DIY Parting Tool Make Your Own Custom Parting Tool

How To Make A Parting Tool

I needed a thin parting tool and I needed it now!

Sure, you can buy a Parting Tool for $25 to $50 but there’s noting like making your own parting tool. It gave me a lot of satisfaction once I figured how to grind the right angle on the tool tip. I actually took my design from the Sorby Parting Tool. Although Sorby has a wide selection of parting tools to meet your needs I tried to make mine look similar to this Sorby 1/16″ Parting Tool.Sorby 1/16" Parting Tool

Description of DIY
Parting Tool Project

I feel like I’m writing a term paper here but let me give you a quick description of the project. I wanted a parting tool with a 1/8″ blade. The idea is to turn an old used sawzall blade into to tool, make a handle of wood and used some epoxy and brass rod for rivets or whatever they are called in knive handles. Shape it a little on the disk sander and fine tune the cutting tip. That’s it…. BA DA Bing BA DA Boom!

Starting On Parting Tool Project

I started off with a sawzall blade, I think it was 1 1/4″ wide and 12″ long. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of it before I cut it.

I took a 4″ thin grinding wheel and cut the shape on the end of the sawzall blade and then I cut the teeth off. It cut pretty easily, I’m not a metal guy…. in fact, what I know about metal I probably learned on youtube πŸ™‚ I remember watching someone on a video make something like mine, so its not an original idea.

Something possessed me to purchase a 12″ disk sander a while back and I have used that thing for so many tasks I can’t believe I’ve lived all these years without one. You can sand just about anything, metal, wood, figerglas and fingers πŸ™‚

Parting Tool Blade Almost Ready

Anyway I sanded the blade to clean it up and take off any remainine paint. Coolest thing, the piece of metal looked like it was just shipped from Amazon, all nice an shiney. I was pretty proud of myself right about then.

So at this point I have the profile in the front, teeth cut off and all polished up. I need to trim up the end that goes into the sawzall ….just square it off. I have it in a vice, ready to cut off in the pic below.

DIY Parting Tool
Using a sawzall blade for a parting tool blade, shaped and in a vice ready for more cutting

DIY Parting Tool Wood Handles

Next I plan to cut and prepare the handles for attachement to the parting tool blade. I had some mulberry that had been drying for a year or so, it is very, very hard and finishes very nice. Who would have thought. But I find myself looking for a kinds of different wood types and the stuff that would end up on the burn pile …..ends up on the wood lathe or gets squared off on the band saw to be used for different projects.

PICTURE OF bandsaw WITH HANDLE HALFS *********

So I ripped down a couple of pieces 3/8″ x 5″ to use for the parting tool handles. I wanted the handles to be wood on wood when glued together so I traced the blade on one handle and chiseled out the shape at the thickness of the blade. In other words the blade sat flush in that half of the handle. Before I forget, that a small 1/8 or 1/4″ chisel and cut some grooves into the other handle half…..the purpose is for the epoxy to have someplace to grab on the wood.

 

parting tool handle
Wood handles ready for epoxy

Gluing the Parting Tool Handles
and Blade Together

At this point I mixed up some 5 minute epoxy, spread the expoxy on both handle sides, placed the blade in the cut out space, put more epoxy on the top of the blade and then clamped the whole thing together. Instead of 5 minutes I let it stay clamped overnight πŸ™‚

parting tool handle
Handle blanks, one is chiseled out to hold the sawzall blade and the other is chiseled out to hold some of the 5 minute epoxy
parting tool handle and blade
Setting sawzall blade into the 5 minute epoxy

 

parting tool wood handles
Clamping parting tool blade and wood handles with 5 minute eposy.

Next I needed to put a couple of rivets thru the wood and the blade. Since it is just a shop tool I could have used a 16 penny nail, but I ended up using 1/4″ brass rod. The idea is to make the pin about 1/8″ longer on each side and the “peen” the pin on both sides. This mushrooms out the pin on both sides and keeps it in place. Here’s what I did.

I took my parting tool with the handles glued to the blade with epoxy and then I drilled three holes thru the handle, 2 or which went thru the metal blade. I started with 1/8″ drill bit on a drill press and as soon as it hit the steel it started smoking and sputtering! I knew right then I screwed up.

Next time I will drill the hole thru the parting tool blade seperately and then thru the handles. I ended up breaking about 3 bits and had to use cutting oil which soaked into the wood but I did get the holes drilled πŸ™‚

So….next I cut the 1/4″ brass rod a total of 1/4″ longer that the width of the handle. First I added some 5 minute epoxy to the hole before driving in the pin. I peened the pin on both sides until it started to mushroom over the handle. The I hit the last pin one too many times and got a small crack in the wood….just added some CA and saw dust as a crack filler to be sanded latter.

