Homemade carbide tipped turning tool.

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Jeremy Greiner posted 01-24-2012 05:56 AM 23680 reads 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Easy wood tools has a really great idea, use these carbide cutter heads on your turning tools, stays sharp longer, and when it does dull out just rotate the cutter head. When the full cutter head is dull just swap it out for a new one. To be honest they’re fairly priced for a high quality turning tool.

But for me, it seems like I can buy the cutter head and make myself something cheaper, it won’t be as nice and may not as accurate, but I bet it’d be pretty darn close at a fraction of the cost.

Over the weekend I attempted to use some cold rolled steel, and trill and tap a hole. That didn’t work out so well. today while I was working I thought I’d try using one of those square hallow steel tubes and I couldn’t wait until I was done working to head to lowes and pick one up. I also grabbed some #6-32 oval head screws and some nuts.

When I got home I drilled a hole into the tube and well, not liking the placement, drilled another one on a different side, I really should plan better sometimes. I was able to mount the cutter head onto the steel tube and get it really secure.

Here is a video of me showing the tool, and I do some rough turning on a piece of walnut just to see how well it works. (note: it works awesomely).

So this was a prototype to see if I could make something that would work, and I’d have to say it was pretty successful. Cost of turning tool = $14 cutter head + $5 steel tube + $0.10 for the screw and nut. $19 for a carbide turning tool, not to shabby.

I do want to pretty it up, make a wooden handle, and I want to angle the end so it’s easier to tighten the nut and prevent the tool from hitting the workpiece. I haven’t done a lot of work with steel, how hard is it to cut through it with a hack saw, is it something I’d rather go out to harbor freight and get an angle grinder to do?

I also don’t know how I’m going to get the square tube into a wooden handle, I don’t even have a drill bit long enough to drill something like that, how do people normally make lathe tools? I’m open to suggestions there as well.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

15 comments so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3052 days

#1 posted 01-24-2012 07:27 AM

That is going to bite you really bad. Do not use the steady rest without it being locked down. Move the steady rest up next to the workpiece. As close as you can get it where it doesn’t hit the workpiece is ideal. You want leverage to control the cut. The further out you are, the more leverage the workpiece has against you.

I would use solid bar (round or square) You can make a flat with a grinder or a belt sander. Be sure to use oil when drilling and tapping. You are really going to want to hold the metal in a vise to work on it.

It would not be a bad thing to take the handle you have and fit a solid tip into it for the insert. Hacksaw is slow but it works just fine. You don’t want to grind away the tubing. It will not be nearly as strong and will deform and probably eventually break off.

Those inserts will be awesome on really hard wood. The insert tooling makes good scrapers but a good sharp gouge and skew chisel will cut more effectively on most common woods.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3742 days

#2 posted 01-24-2012 01:19 PM

I was also going to comment on the position of your tool rest…Scary to say the least.
^DK^ has some good thoughts for you. Be safe : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Sanity's profile


174 posts in 2744 days

#3 posted 01-24-2012 03:19 PM

I would have to agree with the comments from David. The Easy Wood tools are rather pricey as you say, but I was fortunate enough to have been able to purchase both the medium and full size finishing tools when there was a 20% off sale at the local Woodcraft. A tip for extending the life of the cutter is to run the flat over a diamond stone for a few strokes to restore the edge. This will only work so often of course.

-- Stuart

View ed220's profile


624 posts in 3447 days

#4 posted 01-24-2012 05:22 PM

Jeremy, another option is to watch Capt Eddie’s videos. He shows you how to make the tools and even sharpen the cutters. Just google eddie castellin and it will come up. I have to also agree with David on your technique.No offense meant. Just want to keep you safe.

View hhhopks's profile


651 posts in 2432 days

#5 posted 01-24-2012 08:20 PM

I wouldn’t go with a steel tube.
What about 1/4” in steel bar for the 2nd proto-type? Round off the tip. Drill & tap. Put a dap of lock-tight to ensure it stays there. You could put a wooden handle on the other end.

David is right. Safety comes first.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2826 days

#6 posted 01-24-2012 09:30 PM

Hey Guys,
No offense is taken, I welcome all the feedback to be honest I didn’t think having the tool rest so far away was bad, then I did some searching and learned why. I’m hoping to come up with a good safe tool that costs significantly less than the store bought versions, or I might as well just buy the real ones :P


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3052 days

#7 posted 01-24-2012 09:34 PM

Lets get back to your original idea. That is really the ideal thing to make the holder from. What was the problem with the CRS?

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View popsshop's profile


42 posts in 3030 days

#8 posted 01-25-2012 12:36 AM

Jeremy, You may be on to something with your shop-made handle. Seems like a good idea but as others have suggested, somewhat unsafe in the beginning. CRS would allow you to use a wooden handle by boring a hole to match the steel rod, turn the handle to your preference, and epoxy the bar into the hole. Making the hole deep would provide increased strength in handle/rod assembly. Creating a flat at the business end of the rod, being careful not to overheat the metal, and then tapping for the screw should provide a sturdy mounting surface for the cutter and allow a safer distance between the workpiece and the metal rod. Personally, I’ve often wondered why the normal lathe chisels (gouge, skew, parting tool) are not available with carbide tips, as is done with router bits, saw teeth, shaper cutters, etc. Take your time, think it through, and you’ll come up with a design that works well for you. Best of luck. Karl

-- Drilling holes in wood is a boring job

View JL7's profile


8672 posts in 3019 days

#9 posted 01-25-2012 03:15 AM

Hey Jeremy – A friend of mine had the same idea – he is an inspector in a machine shop and is making 2 sets of each….the round, the square (w/ slight radius) and the diamond detailer.

One set for him, one for me.

So far I have just received the diamond detailer and I have to note that the photos below are of the raw tool (not used yet) and still need a bit of grinding to establish the bevel and offset of the bar in relation to the insert.

I just got some brass tool handle ferrules in the mail from Lee Valley – planning on turning some handles as popsshop noted…..

I am no turning expert, but always looking to learn more and I am looking forward to giving the new tools a test run…...just not yet…...


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View alfred222's profile


98 posts in 3020 days

#10 posted 01-28-2012 12:41 AM

Thanks Jeremy, Certainly got me thinking about making a few for myself.

View Sylvain's profile


708 posts in 2554 days

#11 posted 01-28-2012 10:31 PM

to make a handle on a square tube,

what about putting it in sandwich in three wooden layers and then turn it to make it round.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2826 days

#12 posted 01-30-2012 05:25 AM

I like your idea Sylvain, would be pretty easy to do.

I’m not sure what CRS means, if it means cold rolled steel I had problems working with it, the drill bit and tap I had couldn’t handle it so I’d have to get something meant to go through steel that tough.

Jeff, I’m jealous I wish I knew someone with a machine shop that could whip up some steel shafts like that, would be great that one looks like the official one.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3052 days

#13 posted 01-30-2012 07:38 AM

Yes, CRS= Cold rolled steel.

When you try again, you want to not try to drill it out all in one step.

You start with a center bit (stubby little bit that doesn’t deflect)
Then you go with a bit smaller than the hole size you want and then go to one that is a bit bigger working up until you get to the right size. Lots of oil and slow speed. Much better on a drill press and held in a vise.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View TomS2's profile


1 post in 2406 days

#14 posted 04-01-2012 03:10 AM

I think you are on the right track, just be carefull and always keep the insert supported underneith.


View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2826 days

#15 posted 04-01-2012 03:32 AM

Ya, I turned a bowl using the tool, worked out well, but the check is stuck on my lathe and I can’t get the bowl off to turn it around to hallow out the inside.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics