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Toolmaking :make your own woodworking tools?

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  • Toolmaking :make your own woodworking tools?

    I know that some of you have a woodworking habit...confess...

    Whilst browsing through a woodworking tool catalogue (mainly hand tools), I found myself thinking about how some of these tools could be made in the home shop... many of you use your metalworking tools & skills to make woodworking tools?
    What have you made/modified? What materials do you use...scrounged material?...shiny new tool steel?... Any tool pictures?

  • #2
    Why not? Hardwood scraps make great blacksmith fires and a good way to dispose of any suspicious evidence of miscuts.

    Seriously you're only a book purchase, a few basic tools, and some skill building away from home brew woodworking tools. It won't be an ABC boom! you got a drawknife but a few months of an evening or three a week and you should to some pretty nice tools.

    Blacksmith toolmaking is a skill worth developing in itself and not expensive to get started in with a little ingenuity. For example an old Weber barbeque and a hairdryer, a 4 lb cross peen hamner, and apiece of rail can be considered a starter kit.


    • #3
      I am a closet woodworker,actually lack of good woodworking tools is what got me started in the machine trades.

      I couldn't buy new machinery or tools of the quality I wanted with the finances I had availible,so I began rebuilding machines and making my own tools.Now the machining aspects have taken over and I do that for a living.

      If your into hand tools,like Forrest said a forge wood or charcoal fired is the place to start.A truck brake drum makes a good forge along with a blower motor or hair drier.

      Leaf springs make good edge tools,so do axles.

      If your thinking of a business,Lie Nielson got his start maing reproductions of discontinued tools from years past.
      I just need one more tool,just one!


      • #4
        I make woodworking tools all the time. One of the posts mentions car leaf springs, but any HSS or carbide insert can be fitted to a tool. I recently made up an oversized dovetail cutter made from a carbide C2 insert brazed into a 12L14 turned holder with nickel silver brazing rod. I've built form cutting molding hand planes, scrapers, a drum sander, disc sander and have materials on hand to build a patternmakers vise and combination 12" jointer/surfacer. I have also made several turning gouges, chisles and measuring tools from W1 and O1 tool steel, both flat ground and TGP stock which was heat treated afterwards. Forging was done with a stacked insulating brick furnace and two blow torches.

        If you can make metalworking tools, you can make woodworking tools.


        • #5
          Hi Herb, I posted photos of my turning tool here-

          Haven't had time to use it much yet
          To invent, you need a good imagination - and a pile of junk. Thomas A. Edison


          • #6
            Finally coming out of the closet, eh Weird?

            While my business has recently taken a sharp turn toward manufacturing a specific product, I was a fabricator, a machinist, and was a woodworker before either. The techniques and tools can hardly be stopped from overlapping onto each other. My knowledge of each has undeniably aided with my viewpoint toward the others.

            When I finally got a nice new table saw, one of the first modifications I made was to EDM 2 slots into the guide rail on the miter gauge. I placed a setscrew through the side so it could be made to fit snugly into the table slots. It also has a small aluminum extended fence (which stays mounted on it), a modified hold down fixture, and a long extruded aluminum fence with graduations that can be slid on or off in a few seconds. Not exactly complicated stuff, but it probably never would have occurred to me to modify it in such a manner had I no experience in metalworking.
            Location: North Central Texas


            • #7
              EDM?? You have been holding out on me,bad Aggee,bad Aggee
              I just need one more tool,just one!


              • #8
                I've made several woodworking tools, ranging from handscrews, to a HSS steel mortising chisel, to a bronze mallet. I do a fair amount of woodworking, and the skills that I have learned from machining have had a huge impact on the way I work. I love building things, and the more materials I know how to work with the better. Here's a bronze mallet I made with a macassar ebony handle.



                • #9
                  Well I'm a patternmaker so does that make me a woodworker or metalworker?


                  • #10
                    I dunno Dave. We'll have to send you to the vet for a species determination.

                    I spent a couple of months in the pattern shop when I was an apprentice. What an experience! These guys do everything in wood a machinist does in metal and they have to deal with shrinkage too.

                    I always admire the words spoken by Bob Grinde to the patternmaker boss as they were glumly examining a partly machined (expensive) casting full of porosity and shrinkage voids. One cavity under a feed head riser when probed with a stiff wire measured 7" deep. "Hell, Lee." Grinde said, "The only problem with your castings is they would float if they didn't sink first."


                    • #11
                      here is a gouge i forged out of an old carbon steel drill bit , and turned down onthe lathe to fit an air hammer, and the damage it inflicts on a piece of wood .
                      cant buy that in the store

                      [This message has been edited by thistle (edited 01-09-2005).]


                      • #12
                        Andrew, that mallet is a beauty.
                        To invent, you need a good imagination - and a pile of junk. Thomas A. Edison


                        • #13
                          LMAO Forrest.

                          Nice work Thistle!


                          • #14
                            I've done a lot more woodworking than I have metalworking, I pretend to be a gunsmith, but I'm mostly a gunstocker which is quite different. I have found that gunstocking is largely a game best played with hand tools, I tend to like the simplicity and slower pace (read that more time to reverse a mistake when it starts) nature of it. Unfortunately high quality wood chisels are not cheap, but I've found that they can be made quite easily with a small forge, or in many cases just square high carbon steel stock which has been milled or hand ground. I turn the handles in my small metal lathe and make ferrals (spelling?) out of steel tubing and sometimes finish it with a color case finish. Heat treating is simple using the forge and sometimes the aide of the wife's oven for tempering. The last issue of I believe Shop Notes has an excellent article on making in fill planes with a brass body and your choice of hardwood interior. I've never made one, but have had the opportunity to use an original and they are wonderful tools. The article uses a table saw equipped with a metal cutting blade to cut the box joints in the brass plate, but I figure the folks here would have an advantage over this method. In short, woodworkers have been making their own tools for centuries and it's an excellent way to acquire a high quality collection at reasonable prices. You'll find, with a bit of research, that woodworkers are every bit as prone to restore old machines, make their own tools, jigs, and fixtures as the folks on this side are to tinker with old machinery and make various attachments jigs, and fixtures. Both are great hobbies, have fun.


                            • #15
                              Nice job Andrew.
                              That mallet appears to be a marketable item.