Make Your Own Parting Tool For Woodturning

How to Make a Parting Tool
From A Sawzall Blade

I really enjoy making my own woodturning tools, if for any reason, just to see if I can do it! So I thought I would make my own parting tool for woodturning.

I’ve made a couple of turning tools with carbide cutters, and some with HSS cutting blanks, all turned out to be very useful. It’s very rewarding for me to make my own tools…. although, there’s nothing like an expensive bowl gouge made with the best metal and sharpened properly.

I had a parting tool with my cheap set of chinese tools. It was about 1/4″ wide and works well, even if I have to sharpen it often. But I needed a thin parting tool for my woodturning projects and something that I could hold in my hand. I was looking for a parting tool with a 1/16″ to 1/8″ blade and found a couple out there costing anywhere between 20 and $30 dollars.

Sorby Parting Tool

Sorby makes a really nice parting tool and I probably would have purchased it if I didn’t get the urge to make my own parting tool. I remember watching a capt’n eddie video about making a parting tool so I thought I would try it mysyelf.

DIY Parting Tool Marterials

I used an old Lennox Sawzall or Reciprocating Blade for the blade of my wood lathe parting tool. I must have throw a couple hundred of those away throughout my lifetime. My wife gives me a hard time about saving stuff, I think I thru a whole box of old blades away thinking I would never sharpen them or use them again….. never fails, as soon as you throw something away you figure out you need it!

Sorby thin parting tool
Double Angle Sorby Thin Parting Tool

I shaped the end of the blade like the Sorby Parting Tool, double angle look. I then cut the end of the blade off to square it off and I cut and ground down the teeth.

Next I took the blade over to the disk sander and ground it down to bare metal. I got it looking nice and shiney, looked pretty good. Since I’m not a metal guy, I was starting to impress myself πŸ™‚

Making Handles For DIY Parting Tool

I cut some 1/2″ handle halves from some Catalpa Tree wood I had laying around that was pretty dry. The stuff is hard as nails. I then traced the location of the blade on each wood handle half. Then I took out a sharp chisel and chiseled out the traced area on both sides so the blade would sit in the chiseled out area and the wood halfs would meet together flush.

You want to chisel out the handle a little deeper than the blade thickness to allow for some epoxy to get between the blade and the wood handle on both sides. I think I used a 30 minute epoxy to glue the handles together. You can get 30 minute epoxyΒ  …yep just click on that link or check out your local big box store.

Make sure you clamp up the handles nice and tight, wipe off any excess epoxy that oozes out from the handles being squeezed together. Its easier to clean it up now that after it gets hard.

Attaching Handles to Your
New Woodturning Parting Knife

I followed the steps above and then took the clamps off. It looked good and I probably could have gotten away without having to add rivets to the handles. But, I thought it would look cool with some brass riviets. You can buy special rivets from knife making suppliers, there are 3 different types, check out the video I put on at the bottom of the article on Make Your Own Parting ToolΒ  at the end of the page.

I’ll talk a little more on rivets a little latter. First I wanted to talk about drilling the holes for the rivets. I used a 1/4″ brass rod, think I got it from Home Depot or Menards. So after I took off the clamps I laid out [3] 1/4″ holes to drill through the wood handle, through the metal blade and out the other wood handle half.

Like I mentioned before, I’m not a metal guy. Just learning this stuff πŸ™‚

Drilling Holes In Your New Parting Tool

I guess that sawzall blade is hardened steel, so….. drilling through it was a real pain! I couldn’t start with a 1/4″ drill bit…it went through the wood but stopped dead when it hit the steel blade. I ended up starting with a 1/16″ drill bit and had to use cutting oil, had to use cutting oil with each size increase of the drill bit and it kinda trashed the wood handle!

So, if you’re gonna do this and you are really anal about what it looks like, you had better predrill the steel so you don’t mess up the wood handle. I know that’s what I’ll do next time.

Next I cut the brass rod about 3/16″ longer than the thickness of the handle. I put some epoxy on the brass pins and in the holes of the handle. Then I used the smallest hammer I could find to ping the brass rivets on both sides. I really needed a small ball peen hammer …never really knew what those things were used for …got a good idea now πŸ™‚

I did pretty good, but got carried away and cracked the handle on both sides on different riviets!

