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Stigmorgan

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I was wondering if anyone here has any experience in making their own basic cutting tools, I have very little money at the minute so want to make my own tools, I have several breaker points and chisels left over from my time working on building sites, I figure these will be good candidates for cutting / grinding into basic gouges and chisels. This way I can afford to buy a good chuck as I only have a face plate with my lathe.
 

That would work

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Old files make excellent scrapers, especially big flat files... grind some of the teeth off to make it better to hold (or wrap tape round it) and grind the end to a scraper profile.
I have also had some success making hollowing tools made from round silver steel bar by bending the last 30mm or so as required.
I would add also that you can do a lot of turning with a small number of tools... a 3/4 spindle gouge, a 1/2 bowl gouge and a 1/2 scew will do a lot of work.
 

CHJ

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That would work":2y02fwzt said:
Old files make excellent scrapers, especially big flat files... grind some of the teeth off to make it better to hold (or wrap tape round it) and grind the end to a scraper profile.
....
An extremely dangerous practice unless properly heat treated* to remove the brittleness.
If one shatters due to a catch the chance of a piece embedding somewhere in the operators body is not a risk worth taking.

This is what can happen with a correctly made Turning tool if misused A brittle file is likely to shatter anywhere along its length and the tang even if not hardened is not designed to take the loads if you should get a catch and may bend.

* Heat treat to Cherry to Light Red and quench. (750-850 Deg. C)
Polish to bright finish.
Heat to Brown - Brown Purple along its whole length and quench. (250-260 Deg. C)
Fully inspect for any signs of stress cracking whilst used as a file or during heat treatment.
 

lurker

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I would not contemplate using a file.
If you are that hard up just find another hobby.

Phil's suggestion is a good one as a start point.
 

Stigmorgan

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I have no intention of using a file, as I said in my original post I plan to use breaker points and chisels, these are designed to take a beating and are around 15mm thick so should be fine in that respect.
 

That would work

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The idea that a heavy file could break while being used as a scraper (which by definition is used lightly) is used is unlikely to say the least. I am fully aware of heat treatments etc etc and yes the file could be annealed and re heat treated if you think that's really necessary. I've used heavy hand files to make plain scrapers a lot, and why not? I'm not especially "hard up" but do enjoy reusing materials etc as do most craftspeople. And besides the OP was asking for ideas to work economically?
 

Chris152

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The one tool I still get catches with is the scraper, especially inside deeper bowls.
 

That would work

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Mmm... catches are caused (usually) as a result of poor or incorrect bevel contact. Scrapers cut on their very top edge with a trailing attitude and clearance underneath.
 

Inspector

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The breaker points and chisels will work just like lots of other scrounged materials , eg the files already mentioned. I have a farriers rasp my father modified for a special purpose he use on the lathe. They may not hold an edge as well or be brittle like a file but if you want to spend the time making them they will work. People have used screwdrivers and Allen keys too. I've even heard the story of accomplished turners (from one) using an axe during a demonstration to show that it is the understanding of cutting and not a tool that gets the job done. While you are at it keep your eyes peeled for turning tools people are selling here and locally. They sometimes go cheap.

Pete
 

Lazurus

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While there is a place for made tools - usually special or one off applications I would advocate the basic gouges from a reputable manufacturer. My Sorby 3/8 bowl gouge is just about worn out, that took me 10 years of fairly regular useage. That is a good quality tool returning excellent value for money, there are often bargains to be had at local and on line sales.
 

Robbo3

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Chris152":1ii7rryq said:
The one tool I still get catches with is the scraper, especially inside deeper bowls.
The greater the overhang the less control. Try & get the tool rest closer to the work.
With a conventional scraper you should be cutting just above centre height on the inside of a bowl with the handle slightly higher than the cutting edge. Thus if it grabs the scraper moves into space & not into the wood below.
Try putting a negative rake on the scraper ie a top bevel, as if it were a skew, flat on the rest. Cut on the centre line with the tool horizontal. It's very forgiving, in fact it's quite difficult to get a catch.
 

Tris

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Look out for a copy of 'making your own woodworking tools' by Mike Burton (I think).
It is very much geared up for turning tools and even has a cheap way to make a simple forge.
Hth
Tris
 

alexf

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I wouldn't use files or chisels for turning tools. However a good cheap turning tool is the Oland Tool. I have them in various shaped tips. gouges, small scrapers and small skews. I buy 1/4 x 1/4 HSS for £2 - £3 for 3 inch length and drill a bright mild steel bar to hold it. The tip can be glued in , but I drill and tap the bar to take a grub screw. See aroundthewoods.com/oland.shtml for how to make them.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I've done mine like that, except I've used the shanks of worn down, broken or found cheap HSS drill bits. Mine are epoxied - it's never caused any problems. I have one with the hss mounted at 45 degrees to the side, which can be useful for undercutting an edge.
 

