Flag Pole Finial
by Ray Miller
Over the years I’ve used a piece of 1/2″ conduit as a flag pole and always meant to machine a proper finial for it. Finally, in retirement, I got around to it. The finial was made completely by eyeballing as I was working on it. The only measuring I did was to match the ID of the conduit, .614″ ; the rest of the cuts were done to about what looked right! The measurements mentioned in the following description were taken after completion.
I mounted a piece of Ø1.4″ scrap aluminum in the three-jaw chuck and center drilled the end to allow support from a live center mounted in the tailstock.
Using the cutoff tool, I cut a groove 1/2″ from the tailstock end to a diameter of .614″ to mark the end of the section that fits in the conduit. I then moved towards the headstock and made three cuts with the parting tool. The resulting width of this new groove was about 3/16″, with the center cut made a little deeper than the outer ones. Then, using a chain saw sharpening file, 3/16″ in diameter, I rounded the bottom of this groove.
Moving 1-1/2″ towards the tailstock, a plunge to 1/2″ diameter marked the end of the tapered section of my finial. The compound slide was set to 75°. Locking the carriage, I used the compound slide to make taper cuts, creating a cone 1.06″ in diameter at its base.
The stock between the tailstock and the first groove was removed to a diameter of .614″ to fit the conduit.The stock between this section and the groove I finished with the file was cut to a little under 1″ in diameter. Then, in order to round this stock I used a Craftsman molding head cutter, No. 9-23523, mounted in the tool post holder.
The piece was then flipped around in the three-jaw chuck and clamped on the portion that is to be inserted into the flag pole. Using a 3/4″ hole saw mounted in the tailstock chuck, I removed excess material from the end of the cone creating an aluminum washer as scrap.
With the compound slide still set at 75° degrees, the cone shape was completed by removing the stock from the backside of the cone with the spindle rotation in reverse. I used a file to round off the point.
The finial was completed by drilling and tapping for a 4-40 setscrew to mount it securely in the flag pole. The finial finishes off my homemade flag pole nicely!
Although a simple project, I thought the readers might be interested in my use of a woodworking molding cutter blade in a metalworking environment to create decorative effects without having to grind tools to a special shape.