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Here's my plan. Criticism is welcome.

I want a nearly 60" two-piece stick, such that an Abney level and a camera will mount on top. The sight on the level should be precisely 60" above the ground level. This will serve at least the following purposes:

▪I will be able to break it down and pack it in luggage.
▪I will be able to use it on geological field trips to measure the thickness of rock outcrops in the same manner as my old Jacob's staff that I made from aluminum tubing more than 40 years ago.
▪I can use it to steady a camera.
▪I can use it as a walking stick anywhere in the world.

I have few power tools. I fear that my first attempt to join pieces of wood will result in a crooked join. So for a first attempt, what do you think about joining two 2" x 2" x 30" cherry pieces such as these?
http://www.woodcraft.com/product/2000681/9984/cherry-2-x-2-x-30.aspx

Or should I go for three 2" x 2" x 24" Bois d'arc pieces such as these?
http://www.woodcraft.com/product/2021303/31184/osage-orange-argen-2-x-2-x-24.aspx

Since the stock should be kiln dried, square, and straight, surely I can figure our how to mount the hardware to join the pieces before whittling down.

Your thoughts please!

My inspiration for this:
 

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CAS:
This forum doesn't seem speedy on responses, does it? Nor are the responses numerous. Probably because the site is young yet, and we don't have very many members! That said, I don't have much to offer you on your project -- except that places like Treelineusa.com and Woodcraft have connecting hardware that might be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Rad. I think the site will grow and develop in time. I hope to visit Woodcraft on Sunday. We get home late today after a visit with our son in CA. Tomorrow morning our two grandkids want to put their crude walking sticks to use, and we will all go to Turkey Mountain for a walkabout. Then to Woodcraft to check out hardwood and fittings, and hopefully get some suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'd like to see your progress!
Ok, I will take pics. Few power tools left after we downsized for the second time after the kids flew the coop. One challenge will bt to drill perfectly centered holes, perfectly parallel to the long axes of the sections of wood. Maybe Woodcraft will have a jig to guide my electric drill.
 

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Hi CAS,

I will be glad to help you with a breakdown shaft. 1st thing I would say is DO NOT get the Woodcraft connectors. They suck!

You are right. Getting the hole centered, concentric, and true, plumb, square, will be the challenge. A lathe would be best, but there are clever ways around this.

What sort of tools do you have?
 

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Many thanks BWR, I need all the help I can get. I have the following:

Hand tools-
crosscut and rip saws, cheap miter box
hand drill - a large one, my little precision one was lost in a move years ago
small woodcarving set - new, I haven't yet begun to learn
stone carving tools - chisels, rasps, hammers, etc.
my favorite - the old KA-BAR knife
new from Lee Valley, a tapered tenon cutter
axes, large and small
two solid homemade work benches
a 40 year old Craftsman Workmate collapsible work bench
hammers

Power tools-
a small, cheap benchtop drill press
electric drill
skill saw
chain saw

That's all I can think of. I swapped a bunch of stuff before a downsizing move to get my house painted.

What small tools do you recommend? A lathe is probably not in the cards due to space limitations in my garage. I hope to find some sort of guide that I can use to drill perfectly vertically and centered on the "x" marked on the squared ends of the hardwood pieces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
An adjustible jig, something like this, would be awesome:

image.jpg
 

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Hi CAS,

I see the dowel jig that you found. We may have to resort to this, but I may have another idea. Is it possible to swivel your drill press around, so that you can get a 24" under it? If so, then you could hit the end with a forstner bit to square things up, then, while under the same clamping, drill your hole. You may have to loosen some set screws.

Plan "B" could be that you make your own dowel jig with your drill press.

Do you have any buddies with a lathe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My drill press is too cheap, and won't swivel.

I could get a cheap motor that I could mount a chuck onto, bolt the motor to the longer of the work benches, and set up an adjustable guide that I can slide wood stock lengthwise into the bit. Maybe someone makes something like this.

My experience in life is that you are rarely, if ever, the first person to think of something. If you think of it, someone else has and it is probably out there somewhere if the idea is feasible.
 

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CAS:
This forum doesn't seem speedy on responses, does it? Nor are the responses numerous. Probably because the site is young yet, and we don't have very many members! That said, I don't have much to offer you on your project -- except that places like Treelineusa.com and Woodcraft have connecting hardware that might be helpful.
yeah, we don't have much of a member base yet. We've only been online for a little over 2 months now. Hopefully more people will join!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi CAS,

Do you have any buddies with a lathe?
Unfortunately, most all of my buddies in Tulsa are the geologists and engineers around town. Some of my old Marine buddies, my real brothers, may be into woodworking, but they are scattered all over the country.
 

