I am part of a small group of scouters that have built a, colonial living
history themed camp site, at our local scout camp.
It is built to look like a frontier fort of the late 1700's, on a smaller
So far we have built a blacksmith shop with a three board bellows, and a
cooking area with an adobe oven.
Now we are building a woodworking shop. We plan to have a couple of
specific projects that the scouts can sign up to make. We will have plans
and kits there for them to use. The first two projects are a primitive camp
chair, and a candle lantern. The chair slides together, made from an 8 foot
2 x 12. The lantern has 3 glass sides and a fourth side made from punched
copper with the scouts choosing and punching their own design.
Right now I am making some tools for these projects. I have made a couple
of bow saws and will be making a couple of frame saws for ripping boards,
and some hand braces set up with 1/2 inch spade bits.
The braces are the item that I am having a hard time deciding how to make.
I am wondering if anyone out there has had some experiences, making wooden
braces. Specifically I am looking for ideas on how to attach the bits and
what to use for the body. Since these will be used at a scout camp by scouts
and their leaders who are only there for the weekend and don't have any real
"ownership" of these items, I need to make some assumptions.
1. They will get wet from time to time, from spills or being laid out on a
picnic table outside the woodshop and left there overnight.
2. They will get used hard by kids and adults that will of course try the go
faster push harder technique.
Ideally these two scenarios will never happen but I am a realist, and even
though these are scouts, and the leaders will have to go through a safety
lesson and instruction how to use the tools, they still will not be as
attentive as most of us would like them to be. That's nicey nice talk for,
there's a dope in every group.
Given these assumptions I need them to be fairly easy to replace/rebuild and
they need to pretty robust.
I want to use speedbore bits so that the camp ranger can easily find
I am thinking of using plywood for the handles, laminating two peices
together to make about 1 inch thickness. I think this would withstand most
of the bending forces on the neck of the handle. I plan to just round the
grip off rather than making a spinning hand grip (unless someone has better
ideas). I was thinking about using a doorknob for the top knob on the brace.
This could be on a long bolt and would be able to spin.
Since new speedbore bits have 1/4 inch hex ends, I am thinking that I could
pin a magnetic bit holder into the end of the brace, to make a socket that
would hold the speedbore but think that I'd like to lock the bits in somehow
to keep them from getting separated from the braces.
Any thoughts or insights are appreciated.