How to Make an Allen Wrench Into a Turning Tool

Written by robert osborne
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How to Make an Allen Wrench Into a Turning Tool
Transform an Allen wrench Into a Custom Woodturning Tool (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Woodturners who create small, intricate turnings, such as Christmas ornaments, face an ongoing challenge. Small, fragile pieces require a great deal of care; and woodturning tools you use for larger pieces will not fit into a small turning's delicate spaces. A woodturner can buy manufactured tools, which can potentially be very expensive. He can also make his own tools, which means he will have the exact tool he needs to complete a specific turning. Allen wrenches provide a cheap, accessible steel source for making custom woodturning tools.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Allen wrench
  • 5-inch length of 1-inch dowel
  • Drill bit set
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Cyanoacrylate glue
  • Cyanoacrylate accelerator
  • Grinder
  • Protractor

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  1. 1

    Obtain an L-shaped Allen wrench. Look for spare Allen wrenches in your toolbox. Either a 1/4-inch or 3/16-inch Allen wrench is an ideal size for turning a 3-inch Christmas ornament. Black Allen wrenches are made from sturdier steel than are silver-coloured wrenches.

  2. 2

    Start with your piece of 1-inch dowel.

  3. 3

    Drill a hole into one end of the dowel. Make the hole the same diameter as the selected Allen wrench. For example, drill a ¼-inch hole if you use a ¼-inch Allen wrench.

  4. 4

    Insert the Allen wrench's long end into the handle's hole. Tap the wrench in with a hammer.

  5. 5

    Remove the Allen wrench from the hole. Put a few drops of cyanoacrylate glue into the handle's hole. Spray some cyanoacrylate accelerator on the Allen wrench shaft. Tap the wrench into the hole with a hammer. Allow the glue to dry completely.

  6. 6

    Grind flat the top surface of the Allen wrench's short end. Use a grinder. Stop grinding when the flat surface is even with the wrench's top corners.

  7. 7

    Grind the very end of the Allen wrench. Grind the wrench so you have at least a 10-degree rake angle. Measure the angle with a protractor.

  8. 8

    Grind the Allen wrench's tip to a rounded profile. Create the profile you need for your application.

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