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Peter Munro

burning irons

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Having been used to heated irons for scorching upperboards, etc, I was interested to see that one American builder uses special high-speed bits for doing this. Wonder if any English builder is familiar with this method and the design of such bits? Going back to a much earlier post about electric solderings irons, John Mander hinted that he might have a s/h Laukhuff iron for sale. If that's still the case, I'd be pleased to hear back from him about this.

PM

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We have been using countersinks in a high speed drill for some time now. The friction heats the bit up and burns its way into the upperboard. It isn't rocket science and works well, providing a countersink which is guaranteed to be round. They are not heated electrically. I think Weiblen provides sets of these countersinks which work very well.

 

John

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Having been used to heated irons for scorching upperboards, etc, I was interested to see that one American builder uses special high-speed bits for doing this. Wonder if any English builder is familiar with this method and the design of such bits? Going back to a much earlier post about electric solderings irons, John Mander hinted that he might have a s/h Laukhuff iron for sale. If that's still the case, I'd be pleased to hear back from him about this.

PM

 

We still use the 'old-fashioned' method as it is far quicker and the result is much more regular: we also have many different sizes and profiles of these bits for differing requirements. We have three sets of the rotary bits which we do use occasionally, for smaller jobs, but the time taken to heat them up on a block and the fact that, being used on a pillar drill, the whole thing is terribly near one's nose, it can be a little tiresome!

 

DW

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Why is it necessary to burn the upperboards?

 

I can imagine that some time ago countersinks were either expensive or not available, so that a hot iron would be the most convenient way of countersinking a hole. Why isn't a simple countersink adequate for this purpose?

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Why is it necessary to burn the upperboards?

 

I can imagine that some time ago countersinks were either expensive or not available, so that a hot iron would be the most convenient way of countersinking a hole. Why isn't a simple countersink adequate for this purpose?

 

The burning of the grain of the timber seals it against the leakage of wind - both through the exposed end-grain and also along fissures in the grain of the timber at the point where the pipe tip contacts it. After burning, we wax the boards and this also provides a smoother surface for the pipe tip to sit in.

 

Actually, I've always liked the way it looks after doing this too!

 

DW

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The burning of the grain of the timber seals it against the leakage of wind - both through the exposed end-grain and also along fissures in the grain of the timber at the point where the pipe tip contacts it. After burning, we wax the boards and this also provides a smoother surface for the pipe tip to sit in.

 

Actually, I've always liked the way it looks after doing this too!

 

DW

 

Burning also neutralises locally the acid in the timber, which attacks the pipe metal, especially where oak is used.

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Burning also neutralises locally the acid in the timber, which attacks the pipe metal, especially where oak is used.

 

Which reminds me of the warning to only use brass screws in oak, because the tannin in the timber corrodes steel screws, making them impossible to remove.

(The oak in question, when the subject came up, being 'our' choirstalls.)

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