Ray Rogers Handcrafted Knives

The Hand Tapper

The hand tapper is a very useful tool. It's job is to hold the small taps that are used in folder making very straight and steady while you tap a hole. Titanium is fairly difficult to tap for small screw sizes and this tool will save you a lot of broken taps.

Commercially built hand tappers are available but they are hard to find in the very small size that we need and they are always much more expensive than this one was. Keep your imagination working when looking through a junk shop, pawn shop, or the bargain bin at your local hardware store!

I built this one from some scrap pieces of aluminum that I had laying around. The base is a piece of 1" plate and the bar at the top is about 1 1/4" square. The vertical rods and the shaft for the chuck are 1/2 inch steel rod.

Any kind of frame you can build will do as long as it's rigid. The difficult part is finding a suitable chuck and some way to attach it. I solved this problem by buying a piloted spindle tapper. This is nothing but an ordinary T-handle tap wrench with a small shaft added to the frame. The purpose of the shaft is to allow you to chuck the tapper into your drill press so that it can be held steady. All I did then was drill a hole in the center of the 1/2 inch rod, insert the piloted tapper, and secure it with a set screw.

The piloted spindle tapper that I used is made by the Walton Company of Hartford, CT. and is their model No. 176. Mine was purchased from MSC (1-800-645-7270) for about $30.00 using MSC's part number MJ05041801.

In the picture on the left you can see the whole machine. In the foreground at the rear of the machine there is storage (a bunch of holes) for the different taps I usually use. At the background at the rear of the machine you can see a clamp and a pin in their storage positions.

The right picture shows the area at the front of the machine with a piece of material clamped to the table by one of my home made clamps and steadied by a pin in the foreground. There are numerous holes in the table to allow for flexible positioning of the clamps and pins. For some jobs the pins are adequate and faster to use since they are not threaded. When more stability is required I use the clamps. The clamps are 3/8th inch aluminum and are very simple to make. The two pictures on the bottom show the details of the clamps.

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Ray Rogers Handcrafted Knives