Been awhile since I have had any quality time in the shop, so I decided to invest some vacation time and I will be taking a week off next week, with the emphasis being on shop time. So I have been getting my ducks in a row so I can have a somewhat productive week. Last week involved a little wood gathering (that deserves a whole ‘nother post…), I have my sharpening system and chisels arriving today, and I have been scouring books and mags to try to come up with some projects. Since I have a small collection of exotic pieces, I thought I might do some small turnings. I was looking through the list of recommended tools and I came up short when it came to a thin kerf parting tool. I checked prices online and found my budget already over stretched to pick up yet another tool.
Then I came across this link to a youtube on making your own thin kerf parting tool._
Perfect timing and so I spent an evening making my own.
Concept is really simple (my execution was not…) and it is a nice beginner project to get one’s feet wet in making your own turning tools. Raw materials consist of an edger blade, a couple t-nuts and bolts, and something to use for a handle. I don’t have an edger so I bought a blade and the bolts at the Depot and invested about 6 bucks in the project. I had a piece of Brazilian Cherry that was left over from another project. Here are the raw materials -
First step is to take the black paint off the edger blade. I used a 50 grit sanding pat on my orbital sander. Captain Eddy, as the video host refers himself, uses an angle grinder with a sanding pad. His method is much quicker but the sander did the trick.
I cut the Brazilian Cherry to size and used CA glue to attach to the handle. With the drilling that comes later, it is much easier to work with the tool with the parts attached temporarily with the glue.
Next step is drilling, and this is where the hour projected time took a nose dive for me. I am guessing that Captain Eddy has a nice assortment of metal working tools. Items like a metal cutting bandsaw, a drill press geared for high torque applications, angle grinder, etc. I don’t have any of those things :) My drill press is a Harbor Freight benchtop which is adequate for wood. Not so good for tool steel. I do have some cobalt metal cutting drill bits, just couldn’t get the torque from the press nor the cordless drill. It took a few hours for me to remember that I had a corded Dewalt drill which finally did the trick for me.
Steps that one should take is to first drill a 1/8 hole where you want the nuts and bolts to be in the handle. You drill all the way through to the other side. The hole is used to help guide a forstner bit for the purpose of countersinking holes for the bolt heads. I used 5/16th bolts so I drilled a 5/16th hole through the countersinks for the bolt threads.
No pictures for the steps I actually performed as they were ummm, not so pretty.
Next step is to cut a 45 degree angle on the end of the blade. Eddy, I am sure, was able to use a cut off wheel or run a metal cutting blade through it in under a minute. I spent a good hour hacksawing a nice cut line for my dremel cutoff wheel. I find that if you have a good leading kerf in a cut, those fragile cutoff wheels do a decent job without breaking. Here is the knife with the angle cut -
After that, I took the knife to the grinder (the one metal tool I do have) and finished shaping it and smoothing out the edges. I laid it on its side and put a 45 degree bevel on each side. It is not honed yet, but I do have it done. I tried it out some, in its unsharpened state, and the tool does work pretty well even in its rough state. After sharpening and honing, it should work just as well as any parting tool available on the market.
My thanks to Captain Eddy for the video. The concept is simple and the task not so arduous if you have the proper tools. If you don’t, this is still a project that can be completed but over a much longer time than the Captain’s estimate of one hours. With the lessons learned, I could probably make one in 2-3. I do not plan on making a collection of tools. My shop is more geared to wood than metal and woodworking provides enough hurdles for me. I did enjoy the little taste of metal working and I at least have a useful tool to show for the experience.
Happy woodworking all,
-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.