Sam's Shop Talk and Blog
After making nets for almost 20 years, I have made as many or more mistakes than most wood workers and craftsmen. This hobby has given me the chance try a variety of methods and equipment in pursuit of perfection. I am also a self taught fly fisherman and spent many years floundering and frustrated while I sought the guidance of others and gained experience. I am hoping in this blog, to share my insights and make your time in the shop or on the stream more productive.
March 4, 2013
Finding your groove............Well more, cutting a groove in a net frame. I have heard of a number on methods, both ingenious and scary to cut a small groove on the outside surface of the net frame. In my shop I use a custom cutter built by a local firm in Grand Rapids, recently I became aware of new products that would allow the assembly of a double ball bearing cutter from standard router bit parts. The necessary parts can be found at MLCS woodworking, a supplier of router bits and wood working supplies. The assembly tested used TWO, 1 5/8th inch, ball bearing guides (part number # 12114 @ $8 each) , a three wing slot cutter 1 7/8th inch diameter, for cutting a 3/32 inch slot, (part number #304 @ $12) . The ball bearing guides and cutter were stacked on a 1 1/4 inch extended arbor ( part number # 299 @ $14.99). The assembled cutter worked very well with the larger bearing giving smooth support to the net frame being fed into the cutter. I did adjust the cutter using a small diamond wheel in a Foredom tool to reduce the depth of the cutting edge by about a 1/64 of an inch to produce a slightly shallower groove.......good luck and be safe.
Pictured are the original custom groove cutter and the new cutter assembly with the larger ball bearing surfaces.
These are the parts you will need to order to assemble your own custom cutter. The router arbor usually comes with the washers and threaded nut.
April 13, 2013
It's been a long winter. Today there has been a bit of snow and rain. The rivers are blown out. I'm ready for Spring.
There seems to be a growing interest in building landing nets. I have receive a number of questions about the brass eyes that I use on my nets. Like many of you, I looked hard to find a solid looking brass eye to finish off the handle. I really didn't find something that met my expectations. I make the brass eyes on a metal lath out of 1/2 inch solid brass rod turning it to the rough shape before drilling, grinding and polishing by hand.
Given the hand work I don't offered the eyes as a finished item. I know many of you don't have a lathe, so I have decided to offer the rough blanks at $12 each or 3 for $25 pp. They will look approximately like the ones below. You'll need to file, drill, and polish to your liking.
Something to think about, when someone looks at the net you made and asks about the brass eye, you can either say "I bought it off the internet" or "I have them custom made on a lathe, then I drill, grind and polish them to my specifications." Life is full of stories....make them good.
I am often asked what power tools I would suggest to start making landing nets. I suggest starting with a basic 6 inch by 48 inch stationary belt sander and 14 inch band saw. Those two machines will allow you a good start in this hobby and will be useful for many projects around your home. Work smart, work safe.......Sam
This is my 6 inch stationary sander, I use it more than any other tool in my shop. I purchased a model with a 1750 RPM motor, but have changed the pulleys to DECREASE the belt speed. I find the slower speed allows me to use it as a carving/shaping tool for many projects.