Making Delrin TBC sanding bushings in a wood lathe

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Jan 12, 2013
Tehachapi, CA
Anyone that has a metal lathe, this might not be as helpful. For the rest of us who have wood lathes and use TBC or stock bushings - this might help. I turn using TBC bushings from Brian Nikitas and a few made by a local friend who has an enormous metal lathe. Yes, I use a caliper to be sure often. After turning, I remove the metal TBC bushings and use shop-made Delrin TBC bushings for sanding. Here’s how you can make them.

Buy Delrin rods from Amazon; they come in many diameters and are cheap. I like the white material better than the yellowish or black which both seem softer.

1. Cut two pieces of the rod to 1” to 1-1/4” in length
2. Chuck up one and drill both ends with a centering bit- not to deep. Do the same for the other one.
3. Turn the first between centers with a dead center at the headstock and an old live center at the tailstock. I use a small 11mm 2” radius carbide tool. Delrin quickly wraps around the piece and resists my bristle scrubber. I need to stop often to remove the ribbons. Be patient. Continue until the entire width is the same size as the largest diameter of your stock bushings or matches what your kit reads in your caliper. Don’t worry if one side gets too small, but be sure one side is even and as close to the correct size as you can get. You will turn the bad end smaller in the next step to fit the inside of the tube.
4. Measure the small diameter of your stock bushing, use it or use the IAP ap to find it. Mine was the inside of a 7mm tube - the toughest to turn!
5. Use a sharp parting tool to make a cut in the middle. I like to make two close cuts to make a gap wide enough to insert my digital caliper. Continue deepening the gap until the caliper just fits.
6. Use a small carbide lathe tool to get the entire portion small enough for the caliper to fit.
7. I usually try the bushing in the turned piece, this time a shave handle. You can see the shoulder is not square so I again used the parting tool to cut off a tiny straight cut. The fit is now flush with an exact shoulder.

Pictured is a shave handle just turned with TBC bushings. The last photo is the handle ready to sand with the new Delrin TBC bushings.

I also duplicate the stock hollow metal bushings in Delrin for use on the buffing wheel.

It seems like a lot of work, but it took me 20 minutes even taking photos. I never worry about light woods showing metal sanding dust because I sand with Delrin.


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