Instructables
Picture of How to make almost any small tool in 5 minutes
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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.

 
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Step 1: Prepare the wood

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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

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

Step 3: Cut the nail

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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

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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

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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

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.

throbscottle10 hours ago

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.

Davido50512 hours ago

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.

my wookie15 hours ago

you should try making a variety of chisels

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.

tetra2820 hours ago

i don't get the "tool" part

Eldaloteyesterday

Great!

Ranie-K1 year ago
Should the title be "tool" and not "toy"?

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)

emiliolatorre (author)  Ranie-K1 year ago
yes
M3Gyesterday

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

Quick-tune1 year ago
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.
MaskMarvl1 year ago
I guess you're making "Toy" tools then...
rimar20001 year ago
Very interesting!