Shop made lathe tools

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Project by reece posted 04-10-2015 04:59 AM 3525 views 30 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I landed a good deal on a lathe on Craigslist but it didn’t come with any lathe chisels. Since we just had our first child days before I got the lathe so my wife didnt want me to spend much more money. So I took one of the spare square carbide cutters from my jointer and a $6 round bar from Lowes and made my first one… then i was hooked. So I made the next one with the round carbide cutter.

So with the first two carbide cutters done, I wanted to go a step further and ordered some O1 tool steel and made a scraper, skew, and parting tool which I hardened in a makeshift forge made out of a coffee can, and used a mapp gas torch for heat.

Here is the link that inspired me on the tools made from O1…. YouTube

All in all, it was a great experience to get my feet wet with wood turning and I wound up with a decent set of tools for way less cost than the store.


-- Reece Althoff,

16 comments so far

View Woodknack's profile


13585 posts in 3660 days

#1 posted 04-10-2015 05:55 AM

Good looking tools. Nothing like making something from tools made by your own hand.

-- Rick M,

View Dutchy's profile


4215 posts in 3448 days

#2 posted 04-10-2015 06:21 AM

This looks good. Well done sir. But don,t forget your wife’s contribution ;)

I’m curious how you made the knive seat and with tool you used.


View bobasaurus's profile


3738 posts in 4464 days

#3 posted 04-10-2015 06:22 AM

That is fantastic work. Even heat treated your own steel, very nice. I need to build a soup-can forge someday, too.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Redoak49's profile


5414 posts in 3268 days

#4 posted 04-10-2015 11:34 AM

Very well done

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1335 posts in 3215 days

#5 posted 04-10-2015 12:31 PM

They look great. Making tools is something only awesome woodworking dorks like us love to do. What a great site…

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Sam Knight's profile

Sam Knight

21 posts in 2809 days

#6 posted 04-10-2015 01:19 PM

Those are some sweet looking lathe tools. Great job. I have been thinking of doing this myself. Could you explain how you cut the steel to accept the carbide cutters?

-- Sam

View reece's profile


22 posts in 2687 days

#7 posted 04-10-2015 01:27 PM

Sam -
I just used my benchtop grinder to flatten a spot at the end of the rod. Once I removed most of the material I ground it against the side of the wheel to make it perfectly flat so the carbide would set well.

Dutchy -
Its a bit early and my coffee hasn’t kicked in. If your talking about installing the steel in the handle, I used epoxy and to fill the gaps between the flat steel and the round hole, I used a 1/2” dowel rod that i cut 5/32” thick sides off at the band saw. The steel I used was 3/16” thick so this made sure it was nice and snug.

Thank you for all the compliments. I encourage anyone to do this, it was my first time and it turned out well, and if I can do it, anyone can :-)


-- Reece Althoff,

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3287 days

#8 posted 04-10-2015 07:36 PM

Nice job. The tools look good! Been making a few of my own with carbide cutters I ordered from Capt. Eddie. So far I’m liking what they do.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View CL810's profile


4195 posts in 4268 days

#9 posted 04-10-2015 10:31 PM

Great work Reece! Favorited.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View peteg's profile


4438 posts in 4103 days

#10 posted 04-10-2015 10:44 PM

Nice work Reece, you will always treasure these tools as something special, well done on the DT3 :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View mafe's profile


13403 posts in 4369 days

#11 posted 04-11-2015 01:05 AM

Looks wonderful, lovely tools you have made.
Hmmm, I would like to know more about the coffee can makeshift forge.
I have one of these burners.
Would be lovely to be able to do some hardening here in small space.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View mafe's profile


13403 posts in 4369 days

#12 posted 04-11-2015 01:05 AM

Congrat on the child. ;-)

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View reece's profile


22 posts in 2687 days

#13 posted 04-11-2015 02:54 AM

Thanks again guys.

Building the Forge (in a nutshell)
Mafe—to build the forge I went to lowes and got an empty paint can (i said coffee can earlier, but both would work), plaster of paris, sand, and a 1.5” PVC pipe (you could probably do a 2” as well without issue) and a 1/2” steel pipe for the burner tube.

Cut a hole on the side of the can near the bottom for the burn tube, and cut/grind/file the end of the steel pip so it rests against the side of the PVC pipe that is used for a mold. Once you have the angle right, its time to mix and pour.

First off, lube the pvc tube (I forgot to do this and I was amazed i got it out) with something like canola oil (i also used canola oil to quench the steel much later on).

Next, mix 50/50 plaster of paris and sand with a tad bit of water. you want a somewhat thick mix but MAKE SURE you mix it well and move fast, it hardens in less than 10 minutes. It might be helpful to have a second set of hands to make sure the two tube dont get misaligned as you pour the mix in.

I recommend twisting the PVC pipe periodically to make sure it doesnt get stuck. Once the mixture is somewhat stiff, remove the pvc pipe and let is set a while to cure (i waited 30 min before hooking up the burner).

Once cured, drill a hole in the bottom center with an appropriately sized hole saw and your done!

Disclaimer I know in the photo i have the torch propped up with a 2×4. I highly recommend getting the extension hose for it, they are at lowes and home depot for less than $15. Its propably safer to not have the gas tank right behind it ;-) Also please do this in a ventilated area!!

Hope this helps! please feel free to PM me if you have any questions on building this or hardening & tempering O1 or anything else, I will be more than happy to help!


-- Reece Althoff,

View mafe's profile


13403 posts in 4369 days

#14 posted 04-11-2015 11:54 AM

Thank you so much, this will be done soon, I thought I needed a lot of fancy stuff, this is really straight forward and so cheap I have no excuse.
I will contact you when I get to it, if I have some questions.
Best thoughts and good weekend,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4146 days

#15 posted 04-11-2015 02:14 PM

That’s some nice tools that you fabricated.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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