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Preston No 1393P Patent Adjustable Hand Reeder

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Dovetaildave

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Yes bought one of these and need to obtain some cutters for it, I know I shouldn't but had the overwhelming urge ...you know how it is sometimes.

Someone this very forum not so long ago sold a set. so at least I know what they look like;
preston cutters photo.jpg


I was once a decent wood worker, but never a metal worker apart from childhood school days. I'm game to try to make some (if no one PM's me with a set first :wink: ).

Tooling
I do have some blunt hard-point saws kicking around,hacksaw, a small metalwork vice, centre punch, pillar drill, will need to buy a few files I expect.

My photo isn't exactly a great example to trace from, if anyone is able to email me a better scaled photo that would be greatly appreciated.

So the order of work as I image it to be;
1, Scribe onto hardpoint sawplate (blue ink/magic marker it first).
2, Hacksaw the outline.
3, Drill and file slots.
4, Shape profiled edge.
5, Saw away each finished cutter. repeat steps 1-5

I still have a 1960 gas cooker at home for heating if necessary.

If anyone has done this before and is willing to give advice, I'm happy to try to follow it :D .

(Anyone out there with cutters for sale :ho2 )

Regards,
Dave
 

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AndyT

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Excellent looking project!
I don't have any cutters, but I do know that you can buy new ones for the much commoner Stanley 66. That would get you a set of nicely shaped edges to use, but without the slots for the special Preston adjusters. They may well be smaller as well.

https://www.oldtoolstore.co.uk/set-of-e ... -198-p.asp
 

AndyT

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Dovetaildave":305q5mfl said:
I wonder what their width actually is, maybe someone here has some?
Sorry, I should have checked earlier.
I bought mine years ago from Bristol Design but they are almost certainly from Ray Iles. Overall length is 2 1/4", width is 5/8" and thickness 1/32".

You probably know this, but there's a current listing for a Preston on eBay and one of its 12 photos shows that the length is about the same but they are 3/4" or more wide. And you would need to make the central slot at least - which I think would mean that you would need to anneal the steel. As supplied, they are quite hard.
 

Dovetaildave

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Well spotted Andy, I've saved the photos.
I'll have a go at drilling through the hardpoint saw blades today, after the Mock exams today.
 

Cheshirechappie

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I think the used hardpoint saws should give suitable material to be (just about) hacksawed and filed without resorting to heat treatment. The resulting cutters should be soft enough to sharpen with a file (like traditional saws), but hard enough to take an edge that lasts a decent time (like traditional saws!). Probably worth making one cutter and giving it a good trial run just to see whether the material is good enough to warrant the effort of making a set.

Couple of tips for sawing and filing thin, hardish steels. It can help with sawing to sandwich the steel between two sacrificial pieces of plywood, and clamp firmly in the vice such that the cut is as close to the clamp force as possible. When filing, clamp as close to the vice jaws as you can manage, and use a fairly firm downward pressure of the forward (cutting) stroke, lifting off on the back (dead) stroke. Also, file slowly and deliberately - a six inch file should take the best part of a full second to make a full stroke. Filing too fast just causes the file to skate over the work, blunting the file quicker. You should be able to see the filings coming off. (Softer materials, such as brass, can be filed rather quicker.) Check progress frequently; you may be surprised how fast thin material disappears!

As with all things, a bit of practice makes all the difference. Don't be too worried if version one is a bit messy - just try again. There's plenty of cheap stock in an old saw blade, after all!
 

Sheffield Tony

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It's making the holes that would worry me. Drilling saw plate can be tricky. Cobalt steel tools can be an advantage, and lubricant.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Sheffield Tony":1cnjdahg said:
It's making the holes that would worry me. Drilling saw plate can be tricky. Cobalt steel tools can be an advantage, and lubricant.
That's a fair point. Good clamping of the workpiece (proper clamp, NOT fingers!), slow spindle speed, high feed pressure, and care when breaking through also help, along with something firm to back the job and for the drill to break into. Tungsten carbide tipped masonry drills can be useful, too.
 

AndyT

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Just thinking aloud here... Would it be possible to knock up some sort of punch that would work for a one-off? I'm thinking of a block of wood with a vertical hole through, matched to some convenient bit of hard steel rod (which might be an old drill bit or some plain silver steel). A horizontal slot in the middle takes a piece of mild steel bar with a matching hole in, and the target saw plate on top. Put the rod in the upper part of the block, resting on the sawplate, above the hole in the steel, and hit it hard with a hammer. Worth a try if drilling isn't working?
 

Cheshirechappie

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AndyT":3mo26k76 said:
Just thinking aloud here... Would it be possible to knock up some sort of punch that would work for a one-off? I'm thinking of a block of wood with a vertical hole through, matched to some convenient bit of hard steel rod (which might be an old drill bit or some plain silver steel). A horizontal slot in the middle takes a piece of mild steel bar with a matching hole in, and the target saw plate on top. Put the rod in the upper part of the block, resting on the sawplate, above the hole in the steel, and hit it hard with a hammer. Worth a try if drilling isn't working?
I suspect that in a production environment 'back in the day' that's almost certainly how small items like this would be made, perhaps cleaned up afterwards on a small grinder. Nowadays, with options like laser profiling available, there are other ways to tackle small production runs, too.

For one-offs (or even for a set of cutters plus a few spares) it's probably not worth the bother of making up press tooling. I also suspect that in saw steel, you'd need quite a hefty hammer blow to cut out a slot (or even a round end for a slot) cleanly; that, or access to a small press.

It would certainly be possible, though, given a bit of research into or knowledge of press tool design and manufacture.
 

Dovetaildave

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Excellent advice guys.
Am up to my eyebrows with work commitments, so will have to wait two weeks before being able to have a go at this. I'll try to remember to stop occasionally to take some WIP's.

Regards,
Dave
 

dannyr

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I needed to make holes in saw blade steel (making frame saw blades from broken band saw blades or cut hand saw blades) - not as easy as I hoped. After only modest success drilling and some broken tungsten carbide tips, I remembered an old screw punch I had - a hand tool with a tool steel tip, rather like the tools for removing pop rivets or bike chain links - screw in slowly and voila - a pop and you have a clean hole. If you don't have similar I can imagine rigging something up with a vice or screw clamp, a block of backing metal with a hole in it and a short tool steel pin of the correct diameter.
 

AndyT

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I think they appear in tool catalogues under the name of "punching bear" - which sounds like the sort of thing the apprentice would be sent to fetch!
 

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