I got the scratch awl bug the other day, and
I've been experimenting with making them. The secret is in
making the shaft.
I have learned that I can do a really good job
of tapering a round piece of steel down to a point, and make it
look good. I chuck the piece of round into a drill chuck and
spin it against a revolving wheel on the bench grinder.
past I always held the piece at a right angle to the wheel, but
the results were not exactly what I wanted. Now I hold the piece
exactly in line with the wheel, and move it back and forth and
in and outward. When I see that the taper is just about perfect,
I move it to the flat side of the wheel to straighten out any
imperfections. Then I polish by spinning it against
progressively finer grits of paper.
I had a very long HSS drill that broke, and I
cut it into 2 pieces, then tapered them. These got Desert
Ironwood handles. The other pieces are 0-1. After they are to
the shape I want them I harden and temper them. HSS is faster
because I don't have to harden it. I am keeping an eye out for
long HSS drills now. 3/16" seems to be the perfect size.
Notice that they all have a ball on top. That's
for the palm of the hand. Then there is a flare out just above
the ferrule. That's for the thumb and forefinger to rest
against. Holding one in your hand tells you that this is the
right way to make them.
I am having trouble keeping these. I showed them
at my Woodturning club meeting, and they were a hit. Everybody
wants one, and I have been giving them away. I had to take a
picture before they all disappeared.
Here are some other small tools I made recently.
To make my micro turning set, I used some HSS
reamers that I found at an estate sale, 6 for a dollar. At first
I thought of grinding off the reamer part and using just the
shank, but then I realized that I could just epoxy the reamer
end into the handles. I measured each reamer and drilled the
correct size hole for each one.
The bottom tool has not yet been ground.
Grinding HSS does not hurt the temper
of the metal, not even if you turn it red on the grinder.
Homemade skew chisels for woodturning. The
bottom 3 are HSS, while the top one
is the 7/16" diameter shaft out of an old shock absorber. The
bottom tool is
a micro turning tool.
Carving knives that I made from High Speed
Steel power hacksaw blades.
Handles are cocobolo.