Peter McBride

Antique and Old Tools
Updated :- Monday, 01 February 2010  

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Two Legged Parser

Many years ago I saw a link to the two legged parser page... 
And a few years later saw Roy's video of him using one, and decided to try and get one to work.
 Episode 2807 at 
 The shield is hand cut in silver, and the wood is Indian Rosewood. This thing works so well.

 parser2.jpg (55681 bytes) parser3.jpg (56284 bytes)
I used an old Industrial hacksaw 1.5mm thick to make the legs, cutting it with a thin disk in the 100mm angle grinder. I had to soften the ends to file them, so up to red hot and cooled slowly. The template was a cut from a 1.6mm thick spring steel floor scraper, and I did the same treatment to soften it as well. I scribed a shield shape into it, then drilled and filed the shape.

Here it is in use. The work is clamped in the vice behind the template, and the bobbin is spun back and forth with the bow, and the legs are guided with the left hand. Leather is the favoured bow string, but I used a piece of cord that was handy.

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Here are some close-up pictures of the cutter and the template. The thinner cutter seen above was falling into the hole in the template. To stop that I filed off the ends, forged them wider and re-cut the blades so that when the two legs are fully closed together they won't fit through the hole. I noticed that when I cut the blade square it couldn't reach into the corners of my template, so I shaped them with about a 60 degree bevel. Once I'm happy with the shape and how it cuts I will harden the template, and cutters, then draw a temper to straw yellow.
parser02.jpg (40481 bytes)  parser03.jpg (18022 bytes) parser04.jpg (20027 bytes)
I was scribing around the inside of the template onto silver, then cutting it out and filling to shape, and that worked well. However I remembered a technique I saw 15 or more years ago of making a cutter, a sort of disk cutting plate to reproduce short runs of the same shape. So to see if I could get it to work, I cut a sheet of 1.6mm thick mild steel into a shield shape by tracing around my template, and cut with a about a 10 degree slope on the jeweller's 2/0 saw blade. The aim is to have just enough slope on the cut, so when pushed back through, the center piece just clears the outer edge of the top surface. I think these would work very well if made in Gauge plate O1 steel, perhaps 1.0 mm thick. Some steel with a little carbon in it would be much better.
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The first one I made worked OK, but I cut my slope the wrong way and made a larger shield than I wanted, so I re-cut it and made one smaller than I needed....woops.
I used 0.8mm thick copper try it out. Just slipped it under the cutter and punched down with a swift strike on a brass drift and the shield is in the back of the cutter. All that is needed is for the short "tang" to be trimmed away.
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Ideally, to get it right I would carefully cut my disk clicking plate and then use one of the shields to mark and cut my steel parser template. Then sneak up on the size of the template with files for a perfect fit.
This system looks like it would be good for a short production run, but when I make things I usually only make only one or two, and move on to another shape. So if only one, two or three shields are needed I would probably just cut the inlay by hand, with the jeweller's saw and file it to fit. The close-up on the right shows my shield is a fraction small, but the process will work.
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Thanks to Paul Womack for  link to an interview with an old time Sheffield Knife maker Stan Shaw, a traditional user of a parser. 

Copyright Peter McBride 2010