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Homemade Lathe Tools

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Homemade Lathe Tools

Unread postAuthor: clemsonguy1125 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:52 pm

Some of you may of seen my Homemade Spring Pole Lathe. Well I have not been able to turn any thing yet due to my lack of tools. The cheap set I ordered turned out to be small, flimsy, and arrived broken, they are being returned for a refund. I need a good gouge but dont want to spend 20 bucks for the tool when the whole lathe cost 14 bucks. I was thinking of taking a steel electrical EMS pipe and cutting it in half. Then sharpening the inside edge with a file. Would this work? Is there a better way of doing this or do I just need to go ahead and but the 20 dollar gouge for Harbor Freight.
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Unread postAuthor: jor2daje » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:26 pm

I would just go with the 8 piece set from harbour freight, I have a set and while they are definitely much rougher than my greenlee lathe tools, but with a bit of shaping, sharpening, and smoothing they can be used acceptably.

I dont think the conduit would be the greatest thing to use, because it is a very soft alloy because its meant to be bent easily, so I doubt it will hold an edge very well.

What I used when I built my lathe ( i built one, realized I liked it and bought a shopsmith), I used old normal chisels and re profiled them. A good starter project is to turn new, longer handles for them.

edit: also I think a skew is a much better tool than a gouge to have if you just want one, its very versatile and can gives a much better finish.
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Unread postAuthor: clemsonguy1125 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:05 pm

Before I buy anything else I am going to try to borrow one to see if the lathe even works, are there any common stores that sell them like home depot or lowes. Neither had them on there website.
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Unread postAuthor: Gaderelguitarist » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:57 pm

Neither Home depot or Lowes will have lathe tools to my knowledge. You'd be better off looking for a cheap set at Harbor Freight or springing for a nice one at woodcraft.

I will say that your favorite tools will be the roughing gouge and the skew. I make fine pens for a little side cash and those are the only tools I need.


As for making your own parts, you'll need tool steel or an other high carbon steel. It would need to be formed to shape (whether a skew or a gouge etc), roughly ground, heat treated, and then ground again. It would be a fun, but painstaking process.
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Unread postAuthor: Heimo » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:57 am

you can grind a lathe chisel from a blunt file if you have one on hand...
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