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Homemade turning tool

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default Homemade turning tool

Post by Chilli-head on 16th October 2012, 10:01 am

I've been looking around to gather some tools for pole lathe turning. Not as straightforward as I expected; most tools are made for powered lathes. For a pole lathe, with only human power to turn it, we're not so interested in the wear and heat resistance of high speed steel tools, but the finer edge of a traditional carbon steel tool is better suited, as is a lower grinding angle. The only commonly available tools I could find made for the pole lathe are the Ashley Iles set. I notice that Robin Wood suggests finding a friendly blacksmith or making your own, which sounds too much like a challenge, so I though I'd have a go at a smallish skew chisel. This has the advantage of not needing blacksmith's skills or equipment, just grinding and heat treating.

To make the handle, I split a piece of wood from my (sadly deceased) apricot tree. Turned it to a handle. For a ferrule, I found some scrap brass tube, cut it to length with a plumber's pipe cutting tool, bit of brasso, then tap it on to the handle. Drilled a hole for the blade to fit.

The blade is Sheffield steel, in the form of "ground flat stock", this is an O1 ~1% carbon steel. I roughly shaped the skew, leaving a blunt end to grind later, to avoid a thin edge which might get overheated when hardening. I also hacksawed and filed a pointed tang on the handle end. The steel is hardened by heating and quenching in oil; I used a propane blowlamp, with the blade sitting in the frog of a bone DRY housebrick (don't want anything exploding !) to heat it to bright red - I could only harden the last inch with the heat I had available, but it will take years of sharpening before that matters. Into the oil whilst still glowing. I was quite relieved at this point to have only a cloud of smoke, and not a fire to extinguish ! Then polish it up with fine wet or dry, and heat again - this time gently - until the oxide gives it a straw yellow colour, then back into the oil.

Final grind on the wet grinder, polish, sharpen, tap the blade into the handle - pop the tang into the hole, and with blade pointing up, smartly tap the top of the handle down onto a block of scrap hardwood until the blade is driven home.

A wipe of Danish oil on the handle, and here it is, ready for a test drive at the weekend:
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Post by polgara on 16th October 2012, 10:38 am

Clever person, it looks absolutly great. Hope it works as well as it looks. a+

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Post by Dandelion on 16th October 2012, 10:11 pm

You are clever!!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Adrian on 16th October 2012, 11:26 pm

Damn thats clever

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Post by freebird on 17th October 2012, 8:26 am

It looks beautiful - hope it works beautifully too.
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