How to Make Your Own Traditional Woodworking Tools

Written by kirk maltbee
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How to Make Your Own Traditional Woodworking Tools
Making one's own woodworking tools is skill in and of itself. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Despite modern manufacturing methods and materials, woodworking remains a passionate hobby for many people. Woodworkers can certainly use current tools from their local hardware or home improvement store to build any number of items, but some woodworkers decide to create their own tools. Two popular woodworking tools you can build yourself are the offset mallet, used to hammer wood at an angle, and the parting tool, used to shave wood evenly.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Hardwood block
  • Ruler
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Drill with 3/4-inch bit
  • Lathe
  • Spindle gouge
  • Wood glue
  • Dowel rod, 3/4 inch in diameter
  • Hacksaw blade
  • Grinder
  • Dowel rod, 1/2 inch thick

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  1. 1

    Set the hardwood block, sized larger than the desired size of the mallet, on a flat and stable work surface. Center a ruler in the top middle of the block as use it as a straight edge to draw a straight line. Continue the straight line down each side of the block, effectively dividing the block into two separate blocks.

  2. 2

    Turn the ruler perpendicular to the centre line, centre the ruler and draw a small line that crosses the other line to make a "plus" sign. Mark a point near one corner of the line intersection, outfit a drill with a 3/4-inch bit and drill a hole completely through the block at this point. This creates the insertion point for the offset mallet's handle.

  3. 3

    Center the block into a lathe (the drilled hole should still be facing up) and set the lathe's headstock and tailstock to 5/16 of an inch. Turn the machine on and allow it to shape the mallet head. You'll know you've properly lined up the block if it wobbles slightly as it moves in the lathe. Set a spindle gouge on both ends of the block as it spins to taper and flatten the face on the heads.

  4. 4

    Apply wood glue to one end of a 3/4-inch dowel rod that is at least 12 inches in length and insert it into the drilled hole on the block. Remove the mallet from the lathe, sand the entirety of the tool and stain or varnish the wood if desired.

  1. 1

    Use a grinder to grind down the teeth on an average sized hacksaw blade until the teeth are gone and the blade is smooth. Hold the blade at one end and place the other end against the grinder, angling the blade to a 45-degree angle.

  2. 2

    Grind the blade down to a point, flip the blade over and grind the opposite side. Now the blade will have a pointed, edged cutting blade ground into one end. Grind the end of the hacksaw blade opposite the cutting end to a point that's about 5/16 inch thick.

  3. 3

    Twist one end of a 6-inch length of 3/4-inch dowel rod onto the pointed end of the hacksaw blade, thus making a comfortable handle that can be easily grasped when using the blade of the parting tool.

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