Beall (Lee Valley) Wood Threader


Beall Wood Threader, a “Threaden” Promise...

Boy and Girls,
I should leave my skeletons in the closet, however, many years ago, before Moses shaved his beard and led the animals onto the ark I “threadened” to do a review of some wooden threads
Well the animals have grown up and moved out of the boat, Moses has shaved with his cordless razor, so I have time to spare to honour that commitment. 
Before you continue to read on, there are two pre-requisites:-
  • You need to make wooden threads.
  • You need a router/trimmer.
Assuming you have a router, I highly recommend a trimmer for compactness and ease of use.  Furthermore, I do recommend micro adjustment so you can sneak up on that shifty depth rather than that rack and pinion penduluming back and forth on the required depth. 
The kit can be purchased individually, however, if you believe you will utilise many different sized threads, it is more economical to buy in sets… you’ll need to check the pricings for yourself… Beall has been bought out by Lee Valley.  
Looking at the Lee Valley WEB site, each kit comes with the following items.
  1. Router holding frame/table.
  2. Dowel guide.
  3. Tap with lead in pilot.
  4. Solid carbide 60°, ¼” router bit.
  5. Aluminium centering sleeve.
  6. Allen key for attaching dowel guide to frame/table. 
  7. Spanner for router holding hardware.
Apparently items 2 and 3 can be bought separately to make use of existing “kit(s)”... unless you prefer permanent setups for particular threads
If you are interested in the full Beall set, they are cheaper than a similar set of these tap and dox die alternatives, which  by the way don’t require a router/trimmer,
While my "box" set (pictured above) is retired, I have retained them just in case sometime in the future I have a power outage rendering my corded trimmer unusable, and find my life hanging on a thread.
These will do a fair and passable job for those occasional threads, however, the differences in quality, speed and tear out, is obvious when compared to the Beall setup.
The biggest catch is that you require a "router" for the Beall
however, most woodies have one… naturally a trimmer is better and I do recommend one with micro adjustment… I have dedicated a Bos¢h GMR1 trimmer (see pottzy, even I can go lower class) which has proper micro adjustment…
Both type of kits (Beall and box) come with an associated tap, 
The handle comes off the “box tap” so you can chuck it into a cordless drill if you’re thrillseeking enough.
With the taps, you can go nuts 
and bolts to your heart’s content.
While the Beall tap doesn’t come with running water, it has an appropriate pilot lead in (the same dia. as the recommended hole)
to ensure the thread is perpendicular… unless your tapping horizontally or compound angles, where the pilot ensures the thread is horizontal for the former (DOH!).
The pilot is removable 
to maximise the thread depth for a non through hole.
More on taping nuts later on.
This non-metal dowel guide has a smooth surface 
in-feeding to the router bit, and a threaded surface 
for the routed exit. 

The kit also includes a 60°, ¼”, solid carbide bit,
for cutting the threads.
There is an aluminium centering sleeve,
for centering the router-bit/router.
Cannot comment for Lee Valley, however, the old regime included a template for making these two types of handles that can be attached to the dowel and the taps,
PDF can be downloaded from here.  I made separate crank handles for the 1 1/4" and 1 1/2" threads, 

The appropriate crank handle 
is attached to the dowel and turned while the router is running,
Made some long 5/8” threads,
that I eventually subdivided for another one of my jigs,
Lets get down and dirt and speak about my favourite subject… playing with my nuts.
First cut a square of the appropriate size (your choice of thickness) and mark out the nut.  
I used this template that I bought off the Beall Co quite a few years ago,
(it has recommended dimensions embossed for each thread.)
I made my own template, laser cut out of 4mm acrylic,
The PDF/SVG file of the above template

is available from here.
I had to drill a hole in the centre of the square (or the nut outline if not centered) using a forstner bit 1/8” less in diameter than the thread dimension.
Here I’m tapping for a 1” thread so the forstner bit is 7/8”.
You can then either tap “manually” using vise mounting, 
however, I have chosen to go “semi-mechanical” and mount mine to my lathe,
taking care that the passing through tap does not come in contact with any part of the chuck... that’s why it’s packed out around the perimeter.
The end of the tap has a “dimple” to accommodate a live centre in the tailstock,
so you can align the tap perfectly horizontal,

With the headstock locked, you rotate the spanner "clockwise" (from this angle) while advancing the tailstock... kinda like patting the top of your head and rubbing your stomach, except that co-ordination seems to be more intuitive than one may expect... I use a ratchet spanner for convenience... bloody imperial 9/16".
Depending on your lathe’s hardware, you may need to move when you are a fair way through,
and I finished off on my vise,

enough thread had been tapped to ensure alignment.
Then it was the optional countersinking at the drill press,
The nut perimeter trimmed at the mitre saw,
and final rounding over at the trimmer,
a quick test for fit,
then it was off to the beautician,
for a facelift.
When I first bought the Beall threader, I used my Makita rack & pinion trimmer,
as can be carbon dated with the template still glued on the crank handle.  That Mak has been permanently replaced by the micro adjustable Bos¢h, and now resides in a permanent retirement home,
My current goto trimmer is the cordless Milwaukee.
In my opinion there is something aesthetic about wooden threads,
And of course I just have to toss in a puzzle for the benefit of Pottzy… 
How do you get a nut onto a sealed bolt,
without using glue?
The only down side of either threader, is that they are bloody imperial. Here in Aussieland we get those occasional suppliers that don’t import dowels and make the metric “equivalent”, and that subtle micro deviation does make a difference. Consequently I have had to devise my own means of making imperial sized dowels on my lathe.  A dedicated jig, using threaded wooden adjusters, that I refuese to considered cannibalism.
(more on this setup in another blog).
Thanks for watching.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

Good write up ducky, thanks for that!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Nice nuts indeed! clean shaved and woody.

That is a lot of toolage require, nut I agree that it can really expand ones portfolio of tricks.
I thought I should add to the tread, ... but couldn't think of what to torque about, ...But I do love seeing your nuts!!

Regards Rob

Thanks Guys....

'Ya got me there RC...

no "witty" comeback from me.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

I tried to avert my eyes when you were blatantly showing off your nutz, but you went on for so long I looked to see where I was, and there they were. I'll not comment further. 

Great write up Duckie. 
Good to see there are others that have a sense of humour still!

Regards Rob

I just realised,(after looking at your nuts again) ... I bet everybody goes nuts for the worlds shortest extension cord

Regards Rob

 commented about 4 hours ago
I just realised,(after looking at your nuts again) ... I bet everybody goes nuts for the worlds shortest extension cord

Surprised the dog didn't bite yours of while you were peeping at mine, Tom!

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD