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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Cat!
I have been studying everything I can about boring and grinding pipe and rod. But I am not understanding how it is possible to 'bore' the inside of a pipe out a few 16ths more. In my rather 'primitive' knife shop, I have a 2"x72" belt grinder [a grizzly,] 6" wheel grinders, a band saw, a propane forge,
And thats it except for some hammers & files. I have no idea how metal pipe 1 1/2" I.D.
can be 'bored' at all, without a very expensive drill bit. I learned real fast making my knives from junk: { leaf springs, and saw blades} that drilling metal is expensive! I can drill an 1/8th" hole in an old saw blade and it takes a bit per hole. $3.-4. a bit = $3. - 4. a hole!
So I started cutting a slot on the handle of the knives, with a chop, saw and sort of 'waller' out the slot with a broken drill bit and the 1/8th" brass rod goes right through!

Ya'll can't be refering to a big drill bit? can you?

I can 'make' holes in a knife blade for the handle pins to go through with a chop saw blade in my skill saw, and an old drill bit, and it is easy to do 100 blades, rather than the one hole the drill bit will do. So my question is:

1. Is there a tool I don't know about yet?
A cylindrical carbide coated thing which will mount in a drill or a drill press?
Mabey a little larger at one end in order to grind out the inside of a hole?

2. &... I guess in order to take a rod, 2" in diameter and grind the end down to fit inside the 1.7'dia pipe, I would use a chop saw and cut a million circles down as deep as the inside of the 'barrel, and finish with a belt grinder?

3. Ya'll cannon making dude are drilling out inches! of steel !
Inches wide and inches deep! and I have no idea how it is done.

One guy was talking about: "Oh, it is just as easy to drill out a 5" solid rod rather than boring out a pipe a few 16ths."
Dern! Ya'll know something I don't know!
I could apply this information in the knife shop too!
I emailed my friend in Oregon who had a 1929 Nazel power hammer,
25,000 pounds, a real metalsmith, and he has not emailed me back yet, so at the rish of seeming to be a bit ignert:

Hmmm What am I doing wrong here?

J. Knife

· Registered
7,627 Posts
JK -

Here are a few pix of the process and tools:

Steady rest (holds the end steady while turning)

Drilling - use a large bit and you have less to bore out.
Boring looks much the same, but with a boring bar.

boring bar (extended all the way) to reach deep into a cannon.
Note home-made holder for two different diameter boring bars.

microgrove cutter in Ericson boring bar - carbide tipped.

Generally you're talking about using a decent size metal lathe to open up the hole from the inside - takes a long tool (boring bar) that usually has one cutter (may have 2 or 3). Slow process. When you're doing it you wonder if the word boring (unexciting) came from the process of boring (cutting the hole bigger).

I did not have a boring bar on my first mortar. So I used the same 3/4" bit (clamped a little differently) as the boring bar to cut to the 2.67" (old) beer-can size. Finished it after about 6 months of an or two a day. Looked good enough to take to the plating factory and had it bright chromed.

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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A Boring Question......

Howdy Cat,

I have been introduced to a whole new aspect of metalwork, this boring out of cannon barrels. Is that one machine I see in your photo?
If so I gotta get me one of those! A friend, upon seeing the cannon site of ya'll's... said:
"Is that work done with a lathe"?
I was impressed, {I took wood shop}
I assumed that a lathe was for doing table legs.
But it is reasonable that a 'lathe' can bore too,
Your machine had the 'thing to be bored' turning and the drill bit stationary, with some oily looking crap dripping on it as it drilled or bored.
{What is the difference between drilling and boring?

So, is the cheapest 'Grizzly' lathe capable of holding a chuck big enough to support a 2" drill? I have a Grizzly 2"x72" knife grinder, and I love their bandsaw too. How big is the chuck on a 2" drill bit?

The 'Griz' has a {3" chuck with a 3 side jaw ??? } and it is about $525,00 with shipping.
Would a drill press do?

What did folks do 2-300 years ago?
A thousand years ago... if they wanted to bore out a cannon?
Slave labor it on out?
But with what?

It would seem that if I can't afford a boring set-up before Sept. I won't be able to amaze the world with my new mortar, dern!
A piece of pipe 1/4 - 1/2" thick steel walls, and a size I could duplicate by food cans?
Tomato sauce cans?
Grapefruit juice ?

I'll have to search for cans and pipe till I just find a match-up.

Seems easier than grinding those suckers down.

Lots of trash in the world

An interesting problem????

J. Knife

· Registered
228 Posts

Maybe it's just semantics here but when it comes to building a cannon or mortar, "PIPE" is a really bad thing. If you aren't going to use solid bar stock, what you want (and maybe what you actually mean) is seamless, drawn over mandrel (DOM) TUBING. When it comes to safety in this sport, there's a big difference between pipe and seamless DOM tube.

3/8" to 1/2" thick wall DOM with a properly installed breech plug will work for about anything you want to do. With a powder chamber bored as part of the breech plug, 1/4" wall tube would be fine too.

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2 Posts
Drilling is producing a hole with a drill, boring is enlarging a hole using a single point cutter held in an extension tool holder called a boring bar. Drilling a large hole will require a lathe with a large taper in the tailstock, #5 Morse for 1.75" and up. If you need to drill a deep hole, you will need special drills as standard length drills are not designed for drilling cannon barrels. Check the machinery and tool catalogs for details on drill sizes.

· Registered
170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Cav-T and G-Gat,

Thanks for the information.
D.o.m. not pipe! And single point cutter on a boring bar.
I appreciate being led in the right direction. What is the 'chuck' size on a #5 Morse? There is a boring lathe in my Grizzly catalog.
I think it has a 3/4" chuck size, I sure would like to learn all this metal shop stuff as I am only 53 and I figure it is about time.

The cannon contest is just what I needed to inspire me to 'get her done' this summer.

Thanks again

J. Knife

· Moderator
7,165 Posts
Do a google search on "Morse taper" to see what it is. It is not a chuck. The Morse system uses an external taper on the tool and an internal taper on the machine.
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