DIY Carbide Lathe Chisels

Recently, the folks at LumberJocks convinced me to make my own carbide lathe chisels rather than buying them premade.  (to save $110 per chisel)

Here’s how that went down:

The idea is this:

  • Take half inch bar stock
  • Tap it for an 8×32 screw
  • Notch the bar stock end to hold the cutter nicely
  • Buy replacement cutters for the name brand tools
  • Turn some handles
  • Use plumbing copper fitting for ferrule
  • Fill the square hole with epoxy and slide the bar in.

First, I tapped the screw hole and then cleaned up the metal.

Then, I recessed each of the tips so that the bit would sit lower in the bar stock.

I am not a metalworker.   Obviously.

*the detail cutter is not Tungsten Carbide, but rather Titanium Nitride, per the recommendation of Grizzly since this model comes to more of a point. 

For the handles, I took 2 pieces of straight-grained hard maple, routed a half inch deep dado partway down, and glued them together.  Then, I had wet glue in the square hole, so I used a smaller piece of bar stock to clean up the excess glue from the inside, which turned the glue black.

Brass fittings for the ferrules.  These help keep the wood compressed.

Boom diggidy.

Completed tools


It was a very good process, especially for a newbie (n00b?) wood turner like me.   Cost ended up being about $20/each when basics were considered (cutter, bar stock, screws) not including finish and wood, which was minimal.  It took a lot of time (again, newbie factor) but it was a good way to learn.

Without a doubt, I will absolutely make tool handles again.

Update 4 years later: I have not made tool handles since.