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 http://www.woodturningbasics.com/make-your-own-parting-tool-diy-parting-tool-plans/ 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

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

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