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Discussion Starter #1
I guess you could call the shift knobs I make "turnings" even though I do not own a lathe.

I've been "turning" shift knobs made from old bowling pins, most would get a coat of stain to the liking of my customers. I originally started these just to make a couple knobs for myself, but after posting online on a the few Honda/lowered car forums I frequent, I found there was a great demand for wood shift knobs. I keep my prices low because I know I'm not to the level of creating top of the line wood knobs, but I learn from every piece I create.

I wanted to post here because, being a woodworking forum, I knew I could be respectfully critiqued by professionals and maybe even get a few "hey that's neat" comments.

I'll start with a few of my first ones and work up to the newest.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The first 3 pics show the very first ones I created.

I then started making some "skinnier" ones and shorter ones to have various styles to choose from.

Then I tried my first segmented knob, normal bowling pin maple with a purpleheart base. Pic shows it still in bare wood (since finished with a high gloss poly).

And here are a few of my latest.

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A "black" knob for a customer.

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Another customer knob.

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A shot of a bunch I have competed.


And last but not least, my latest. Unfinished in the pics, segmented with bowling pin maple, red oak (not 100% sure, was one of many mattress support boards I found in my bed while moving, lol) and purpleheart.

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Let me know what ya'll think.
 

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Master firewood maker
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dang dude, those are huge! pretty neat too! how do you make them?
 

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These look good -- and when orders for gear knobs aren't plentiful, you could make a trivial adaption and make bottle stoppers the exact same way.

Curious -- how do you turn those square segments round without a lathe?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
dang dude, those are huge! pretty neat too! how do you make them?
A basic knob doesn't require much to make. Take my pin, cut head to desired height, find center on the bottom, drill and tap for a throw away bolt, round over the bottom with the router, and sand, stain and finish to the customer's or my liking.

Cool. Where do you get bowling pins? We dont even have a bowling alley any more.
I work as a mechanic at a bowling alley :) Sometimes a pin goes somewhere its not supposed to and the machine literally chews them up. Most of the time, only the hard plastic coating is damaged but we we still can't use it for play.

That was going to be my question. Where do you get the pins?

Neat idea for shift knobs though. They're a bit large for my taste but I like them :)
Some are on the larger side. And nearly all are almost double in size to a standard shift knob, but I've found these fit the hand much better than smaller OEM shift knobs do. Some I've made are more "show", see the last one, and a lot less practical.

These look good -- and when orders for gear knobs aren't plentiful, you could make a trivial adaption and make bottle stoppers the exact same way.

Curious -- how do you turn those square segments round without a lathe?
You know I never thought about making bottle stoppers. You may have opened up a new can of worms, there. Definitely looking into it now.

Ah yes, I was wondering who would ask first. I'm sure wood turners on this board will scratch their head with this one. I glue up as you see in the picture. Then I trim it close to round with a sawzall like you would with a bandsaw normally. The "throw-away" bolt I mentioned in reply to Chris is then threaded in, and I chuck the whole thing into a corded drill. Then I turn the drill vertical and hold it in place with a bench vice. The drill's trigger is zip tied to be always on and I just plug it in to the outlet on my bench to get things turning. I start with 40 grit on segmented knobs to shape everything and get it all round, and move up as you normally would in turning a piece.

No this isn't practical. No its not really efficient. I have to have a lot of patience and trust the end piece will be as I envision. Do I wish I had a lathe? Yes I do. But at the moment I wouldn't have the space for one, but it is very much at the top of my tool purchase list. I'll try and snap a pic of the whole operation tonight at work.
 

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You know I never thought about making bottle stoppers. You may have opened up a new can of worms, there. Definitely looking into it now.
:thumbsup:

Ah yes, I was wondering who would ask first.
Glad to be of service ... :laughing:

Sounds like you've made a simpler version of one of THESE -- since you haven't implemented a tool rest (yet ;)) you're more or less restricted to sanding rather than using cutting tools.

Did I just open another can of worms for you?

I believe my work here is done ... :whistling2:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Duncsuss, I had no idea they even made those. Though I like the idea of being able to use tools to shape my knobs with something like that, I'd wait until I got a "real" lathe. Seeing that makes me feel a little less ashamed to show off my setup.

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It's a simple Black and Decker corded regular chucked drill. I've tried with a cordless Craftsman keyless chuck but find it way easier to use the B&D. If you're wondering, the rag with the rubber band around it acts as a filter. One thing I first noticed when I started was sanding dust entering the drill on the intake side vents. If I would've left it uncovered, this drill would be toast already. Normally I dampen the rag to also cool it off as I turn. I also stop periodically to allow it to cool down. As I've said, its not the best way to turn a shift knob, but it works for me for now. Also pictured is how I chuck them into the drill. Simple enough, just a bolt with the head cut off.

Shop Dad, I assure you those are all shift knobs lol.

I suppose I can also let you guys in on some new stuff I'm working on, as I could use all the help I could get if there's any advice anyone wants to lend.

I've been collecting beer caps for a little while now. Working at a bowling alley is great because I get plenty of pins to work with and we also have a bar, so collecting beer caps is a lot easier as well. So I started implimenting the caps in a few knobs. Here's what I've got so far:

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I had read in the forum of guys using Envirotex Lite to fill in cracks and imperfections in wood so I figured this would be perfect for my beer cap shift knobs. They're unfinished of course in the pics because I haven't had a chance yet to sand them flush and finish, but I should be doing some work on them tonight. Also the Budweiser knob has a bubinga stripe if anyone was wondering.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ah, well I got outside and got a few installed shots of my completed knobs. The afternoon sun and shadows made it difficult to get good pics, but I tried my best.



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Nice shifter knobs. I just picked up 20 pins for a table leg project for a coffee table using an old bowling alley lane for the top, and I might have to play with one just to see how I like it.
 

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Nice -- I like the inset bottle caps idea too, reckon those will look great when finished.

One tip for taking photos in bright sun: if your camera lets you do it, turn the flash to "ON" (instead of "auto"). It'll give a little blast of flash that softens the shadows.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks guys. I got my start just playing around with bowling pins. These knobs aren't what you would see normally, but the car scene I'm in, everyone is trying to do something different, so this is my something different.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
those are nice how do you thread the inside???
Usually I would drill 1" into the bottom with a 3/4" spade bit and tap to customer specs, but my newer knobs are going to all have a threaded insert epoxied into them. I'm starting to do this for piece of mind that customers won't cross thread the knob while installing it and strip the threads out of the wood. I've only had one occurance of this out of 20-25 knobs, but I worked with them to correct the issue.
 
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