Jim Dabrowski

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Making Little Sticks

As promised, here is a little tale of how I made all the little sticks I needed for the trenailing featured in the last post.

After some research, I learned that the best way to do this is by using a draw plate and bamboo skewers. For those who don’t know, a draw plate is typically used to create wire. You stick a piece of wire into a hole slightly smaller than the wire currently is and pull it through. This will stretch it out and make it narrower. Repeat this process until you have a wire the diameter you want. This same process can apply to whittling bamboo skewers down to a needed size.

So I did. Start with a bamboo skewer and split it into several smaller skewers.

And now onto the draw plate.

I actually started with a different draw plate that wasn’t too well made. The holes in it weren’t very consistent and it didn’t work too well. So, I bought the one pictured above. Great draw plate. The numbers you see are thousandth’s of an inch.

Since we aren’t stretching wire but instead shaving bamboo, you use the draw plate “backwards”; by putting it through the back end.

When it sticks out the other side, I grab it with a pair of pliers and pull.

This generates lots of little wood shavings.

Basically repeat the process moving from one hole down to the next one. Sometimes it would take several pulls through to get it fully narrowed down before I could move to the next one. Since the drill bit I was using was .028″; I kept this up until I got down to the 26 hole.

Here is a shot of about what it looks like in a few stages.

I actually completed all the trenailing and have been working on filling, sanding and smoothing the hull. It looks good. I’ll post about that next.