Question about making lathe tools. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-21-2008, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Question about making lathe tools.

I am real new to wood turning and have a decent set of tools but would like to make some of my own. I know that high speed steel is the steel of choice (M2 or higher) but can a guy use what I would call regular steel that I find laying around here and there and build up the tip by welding and then grind to the finish shape? Like to learn as cheaply as I can before messing up some hard steel----that I have to go to town for! Any thoughts about this will be appriecated. Gerold.
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-21-2008, 08:48 PM
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Gerald You have several choices. One is to take older HSS like used planer blades and grind it to shape. This makes a good tool. You can cut this with metal cut off wheels in an angle grinder. You can also cut smaller pieces from this and use it by cutting a notch in it with the cut off wheel and then screw this to some cold roll steel to make a great scraper.
Another good way to make hollowing tools is to buy 3/16 or 1/4" HSS metal cutting bits. You can grind these to shape and insert them in holes drilled in the Cold roll steel bar.
I make a lot of small hollowing tools for ornaments and boxes using Drill Rod. You can buy drill rod from www.use-enco.com and probably lots of other suppliers. It is high carbon steel and can be hardened. It's not as good as HSS but is inexpensive and works well for tool making.
I also use Drill rod to make Hook Tools. I believe Alan Lacer has plans on his website. You might be able to do a google search and find that.
For small tools I find older screwdrivers can be reground into various shapes and make great tools.
Cheap HSS turning tools can often be reground to a usable profile and make great tools.
I'm sure you'll get other good tips from this very knowledgeable group
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-21-2008, 09:45 PM
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I haven't tried it yet for woodturning, but I have seen old files made into metal deburing tools. They are very hard and will grind kinda hot so you need to have water with you to keep them cool.

Mike
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-21-2008, 10:33 PM
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Safety first. files are hard, but are brittle. Metal lathe usually turns at slower speed, and they seldom have a "catch". On smaller turnings, we turn at higher speed. A broken tip could be very dangerous.
Harbor Freight has 8-pc HSS turning tool set for thirty something with coupon discount. It only averages about $4 a tool. You can't even buy HSS steel at that price from ENCO. IMO, It is a safer way to experiment.

Gordon
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-21-2008, 11:34 PM
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Gerald,
There are numerous ways of making your own tools very cheaply and very effective.

I have been doing it for some time and with great success. If you look around there a lot of stuff being chucked out that can be re-used for wood turning. ie

Tungsten carbide tip tools are regularly used by machine shops all over the country. When these tip get damaged ie cutting edge is blunt. They are replaced as they deemed throw aways.

They can silvered soldered onto regular steel and re sharpened. You will need to buy a green grinding wheel. This is the only one suitable for sharpening TCT.

While your chatting to your local machine shop guy, ask him for any broken taps, end mills and slot drills. They all made from HSS and make darn good hollowing tools. [See Oland tools on Google]

While your there ask him is has a Cold Cutoff Saw. These have a circular saw blade made from HSS. Occasionally they break/crack etc and cannot be fixed. But you can cut em up to make good scraper blades.

Your regular steel will not do very well as a turning tool as it is too soft and too hard for the average guy to improve its hardness.
Look around for ''Tool steel'' as this can be hardened and tempered.

Using files is OK as long as you remember they are hard fully along their total length and therefore very brittle. So to use them you must keep the over hang to an absolute minimum..other wise they may snap and shatter......... can frightening stuff

You can soften them by heating them up to cherry red and let them cool down slowly.[several hours] When cold shape the end as you like it. Then reheat to cherry red again and rapidly cool it off in a couple of gallons of oil. You can get away with used sump oil. The heated end should now be very hard again, give a lick up on the grinder and away you go.

hughie
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-22-2008, 10:22 PM
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I agree with everything Hughie said except the very last. First of all I would advise against using a file but he did give excellent advice in that you should keep the overhang to an absolute minimum if you do.
After you heat treat the file as suggested by heating to cherry red and then quenching you really need to temper it to soften it further. Put it in an oven and heat it to 425 degrees for 1/2 hour and then let it cool slowly. This will soften it enough to keep it from being brittle.
You can simply put the file in the oven to begin with and skip the annealing phase if all you are going to do is grind the edge.
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-23-2008, 05:02 AM
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Thumbs up oops

Quote:
After you heat treat the file as suggested by heating to cherry red and then quenching you really need to temper it to soften it further
I should have been more specific in regard to rehardening the file.

What I normally do is only reharden as much of the tip I intend to use as a turning tool and in doing so I can leave it hard. No real need to temper it, and at max hardness you can get a very fine edge on old files.

For me, they are finishing tools, rather than rough out tools

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post #8 of 11 Old 03-23-2008, 01:43 PM
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-23-2008, 03:24 PM
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I don't know about that book but this one is fantastic.
http://www.amazon.com/Making-Tools-W...6300235&sr=8-1
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-13-2008, 03:06 PM
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Gerald,

If you wanna spend a buncha yer time sharpenin, go with high carbon steel.

If you wanna spend mosta yer time turnin, get High Speed Steel.

In either case, get a friable grinding wheel or a small 1" belt sander/grinder, and read A Complete Guide To Sharpening, by Leonard Lee. When you know what you want the edge to do, it's easier to make an edge to do it, and then direct that edge properly.

If you have yet to take a class, go to a local woodturner's club, and ask them about classes. You'll learn more from a good instructor in a few minutes than you will on your own in a month. and, you'll be happier, if poorer.

I was.

If you wnat to make tools for the sake of making tools, that's great. Go for it.

If you want to have good turning tools, spend the time and money to buy a reasonable set (8-piece hss Windsor Design set from Harbor Freight is less than $40 right now, including tax) while one 1" roughing gouge in cold treated HSS by Henry Taylor costs nearly twice that from Lee Valley. You pays your money and you makes your choice.

allen norris
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post #11 of 11 Old 04-13-2008, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the good advice and sorry it took so long to get back here. Something came up and I had to travel out of state, I'm a GRANDPA again!!!!
Just for the record I have a set of Sorby chisels and a set from Harbor Frieght. I work for the Navy SeaBee's and have been told that they weld up the blades on dozer's to create a sharper edge as well as prolong the life of the blade. This is what got me to thinking about welding on "regular" steel. I know HSS is the best way to go, but for a limited use tool.....
Again thanks for all the advice
Gerold
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