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Waterford NY Die Thread Cutting Die Tool - how would you use it?

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I picked this up at an estate sale over a year ago.  Everything they had for sale that they could identify as blacksmithing related was way overpriced, but I found this outside on a table covered with rust and dirt.  It was difficult to tell what it was, but based on the weight I thought it could be useful for something and offered them $5, they took $10.  Someone told me that you used it to cut threads in wrought iron, but using it on steel would damage the dies.  I'd be interested to know how it was used and if it could still be useful today other than something I hang on the wall and show to visitors. 


It's 3' in length, though the picture w/ the yardstick doesn't show the measurements well.  Guessing it's wrought iron as the dirt and rust I cleaned off didn't damage the tool in anyway.







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It looks like it cuts 3 different pitch threads. The only one I could see in closeup looks very course though I am just guessing. The only way you actually use it is if you can find nuts in the same pitch. 


For example; if one of the three adjustable dies (which is what they are) is 10 threads per inch, then you could thread 3/4" rod, since 3/4-10 is a common size. 


As to actually using the tool, you would adjust the particular pair of dies which fit the rod you have chosen. Since you are cutting such large threads the resistance would be immense ( I have cut 3/4 inch threads in one pass, it is doable but difficult). The point is you can cut the threads in multiple passes, by tightening the die stock (the overall tool is a die stock) after making a pass. 


Due to the nature of the tool itself I recommend using a high sulphur content threading oil for pipe threading or a Moly D oil, not something light like tap-free. 


Check the thread with a nut; if it doesn't fit, tighten the die stock some more and cut the threads even deeper in the rod. I wouldn't hesitate to use your tool on mild steel; either it is still sharp enough to cut threads or it is not. Thread cutting equipment doesn't last for ever (with the somewhat exception of single point thread cutters). 


If it is dull you have a cheap wall hanger. 


It is also entirely possible that it doesn't cut any standard threads whatsoever, since at one time everyone just made whatever threads they felt like making. 

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The die stock you show doesn't' really cut threads it will partially cut but what it was meant to do was form or extrude threads in wrought iron. The physical structure of wrought iron prohibits the cutting of threads due to its longitudinal fiber make up. The fibers brake or shear off when cut on the short grain,(think wood).


With this die stock moderate pressure is exerted and a pass is made along the rod to be threaded, then a second pass with increased pressure. This is repeated until one is satisfied with the depth of thread.


Bars to be threaded were forged to nominal size and threaded as described and then nuts or holes were punched smaller than that size and tapped threads were created with a tapered tap until the tapped hole was large enought for the threaded rod to screw in.


You shouldn't attempt to use these dies in modern steel as you will only quickly dull them because of their limited ability to cut metal.     

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Greetings Dan,


My 2c....  Your tool is designed to cut threads in mild steel..  You will find the dies are quite hard and sharp...Great tool steel  . .   The tool was designed to be progressive..  You start with the dies just contacting and cutting.  Move on to complete..  The dies are self limiting meaning you can not go to tight and make the part smaller than the dies will allow...    What can I say but try it... Or try it on a standard threaded bolt..


Forge on and make beautiful things


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That's a fantastic video DSW and not only for the part about making the threads and nuts.  As I don't have a matching tap, I'm assuming one could be made by tapering and annealing a suitable piece of 1095 and then using the tool to slowly swedge the threads, changing the diameter gradually and then heat treating the tap once completed?

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Figure out 1st what the thread pitches you already have are before you go making a tap.


Standard national pipe taps are tapered and easy to locate. A  1/4" and 3/8" NPT taps are 18 TPI, 1/2"  and 3/4" NPT taps are 14 TPI, 1" thru 2" are 11 1/2 TPI

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