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Tim’s Worm Carriage

Bonus page!!  My good friend Tim Crowe didn’t have a long lathe with which to turn a worm blank, so he came up with a clever option for a lathe substitute. He calls it a carriage.  You can get a pretty good idea of how to construct one for yourself from the photos. It is made from wood and uses a common plunge router to do the cutting.  It is rather easily constructed, but some of the details need to be watched pretty carefully, so I’ll let Tim explain some of them to you in his own words.

      “It cost about $300.00 for someone to turn a worm for me, so I came up with this method. It took about 4-5 hours to route.  The length inside the box is 64″ . The end blocks must be 1 1/2″ thick of the hardest wood, so I used coco bolo, drilled 3/8″ undersized with 3″ hex head bolts ground to a prefect point. double nut inside and out to force the 3/8 bolt into then end of the worm.  I drilled in the end 1″ to start the bolt then ran the bolt in the worm with a impact wrench on both ends. WORD TO THE WISE. YOU MUST DRILL THE END CROSS PIECES ON THE DRILL PRESS TO BE SQUARE, AND YOU NEED TO FASTEN THE CROSS PIECES WITH GOOD GRK WOOD SCREWS. It is imperative to get the 3/8″ bolt exactly the same height at both ends!   I did not initially, but fortunately made the worm 3 1/4″ so there was room enough to realign the end pieces and reroute down to 2 3/4” to save it.

     For milling, I ran the router on a medium speed and knocked off all the high spots.  I found running the router from side to side in long runs rather than spinning like a lathe helped, but I did some clean up by turning by hand with the router stationary for the axle areas. 4-6 passes were made taking light cuts and then rotated the worm a 1/4 inch [because I used a 1/2 wide router bit]. I ended up with a 30-40 sided piece that was sanded to make round.  It was removed from the carriage several times to make sure it would fit tight into the scrap wood that I had drilled 2 3/4″ & 1 7/8″ holes into. I did wax the top edges of the carriage, and it does help.  All the wooden pieces were cut dead square and the top edges were planed flat.”

     We’ll start off with a photo of his handle and one of how as how he went about cutting the grooves in the blank worm.


(Click on photos to enlarge)

Tim’s handle and head stock.  Lookin’ pretty fancy, eh?

     Tim lays out the lines to indicate the groove width on the blank worm and then drills a series of pilot holes between those lines to the desired depth.  Then it’s a simple matter of using a hand chisel to do the detailing.  Clever fellow!  Here’s the little jewel that Tim uses to make his worm blanks:

The end view of Tim’s carriage assembly.  Notice the router on top of the assembly.

One of the 3/8″ bolts that has had the end pointed to facilitate turning the worm blank.

A peek inside the “carriage”.

The blank rifling worm being mounted on a pivot bolt.

Showing the width of the carriage box.

Showing the height of the carriage box.


Ken’s Worm Cradle

To Assist Laying Out The Groove Lines On Your Worm Blank

An Idea Stolen Red-Handed From Ken Guy!

    Brother Ken Guy is one clever fellow and is known to take information, analyze it, and come up with a better way of doing it.  After seeing photos on various websites of how he is going about laying out the groove lines on his worm….why, I just up and stole his idea to pass it along to you. I suppose I’m gonna be sent to hell  or back to Viet Nam for doing it, but here it comes……

The first photo shows a scrap piece of 1 X 4 that has had a line scribed in the center and the center of that line center punched.  Most any piece of scrap lumber will work for this project, but keep it fairly thick. This piece just happened to be 9 1/2″ long, found suitable, so it was commandeered for this project.  Nothing special about the length, but it needs to be tall enough that the worm will not rest on the bottom of the cradle when it is finished….you’ll understand in a few more photos.

Take a 2″ hole saw and run it’s drill bit through that center punch mark.  Do this three more times and you’ll have enough wheels to build that grandkid a little car to play with.  The 2″ hole will accommodate the two areas on the worm blank that are 1 15/16″ diameter.  The hole size can be changed to fit your own worm blank as needed.

Now run it through the band saw on that center line to make two saddles for the cradle.

At the un saddled end of each piece, drill three pilot holes for deck screws.

Find another piece of wood that is slightly longer than what the grooved portion of your worm is.

Screw the saddles onto this board and VIOLA!  [Angus, that’s pronounced ‘waa-la’.]  You got’er done.

Here is a picture of Ken using his cradle.  You can notice the differences between his cradle and mine.  Ken also uses his when chiseling out the grooves.  If you wish to follow his thoughts, just use wider pieces of wood when you construct your cradle and add sides to it.

A special thanks goes to Ken for letting me rob him like this.

J.R. Foster’s Boring Bench