Chris152

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Robbo3":2k1qebye said:
Chris152":2k1qebye said:
The one tool I still get catches with is the scraper, especially inside deeper bowls.
The greater the overhang the less control. Try & get the tool rest closer to the work.
With a conventional scraper you should be cutting just above centre height on the inside of a bowl with the handle slightly higher than the cutting edge. Thus if it grabs the scraper moves into space & not into the wood below.
Try putting a negative rake on the scraper ie a top bevel, as if it were a skew, flat on the rest. Cut on the centre line with the tool horizontal. It's very forgiving, in fact it's quite difficult to get a catch.
Thanks Robbo. I'm going to try converting one of my scrapers as you say - what angle do you recommend? I see some are different top and bottom but I like the idea of having them equal so I can put a burr on either side (I'll be doing a French curve scraper).

edit - I'm going with 45 degrees primary bevel, 60 secondary bevel - those are settings on the sorby pro-edge and close to what Brian Havens uses here (11 mins in): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdkR1I2Z1A4 - unless anyone advises otherwise.
 

Dalboy

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Stigmorgan":esj1qkam said:
I was wondering if anyone here has any experience in making their own basic cutting tools, I have very little money at the minute so want to make my own tools, I have several breaker points and chisels left over from my time working on building sites, I figure these will be good candidates for cutting / grinding into basic gouges and chisels. This way I can afford to buy a good chuck as I only have a face plate with my lathe.
I would suggest buying the correct tools for the job I know that you are working to a very basic budget but unless you have experience of working with metal and knowing how to treat it then look for second-hand tools. Buy as you need or as I did I got a set of Robert Sorby tools which has everything in it that a turner needs to get started.
You can turn between centres and turn a bowl with a faceplate to get tools first and then once you have enough buy a chuck at least that will get you turning.
 

Richard_C

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You can turn between centres and turn a bowl with a faceplate to get tools first and then once you have enough buy a chuck at least that will get you turning
That's very sensible. I was fortunate and had a reasonable budget (+ live far from a supplier) so bought lathe, chuck and basic set of tools + one bowl gouge all in one go. The chuck sat in its box for a few weeks while I wrestled with basic spindle and faceplate turning. On reflection I should have spent more time with each tool in turn rather than rushing along. One unexpected expense was grinding wheels - although I had an old bench grinder the wheels were wholly unsuitable for HSS turning tools.
 

Paul Hannaby

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That would work":1dkrd44m said:
Mmm... catches are caused (usually) as a result of poor or incorrect bevel contact. Scrapers cut on their very top edge with a trailing attitude and clearance underneath.
Catches can happen with any tool and it isn't always due to poor or incorrect bevel contact because in the case of normal scrapers, there isn't usually any bevel contact.

Going back to your earlier statement about files - they are hardened "glass hard" and are brittle so any shock loading (which can happen in turning) could result in the file breaking or possibly shattering, resulting in shrapnel travelling at high speed. Traditionally, turning tools were hardened and then tempered to reduce their hardness while increasing their toughness so they don't snap when receiving a shock load.

I put this to the test once by deliberately hitting a file which someone had made into a turning tool with a "shock load" - it snapped!

If you really know what you are doing and can correctly heat treat a file or other piece of metal to make a turning tool, that's fine but advocating that anyone should use a file without correct heat treatment is downright irresponsible.
 

Robbo3

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Thanks Robbo. I'm going to try converting one of my scrapers as you say - what angle do you recommend? I see some are different top and bottom but I like the idea of having them equal so I can put a burr on either side (I'll be doing a French curve scraper).

edit - I'm going with 45 degrees primary bevel, 60 secondary bevel - those are settings on the sorby pro-edge and close to what Brian Havens uses here (11 mins in): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdkR1I2Z1A4 - unless anyone advises otherwise.
I hadn't thought of putting a negative rake on the underside of the scraper to make it two sided. Perhaps because on a lot of scrapers the curve would then be on the right instead of the left. Might be ok for the lathe in reverse though.
I can't remember what angle negative rake I put on my scrapers but it was probably 10° or 15° & about 10mm wide.
 
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