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Tool making

Over the years I have often enjoyed the opportunity to make my own tools. Mostly, I have tackled the standard stuff like marking gauges, bow saw frames and hand planes. I used to make a lot of hand planes and at a certain point, I started making my own icons and caps out of 0-1 tool steel.

Some guy bought the first plane I made right off my workbench so I made another. Another guy bought that one so I made two more. Soon I had a number of really nice wood bodied planes and every now and then I sold one or two. I even made some knives but that never went very far.

In the late 80s, when I got sucked in to cabinetmaking, there was little need for hand tools and even less time for making them. But recently, I began doing a lot of lathe work. I had a pretty good set of lathe tools but I needed some smaller tools for fine detail work. Being a bit more cost conscious these days than I have been in the past I thought I would take a crack at making some.

The first thing I made was really just a modification of an existing tool. I needed a very fine skew so I reground an extra one I had. That was enough to hook me back in and since then I have made a dozen or so small lathe chisels. I haven't tried a gouge yet but I have made some gouge-like tools and may get up the moxie to attempt an actual bowl gouge. In the meantime, I am rediscovering the pleasure of working with a tool I made myself and also enjoying the groceries I was able to buy with the money I saved.


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