I recently made a little pencil holder vase as a Christmas present, but I had so many problems hollering it. I bent 3 of my cheap harbor freight chisels. I decided to look for a more sturdy hollowing chisel but when I looked online I found the pricing to be wah wah wee wah! For good ones at least. So I started researching how to make one and I found some good information. I consulted my brother – an expert metalworker who has forgotten more about metal working than I ever knew about woodworking. He told me how to harden and temper tool steel (quench in USED motor oil, which has more carbon content than new) but it’s a lot of work with stuff I have difficulty with, like tempering, which requires a toaster oven due to the stink.
Anyway, I came up with the idea of using a big arse screwdriver. It’s tool steel and relatively cheap. So I went to harbor freight to see what they have. Well, they have a 2 piece set of 20″ × 3/8" screwdrivers for $10. Nice… I grabbed it and went home.
Next day I knocked the plastic handle off and shaped the cutting end by first cutting an angle with my grinder and then final shaping with my bench grinder. I can’t believe how sharp it is. Maybe it’s not so sharp but the weight of it really holds things in shape. I tested it with a piece of scrap and it cuts like butter.
Then I set to making a handle. I have a small cedar trunk from a tree that came down in a storm a few years ago. It was the right size and something I like so I strapped it in to my lathe and went to town on it with the chisel I just made.
Then I put a copper slip coupling on the end for a collet and shaped the handle and sanded. Then I rounded the handle end of the screwdriver and drilled the hole to fit the thing into the handle. Then, of course, I broke it when pounding the the thing into the handle. Uggggg!!! Then I cut a couple inches off and put it back on the lathe. New copper collet, new sanding, lost only about 2". :-)
Anyway, I’m happy with the final result. It’s awesome and it fits like a glove under my arm. Now I need some new lumber to make bowls and vases. Maybe I can get some on my parents farm at Christmas.