Piano wire is made from carbon spring steel and is sold in diameters up to 1/4-inch. It is very strong and withstands abuse when used in carving tools. The hardest part about making a carving tool out of piano wire is finding the right equipment to cut and hold the wire in place. Wear heavy work gloves and safety goggles when working with piano wire. The wire will snap when cut if it is not secured properly.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Safety goggles or glasses
- Heavy leather gloves
- Piano wire
- Tape measure or ruler
- 1/2-inch dowel
- Tack hammer
- Tack nails
- Rotary cutting tool
- Cut-off wheels
- Drill bits
- Rotary grinding wheels - coarse, medium and fine
- Bench vice
- Needle-nose pliers
- Lubricant oil
Put on safety goggles. Use a bandsaw and cut two lengths of 1/2-inch dowel 4-inches long. Drill a hole in the centre of the length of the dowel to use for piano wire insertion. Hammer a tack nail 1/4-inch from the hole on either side.
Place the piano wire on a cutting surface. Measure an 18- to 24-inch length of piano wire. Mark the cutting surface or the wire.
Use a rotary tool and cut-off wheel to cut the piano wire where marked.
Tread one end of the piano wire through the hole in one dowel. Wrap the piano wire entirely around the dowel then secure around the tack nail. Finish hammering the tack nail into the wood to secure the end of the piano wire. Repeat with the other dowel.
Lay the piano wire on a cutting surface. Measure and mark the piano wire at six inches. Use a rotary cutting tool and cut-off wheel and cut the piano wire at the measured mark.
Secure one end of the piano wire on the vertical in a bench vice. Use a coarse grinding wheel on the rotary cutting tool and bevel the end of the wire to form a point.
Measure and mark a 1/2-inch dowel four inches from the end. Cut the dowel on the line.
Center the cut 1/2-inch dowel over the point on the piano wire. Hold onto the piano wire with a needle nose pliers. Tap the end of the dowel with a hammer to insert the point into the wood. Move the needle nose pliers with a 1/2-inch of the dowel. Tap the dowel until the piano wire is driven into the wood. Repeat the process until three to four inches of piano wire is inserted into the dowel.
Remove the piano wire and dowel handle from the bench vice. Turn it around and place the handle in the bench vice. Tighten the bench vice and secure the handle. Use the medium and fine rotary grinding wheels and shape the end of the piano wire to the desired carving point.
Sharpen the point of the piano wire on a whetstone. Use lubricating oil to keep the whetstone moist while sharpening.
Tips and warnings
- Be careful when working with the wire. It will puncture the skin very easily.
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