A Rare Rant About Threadboxes
If I wrote about all the woodworking tools out there that stink, I wouldn’t have much time to build anything.
Most of the junk out there can be avoided. You can buy better drill bits, screwdrivers and hammers than the stuff you find in the $1 bins at the home centers. But for some tools, such as wood threading tools, the options are limited.
For the last few years, I’ve used the Taiwanese-made manual threadboxes and taps that are for sale at many suppliers of quality woodworking tools. These will usually work out of the box with some tweaking. And after threading at least 100 rods with my kit I’ve become pretty tuned in to how they work.
But today, as we were threading 26 rods during a class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, the roof caved in.
The V-shaped cutter essentially crumbled into bits. I removed it and sharpened it – first on diamond plates and then on stones. No joy. Then Jeff Stafford and Doug Dale, the crack assistants at Marc Adams, took a look. Jeff built a jig to regrind the entire cutter to the proper geometry. Then we polished it up.
The first rod went fine. Then the cutter crumbled to bits again.
So I got on the phone and ordered two more of these kits – plus an extra cutter.
These tools are incredibly fussy, which isn’t my complaint. I just can’t believe how the cutter self-destructed. My guess is that only the tip was hardened. After I sharpened it a few times, I got to the soft stuff behind it.
My options are limited. I’m not a router user, so I’m not inclined to use those systems. I don’t have a toolmaker’s lathe (sigh), and they aren’t very portable anyway. The nice German ones cost more than 500 Euros for the 1-1/2” size I need.
So I guess it’s off to the world of vintage thread cutters.
— Christopher Schwarz