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Another serving machine and universal clamp for seizing

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I could have added to the other thread I suppose but it wasn't my serving machine.


After getting frustrated with the tiny bit of serving that I did yesterday I opted to make a tool that was a little flexible in its uses.

Raiding the scrap boxes for wood and metal after doodling while having the early morning coffee I came up with a design that I hope will serve me well enough.


I found a nice piece of Fiddle-back figured  Maple for the base, a short length of 3/8 anodized aluminum tube, some scraps of Ebony.




The sliding maple blocks on the aluminum tube were made from salvaged maple I found at the dump.a while back.




I cut a channel in the block first with a 3/8 end mill then glued in a block that was 1/64th thinner to the back side this was in order to allow it to slide and to act as the base for the threads for the locking thumb screws. I shaped the ebony just because I could.




I mounted everything on a single pedestal so that I could slide them off and put on different clamps or devices yet to be imagined. I also thought I was being original until I noticed that a lot of other fine builder had used sewing bobbins for the thread.


That universal mind just keeps cropping up.


The end caps in the aluminum tube are ebony.




I used Dafi's method of clamping the rope in the rotating holder just simple tapered wedges. the rotators are turned from a length of 3/8 brass hex stock.and are a snug fit into the small shouldered ball races that a friend gave me, he was a helicopter mechanic, and the bearings get replaced after so many hours. I have hundreds of them all different small sizes. If anyone needs a couple let me know.


The thumbscrews were turned from some brass pinion stock that I have had lying around for years and since I do not have a knurling tool this was the next best thing. they are threaded 4x40


The rod for the bobbin was set so that the bobbin could just turn freely and with a layer or two of card slid under to add tension. It can also just slide off.  I did not get into the complexity of gearing as the hex rotators turn freely enough.




A clamping arrangement will be added to the tops of the sliders for doing the seizing of the shrouds around the deadeyes.  That's it for now.









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Bob thanks for checking this out.


Druxey, funny you should ask those questions, because I was wondering myself just how to deal with the end that did in fact flap around as you say. So I haven't been out to the shop yet this morning I had to deal with our heating system.


Anyway my thoughts about flapping around are to slide the loos end through a 36 inch length of brass tube, that way it can rotate all it wants. How does everyone else deal with the flapping end?


The other thought is to let the loose end dangle over the end of the bench.


The second question regarding the second clamp it is a spare and I should have made 4 not three. I was thinking of some different clamping devices for doing the seizing around the deadeyes.



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First a modification to the ropewalk by adding some more holes in a square configuration allows for the easy winding of shrouds.






A simple and quick change to set up.


The issue of the long end is solved by laying it in one of those clear plastic shipping tubes that brass tube comes in , I actually needed 2 of them as the shroud was longer than 36 inches.




Procedures become clear as we figure out stuff and the winding was done at the left hand side which although worked well enough, I needed to be careful because the shroud was being wound up to the right it was in an unwind mode to the left .  




I will swap the rotators end for end so that the winding one is to the right side that way the shroud will be wound up all the time. As the serving is being laid on. This will have the added advantage of allowing the some of the served end to be fed through the winding end if a longer section of serving is needed . The shorter distance between the rotators helps to reduce the amount of tension needed to keep the shroud taught when serving.


The other thing I notice was that the bobbin came off the brass centering sleeve, this had the effect of letting the bobbin sit on the wood base, this gave the bobbin enough friction so that the tension of the windings were consistent and also the bobbin was pulled along the length by the thread that was feeding onto the shroud.


By doing this work slowly and by simply turning the rotator by hand the lay can be very easily controlled and it really does not take that long.




The way of clamping the deadeyes used the basic principle of pegs in a hole.




the seizing then went easily, A change I would make on a new one would be to add a little more distance between the aluminum bar and the shroud this would facilitate an easier access for my big fingers, Of course tweezers and dental hooks would also help.






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Michael: I have a cleat-like piece of wood that is fixed to the outer side of tube and rotates with it. The excess line is simply figure-of-eighted around the cleat. I tension the line as I wind it on, but I like your idea of the wood plug better.

