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reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:19 am
by rgouette
I'm looking to try my hand on making a concert chanter: kind of a personal challenge..

I don;t have a lot of $ to spend on top shelf materials etc, but my question is this:
Will the steel rod sold at big box DIY stores work for making a usable tapered reamer, to use on
hard woods?
I'm reading that regarding the carbon content, the rods are: "This steel is a 1008"
I'm no expert in metals at all...
I'm planning on perhaps a "D" shaped cutting edge..maybe..

appreciate any input


Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:06 pm
by abhappy
Did you end up trying the steel? I'll be trying to make a reamer for a reg this Fall. My plan was to experiment with flat tool steel. I'm not sure which company I will order from, but something like this: ... gIhpvD_BwE.

Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:37 pm
by rgouette
howdy, I did not end up buying the rod.
I wasn't hearing back here, so I posted on the Practical Machinist forum....
big mistake!
That crowd takes metal very seriously...mention 'lowes' steel, and prepare for a 'reaming'
I did kick off a rather lengthy thread discussing my desire for a 14" tapered steel rod(wanted one long reamer)
Here ya go.. ... red+rod%3F

I did buy a length of flat steel at Lowes the other day, to see if I could fashion something out of it, but haven't done much with it as yet..
I brought it to a local metalwork shop, and once I was able to make them understand what I wanted to do with it, they both agreed that it would twist badly, trying to ream something so long... hard to know unless you're doing it: I imagine that one could also do it the way the old makers did it, and affix a T-handle & turn by hand.
I'll be curious to know how you get on..
I have another friend online who is about to try his hand at a set of stepped reamers, which is apparently what O' Mealey ended up with as a model, (if I recall rightly)

I'm 95% done with my first concert chanter, and I am feeling the effects of not having proper reamer(s)


Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:16 pm
by abhappy
rgouette wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:37 pm
I'm 95% done with my first concert chanter, and I am feeling the effects of not having proper reamer(s)
What did you end up using for drilling and reaming?

I personally haven't gotten that far, as I had to put my making on the side because of gigs. My first pass idea was to try step drilling with drill bits or D bits, then reaming with a tapered piece of flat steel. We'll see when I end up finding the time to give that a try. I know it might not be ideal, but I'm not prepared yet to drop the money on either a metal lathe or machine shop made reamer.

Good luck with your chanter!

Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:56 pm
by rgouette

Well, I wish I could say I got along well reamer-wise, but the fact is, I haven't yet acquired/made a real reamer...

What I do have is a cheapo piece of flat bar that I intend to fashion into a reamer..pretty much as
you described.
I actually took it into a local machine shop hoping they could machine the shape for me, and I'd do the edge(one long reamer),
but alas they told me their machines would struggle to grip a piece that small(1/2" wide)
So, unless I find another solution, I'd be forced to grind an edge....not fact so far from ideal as to
make it near-impossible to get a nice true edge..
So, I'm currently looking into options..
I think the only place that would be able to machine me a true reamer, would be a place with some CNC
technology...but I haven't the budget for such luxuries..

There's a thread here somewhere, with pics of a guy who made a jig using a grinder & a angled way that allows
you to gradually grind an angle to a tapered round steel rod.
Getting a tapered round steel rod is the part that so far, eludes me.

So, how did my chanter come out "unreamed"?
Actually, it plays! I even get a half decent 2nd octave out of it...
I popped my mcnichol chanter reed on it..
I'm frankly amazed that I was able to make a concert chanter that plays..

I just started a 2nd, and I'll be in the same spot with regard to reaming...
I actually also tried a wooden reamer, made from 3/16" & upward, the idea being I would wrap sandpaper around it,
and ream the bore that way...
It didn't work out, but I've gotta neat long tapered wooden thingy that's come in handy for a number of things so far!

I made a d-bit, and that's my initial hole...
I'm step drilling with cheap chinese long drill bits.

I'm using cheap poplar for now, until I "know" what I'm which time, I'll cut into a piece of rosewood that I've got
sitting in my shop.

Let me know how you get along..


Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:03 pm
by rgouette
fyi, an evenings grinding...


Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:13 pm
by abhappy
Thanks for the update. Cool that you've made some progress and even a working chanter (though rough)! Personally I haven't had time to work in the shop, but I'll post back here if I make progress. Your photo didn't make it through.

Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:08 pm
by rgouette
huh,I'm looking at the photo here inline in my post: wonder why you can't see it..

I just came up from a long grinding session: I've got a reamer that's 90%...
I actually tested it out, with my next chanter chucked up, & a set of vice grips holding the reamer, working it
in, clearing, back in again..
It actually seems to work, even though I've not done finish grinding/filing on it.
Trying another pic , attached this time.

Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:42 am
by rgouette
it's shaping up...

Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:32 am
by rgouette
ok, last update to this one(just about done with it I think):
I noticed that the pic makes the edges look horrible, but they're actually not bad...
reamed out another chanter last night, and it looks pretty decent

Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:59 am
by abhappy
Cool to see the update and photos, thanks for sharing, and the rest of the photos came through alright. Did you use a slow grinder for the reamer? Did you harden the reamer? It's fun to see someone try out more or less the very idea I had for a low-tech chanter making experiment. I don't have a metal lathe, so getting a tapered rod would be impossible at home.

No progress on my side, been busy with house projects, but I might have some time this weekend. Though my first project might be making a mainstock and drones, as I have a plan brewing for those as well. I also need to work out some reamer calculations to account for the width of the steel. Some simple math, but I haven't sat down to run the numbers yet.

Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:34 pm
by rgouette
howdy, been sick as a dog, so not online much these past days. Feeling much better now.

Slow grinder? no.. in fact, probably the opposite, as I only have the one that came with the house...
which is a 3200 RPM basic grinder..
Treated? not so much...though considering the speeds at which I ground the thing, one might
argue that I 'heat treated' it.. ;)
I have an 80 grit wheel on one side, and a 120 on the other.
I did my best on those, then did the rest with my trusty file, vise & a straight edge..
I would never of course, claim to have made a pro-level tool...but after reaming out my 2nd project
chanter, it actually seems to have done a decent job: now, take that for what it's worth...which isn't much,
considering my level of expertise.
The best part about this whole story is that, on Friday evening, my son & I went and picked up a 2nd hand
milling machine, bought off Craigslist.
That 800lb beastie is now sitting in my basement awaiting final leveling, and a fresh set of end mills...
I'm particularly excited about it because I believe it's going to open some doors for crafting some tools such as
reamers...I've got some ideas how to possibly produce a flat reamer to much tighter spec...
He has plans to rig it as a CNC machine as soon as he can afford to..
stay tuned!

Re: reamer metal: will this work?

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:58 pm
by abhappy
Nice! Good luck with the milling machine!