2016 October 16 Tech Metal & Shop
In Part One I hand-forged a couple of drawer-pull knobs from 3/8" round stock.
Now that the knobs have been formed, there has to be some way to affix them to the toolbox drawers.
In this article we'll see the rest of the steps to do that.
In case you're joining us without having read the other article, this is not a full "restoration". The toolbox is pretty rough (as you can probably see), but I wanted something functional. The pulls that were on there before were just carriage bolts, and they were difficult to use.
So let's get to it!
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In This Article
In the first article, you saw how I made the knobs out of 3/8" round stock. That produced rivet-like objects, sort of.
Now, A 3/8"-16 NC tapping die was used to cut threads onto the shanks.
This was nowhere near as easy as it sounds. The shanks were not perfectly straight; the threading die wanted to go on crooked. You guys might know a simple way to avoid that happening, but I couldn't think of one at the moment.
The idea here was to attach washers onto the shanks, so they would stay put when fastened from the back. Originally I was going to braze them on, but I decided to arc-weld them instead.
First I tried 6013 electrodes in 1/16" diameter. As usual, I decided I don't really like 6013. There are applications where it's useful, but this wasn't one of them.
So this time, I tried some Hobart 1/16th inch 7018 electrodes electrodes. I think the amperage was 65-70 amps. They worked very well in the Easy Weld 100ST.
This photo was taken before I welded it. The next photos were after I ground the welds. Welding something this small and cramped with an arc welder, you're probably not going to get nice-looking welds right from the start. There was really no way to avoid grinding the welds on a project like this.
It took a while for them to cool. (At one point, they were orange-hot and probably could have been re-forged right there if I had wanted to.)
The shanks were threaded, then I welded on some washers, and then I used a grinder and a file to rough-shape the welds into something conical.
Some 220-grit sandpaper got rid of the worst of the grinding marks. There were still some crannies where weld slag was visible, but I wasn't going to bother too much with it. These drawer pulls were already much more labor-intensive than I expected. I removed most of the slag, though.
After some work with a round file, I called it good and attached the pulls to the toolbox. A washer, lock washer, and a nut hold each one on from the back. Simple!
The knobs have a black oxide finish, accomplished in the simplest manner I could think of ('nother article maybe). Considering the guy drilled the holes crooked, I did a lot more work on this toolbox than was probably worth it. But this project was about the experience and the learning process, as much as the finished product.
The homemade drawer pulls make it a lot more pleasant to use than before, so it worked out.
These are far from perfect, and I'm sure someone else could make fancier or better ones, but they do the job. I like the appearance of hand-hammered iron hardware.
We've looked at one way to restore a toolbox by making your own drawer knobs. The same or similar techniques could be used in any number of other metalworking projects, even if you're not going to restore a toolbox.
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