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Bedan (lathe tool)

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Project by Dave Polaschek posted 10-31-2021 03:38 PM 895 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A while back I started using a bedan at the lathe. It seemed like a hugely useful tool, giving a lot of the benefits of the skew, plus it can work as a scraper, parting tool, or a roughing gouge. And it seemed like something pretty easy to make.

So I did.

I turned a handle from a piece of tubafor ripped in half. And I bought a 6×6x200mm piece of square high speed steel. And I had some brass tubing laying around the shop.

Details of the construction:
  • After rough-turning the handle, I drove the brass ferrule onto the handle. It was a little loose so I drilled a 7/32 hole in it, aligned that to the grain, and screwed a #3 wood screw in.
  • The handle was just a teeny bit off center when I re-chucked it in the lathe. Oops.
  • I used a file to round the end of the ferrule, some 60 grit sandpaper to brighten up the brass, and a skew to turn the wood down to the ferrule and finish up the handle.
  • The hole in the end of the handle is 1/4 inch in diameter and about an inch and a half deep.
  • I filed the corners off the last inch of the HSS before driving the handle onto it until it bottomed out in the hole.
  • I ground the tip of the bedan roughly to 45 degrees on the coarse wheel on my grinder. You can tell the end needs sharpening with a fine stone from the turned pine test-piece (last picture).

I’m pretty pleased with this. About $10 in parts, and maybe three hours work from start to finish.

-- Dave - Santa Fe





21 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27254 posts in 4441 days


#1 posted 10-31-2021 04:05 PM

Nice tool you have there, Dave. Is the tool steel hardened? the bedan is one of my favorite tools!

cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9342 posts in 1918 days


#2 posted 10-31-2021 04:52 PM

Yeah, Jim. It was hardened HSS I bought on eBay. And I didn’t seem to wreck the heat-treat grinding it.

The bedan is very quickly becoming my favorite.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

9316 posts in 2048 days


#3 posted 10-31-2021 05:08 PM

very nice when you can make your own tools and this one is a winner GREAT JOB :<)))))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

3405 posts in 3526 days


#4 posted 10-31-2021 06:28 PM

Nice work, a very useful tool for the lathe. I’m surprised the tip didn’t blue when grinding, must have gone super slow, or kept it in water often.

This starts me to wondering: an option to this straight tip would be to place 2 or 3 hollows across it and make beads or flutes as decoration on the turning. In fact, the options are numerous; could add an ogre & fillet for decorating spindles. Probably any decorative router bit could be duplicated.

Nice work, enjoy your new too.l

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9342 posts in 1918 days


#5 posted 10-31-2021 06:52 PM

Thanks, Tony!

Tom, I have a jar of water right next to the grinder, and I’m not afraid to use it. ;-)

Yeah, a guy could profile the end, but then a planing cut wouldn’t work any more. Always a trade off. Thanks!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View pottz's profile

pottz

22341 posts in 2320 days


#6 posted 10-31-2021 09:52 PM

nice tool making dave,i cheated and bought mine.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9342 posts in 1918 days


#7 posted 10-31-2021 10:55 PM

Thanks, Pottz! I suspect your cheating cost you a bit more than my making did. ;-)

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Julian's profile

Julian

1676 posts in 4026 days


#8 posted 10-31-2021 11:49 PM

Nothing better than using a homemade tool.

-- Julian

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9342 posts in 1918 days


#9 posted 11-01-2021 01:09 AM

Thanks, Julian! I also discovered today that a 1/4” bedan works differently than a 3/8. Not really surprising, but I’m glad it wasn’t a waste making another size. I suspect I’ll make a half-incher next.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Eric's profile

Eric

2844 posts in 1209 days


#10 posted 11-01-2021 01:24 AM

Nicely done Dave, I bet it’s a great feeling to use a tool which you have made. Great job.

-- Eric, building the dream

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9342 posts in 1918 days


#11 posted 11-01-2021 01:39 AM

Thanks, Eric! It’s pretty neat, especially with this, since I didn’t even know much about using a bedan until recently.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

10924 posts in 3379 days


#12 posted 11-01-2021 01:57 AM

Good job in the making Dave. Nice handle shape too. Soon you will be making that 1/2’’ one and do some serious damage. Lol. I use my 1/2’’ one more than the 3/8’’ . Took a few weeks to learn its abilities but is a joy to use now.
I fill the end of mine with epoxy, it helps keep vibration down in the handle.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9342 posts in 1918 days


#13 posted 11-01-2021 02:10 AM

Thanks, Dave! I expect I’ll use the 1/2 more, as well. Hogging off material, especially.

The neat thing about the 1/4 is being able to get it into tight spaces. And I suspect I’ll be able to do planing cuts fine with the 1/2, so the 3/8 may not get used much, but we’ll see how my use of them evolves. I picked up the skew again today, and apparently my time with the bedan has made me better at using a skew, too. Who knew?!

I may end up epoxy-filling the half. I don’t think I need it on the quarter, but might as the pine compresses. Or I might just need to turn a new handle. Got some ideas about that, too. Stay tuned!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

10924 posts in 3379 days


#14 posted 11-01-2021 02:29 AM

The skew was one of the 6 tools I started off with. I honestly have to say I lost some of the techniques over the years when I use it from lack of using it. I guess as you acquire more tools, you pick out your favorites and end up doing more with them. It takes time to reach for another tool. LOL.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9342 posts in 1918 days


#15 posted 11-01-2021 02:43 AM

Yeah. I think that’s part of why I’ve been liking the bedan, Dave. My roughing gouge has been completely neglected, and while I had the skew in my hand today, I went from square to round on a piece of pine, then made it into a shiny cylinder. Not sure I could do that with something harder, but a week ago, trying that would’ve meant a bunch of catches and chunks of lumber flying everywhere.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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