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Hey,

I have limited access to a toolshed with a vice etc, but I never really used tools before lol. Some questions:

First, I need a hand saw for 5/32" (4mm) aluminum. I figure a coping saw should do the trick, eh? Any blade recommendations here? I'll use the same saw for the 1/4" (6mm) wood.

Secondly I need something to smooth out the aluminium core. Here's where I get confused. Would a rasp and sandpaper suffice, and if so, what kind? Could I use the same rasp and paper for both the wooden scales and the alu core?

It seems there's no escaping the use of a drill for the pins. Is this hard to do with a handheld drill or do I need some sort of stationary system?

I guess what I'm really asking is how specialized the tools need to be seeing as I use both metal and wood.

(I'll likely start out with a baltic birch boardcut before using aluminium, but might as well get the tools in one go)

Bonus question: I'll use stabilized wood with God knows what kinds of resins in it. Is it enough to use a respirator and place a vacuum cleaner (next to the wood) while sawing? Same with the aluminium. Can I sand it under water?

Any help or useful links appreciated!
 

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Generally speaking any good quality woodworking tool is capable of working aluminum. I have no-name wood files and they cut aluminum just fine. For saws I recommend a coping saw with an appropriate blade.

Respirator and vacuums are a really good idea and if you're gonna wet sand just make sure your paper is "wet or dry" or it will fall apart quickly.

Good luck and don't forget to post your creation!
 

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Great handle, Diocletian. love it!

So here is the thing. Technically yes, you can cut with a coping saw. Be aware however it will be painstaking and slow. If you don't mind that, then go for it. The problem with aluminum and power tools is that it tends to load up (as in stick to) many abrasive papers which tend to be alumina oxide. So hand sanding the aluminum will also be painstaking but less so. My recommendation would NOT be to use a rasp though, but just a coarse bastard file or the like. Two reasons for this.

1) Most rasps aren't hardened like files, so aren't really capable of working aluminum well. The material removal rate also might not be that much faster, if at all, because the hardness of material will limit your effective depth of cut. So more smaller teeth may well cut as fast or faster as you'll struggle to take big wood-rasp-sized chips.
2) The depth of scarring the rasps will create will take FOREVER to sand out.

One power tool you don't want to live without though: a buffing wheel. When you're all done sanding, the buffing wheel will take you from a nice finish to an epic one with surprisingly little effort. You'll pay a little money for a bench grinder and some rouge, but it'll be worth it.
 

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Good points already made.

Aluminium is a pain in the... It also tends to clog up files etc. pretty quickly. I use sand paper wrapped around tubes or rods etc. as mandrels to get the final shipping done. Works well.

A coping saw will work fine for cutting out - get a nice fine toothed blade and also try keep it lubricated while you work - mineral oil will work fine. Keep it as cool as possible.

Pins you can drill freehand. What I'd do is drill the plate stick one side on, then drill through then glue opposite scale on and drill all the way through from the opposite side. Though keep it clamped in the vice while doing the drilling so you don't pop a scale off during the process - put some card or letter in the vice jaws while doing this so you don't scar the surface. Just be sure not to use carbon fibre or copper pins in aluminium - brass etc. is fine.

Stabilised wood is very much like Micarta - using wood instead of paper or cloth (infused with Phenolic plastic) - the dust is not the most ideal substance to breath in - but its not as bad as some materials like G10 or Carbon Fibre.

You can also use Brasso to do a buff when you're done sanding to get a nice sheen.

Slow and sure wins the race.
 

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Hey Diocletian, I also agree; DIY Slingshot is a great past-time, any day of the year. Not sure how much experience you have in the home hand-crafting hobby but you certainly live in a land, famous for "fine metal crafting".

As already mentioned - I also believe, it's possible to make just about anything with a "half decent Coping saw" and some "good quality blades" and very important - a "good set of files". Of course a Vise or some form of 3rd hand will make the project a lot more manageable.

The best thing about working with hand tools; it keeps the dust down to a very minimum. .... Power tools on the other hand, are fast but it will produce a lot of fine dust that blows around and makes a mess everywhere unless some form of dust control system is in place. Note: My quick easy dust trap is a . Box Fan with a double layer of furnace filters taped to the inlet side.

Just last night I made a "one piece slingshot" out of a piece of 8mm thick hi-density pine, just sitting at my desk in my office. Tools used - Hobby Vise, Coping Saw with Spiral saw blade and a 10cm. fine cut rasp. Note: I am not big on "fine finishing" .... I am usually done, the minute my piece becomes functional. ..... Probably when the weather warms up, I may be motivated to get out the fine finishing tools and create some dust.

Cheers! and Make it Fun !
 
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