Making a boot stretcher using scissor jack mechanism

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Old 09-08-15, 12:41 PM
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Making a boot stretcher using scissor jack mechanism

Hi all, foremost, I realize that this forum is perfect for me. I'm a very DIY kind of guy and love quality craftsmanship made by individuals and the custom fits. Something about it... there's a nostalgic je ne sais quoi about it and I it's a wonder how I didn't join this forum earlier! And, sorry if this is in the wrong sub-forum, I don't what the appropriate place for this sort of project is.

Anyway, onto the matter at hand... I'm making a custom boot shaft stretcher out of cedar wood. I have one of the boot's cedar woods all finished. I will need to create the scissor jack mechanism. The idea is to turn a knob on top, and that'll turn a threaded stainless steel rod, which in turn expands the scissor jack to push the wood out.

I've seen some scissor jacks, but my concern is specifically with the part where the threaded rod connects to the scissors. I can't seem to find a piece to connect it there. By the way, this is what I'm referencing below (the scissor jack would be turned 90 degrees counter-clockwise so that the knob is above the shoe's opening).

Is there a simpler way to do this? Or, can someone please guide me here? The image below shows one example of a boot shaft stretcher, which costs about $200 shipped (!), hence the DIY project. There are cheaper ones but they will break easily, and none are to the size I need (I have boots with a 4" shaft, and I'm also using a shoe tree, so it needs to be shorter than the typical 7" military sized boots, or 4" in total height which is not available anywhere). All of your help is very much appreciated, and thanks in advance!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vhXNirT0-o [ATTACH=CONFIG]55808[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 09-08-15, 01:58 PM
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Have you goggled "boot stretcher"? Amazon has several at reasonable prices compared to the price you stated.
 
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Old 09-08-15, 02:02 PM
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Yes; unfortunately though, it doesn't seem robust to last through years as it's plastic, and it doesn't accommodate a 4" shaft, and I prefer to make it myself anyway to make it perfectly molded for my boots. I've done the wood part already, so I'd like to finish it and get the scissor mechanism finished up.
 

Last edited by iPenned; 09-08-15 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 09-08-15, 04:14 PM
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Why not buy boots that fit?
 
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Old 09-08-15, 05:19 PM
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I did buy boots that fit. The boot stretcher helps to keep the shape of the boots.

It's the same idea as a shoe tree, to keep the shoe's shape and prevents the sole from curling up.
 
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Old 09-08-15, 06:16 PM
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Thanks for clearing that up.
 
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Old 09-08-15, 06:53 PM
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Take a look at this handscrew clamp hardware kit: http://www.amazon.com/Jorgensen-J-16.../dp/B00C1YXBCW

The tricky thing about a scissors jack is the shaft has to be threaded left hand on one half and right hand on the other. Otherwise the two nuts go in the same direction. Well, so does a handscrew clamp. The kit includes the barrel nuts. You would have to drill and tap the ends of the barrel nuts to fasten to the scissors. And you'd have to weld or otherwise connect two shafts together to get the double action. But seems like it might work.

They come in different sizes. And there are other manufacturers as well. Good luck on an unusual project.
 
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Old 09-08-15, 09:24 PM
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I'll take a look at that. I would have to figure out how to get it to operate 90 degrees from the handscrew clamp though.

I did already purchase a threaded metal rod, and if I do go the scissor jack route, then I believe I can simply insert the rod through the barrel nut below. Then, the two pieces of the metal scissor beams can be connected to the rod via the barrel nut... The issue is that the barrel nut isn't threaded on the outside as a screw is. If it were, then I could simply add a nut to secure the scissors on both ends of the barrel nut.


Unless, of course, a threaded version of a barrel nut exists (?). If there is an exterior threaded barrel nut, then this project is relatively simple, and I'll know what to do to finish up.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]55834[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 09-09-15, 07:26 AM
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I think the easiest thing would be to drill a hole into each end of the barrel nut (or drill all the way through, lengthwise) and then tap threads into the holes. Then you would put a screw through the holes in the scissors pieces and screw it into the barrel nuts. You'd use a shoulder screw so the scissors pieces can pivot smoothly.

Regular threaded rod won't work...you need the two barrel nuts for each scissor to move in opposite directions when the rod is turned. No way to do that with ordinary threaded rod.

Although I guess you could just fix one end of the scissors and have only one nut move. This would operate slower but let you use standard rod.
 
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Old 09-09-15, 07:36 AM
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You found a scissors jack that when sandwiched between your wood facings will actually fit inside a 4" boot shaft? That would be one (or two per boot, according to the example) VERY low-profile jack.

You know what I'd be looking at? Inflatable "air wedges" that locksmiths use to pry open a car door.


[ATTACH=CONFIG]55853[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 09-09-15, 09:46 AM
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Good call on the shoulder screws and drilling a hole through the barrel nut.

I think I'll use a tap to manually create an inner thread through the drilled hole.

For the scissor, I guess it doesn't necessarily have to be a scissor, but rather two inverted V's, one above the other, on each side. It should function similarly, and that way I can use the regular threaded rod I already have. Although, the scissor shape looks much nicer, IMO.

Thanks for the insights!
 
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Old 09-09-15, 10:29 AM
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Also...

I'm planning on using open eyelet screws to mount the scissor part to the cedar wood. Specifically, one eyelet screw for two scissors (four total, 2 on each side).

The concern there is that the scissors will move sideways, not just up and down as intended. To remedy this issue, I'm simply going to make and snap on a cedar wood wedge barrier between the two scissors.

The scissors won't move to the outside because I'll also hammer or use pliers to shape the circular eyelet into a square. That'll make the wedge easier to snap on. And, I'll use pliers on the eyelet opening to shut it into a closed loop.
 
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Old 09-09-15, 10:34 AM
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@Guy4865: I wanted to match the cedar wood shoe tree that I already have. But, that's a good solution, too. There is an inflatable boot stretcher already, but I'd like to simply insert it in a couple of seconds rather than to insert it and pump it up.
 

Last edited by iPenned; 09-09-15 at 10:58 AM.
 

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