Washer die & sanding mandrel
Making the Jig[edit | edit source]
The jig is made from 1/2" steel rod available from local hardware store. I made one piece about 3" the other 1". This is almost identical to Bill Ellis' jig with the difference that it is all made from 1/2" rod and the post is NOT glued in. This allows it to be removed with the newly made washer and then tapped out of the washer.
- Drill a 1/16" hole to a depth of about 1/4" to 3/8". Make sure the hole is vertical. Centering is not as critical. In one of the pieces drill out the washer shape using a 3/16" drill. Do it a little at a time so you don't make it too deep. (Pictures 1, 2 and 3)
- Cut off the bottom of a 1/16" drill bit to use as a post. The two pieces should fit flush with the post in the holes. If not then shorten until they fit flush. (Picture 1)
- I sanded down the faces by putting one of the rods in the drill press and skewering a folded a piece of sandpaper (so you get sanding action on both sides) on the post then sandwiching it with the other rod at the highest drill press speed. After a while the two faces were sanded smooth and flush. This was not really necessary since you will sand the washer anyway.
- I place the longer piece in a small vise as in picture 4.
- Insert the 1/16" post into a brass or copper 1/16" I.D. tube (pic 5) and cut about 1/10" by pressing a knife (I use a carpet knife) with a rolling action. After a few seconds the tube will be scored all the way through (pic 6). Pull out the post with the cut off tube (pic 7).
- Place post into the rod (pic 8) and sandwich with the second. After a few taps with the hammer the rough washer is formed. (pic 9).
- Take out the post with the washer and remove the washer. I place the two into pliers and tap out the rod with a hammer as in pic 10.
Further Experimentation[edit | edit source]
In Bill's original jig the post is glued into the rod this creates more handling and difficulties in removing the finished washer. Finishing the washer requires sanding and polishing. I experimented with a few methods and finally lucked into this one.
- Make a conical mandrell to fit the washer. My experimental version was ground from a small screw by placing it in a dremel and grinding it against a rough stone.
- Place a newly minted washer on the conical post, seat firmly and grind off any of the post that sticks out. (pics 11, 12, 13 and 14).
Sanding & Polishing[edit | edit source]
- Place the conical mandrel into a dremel (pic 14).
- Place a newly minted washer on the conical mandrell, a bit of pressure will firmly seat it (pic 15). Make sure it is well aligned otherwise it will sand lopsided.
- At the lowest speed sand with 320, 600 and 1500 grit. I do it by pressing the sandpaper with my finger against the washer.
- Dip the sanded washer lightly into polishing paste (any brass/copper polish will do) and press into a kleenex or paper towel to polish. Mirror finished washer in pic 16.
- Newly minted washer back side is rough (pic 17). Sand it smooth by running it on sandpaper with your finger a few times (pic 18).
Cutting, stamping and sanding/polishing takes a bit under 4 minutes without rushing.
I also heat treated the wood to give it a deeper color. I accidentally discovered that purpleheart turns a deep purple when heated during sanding. So I experimented and figured out that if you bake it at about 275 F for 90-120 minutes it becomes a deep purple. Increase the temp to 300 F and you get a very deep purple but leave it too long and you get almost black.