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How to store your Russell Jennings bits

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AndyT

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We often have discussions on here about good ways to store old tools. I reckon the best way is to use the box they came in!

So when I spotted one of those nice old triple decker boxes for auger bits on eBay I treated myself to it.



There were two problems. :(

One was that it was already full of bits











But I can live with that. :)

The other problem was that one of the three catches was missing and one was loose in the box.



That's not much of a challenge!

I found a bit of brass which used to be a fuse holder and flattened it. The hole just happens to be the right size. (It really does make sense to hang on to these things that do come in useful sooner or later.)





I drew round the loose one



cut it out



marked the decoration



and stamped it out with an improvised punch.



I fitted it into place and bent it over.



When I had also refitted the loose catch, using a suitable panel pin, the box looked like this.



Functional, but a bit shiny.

Then, somewhere, I can't remember where, I saw a reference to using household ammonia to darken brass. I tried a dab on a cotton bud and it worked immediately.

Now I have a set of three catches which I hope have a similar level of crudity about the way they were made and look. It'll do for me!

 

marcros

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Excellent work Andy.

For anybody else wanting to age brass, you need to remove any lacquer before the ammonia treatment. Obviously not an issue here.
 

D_W

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excellent. My first thought when you said store them in the box (before scrolling down) was "great place, as long as you remember not to pick the box up with a level unlatched!! btdt.
 

Pete Maddex

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Very nice Andy.

Is it a full set? The closeup looks like they haven't seen much use.

Pete
 

AndyT

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Pete Maddex":2tcseze4 said:
Very nice Andy.

Is it a full set? The closeup looks like they haven't seen much use.

Pete
It's not quite a complete set. When I got it, all but one of the larger sizes were present and there were smaller bits which weren't all Russell Jennings. Fortunately, I'd taken the precaution of buying various loose bits over the years and it now has an orderly set of sizes, though a few of them are made in Sheffield rather than imports from the old colony. :lol:

And as you say, condition is very good/unused - which is probably true of most bits in sets. We buy them to be prepared, then only need the commonest sizes.
 

Doug B

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Looks like the fore runner to systainers :shock:
Great repair Andy & a nice box & set to boot =D>
 

Vann

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Doug B":fctngxsb said:
...Great repair Andy...
Nah, it's going to break off along the fold line just as you walk over a concrete floor - and all the bits will fall on the floor and damage all the sharpened spurs...

I'll get my coat :D

Cheers, Vann.
 

Bedrock

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Hopefully, I can piggy-back on Andy T's neat bit of brass work, but it is sort of relevant. I am increasingly using a brace and bit for speed and accuracy. I have accumulated three different types of bit. The first type is what seems to be the most prevalent in car boot sales and is similar to Andy's Russell Jennings model.

The second has the same spiral, but the sharp end consists of two loops on either side of the central screw. The third has what is effectively a short cylinder, with angled cutting faces at opposite sides and without a central screw. It has a short central locating point, instead of a screw, which is fine unless a previous owner has filed it away to nothing.

The first and the third seem to give the cleanest cut. Are there specific uses for each type or are they just different manufacturers approaches to the same task?
 

Sheffield Tony

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There are quite a few patterns. The Russell Jennings, made by flattening a round bar and twisting (I saw a great video of one of the last people doing this at Clico, but can't remember where). Then the Irwin pattern with the solid core - there are some imposters in Andy's box above. The looped back alternative to spurs is Gedge's pattern. There's also bullnose where they loop right back and connect (hard to describe) - the latter two styles are best for end-grain boring.

Somewhere some twisted soul will have catalogued all the styles ever made, along with lovely line drawings of each. And most likely, a copy will be on AndyT's bookshelf :D
 

Bedrock

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Thanks Tony - that's very helpful. Thus far, even when sharpened the bullnose version has a tendency to tear out the surface when drilling cross-grain. May be a sharpening problem?
 

AndyT

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Sheffield Tony":3gbcrn2l said:
Somewhere some twisted soul will have catalogued all the styles ever made, along with lovely line drawings of each. And most likely, a copy will be on AndyT's bookshelf :D
James Price has done a pretty thorough job, as described in this thread.

As it's a free downloadable pdf, everyone can have a copy with no need for extra bookshelves!
 

Bedrock

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I also have acquired in a job lot, a range of spoon bits. Never tried them. Is there a particular job for which they were designed?
 

AndyT

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Bedrock":38cpd4le said:
I also have acquired in a job lot, a range of spoon bits. Never tried them. Is there a particular job for which they were designed?
Just to make sure we are talking about the same thing, as the terminology is a bit loose.

There is a type of bit called a spoon bit which is semicylindrical with a curved sharpened tip. You could actually pick up liquid in it.
The body is quite short - 2 - 3 inches - and the range of sizes small.

These were specialised products for chairmakers and excel at making blind holes into legs, where stretchers can be fitted. In the right hands they can make a hole which is wider at the bottom, making it possible for glue-free joints to last for centuries.

There is a commoner sort of bit, found in many toolboxes into the twentieth century, called a shell bit, which is sometimes called a spoon bit. This is longer, more cylindrical and would not hold water. Good in end grain.

Or maybe you mean a nose bit...
 

xy mosian

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What a smashing repair Andy. I particularly like the use of a piece of pre-collected potential treasure just waiting for such a purpose.
xy
 

Sheffield Tony

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Two things I missed from my last post - indeed a super repair and a lucky find on eBay.

But also:

[youtube]_btMbEZGW0I[/youtube]
 

AndyT

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That's a great video, Tony but I think I am right in saying that the auger making part of Clifton went out of business a few years ago, with Thomas Flinn buying just the planemaking part, which means that nobody in the UK is making these any more.
 

Sheffield Tony

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You are quite right. Is there anyone anywhere making hand brace augers ? I think there might be some Irwin ones from South America (Brazil ?) made of cheese-like steel. Some NOS ones still lurking fron Ray Iles, Dieter Schmidt.

There are plenty of round shanked augers for power drills, but I don't know how they are made, not hand forged I'm sure.
 

Vann

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AndyT":ta4y2plu said:
...which means that nobody in the UK is making these any more.
I could well be wrong, but I read, when Clico were still operating, they were the last in the western world still making them the traditional way.

Cheers, Vann.
 
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