Making Lathe Tools #2: Update

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Blog entry by Big Ben posted 11-05-2011 02:48 PM 1460 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Design Part 2 of Making Lathe Tools series Part 3: Drilling Holes »

In researching making my own hollowing tools I have come into one main problem. I am a wood worker and don’t have metal working tools (and no intention to). I have received a good amount feedback concerning the amount of heat I will need to get the rod in a malleable state. This is one my concerns, the other is drilling into the end of the rod.
Today I went by several machine shops to see what the cost for bending and drilling the rods. I would tap the rods myself. None of them provide the service I needed. I then stopped by my neighborhood gas station, spoke with the manager and he agreed to bend 6 robs for me for $20. He did tell me that I needed to provide a jig a(simple 2x set up) to ensure the rods were the shape I wanted. I would grind the ends down and tap for the carbide cutter.
If I go this route, that mean not using the HSS inserts, which I am fine with. It does create the question of what six rods would be a good set. Currently I am thinking :
• 2 – 3/8”
• 2 – 1/2”
• 2 – 5/8”
Each pair would consist of 22 and 45 bend at the 2” mark. Thoughts?
Is there a better placement for the bend than the 2” mark?

3 comments so far

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3778 days

#1 posted 11-05-2011 08:09 PM

Having made many of my own lathe tools, I would recommend that you try a few different types of hollowers to get a good idea of what works for you…what is comfortable…and what configuration you find workable. I settled on a carbide cutter shaped with a small fingernail….I mig welded (luckily I have a fabrication shop available – manned with some top notch welders) some steel pipe and tapped/die a smaller piece of tubing to hold the cutter. I made an extreme bend for getting under the rims of my vessels….a moderate bend for the sides….and a straight one to work my way down to the bottom before needing the angles. There are so many different size and shape cutters that you could go crazy trying to decide on which one to use. You can also get a small square piece and grind to your specs. That is the best reason to make your own tools….you can select the style of cutter….you can make the balance, including the weight of the handle, to your own comfort. Just be ready for some trial and error to get what you will ultimately settle on.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Big Ben's profile

Big Ben

87 posts in 3398 days

#2 posted 11-06-2011 06:23 PM

Reggie, could you please post some pictures of the chisels you have made? I definitely see this as a trial and error exercise.

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3201 days

#3 posted 11-06-2011 07:31 PM

I don’t know much about this but I was just perusing the McMaster Carr# site for O1 tool steel, planning to make my own plane iron. They have a much wider array of tool steel options than I imagined. They’ve got all the high speed stuff for really good prices. I ordered some bar stock from them and the package was delivered in under 24 hours for under $5. It might be worth a look around if you haven’t obtained the raw stuff yet. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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