​It Is Easier Than What Most People Think To Make Wood Turning Tools
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​It Is Easier Than What Most People Think To Make Wood Turning Tools

It Is Easier Than What Most People Think To Make Wood Turning Tools
Wood turners like to own lots of tools. While most professional turners have three or four tools that they use all the time, there tends to be lots of different tools hanging all around the shop. What surprises many turners is the ease in making many of their own tools.
Turners already have most of the skills needed to make a lot of turning tools. They amount to being able to drill a hole, glue two things together and turn a handle out of wood. Obviously the latter is familiar to most wood turners and easily done by the rest. The drilling and gluing are familiar in wood and moving the skills to metal is simple. A new skill to learn is tapping a screw hole in metal but really it is little different than driving a screw into a piece of wood after a pilot hole is drilled. Some tools require a little bit of smithing but these are easily avoided or can be taken up for the sheer fun of doing so.
The tools for the work are the part of almost every wood turner. An electric drill for drilling holes in wood and metal is needed and a drill press is a big help. The grinder for sharpening wood turning tools will be used to shape and sharpen the new ones. A wood lathe is of course needed to turn a handle and a hacksaw to cut a steel rod to shaft length. All that is needed new is a tap and holder to tap a hole for a set screw.
Take a hollowing tool for example. A ten inch long piece of one half inch diameter cold rolled steel is cut to length. In one end a one and a half inch hole is drilled five sixteenths in diameter. Intersecting it at ninety degrees, one half inch from the same end, a three sixteenths diameter hole is drilled form the side. This is tapped to take a one quarter inch set screw. To do this the tap is screwed in a half turn, backed out a quarter turn, returned a half turn, backed out a quarter turn and so on until the hole is tapped.
The basic metal work is finished so now a twelve inch handle is turned to fit the turner's hand and a hole one half inch in diameter and two inches deep is drilled in the end to fit the new shaft. Super glue will hold the shaft in place easily or epoxy can be used for the more patient.
A three sixteenths square cutting bit as used by the metal lathe people is put into the hole in the end of the shaft and held there by a set screw. The set screw prevents the square bit from turning in the round hole. Now it is sharpened to about seventy degrees and slightly rounded and a hollowing tool is born.
It can quickly be seen that all wood turning tools are variations on handle, shaft and cutting tip. With the ease of getting good steel including high speed steel cutting bits and the general skills of wood turners, it can be seen that many tools can be easily made and modified to suit the job at hand.


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  • A&S Carbide Cutting Co., Ltd.
  • Address:469 Xinsheng Road, Gaoxin District, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
  • Tel:+86-28-66707530
  • Fax:+86-28-86129221
  • Email:cuttingtool@attachment8.com
  • Contact Person:Leo Zhang
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