I recently got into wood turning, and I wanted to have a nice set of tools. Most lathe gouges and chisels are high speed steel (HSS), but they require constant sharpening and leave something to be desired. The premium wood turning tools use replaceable carbide inserts that stay sharp considerably longer, but you also pay a premium for them.
Instead of paying around $100 per tool, I set out to make my own. After it's all said and done, I've got $53 dollars invested in two carbide cutting tools, and I've got 6 regular steel chisels and gouges left from the materials that I bought for the project.
Not too shabby - here's how it's done!
I've seen some Instructables where people turned their own hardwood handles, used copper plumbing to make custom ferrules, cut or machined their own tool shafts, and even hollowed out the handles and loaded them with shot to reduce vibration. While I will probably do this eventually, I wanted more instant gratification. I wanted a set of carbide cutters to use between now and then. So... I decided to just use a cheap set of donor chisels as the handles for my own carbide lathe tools.
I bought a set of 8 lathe tools from Harbor Freight for $20. I also purchased a pair of carbide inserts from Easy Wood Tools on Amazon. I decided on the Ci0 round cutter and the Ci1-R2 radiused square cutter. Both carbide inserts came with their own 8-32 hold down screws.
If you're following this guide verbatim, here are the links to exactly what I bought:
You'll also need:
A tap and die set, specifically an 8-32 tap.
A scratch awl.
A center punch.
A drill and bits. Something to pilot drill with, and a 1/8" bit. (#29 if you have it)
A combination square.
Something to protect bare metal. I have Johnson's Paste Wax, so I used that.