Metal and wood are the basic ingredients in most woodworking tools. As woodworkers, we're familiar with working wood, but what about metal? Actually, the level of metal working required to make some woodworking tools is pretty basic. If you've never made your own tools, give this project a try. There's something enormously satisfying about using a tool you made yourself.

We chose the scratch awl for this article because it's an everyday tool that's easy to make. Making an awl will teach you the basic principles of heat-treating steel and turning a wood handle with a metal ferrule.

Perhaps this project will be the first milestone on your custom tool-making journey.

Note: This project involves metal grinding and working with an open flame, so be sure to follow these basic safety guidelines:

• Thoroughly clean the work area of all wood shavings and dust before using the torch or grinding the steel.

• Keep a fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies.

• If possible, do the heat-treating outside.

• Wear eye protection for all grinding operations.

• Never use motor oil for the heat-treating process.

1 Round the handle blank and fit the ferrule on the end. You can use different materials for a ferrule; this one is a solidbrass nut with a tapered end section.

Rough in the basic shape of the handle with the detailing gouge.The shape and size of the handle is up to you.

Turn away the flats of the nut and shape the ferrule with a detailing gouge. Cutting brass and copper on the lathe is similar to cutting wood. However, take light cuts.

4Drill the hole to accept the steel drill rod. Use bits 1/64-in. larger in diameter than the drill rod to allow room for the epoxy.

What you will need:

• Fire extinguisher

• 1/8-in., 3/16-in. or 1/4-in., diameter drill rod in oil hardening steel

• Propane or Mapp gas torch

• Locking pliers

• Electric drill

• 10-in. grinding disc (120-grit) mounted on 3/4-in. plywood or MDF backing.

• Copper plumbing coupling, brass or copper pipe, brass nut, or brass compression nut for the ferrule material

• Lathe tools: roughing gouge, detail gouge, parting tool, and optional skew chisel

• Sandpaper (usually 100-, 150-, 180-and 220-grit)

• Jacobs style chuck for your lathe's tailstock

• A drill bit that's 1/64-in. larger than the drill rod

• Optional: Tempilstik in 450 -500 degrees range

Turn The Handle

Pick any strong hardwood for the handle: cherry, hard maple, oak, walnut, hickory, ash, rosewood, goncalo alves, purpleheart, etc. (Now, aren't you glad you saved those littie pieces of really cool wood?) Determine the desired diameter and length of the handle. Be sure to allow for the length of the ferrule.

1. Mount the wood into the scroll chuck and create a cylinder with the roughing gouge.

2. With the parting tool, cut a small cylinder on the end to fit die metal ferrule (Photo 1). Take care to achieve a tight fit. The ferrule stock can be a copper coupling (1/4-in. to 1/2-in., depending on the look you desire), brass nuts, brass or copper pipe. If you're using a brass nut, simply thread it onto the wood.

3. Shape the handle with the detail gouge or skew chisel (Photo 2). The possibilities are endless and depend on the handle style, the size of your hands, and whether the tool is meant for delicate or heavy service. I seldom make any two the same. Take the opportunity to add your own fine detailing to distinguish your awl from production versions. When satisfied with the

5 Cut a length of drill rod with a hacksaw for the awl's steel shaft.

6Shape a tapered point on the shaft using a drill and a lathe mounted abrasive disc. With the drill running, grind the point on the near lower quadrant of the spinning disc. Wear eye protection!

7Harden the shaft by heating the pointed half to an even cherry-red color. Hold the shaft in a pair of locking pliers.

8 When the steel is evenly bright red from the point to the middle, quickly quench and stir it in a can of olive oil.

shape, finish sand to 220-grit.

4. Shape the ferrule with the gouge (Photo 3).

5. Use a Jacobs chuck to drill a 1-1/2-in. (minimum) deep hole for the steel shaft (Photo 4).

6. Part the handle off the chuck and hand- sand the end. You can leave the handle unfinished or use a drying oil.

Make The Steel Shaft

The drill rod is annealed, which means it's too soft for use as an awl. On the other hand, soft steel is easy to work so we'll leave it that way for now and do the hardening later.

7. Cut the drill rod with a hacksaw to the desired length of the awl shaft (Photo 5). I normally use 3-in. to 6-in. lengths. Choose a length and diameter that fits the desired look and function of the awl.

8. To shape the point on the business end of the shaft, first chuck it in a drill. Then, run the drill as you hold the shaft against a spinning lathe-mounted grinding disc (Photo 6). Run the lathe at low to medium speed (400 to 800 rpm). Don't try and put a delicate point on the steel at the stage. It will just get burned off in the heat-treating process. And don't worry if you "blue" the steel at this juncture as overheating is only a concern once the steel is heat-treated.

9. Get the torch and pour some olive oil in a can. With the shank held in a pair of locking pliers, fire-up the torch and apply heat to the steel. Twirl the rod as if you were slow cooking a marshmallow (Photo 7). Try for an even, bright cherry-red color from the middle to the point, then quickly dunk the hot steel into the olive oil and agitate rapidly for about 30 seconds (Photo 8).

Note: Never use motor oil for this as it gives off noxious fumes and can even ignite.

10. Use a mill file to test the shank tip hardness (Photo 9). If the steel does not pass the file test, reheat and quench again.

11. Hand-sand the shaft to achieve a clean bright surface (Photo 10).

12. The second phase of heat-treating is called tempering. This is where the degree of final hardness is established. Tempering involves reheating the hardened area to a specific temperature, then quenching it immediately in water. The higher the temperature the softer the shaft will be. As the end user, you are free to determine the degree of hardness you want in your tool. You may want an awl that is very hard and can scratch deep lines in hard wood. The down side is a very hard shaft will have a brittle point that's prone to breaking. At the other extreme you can temper the shaft so the

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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