When in the outward position, put the point into the tubing and ream it out. This reamer will straighten out the bend and you will end up with a nice, squarely cut piece of tubing, if you do not overdo it.

For best results when creating metal tipped wands, use a lathe and solid 1/2" brass stock (see Metal Supermarket or other brass dealer). Drill out the brass to make a mortise and turn the wand to a tenon to fit. Five minute Epoxy will set the parts. Nothing more than slight sanding will bring everything flush and smooth.
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