Chairmaking Diversions: Making a Tapered Reamer

To make basic stick chairs (and other stick-based projects), one needs a small set of task-specific tools. Not sure where this kick is going to lead me but the tool hunt is definitely ON, and started with the making of a tapered reamer. I have a stickered stack of apple splits that provided an excellent reamer blank; is there one in there?


A bit of planing with the cambered jack got me far enough along that I could mark center on one end and prep the piece for lathe work.

A ‘tool-overflow’ drawer in the assembly bench held several compass saws, one with a shop-made handle shaped from plywood. That made the ideal candidate for a reamer blade. Armed with that AND the only turning caliper thingy I own (see pic above), time to turn.

Cut the widest blade area, then took a measure at the middle, the one at the smallest end, connecting each as I worked the piece from left to right. Third pic shows the size and shape roughly matched to the donor compass blade. It took about 30 minutes to have the shape I was after, so over to the bench for the next few steps.


Cutting the slot to accept the reamer cutter was a perfect task for the Summerfield table saw.


With the cutter set in place, a few high spots needed attention with the #52 spokeshave (first ‘project’ use for that tool!). Chiseled a back bevel at the leading edge of the cutter, then turned a burr on the cutter’s edge. Finally, jointed the saw teeth to dull them a bit before cutting a hole for a dowel handle. From there it was ‘trial run’ time.


Does it work? Yes, actually. Here’s a profile pic attempting to show the cutter extending every-so-slightly beyond the reamer’s main body; this is the stuff that does the cutting. Note that I’ve since filed the teeth down a bit, which in turn improved performance noticeably.


More tuning required, but I was out of time to dedicate today. I’m happy with the build and will have this reamer doing what I need it to do soon enough. That’s all for today, thanks for looking!



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