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.–
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 🙂 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 🙂
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 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.
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 🙂
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 🙂
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 the 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.
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.