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Wood turning parting chisels


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I made a set of Wood turning parting tools for my stepson yesterday they could of been finished better but they had to be finished last night. The plain one is made from 1080 crane rail track and is 6mm thick and the birds eye one is crane rail and band saw blade and is 3mm thick

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A bit late to the party here, but I'd be interested too in knowing the HT to prevent breaking during a lathe catch. Furthermore, how is the 1080 holding up? I made lathe tools from leaf spring but they were getting dull too quickly. 

~Jobtiel

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I spent a year or so doing R&D with a wood lath guy. He was doing hollow turnings out of different species of burl. His turnings were based on indian pottery shapes,,, large diameter oval, short in height, with a small opening at the top and a consistent very thin thickness (1/4") from opening to base. His problem was the farther in sideways he went, the easier it was to catch an edge of the tool and blow up the turning, not breaking the tool. Some of his diameters were 18+ inches and he continually pushed himself for greater diameters. I did this as a blacksmith and him as the tool user, not me as a wood guy.  

The solution we came up with was the tool tapered from about a half inch wide to 1-1/2" wide at the tang and the last 1-1/2" at the working end was bent to a 30 degree angle. This is my remembered angle, It was a long time ago. This gave him a possible opening slightly wider than the wide end of the tool, and as he worked inward, the tool rotated laterally on the tool rest and the tool width increased. This gave him more tool stability and control the deeper he went laterally. 

The steel I used was O1 and I drew the cutting edge temper to "just before" light straw reached the bitter end. We found that this little bit of extra hardness really worked for edge holding. This area ran about ~ 1/8" back from the edge. Normal color run back to where I got a spring temper in the bend area. The rest of the tool was annealed. I played with doing a spring temper at the transition of the tool to tang. We never had any tool breakage or chipping of the edge and he was satisfied with the edge holding ability.  All forging and heat treating was done in my coal forge and judging temper by controlling the color runs.

Theres no reason 1080 or W1 wouldn't work, perhaps even better. I had access to O1 at my local steel yard, so stayed consistent for this project with the same steel. 

Leaf spring is an oil quench tool. Try what I did above on the edge temper using O1, it might give you an edge that lasts longer. Try at your own risk as it pushes the characteristics of an oil quench steel. If I made these tools from 1080 or W1, I would follow the specs and draw the edge to a light straw, then control the color run until I got a spring temper through the bend. The forged shape would be the same.

Have fun

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Anvil, this is really good information, thank you. Unfortunately I don't have the resources to buy full bars of good tool steel. But seeing that you annealed the whole tool except the end, I think I can get away with a forge welded edge. I have some (very) flat bar 1095 or old files that I was planning to use. Should I get the slightly lower carbon content or do you think this higher carbon works fine for the stresses of lathe turning?

~Jobtiel

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The interior tools I forged for a turner were designed to use carbide metal lathe inserts for the cutting edge.  Replaceable!   He wanted a bunch of different curves; so when he showed up at my shop I heated a bar of steel and stick one end in the postvise and had him grab the other and bent it it suit.  We did two at my shop and the next weekend he bought an anvil off me and started blacksmithing!  (The Emperor was *pleased*!)

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The reason I mentioned tool steels is because you asked. Laying on a small piece works great. My shop practice is I generally use coil or leaf spring for my shop tools, but for those I sell, I always use tool steels.  The log/timber tools I've made,adzes and slicks, and mostly for me, are composite tools. A tool steel bit and a "Whatever" body.  

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The only thing I can add Jobtiel is you'll need to experiment to determine just what works for the materials and turning requirements where you are. 

On a side note I've always wondered why vase ad jug turners don't turn the inside first and leave the outside for last as it's easier to gauge thickness and wood structure. A pantograph can and will produce whatever shape you wish, it's anything but blind.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Fair enough, I do axes and adzes with forge welded bit as well. I have a small offcut of 1095 that is perfect for a nice gouge. I'll forge it next time I have some time for it.

~Jobtiel

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