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how do you keep tension on the line bobbin


Guy, earlier I said this



The other thing I notice was that the bobbin came off the brass centering sleeve, this had the effect of letting the bobbin sit on the wood base, this gave the bobbin enough friction so that the tension of the windings were consistent and also the bobbin was pulled along the length by the thread that was feeding onto the shroud.



I think this will be enough a few more servings will let me know if it is in fact enough.






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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Michael, very clever design. I like it.

If you have not yet solved the flapping ends, you might consider making a whipping for the last few windings. 

Here is an animated way, but I am sure you are well aware of this already.


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Good morning everyone, A couple of modifications to the serving machine. I have been working on the shrouds and a couple of modifications came out of working with them.


First the third clamp proved useful as a sort of traveling steady I kept it just ahead of the line being wrapped around the shroud, and Also I needed to add a tensioning device for the bobbin.


So first the tensioning device, it followed along the same concept of the card wedged under the bobbin, I used a piece of .005" brass shimstock it comes in a roll and can be purchased at automotive repair shops. I used the curl to advantage for the spring tension.




I made the spring lay the whole length of the bobbin rod and clamped it to the rear of the machine with a small strip of maple and 3 small wood screws.





The third clamp used as a traveling steady.


This was then modified and narrowed down so that I have more room betweed the rotating clamps. I also added a former that is removable for siezing the tops of the strouds and beefed up the pegs to brass after snapping one of the maple pegs.




The shrouds are about the biggest ropes that slide through the clamps easily and are held with the wedges. The forstay was a bit too large to slide through though.


The shrouds were .093" diameter made up of 4 ropes of 3 strands each with 6 yarns of Gutterman CE50 Black 100% cotton.


The forestay was formed from 4 ropes 3 strands x 10 yarns and is .120" diameter so I slid out the brass winders from the ball races and used a split collet of maple in each end, I will use this method in the future because it clamps the rope evenlyand the collets ar easy to whip up in the lathe out odf some 1/4 inch maple dowel.




The forestay being served.




I probably should have wormed the stay first but I will do that on the next one.

slipping a pin through allows for a stopage to give my fingers a rest




The clear plastic tube for the long length of the rope not being worked on works very well and just revolves.



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Janos, I rotate the rope by hand at the outside of the right hand clamp By simply using my fingers I find that I have a lot of control and can wind pretty fast if I want but mostly just roll the index finger accross the top of the brass hex on the right it is longer for that reason. The forestay was the largest rope and so that is why I had to change my clamping method. The rotation was done by rotating the wedged clamp in the same way. I will see if I can set up a small video in the next little while to demonstrate the serving machine in action.



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  • 1 month later...

As a result of watching Alexey's video of his machine at work I realized how much superior his design is compared to the one I made.  I went to work to make my one work better. Thank you Alexey for sharing your design, I hope your sales go well.


The thing that I originally did not understand was the need for some sort of gearing and so that is why my original design did not have any, having used mine I realized why the need for the gears. So because I already had the basic structure I added a way to transfer the motion from one end to the other by adding a second shaft and some O ring drive belts not perfect but a much better way.


Also I added the wings to the top shafts to wind up the the extra rope which is so much better than having fed through the plastic tube. (hey I am trainable)




Because the O rings on the brass were slipping more than I would like I searched through the scrap gear box looking for some gears to give a positive transfer from end to end as in Alexey's design, after some hours mucking about with re-machining some gears, I remembered the Servo-link gears and chain I had purchased for some model train stuff I was working on a while back.




As they said in one of the Monty Python episodes "this was the turning point for the Dinsdale Brothers"

Sorry I just couldn't resist. The Servo-link stuff was perfect .




The next part was the main reason for the exact sync making the Becket which requires two hooks that rotate the same speed.




I am able to swap out the serving shafts for the hook ones. after serving the strop and binding the ends together so that it is a continuous ring  slipping it over a block and adjusting it so that the connecting area will be under the seizing.




And a final shot it is a bit untidy but I know that this will improve, the one thing that was a bit of a problem for me was the block wanting to come off the hook, so a modified hook will be in order.




Again big thanks to Alexey for sharing his design, One of the great things about this site is the willingness of members to share their findings, (and windings)





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