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Grinding a pommel nut(or anything) with a dremel while it’s spinning in a lathe/drill press

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by JG Custom Metal Works, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. So I’ve been binge watching Kyle Royers Youtube videos and saw him use a technique in which he grinds on a pommel nut, with a dremel, while it’s spinning in a lathe. This intrigued me and I’m wondering what would be the proper way to go about doing this, safely.

    I don’t have a lathe, but I DO have a couple machines that could spin an item. I have a Bridgeport style vertical mill and also a 5-speed Harbor Freight drill press that I don’t really care much about. I know drill presses don’t have bearings in them that would allow it to tolerate lateral pressure on an item spinning in it, but there wouldn’t be much pressure. I was thinking about using the drill press solely for this purpose. I have 2 other drill presses and a mill, so I don’t need it and don’t have a lathe, or other way to spin a pommel nut like Royer does in this video.

    He’s grinding on it and contouring the point on the pommel nut at the 10min mark.

    I know a lathe has a huge chuck gripping the item being spun, which a drill press chuck pales in comparison to. But as long as I’m only applying a light amount of pressure to the item, would it work? I wouldn’t be hogging off a ton of material. I’d literally be trying to do exactly what Kyle is doing in the video when he makes the point on the pommel nut.

    Other than using a method like this, is there anyway to make a pommel nut without a lathe? I can drill, tap, and thread by hand. But it’s turning the shape perfectly round that’s the problem. I could get it pretty close by hand on the grinder, and then finish using the dremel/drill press combo(or similar). I’m thinking, to make the radiused point on the pommel nut like Kyle does in the video, another option might be to chuck it up into a hand drill and grind it against a small wheel on a 2x72.

    Or should I just abandon the notion of making pommel nuts until I get a lathe? Lol

    If you haven’t subscribed to Kyles YouTube channel, you’re missing out. He does amazing work.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
    redsquid2 likes this.
  2. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    Lots of guys turn parts on a mill. The tool bit goes in the vise, and the part to be turned in the collet.

    I’ve also turned plenty of small parts by chucking them into a hand drill and taking them to my belt sander. I imagine the drill press and dremel could work too.

    Is it as good as a lathe? No, but we’re not building watches here.
  3. Nathan the Machinist

    Nathan the Machinist KnifeMaker / Machinist / Evil Genius Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 13, 2007
    I'd use a mill way before a drill press.

    You'll probably struggle with chatter when doing this kind of grinding so you want your work turning pretty slow and light cuts that feed pretty fast
    JG Custom Metal Works likes this.
  4. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I regularly turn things with the part chucked in a cordless drill and using the belt grinder to remove material.
  5. Keith Nix

    Keith Nix

    Jan 3, 2018

    What Drew said. Of all your available options, using the mill would be the most solid and chatter free. Turn your parts close with a tool clamped in the mill vise, part in the spindle. The knee adjustment will be your lateral feed, and X or Y axis for the radial. Turn it close and polish!
    JG Custom Metal Works likes this.
  6. Sam Dean

    Sam Dean Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 3, 2012
    Exactly what I do as well. It's amazing how smooth & concentric you can keep a piece, and you can step through the grits to get whatever finish you want. I'll also buff in a cordless drill the same way.
  7. redsquid2

    redsquid2 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 31, 2011
    Thanks for posting this. I don't think I have tried it before. Hopefully my good sense will keep me from injuring myself.
    JG Custom Metal Works likes this.
  8. Lieblad


    Jul 24, 2015
    Either machine will work fine. With your proposal, Dont worry about sideloading your drillpress bearings either.
    Those bearings, not intended for side loading, they can take fair amount.
    A wimpy Dremmel will stall out well before you reach that point.
  9. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    General rule of thumb is keep any grit away from mills and lathes. There are some exceptions but generally speaking it’s not the greatest idea. My question is why are you not spinning the nut in a cordless drill and using your 2x72 grinder. I have ground lots of things that way and it does a rather good job. I don’t get why you would be grinding on a lathe any way. Lathes are designed to remove material from spinning items.
  10. I never said I WAS grinding on my mill. I was posing the question about what would be the best way to go about making a pommel nut, like Kyle Royer does in the video I posted. At this point, I’m gathering information to figure out which would be the best route for me to go.
  11. Thanks for the info everyone. I got a bunch of good ideas to try out now. I’ll try and post what I end up doing and how it works.

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