Any of you make your own tools? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 9 Old 11-11-2010, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 14
View heart wood's Photo Album My Photos
Any of you make your own tools?

I'm not happy with my tool selection and even less happy with the cost of a "good" tool. I had some old wood chisels that aren't worth anything so I've ground one into a very useful parting tool. I've also made a (less useful) scraper. Plus turning the handles is fun practice work.

Thing is I need a good spindle gouge. I only had the two chisels, and they aren't round anyways. Anybody out there making their own spindle gouges? I need a big one - like > one inch.

Any ideas why using a chisel would be dangerous - I've heard of people using old files and the file breaking because it is TOO hard.
heart wood is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 9 Old 11-11-2010, 09:23 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Baxter, Tennessee
Posts: 3,257
View john lucas's Photo Album My Photos
I have made a lot of tools over the years and written a few articles on how to make them. Files can be used but must be annealed to take away the hardness. They can still break because you have fracture lines where they were stamped to make the teeth. If you heat them in an oven at 350 degrees for 1/3 hour per 1/4" of thickness and then let them cool naturally you will reduce the hardness to where they won't shatter but be aware they can still break with a good catch. Plus it's a pain to grind off the teeth.
For a spindle gouge you don't really have to have the flute. There have been many tools introduced on the market that cut like a spindle gouge but are flat on top. They simply have the bottom ground to a bevel that resembles a spindle gouge. A tool called a Skewchigouge is really nothing more than this.
The old style spindle gouges were done by forming the tool. I've made one using traditional blacksmithing techiques. Took a flat bar and hammered it over a pipe to get the flute. Made the tang and then ground it
A bowl gouge is the hardest thing to make yourself. It really requires a surface grinder with custom ground wheel or a milling machine to make one.
The problem with making your own tools is you can't really make High Speed Steel tools. Well you can make scrapers using HSS pieces and grinding them to shape but it's very hard to drill them. I cut slots in them to attach them to cold rolled bar stock for tools. You can also buy HSS square cutters and drill a hole in the end of a bar and insert these. They make good hollowing tools.
The tools you make from chisels and files are high carbon steel and won't hold an edge very long. They are also very easy to overheat on a grinder. If you blue the edge it will not hold an edge for long at all until you either grind past that blue area or you re heat treat the metal.
Even though I've made a lot of tools and still do for specialty tools. It's just hard to beat a good HSS tool or even better one of the particle metal tools like Thompson tools. These hold an edge a lot longer and you won't damage them by overheating on the grinder. It's worth the money to get these tools for you major tools.
john lucas is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 11-11-2010, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 14
View heart wood's Photo Album My Photos
thanks for the reply

seems like if a fellow is going to do a lot of roughing then he would need a couple of good gouges. I sharpened my existing one on the grinder and yep, I blued the edge.
heart wood is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 9 Old 11-11-2010, 02:33 PM
Senior Member
phinds's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Central New York
Posts: 3,248
View phinds's Photo Album My Photos

You can never have too much pepperoni on your pizza or own too many clamps.
phinds is offline  
post #5 of 9 Old 11-17-2010, 09:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ely,Minnesota
Posts: 73
View b sco's Photo Album My Photos
Check second hand / antique stores for old carving gouges and put turning handles on them. I use 3/4 copper pipe for ferrules.
b sco is offline  
post #6 of 9 Old 11-18-2010, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 14
View heart wood's Photo Album My Photos
good tips, thanks

I like the ease of implementation of the copper ferule is it strong enough for roughing work?

Are old carving gouges from second hand store generally the high-carbon steel referred to above?
heart wood is offline  
post #7 of 9 Old 11-18-2010, 09:19 AM
Senior Member
brown down's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Pa
Posts: 342
View brown down's Photo Album My Photos
woodcraft sells just the tool not the handle, which will knock off a good chunk of the price if you have the tools to turn your own handles for them? other than that i buy good turning tools. If you are going to start or do a lot of turning, good tools is a must have. not only will the turning be more enjoyable, you will be able to turn more pieces faster. depending on what species of wood i am working with, i don't have to sharpen my tools nearly as often as my old grandfathers tools. now if i turn any burls i may sharpen my tools while i am turning that piece.
brown down is offline  
post #8 of 9 Old 11-18-2010, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 14
View heart wood's Photo Album My Photos
tools with no handle

I had a hard time finding these tools at woodcraft yesterday. I checked their website too, but again, selection is limited to a couple of bowl gouges and scrapers.

I think I'll head to the carbide tool tips mentioned above.
heart wood is offline  
post #9 of 9 Old 11-18-2010, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Windsong Gardens Goat Ranch: Palestine; Tx.
Posts: 43
View tooljack's Photo Album My Photos
old files are brittle and will break if not annealed, and then that takes away the temper which will cause the ground edge to easily dull. One other source of cutting tool stock is flat spring steel leaves. They will not schatter under steress, and if not detempered
with heat they will hold a good sharp edge. Give them a try.
tooljack is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What should I make this out of? sanchez Design & Plans 15 07-14-2010 04:12 PM
How to make a cut? daviddoria General Woodworking Discussion 7 11-28-2009 03:11 PM
How to make these? mediamst Design & Plans 6 12-21-2008 02:04 PM
How do I make a spindle? Ryu Bateson General Woodworking Discussion 1 04-05-2008 06:50 PM
Can anyone tell me how to make this cut? JaceW Joinery 10 03-17-2008 01:15 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome