Introduction: How to Make Almost Any Small Tool in 5 Minutes

This instructable will show you how to make small tools like custom screwdrivers, awls, chisels and more. The materials you'll need are a knife, a large framing nail, a hammer and some wood. You'll also need a bench grinder and a metalworking vice or anvil.

Step 1: Prepare the Wood

Use the knife to whittle the wood to a sort of round shape that is comfortable to hold. Use sandpaper to smooth it if it's very rough. Try to avoid knotty wood. Then go to the band saw and cut the wood to length. It should stick out about a half inch when you hold it in your hand.

Step 2: Add the Nail

take the nail and hammer it in about an inch into the end of the wooden handle.

Step 3: Cut the Nail

Go to the grinder and use the corner of the wheel to grind into the nail about an inch and 1/2 from the handle. Then use the hammer and the vice/anvil to snap the nail.

Step 4: Grind and Shape the Point

then hammer and grind the point of the nail into the shape you want. you can hammer the point to make it thin and flat. once you have the shape you want, sharpen tho point.

Step 5: Possobilities

the following photos are some tools i made.

 they are, in order of the photos:

1.triangle screwdriver
2.pry bar
3.awl
4.flathead screwdriver
5. round end scraper

Comments

author
lbrewer42 (author)2014-08-25

GREAT to see a young man wanting to work with his hands instead of sitting in front of a game console al day long! Keep up the great work. Nice 'ible!

author
Kweek (author)lbrewer422014-08-26

Absolutely! Made me sad to think there aren't too many parents that would actually spend the time to teach their kid to safely use these tools (present company excepted;). Every one of these steps presents a risk of loss of an eye or digits. I've always said, fun is directly proportional to risk. Perhaps part of the kids not going outside problem is the parental "Don't touch that!" reflex. Not many kids would turn down a chance to use a blowtorch :).

author
emiliolatorre (author)Kweek2014-08-28

I did actually *almost* lose a finger once. It was pretty scary, but the workshop is still a great hobby. It is sad that more children don't know how to work in wood or metal anymore.

author
lbrewer42 (author)emiliolatorre2014-08-31

Thankfully it was "almost." But happenings such as this give you a proper respect for the power of the tools you are dealing with. NEVER use a tool without respecting the damage it can do FIRST. Short cuts with tools are not worth "shortening cuts" on you ;^)

author
my wookie (author)2014-08-21

you should try making a variety of chisels

author
Kweek (author)my wookie2014-08-26

Yes, but out of the masonry nails mentioned by cvbritton.

author
quinault (author)2014-08-26

According to my experience, this may not hard enough to deal some jobs.

author
rnorton2 (author)2014-08-24

fine job young man, take a few of these suggestions and you will have some great hand tools.

author
Davido505 (author)2014-08-22

Nails are mild steel, not tool steel, so they cannot be hardened enough to be very useful. If you use old hex keys or allen wrenches instead, or even drill bits, they can be hardened and tempered properly to last a long time. Heat the steel to cherry red, then quench it in oil or water. Then polish the steel, so you can see color on it when it's heated ...heat the steel gradually until you see it turn a straw or light brown color. Ready to use, and can even be sharpened.

author
cvbritton (author)Davido5052014-08-24

Masonry Nails (square) are hard steel and can be used here -

author
ms match (author)2014-08-22

making this from start to finish in 5 min is a bit of exaggeration as I spent 10 min just whittling the handle alone.....

author
lovethebackwoods (author)2014-08-22

Another excellent use for tools such as this is drown-savers. I don't know any other names for them - readers? I love deep-lake ice fishing at well below zero when I usually have lakes to myself (I live in south-central Alaska). A lot of us make pairs of these tools with the nail tips about 1/2". Drill a 3/8" hole through the other end and knot 550 cord through the hole, long enough to tie in a secure loop over the neck and then reach the hands. In the unanticipated event of the ice breaking, these grippers can help you grab into the ice and hopefully pull yourself up out of and away from the hole. Then get to your rig as fast as you can, strip down, towel off briskly, switch into dry clothes, drink something warm and non-alcoholic, and take any further life-saving steps needed.

author
throbscottle (author)2014-08-22

Your grinding wheel will last longer if you cut the nails with a hacksaw! Keep using the corner like that and you will make it rounded.

author

Also good way to make DIY caving tools for fine details. Also I second Quick-tunes comment on pilot holes and hardening the tips. I've made similar tools and recommend a wood rasp or micro plane to help work/customize the handle.

author
tetra28 (author)2014-08-21

i don't get the "tool" part

author
Eldalote (author)2014-08-21

Great!

author
Ranie-K (author)2012-11-12

Should the title be "tool" and not "toy"?

author
Tinydot (author)Ranie-K2014-08-21

It works in a pinch, I've done it too to open up some types of electronics equipment.
Things like a regular flathead but with a pin in the middle, just two holes or the type with 3 slots at 120 degrees(Yes you, Nintendo).

Sometimes you can grind an old screwdriver to fit something, but it's kind of wasteful if you're only going to use it for 4 screws.
For a one time use "I need to open this case, but it has some weird proprietary screws" kind of things, it works okay, don't expect it to last beyond 5-10 or so screws though. It works a bit longer with an old screwdriver (But not nearly as long as an actual screwdriver)

author
emiliolatorre (author)Ranie-K2012-11-12

yes

author
M3G (author)2014-08-20

Cool idea, nails are a lot more versatile than I thought!

author
Quick-tune (author)2013-01-15

First drill a hole in the wood half the size of the metal, and hold the metal in the vice whilst you gently hammer the handle down. Now heat the tool tips to cherry red and then quench in oil to temper the tools, by grinding most metal you heat it up, then letting it cool slowly it softens the metal - this is known as 'annealing' using old tools is better than nails as tool steel usually has a higher carbon content so is much harder.
keep at it - this is how blacksmiths begin to happen.

author
MaskMarvl (author)2012-12-21

I guess you're making "Toy" tools then...

author
rimar2000 (author)2012-11-12

Very interesting!

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