Shaping and Sanding Parting Tool Wood Handle

Since everything was square I went over to theΒ  12″ monster disk sander and sanded both sides flush. This gets down to clean wood and it evens out the brass pins. Then I used the disk sander to round off the corners and the wood end of the parting tool. Took it over to the 1″ belt sander, cleaned up the blade a little more and fine tuned the wood edges.

Using My New Parting Tool

Being excited, I went to the wood lathe to try out the new parting tool. I was working on a handle for a gouge blade. It was about a 4″ ash tree trunk that had died from the beetles. As it was spinning I slowly entered into the wood and ………it moaned and groaned and burned!

Urgh, I was devastated! It cut like crap !!

After taking 5, I took a look at the Sorby parting tool that I was modeling I was modeling and noticed my angles were off. I reground both the top and bottom angle and tried it again. Voila! It cut like butter and ash is pretty hard.

Custom DIY Woodturning Parting Tool
Finished Parting Tool, 2 Wood Blanks for Handles, Hunk of Mullberry I cut the handle from and 1/4″ brass rod used for handle rivets

So if you try making one of these pay attention to the grind angles and pay attention to how you grind the angles. Try sharpening/grinding both angles remembering which one you did first, then try reversing the order. Then try sharpening only on side, try just touching the bottom up, and try just grinding the top angle.

Now I have mine set up so I just touch the grinding wheel on the bottom angle.

Want to see how the big boys sharpen their tools….. here’s one big boy, Sam Agelo….. I have learned a lot from him and he sharpens his thin parting tools on a belt sander ….you could also use a disk sander. He doesn’t use a grinder because he has CBN wheels on them and he was afraid the thin parting tool would ruin them….. very expensive, anyway check out his sharpening technique for parting tools.

REMEMBER always use a platform when sharpening on a grinding wheel, take your life into your own hands if you try to free hand!!

If you’re interested here’s a really good video on all the different methods of pinning that knife makers use. I might even invest in a special rivet for making knife and tool handles called a “Cutlery Rivet” they are in 2 pieces and on slides into the other and expands as it does. Pretty much a no brainer.

Make Your Own Parting Tool DIY Parting Tool Plans

Make Your Own 1/8″ Parting Tool

So…I’m turning a bowl but I screwed up and need a thin parting tool, that would be a tool that is kind of like a knife to slice thru your turning project to release it from a glue block or tenon.

thin wood turning parting tool
One possible end profile of your own parting tool, this a pic of a Sorby Parting tool

All I have is this big honker 1/4″ parting tool, I think its actually closer to 3/16″ wide. Well, I had to make it work so I did by changing the profile of the project…. I didn’t really want to do that but I didn’t want it to spin off into 100 pieces either.

DIY Parting Tool From Sawzall Blade

I’ve been wanting a thin parting tool for a long time. A think 1/8″ parting tool is a must for every wood turner not only for releasing or cutting thru your project but for adding detail, nice clean lines to a wood turning. So, I guess I need to get one.

Rober Sorby Parting Tool
You can easily make your parting tool to look like this using nothing but an old reciprical saw blade

But… I remembered Cap’n Eddie did a video on how to make one….then of course there are a handful of videos on how to make a parting tool for your wood turnings.

Eddie’s first video on making a parting tool was to start off by using a lawn edger blade and reshaping it with a grinder, then he did a second video on using sawzall blades, or reciprocal saw blades. Being a contractor I just happen to have a box of old blades I can use for making my parting tool.

Sharpening Your Wood Tuner’s Parting Tool

how to sharpen a wood turning parting tool
Quick look at how to sharpen a wood turner’s parting tool

I won’t go into sharpening very much at this point except to say that you need to keep your parting tool sharp for best results. There are some very important parts of your parting tool to keep an edge on so it can cut effectively. I will post more on this latter, but for watch what Cap’n Eddie does to keep his parting tool sharp and good to go.

Make My Own Wood Turner’s Parting Tool

Yes, I am going to make one…. I have more time than money so maybe I’ll do a video on that. In the meanwhile, why don’t you watch Cap’n Eddie put his parting tools together. The first video he uses the edger blade…that would be for you if you don’t have a source of thin strong metal laying around, the second is from using the reciprocal demolition blade ….usually a 12″ blade, and the third is how he sharpens his parting tool.

Make Your Own
Wood Turning Parting Tool

Make Your Own Thin Blade
Wood Turning Parting Tool

How to Sharpen Your Woodturning Parting Tool

See more wood turner’s tools.