You really don’t need to smush out the brass rivets that much because you’ll take the handle to a belt sander or a disk sander and sand down the handle and the soft brass rivets. So, that’s what I did. I just used the disc sander to round off the edges and flatten the flat of the handle. Then took it to my 1″ belt sander and further shaped it.

I took some 120 grit sandpaper and then 220 grit to it, got it nice and smoother and put a couple coats of clear shellac on it.

The only thing I had to play around with was the top and bottom angle in the front cutting edge of the parting tool. As I write this, I can’t remember what the angle was….will have to come back and let you know latter. I just keep trying until I found something that cuts well.

That’s about it.

My DIY Parting Tool doesn’t look like it came from a factory but from someone’s shop….my shop!

I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to make the tools. Not sure why. I have designed and built multimillion houses, strip malls, factories and some pretty big and expensive room additions ….I get more satisfaction out of making one of these tools that actually works than any of those big projects.

Here’s a quick video I did …just made of some still pics with my narration, I think its about a minute or so but will give you an idea of what and how I make my own parting tool πŸ™‚

#Make A Parting Off Tool
#Carbide Parting Tool
#Lathe Parting Tool Setup
#Parting Off Tool
#Parting Tool
#Parting Tool Holder
#Parting Tool Lathe
#Parting Tool Sharpening
#Parting Tool Wood Lathe
#Sandvik Parting Tool
#Thin Parting Tool
#Using A Parting Tool
#Woodturning Parting Tool

Make Your Own Beading and Parting Tool

I Really Enjoy Making
My Own Woodturning Tools

I love turning wood and I almost enjoy making woodturning tools just as much! So, when I find a unique method of making tools or new supplies and suppliers that you can use to make cheap and effective woodturning tools I’m gonna let ya know about it!

Learned How To Use Square Cutting
Tool Bits To Make Woodturning Tools

After watching a video from Mike Peace on Making and Using Beading and Parting Tools, I ordered 4 HSS Square Cutting Tool Bits Bar 8mm x 8mm x 200mm, that would be about 5/16″ x 7 7/8″ ….I paid around 11 dollars for 4 of these, you can find them here HSS Cutting Bits.

Make Your Own Beading and Parting Tool
Make Your Own Beading and Parting Tool from 8mm HSS tool blank

Ordered Some Square Cutting Tool
Bits To Make A Wide Parting Tool

Then, I started thinking that I would like to try making a bigger tool, so I also ordered the 12mm x 12mm x 200mm bar, could only find one bar for around $9 dollars. I thought with this larger size I could make a bigger scraper or maybe a gouge of sorts. 12mm is almost 1/2″ and I wanted to try and make a modified bowl gouge.

Instead of trying to convert or grind down an old chisel, file or drill bit these hardened steel tool blanks might make excellent substitutes and are ready to go, just grind your profile and sharpen. I’m excited to give these a try, I’ve made carbide tipped tools but never have used these tool blanks for making woodturning tools…. will let you know how it goes πŸ™‚

Turn a Wood Handle and
You Have A New Parting Tool!

Turn a tool handle, epoxy the handle and metal bar together and you’ve got yourself a new tool!

I really liked the chisel/scraper that Mike did in his video. I could use a wide beading/parting tool like the one he made. I have some handle blanks, all I need is for the square cutting tool bits to get here.

Check out Mike Peace’s video on Beading and Parting tools! He even goes over how he makes a small handle for the diy parting tool!

Don’t forget to check out my post on how I made a thin parting tool from a sawzall blade, click on make your own parting tool!

How To Make Your Own Parting Tool

How To Make A Lathe Parting Tool, How To Make A Parting Off Tool, How To Make A Parting Tool, How To Make A Wood Lathe Parting Tool, Make A Lathe Parting Tool, Make A Parting Off Tool, Make A Parting Tool, Make A Thin Parting Tool

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.


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

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Wood Turning Parting Tool

How to Sharpen Your Woodturning Parting Tool

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