Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How to make a skew woodturning chisel from an old file

I wanted a really large skew chisel for my lathe but those tools can be really expensive. As a result I decided to make a homemade one, out of an old file and a piece of walnut for handle. I used a file because files are made of pretty hard steel.

First of all I used a chalk, to mark the areas of the file, I wanted to remove.

I then used the angle grinder to cut the areas I did not wanted.

I then used my desktop grinder for some rough cleaning with the stone disc.

I then cleaned up the chisel using a belt sander. Since the file was pretty hard steel, I had to change belts quite often.

To clean up difficult areas, I used my rotary tool with a cylindrical stone bit.

I then used a marker to mark the basic bevels of my chisel. I rough shaped the bevel on my belt sander. Because I wanted to avoid hardening the tool, I often dipped the edge in water to avoid burning.

I cut a piece of walnut on the bandsaw to act as my handle.

I used flat chisels and a V carving chisel to cut the groove that would receive the tool’s handle part.

To duplicate the first opening, I sprayed WD40 and kind of printed one wood on the other.

I glued the two pieces together.

After the glue dried, I flattened the edges on my disc sander. I also removed material using my block plane, to save me some time on the lathe.

To turn the handle on the lathe, I glued a piece of wood on the hollowed edge. This way I can mount the piece on the lathe between centers, without ruining my hole.

I used a scraper and a skew chisel to shape the handle. I also cut a metal cylinder with my rotary tool. I measured it’s diameter with a caliper, and used a parting tool to make a cylindrical tenon on my handle to receive it. 

I then sanded the piece on the lathe and applied a few coats of wax and olive oil finish, while my handle was still mounted on the lathe. 

I then cut of the pieces I didn’t want on the bandsaw.

I used my disc sander to sand the metal cylinder flush.

I glued everything together using two part epoxy. I also used epoxy o fill any remaining gaps.

To sharpen my chisel, I used a flat wooden piece and strips of sandpaper. I used 100, 240, 500, 800, 1000, 2000 grit papers and polished it with leather. I also applied polishing compound on the leather.

At this point my tool was ready. It works pretty nicely and I am really happy with the way it came out. I also learned so many things while making it!

I hope you like it.


  1. Τελικά πήρα κ εγώ τον ίδιο τορνο. Θα ήθελα τώρα την πολύτιμη εμπειρία σου το να πάρω ένα σετ εργαλείων (σκαρπελων) για τον τορνο. Ένα link? Ίσως έναν κωδικό προϊόντος κλπ.
    Το budget μου είναι max 80 €.

    1. Καλησπέρα, εγώ ξεκίνησα με ένα σετ της mannesmann αλλά με έχει ταλαιπωρήσει πολύ. Δες και στο φράγκο Έχει και ακριβά και σετ εργαλείων.

  2. 1.000 Ευχαριστώ. Θα πάω στο σετ HATTORI No 701853.

    1. Δεν κάνει τίποτα, όταν το δοκοιμάσεις πες μου τη γνώμη σου να ξέρουμε τί παίζει!

  3. Πήρα τηλ. μου είπε ότι δεν το έχει άμεσα ετοιμοπαράδοτο. Θέλει ~2 εβδομάδες να έρθει από Γερμανία.
    Θα κοιτάξω & αλλού & τα ξαναλέμε.