Cheap Lathe Tool

Intro: Cheap Lathe Tool

I needed a larger lathe chisel to try my hand at turning bowls but I didn't want to spend a hundred dollars on an experiment so I decided to try and make my own.

Step 1: Getting the Parts

The following is a list of the parts I used:

Shaper blades - I used 1" radius carbide blades. I got a set of three for less than $10

A 18" 3/8" square tubing at the big box hardware store. A got a piece 3' long for about $5.

A number 12 bolt, split washer and nut.

A piece of 2x2 for the handle.

Glue - I used liquid nails because I had some laying around. Epoxy would probably be better.

A rivet, should be able to find one for a few cents.

Total cost for one chisel about $7

Step 2: Cut the Tube to Length

I cut the tube in half to 18" and saved the other half for a future chisel.

Step 3: Drill Hole to Mount Blade

Step 4: Mount the Blade

After the hole is drilled bolt the blade to the tube. I set the blade about 2/3s of the way on to the tube. Then cut any excess bolt away.

Step 5: Carve the Handle

I actually used my new tool to turn the handle. Use your imagination to shape it to best fit your turning. I cut the 2x2 about a foot long. I based that size on the fact that that was as long as I could feed through my band saw.

Step 6: Drill the Handle

Now you need to drill the handle to accept the tubing. I just clamped the handle in my vise and drilled it with a hand drill. Pick a bit the will create a snug fit. Too loose and you may have trouble getting it tight. Too small and you may break the handle when inserting the tube. I used a 5/8" bit and it seemed to be about right.

Step 7: Insert the Tube

Now apply glue liberally on the tube and insert it in to the handle. I also drilled and inserted a rivet through the handle and tube to make sure that it won't turn.

Step 8: Done!

That's pretty much it. Allow the glue to dry and go out and use it.



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    7 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Couldn't you cut it diagonally from the corners to potentially create four?


    4 years ago

    Thanks rimar. I'll check out the videos.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi nice article I make all my tools from old files they are excellent.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Good work, I agree with BARKing. Maybe you could understand this video, although it is spoken in spanish: (don't use automatic subtitles, they are comical). This guy uses a spine key (I don't know its English name)

    Or also this other:, made with a piston pin.

    I made both, with very good success, but I shaped them like a woman nail, cutting them obliquely. They cut very well. 


    4 years ago

    Thanks. And yes it is probably a scraper but it works a lot like a spindlemaster which I believe is kind of a hybrid. But I'm new enough to turning that I don't really have a technic. :)


    4 years ago

    Good job. You should note that you made a scraper tool and not a cutting tool, because there are different techniques used in turning.
    90% of what I do is cutting but there are some places where scraping is better.