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The apparatus you describe sounds allot like a lathe, my friend. My guess would be that a drill guide block would be just as accurate, and allot less hassle than an elaborate jig.

I can see where this is going, as I have tried it all. Under the best of circumstances, and you get everything to screw together true plumb square, and the finished stick looks perfect while it's assembled, it is extremely likely you will have a disturbing and very unsatisfying "wobble" as it screws together.

Perhaps I could help you out and make the necessary cuts and install the hardware and leave the carving/shaping to you.
 

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The apparatus you describe sounds allot like a lathe, my friend. My guess would be that a drill guide block would be just as accurate, and allot less hassle than an elaborate jig.

I can see where this is going, as I have tried it all. Under the best of circumstances, and you get everything to screw together true plumb square, and the finished stick looks perfect while it's assembled, it is extremely likely you will have a disturbing and very unsatisfying "wobble" as it screws together.

Perhaps I could help you out and make the necessary cuts and install the hardware and leave the carving/shaping to you.
That is a very kind offer, and maybe it will come to that. Are you in the USA? You can PM if you wish. I'm in Tulsa, OK.

It could be a pretty big hassle for you, packaging, shipping, as well as the woodworking. Let's hold off on that option for the moment.

Is there a really small lathe that you would recommend that might work. My longer work bench is, I think, around four feet long.

I'm thinking that if I make one that looks really good (fat chance), I will want to make more. In fact a lathe would speed up the process quite a lot. Right now, it takes me forever to whittle down the natural sticks I've found using my KA-BAR. It's pretty sharp and shaves the wood easily, but my wrist wears out after 15 minutes or so and I have to rest a bit. Of course, a lathe wouldn't work so well on natural sticks unless they were very straight. I was pretty excited to find 2" x 2" hardwood stock, of varieties that are hard to find otherwise. The bois d'arc is especially appealing.

What say you, any small lathes that would save me a lot of heartburn, and save you a lot of pain in the arse?

For example, this one at Harbor Freight Tools: http://www.harborfreight.com/14-inch-x-41-inch-wood-lathe-38515.html

Tulsa also has a Northern Tools and a Steve's Wholesale that probably have lathes, and of course Lowe's, Home Depot, and the more expensive Woodcraft option.
 

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Steve's Wholesale has this one: https://www.steveswholesaletools.com/products/mini-wood-lathe---4455.html

No reviews are posted there yet, but I will search for them. With an extension, it looks like this:

ShopFox W1752_ext_295-1753a.png

Just the extension:

ShopFox W1752_ext_295-1753.png

I like the fact that this has a 1/2 hp motor. With the extension it goes to 38". However, I don't know how well such extensions secure so as to be perfectly in line and also not work loose.

This is cheap compared to the top end, but expensive for a hobby that is just getting started.

They will sell me the lathe for $287 and the extension for $89, which winds up about twice the price of the Harbor Freight lathe. However the Harbor Freight lathe had a few negative comments regarding (I think) a tendency to drift out of alignment.

Guess I should have put all this in the Powertools forum - it's okay with me if Aaron moves it.
 

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I'm not sure about that lathe. You need to attend, as a guest, a few local woodturning meetings. See https://sites.google.com/site/neoklahomawoodturners/

These guys will put you in touch with good used equipment at a good price. You will have a good time as well. Very interesting live demonstrations and such. It's usually just a bunch of old fart guys like me shootn' the breeze about wood stuff.

Once you see an electronic variable speed (EVS) lathe in action, you'll never consider anything else.

If you would like to call, I will be in my shop again at 6:30 Eastern 404.247.2785 Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks man! If it's a bunch of old farts, I will fit right in. I'll check that link out. Many thanks Jeff.

Vance
 

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Vance, connectors can be tricky, but not impossibly so. Depending on the depth and diameter you do have a little wiggle room. Epoxy is your friend. I have connected several sticks to each other not with screw connectors, so I am speaking slightly out of my area, but I imagine it extrememly different. My suggestion is take your connector and a cheap pine board and try it, you might be surprised. if it isn't snug you can enlarge your opening to adjust and fill it with epoxy. I have found that the issue is more with my end cuts being clean than with the screw itself, but i am usually dealing with natural sticks
 
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