Feedback on possible objects to grind into turning tools (scrapers, mostly)

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Forum topic by Thuzmund posted 12-20-2013 12:02 AM 1234 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Thuzmund's profile


148 posts in 1598 days

12-20-2013 12:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe sharpening diy

So I have plenty of odd tools lying around the place and I’ve heard that creating your own lathe tools is a great way to add to one’s collection. I could use some scrapers with different profiles, like a sharp point, or a long, cruved skew scraper or chisel. I just have a basic set and some bowl gouges right now.

I am looking at a few objects I wouldn’t mind losing to heinous experiementation. I wonder if anyone else out there has tried these objects and could share what they thought of their applicability?

- A box wrench made of Cr-V steel
- A file
- A pry bar made of “heat-treated, high carbon steel”
- A partially-threaded 3/4” rod labeled “grade 2 class 1a” (I think that grade 2 is the lowest grade of fasteners)

From what I have gathered so far on google, file steels are safe choices. The Cr-V wrench and pry bar are the wild cards it would seem…

-- Here to learn

8 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2007 days

#1 posted 12-20-2013 12:18 AM

I’ve seen open-end wrenches used as sizing tools to check a spindle.
If you use a file, keep the tool rest very close to the wood because files are brittle and if you get a big catch it won’t flex, it will just shatter.

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View Woodknack's profile


11491 posts in 2349 days

#2 posted 12-20-2013 09:06 AM

Buy old carbon steel lathe tools and regrind them. They can usually be had for fairly cheap. They require more frequent sharpening but it’s easy to do and when sharp they are very sharp. I have some files that were reground into turning tools and they are okay, seems like they dull fairly quickly.

-- Rick M,

View Norm192's profile


73 posts in 1611 days

#3 posted 12-20-2013 09:46 AM

I have used old files. It takes a minute grind off the old teeth but it’s good steel. I made one using a piece of round stock fitted in a handle. I drilled a hole in the end that would accept a 1/4” router bit and added a set screw to hold it in place. still using that one.

View Wildwood's profile


2300 posts in 2104 days

#4 posted 12-20-2013 10:52 AM

Unless you heat treat old files, too brittle for use as a turning tool. Plenty of info on how to on the web.

Yes, turners have bought steel bars & rounds and made their own turning tools. Heat treating info on the web too!

Old car springs another source for skews, scrappers, & gouges, blacksmithing skill a must.

Making my own turning tools just does not appeal to me when consider all the other skills, material & equiment and time needed to make them safe.

Good luck!

-- Bill

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 1989 days

#5 posted 12-20-2013 11:37 AM

I made a thin parting tool out of an old putty knife. Way better than spending $40 for the sorby version.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2811 days

#6 posted 12-20-2013 04:36 PM

If you’re like me, good or bad, you’ll wind up using all of the above for experimenting purposes anyway. So go for it.
The best shop made tool I have made that sees the most use is my thin parting tool. It is made from an old sawzall blade. The teeth are ground off, the end is ground to a 45 degree angle, all without getting it so hot to make it lose it’s temper. Then I just turned a handle for it. That thing works wonders and cost me zero, much cheaper than commercial versions.


View TerryDowning's profile


1076 posts in 2086 days

#7 posted 12-20-2013 05:13 PM

+1 ^William and Marcus.

Reciprocating blades make great thin parting tools.

-- - Terry

View Thuzmund's profile


148 posts in 1598 days

#8 posted 12-21-2013 09:11 PM

Thanks, guys, I have alwasy been expeditious about experimenting, so I will likely do the files and try the sawzall trick! There’s a good video on making tools and heat treating here:

-- Here to learn

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