Got my next installment of Monster Tools from Randy at www.monster-wood-tool.com. After I got my hollowing rig, I asked him
if he had a handle that the assorted cutting bits and tool holders would fit into, so I could use them outside of the captive rig. He said he'd had this tool in testing for several months, so he figured it was time to offer it to the market. Something tells me he's gonna sell a lot of them. He calls it the Monster Indexer with Handle. I call it a very versatile hunk of steel and foam padding.
It's essentially a double-ended heavy tubular steel handle, about 16" long with a 5/8" hole in one end and an 3/8" hole in the other (or 1/2", depending on what you ask for). Along with the handle a comes 5/8" heavy duty boring bar that has a 3/16" high speed square tool bit in one end and a 1/4" high speed square tool bit in the other end. It also comes with machined plugs for both ends, so it can be easily be filled with lead shot if you want it weighted. (It's already real heavy compared to my conventional chisels.) The tool's a bit dusty in these pics...they were taken after a nice long test drive roughing out a walnut bowl.
Here's the 3/16" bit end:
And here's the 1/4" bit end. Each bit is reversible, with cutting tips at each end, for a total of four cutting edges:
The 3/8" hole in the handle, and machined plug:
The 5/8" hole in the handle, and machined plug:
You can set it up as a short tool:
Or a long tool:
I can also attach various bits and such from the hollowing rig, either to the handle directly or to the boring bar:
And since a nice tool like this deserves a good tool rest, I also got this:
It's 12" long by 3/4" diameter. Sears lathes have a 7/8" tool rest post, so Randy made the post 0.874" in diameter. What I'd consider to be just right. Turns out my Sears lathe has an undersized tool rest hole in the banjo -- it's 0.864" in diameter. That 1/100th of an inch is kicking me in the rear. So far I've not been able to test drive the tool rest, but I intend to get things adjusted...probably by drilling out the banjo hole a smidgen.
As I see it, either Sears messed up in the manufacturing of the banjo, or I messed up in measuring for the post with a steel ruler, instead of a digital caliper. Either way, I can't blame Randy for the tool rest not fitting. He made it to the specs he was given. Despite not being able to use the tool rest yet, I'm continually impressed with the quality, workmanship, and beefiness of his tools.