Fender Pile .. musings

This post is about the Fender Pile. The Fender Timber is the horizontal piece that a boat bumps against when docking .. hence .. it ‘Fends’ off the boat. What I am calling the Fender Pile is the piling that the Fender Timber bolts to. Ok? (shown in Red)

Let me say up front that .. yeah .. I know. It’s just a piece of 1/4″ dowel with a couple of notches. I know .. I know. I was wanting to use my mini-mill to notch them precisely. I mean .. after all .. I have the tool .. so why not use it?

On the right side are the dimensions. No .. I’m not expecting those precise measurements .. that’s taken directly off of the Sketchup drawing and are just a reference.

The vice on the mini-mill is pretty small, only measuring 1-3/4″ wide and 1/2″ deep. That’s no problem since the dowel is only 1/4″ dia. The problem is .. how the heck to hold it so that notch can be milled out. Here, I’m milling notches on the caps for the bents. At the far end you can see a stop. I basically used a scrap piece up against the stop and milled a slot approximately where it needed to go .. measured .. adjusted .. and milled until it was good. I then ran all the bents through the mill .. and so on. I used some wood to block up the piece being milled high enough to cut the slot .. and clear the vice.

Let me repeat that .. I know .. this is just slightly silly. I could easily (and probably will) notch the darn thing with a file. If you look at the drawing to the left, it is only notched 1/32″ deep. That .166″ by the way represents what the pile would have to be notched for using a 8″ timber.

Having said that .. I’m going to continue down the ‘silly path’ for a bit.

Clamping a piece of 1/4″ dowel in the vise presents two problems. (1) In order to clamp tightly it HAS to crush the wood a bit .. and (2) the dowel would be clamped at the widest part of the dowel. For a 1/4″ dowel that’s 1/8″ up. If you think about it .. assuming your could clamp at the VERY top of the vice .. on 1/8″ would stick out. I could theoretically clamp just a bit lower then that .. so let’s say .. only 1/16″ stuck out over the top of the vise jaw .. but that would mean that high-speed bit would be spinning just 1/32″ over the top of the steel jaws of the vise. That would work .. but we still have the problem (1) with crushing the wood while clamping. That’s why I was thinking about this .. not so much that I REALLY need to notch the dowels with my mini-mill .. but .. if I were .. how would I do it? See. More interested in the problem and how I could solve it.

I think the solution would be to clamp the dowel between two pieces of wood. I could clamp two pieces of wood together and drill a 1/4″ hole down the center. Then, split them apart and sand those meeting faces so that a gap is left around the dowel when they are together. That would create a clamping effect in the vise.

In the drawing to the left we have the blocks split so you can see this idea .. and on the right clamped together (in an invisible vise). I chamfered the edge in the drawing to clear the mill head. That was just a ‘possibility’ .. just a ‘suggestion to myself’ what might be needed. With a stop for the end of the dowel to rest against, the slot would be the same in all the dowels. The only problem left would be getting the two slots level. That would probably be easily enough using a small square. It might not seem much but if you think about it .. and small discrepancy would show up when you ‘bolted’ the Fender Timbers to the piles.

Another version .. this one would clear the jaws of the vice and place the notch in the center .. more support for milling.

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About etraxx

Retired from the Army in 2006. Served during Vietnam - 1969-1972 as as 72B - Communications Center Specialist (Teletype Operator). Got out .. and went back in 1987 as a 19K - Armor Vehicle Crewman - (M1/M1A1 tanker) getting out in Korea in 1999. Went into the Reserves .. got mobilized in 2001 .. stayed active until my retirement with 20 years in 2006.


Fender Pile .. musings — 2 Comments

  1. Quick and dirty… clamp a dowel or other piece of bar stock in the spindle. Tighten one side of the vise pretty well and leave the other just barely snug. Just make contact with dowel on the face of the fixed jaw at the tight end of the vise. Move loose end to where it is definitely a bit out of line. Crank table under spindle with dowel in contact with the fixed jaw. When you have gone the entire length of the jaw, come back and make one more pass for insurance. NOW break out your DI and tweak it if you don’t like what you see. I did this today for a quick setup. When I put the DI in to check, I had less than .0005 in 4″ on the vise jaws. Close enough for what I was doing by far. Same deal with a horizontal, but grab a fairly large diam slotting cutter very lightly with the vise. Tighten the bolts. Put a DI on it now. If the vise jaws need to be parallel to the arbor, you might be able to come up enough to grab the arbor the same way. If not, do it the hard way.

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