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Making round brass tilt top table latches


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After my friend Janne from Norway saw the tilt and turn table that I finished earlier this year http://www.fineminiaturesforum.com/index.php?/topic/627-tilt-and-turn-18th-century-table/ she asked me to come and teach it in Norway for a group of miniaturists from Stavanger. Well of course their tables will need latches too.

Having just recently received the indexing tool that Bill Robertson made for his 2015 class at Castine I decided to see if I could use the tool to make the round table latches typical of the era. Here is the antique latch that inspired my miniature latch.


After I had turned the basic shape on the lathe with a shallow center hole of 0.5mm I transferred the latch to the indexing tool to drill the hole for the bolt. The wood is keeping the latch at a certain distance from the collet as I needed to built a jig to help me line up the latches each time correctly when I changed steps, I needed the whole process to be repeatable.


Next I moved the part of the tool that holds the work 90 degrees, used the 1.2mm brass rod that will be the bolt part of the latch to center it in the collet with the wooden jig I built for this purpose and then drilled into the brass rod through the hole that was drilled while the part was still on the lathe.


Next I milled the slot into the top of the first latch.


Before I could carry on with the rest of the latches I had to check if the slot was long enough to move the bolt in and out, I was keen to keep the knob in the center of the latch when the bolt is engaged in the table...I think it will work...


Using the brass rod again to line it all up I drilled the back screw holes into all the latches.


I then removed the wooden jig and used the drill bit to line the latches up with the back hole and turned the indexing tool 120 degrees twice to drill the next two holes.


Using the same principle I used a bigger drill bit to remove most of the waste brass in between my three screw holes. After a lot of filing and polishing...here are the three parts that make up the latch together with a regular sewing pin.


With the bolt sticking out.


And the bolt flush with the body of the latch.


This was loads of fun to make and I love my new indexing tool, it has opened up a world of new possibilities :)

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Thank you Missy...hmm...after looking at the photos, I think it is too thick and I don't like the round bolt all that much...think I have a new idea for improving it...too late in the day to try it now...but tomorrow is a new day.

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Very nice…… isn't it fun to be able to make all the cool little things you want but can't just go out and buy?


BTW What size collet are you using and it looks like it has 4 slots in it? I wonder if it is metric and they are made that way? Is it Sherline?

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Beautifully done I learned some things just from watching your picture sequence! Thanks!!

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Wonderful Elga! I'd like to hear more about the indexing jig, is it like a spin jig with 5C collets?

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I have reached the stage Bill R where I think it is way more fun making your own little things than buying them even if you could :-)

The collet is a Sherline blank collet that came with the set that I bought, I cut four slots into it with a jewelers saw (that was Bill H's idea) and the hole I drilled is 1/8" ...I needed a collet this size to finish my Tune wine decanter, the students have decided that they would like to try and make the latch themselves and since I know that Janne has the imperial collets, I changed from using my 4mm collet to the homemade 1/8" one.

And no Bill H I am not going to spring load this one, there just isn't enough space.

Linda, I think Bill R can answer your question better.

And thank you Michael, I think you will still find many ways too use the tool too.

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