Homemade Carbide Hollowing Tool

Homemade Carbide Hollowing Tool

Recently I made a small hollow form, using my Mini Easy Finisher to do the hollowing.  But with only 4 inches of bar, I couldn’t hollow very deep.  I started looking for a new hollowing tool, but they are all around $100.

Red Oak Hollow Form

While browsing YouTube for turning videos, I ran across some videos by Cap’n Eddie Castelin (Blackhawk Tools & Big Guy Productions).  They showed how to make a hollowing tool that only costs a few dollars to make.

I already have the three mini tools from Easy Wood Tools: The Mini Easy Rougher, Mini Easy Finisher, and the Mini Easy Detailer.  I like them a lot.

Seeing Cap’n Eddie’s videos inspired me to make my own.  I knew that I wanted it fairly long.  Therefore, it needed to be pretty hefty.  I settled on a piece of 1/2″ square hot rolled steel bar stock.  A 48″ piece was about $8.00.  I decided to cut it into 3 – 16″ pieces.

Cutting the Bar Stock

I ground the tip down and shaped it for the carbide cutter.  These I got from Cap’n Eddie on his Products and Services page.  I ordered the 3 pack of the 12 mm round cutters for $24.  I drilled and tapped it for the 6-32 machine screw.

Tool Tip with Cutter

Here’s a shot of the cutter installed:

Cutter Installed

I also ground the tang round to better fit the handle:

The Tang

Now the handle.  I found a piece of ash on the firewood pile, and decided to give it a go.  I mounted it on my bigger Jet lathe in the shop.

Ash Log From the Firewood Pile

I roughed it down

Roughing the Handle

Shaping the Handle

and cut it just above a big knot.

Handle with Ferrule

Then I moved it to my Rikon lathe in the studio.

For the ferrule, I used a 3/4″ steel conduit coupler, cut in half.  It has a set screw, so I can use this handle for multiple tools, simply loosen the set screw and remove the tool.

Here it is almost finished:

Handle Almost Finished

And the finished handle with the tool.

Completed Handle with Tool

All put together.

Completed Tool

All told, this tool cost me about $11 to make.  Not bad.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

This entry was posted in Wood Turning. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Homemade Carbide Hollowing Tool

  1. Good timing!!! I was ready (but not willing) to buy the same tool!! Being an ex-machinist and retired, I figured it is a good time to save mega bux!! Thanks!!

    • Bill says:

      No problem. I agree, it kills me to pay a hundred bucks for a tool when you see what’s in them. I just took a bowl turning class at Woodcraft in Indianapolis. The instructor had a carbide cutter tool made by Sorby, but the cutter was at a 45 degree angle. It cut very clean, as it was shear cutting. I think the next one I make will be at a 45.

  2. Randy says:

    This is great. I just used tool steel that I cut from industrial planer blades to make two specialty bead cutters. I welded each of these to a piece of 1/2″ square tubing.
    They worked great to decorate the three walnut candle holders I made.
    I had a need so I did not take the time to make the handles yet. Just used vise grips so I could complete that project. I did like your idea for the handles.

    • Bill says:

      Thanks, Randy. I recently took a bowl turning class at Woodcraft. The instructor, Jim Dupler, makes a lot of his own tools using planer blades. I got to try a couple and they cut really well. That’s probably on the horizon.

    • Tom Edwards says:

      I would appreciate info on how to cut an industrial planer blade. I have a bunch of these and would like to make tools from them.

  3. red says:

    Very nice indeed. But please note you don’t have to mill in a seat for he insert. It will work as well just screwed down proud on a steel shank you can get from McMaster Carr for a few bucks. The metal working inserts with a relief are better for cutting wood fibers than the flat lapped klepto tool consumables, almost 10 x less cost and available everywhere.

    One good turn deserves another


  4. JonD says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I just picked up my square stock today (only $5.56 for 4? after cuts!) and cutters ordered from Capt. Eddie. Whoo hoo!…j

  5. Phil says:

    I have the same idea since I have been given many many carbide tipped square shanked cutters about 3 inches long. I would like to make a metal handle for these with a couple set screws to hold these inserts and am struggling with how to go about it.

    I have also been given some round, square, and diamond cutters that I plan on making tools similar to these shown on this site.

  6. Davis Spurlock says:

    Your carbide tool sure looks like a money saver. How did you machine away the portion of the bar to make the bed on which you install the carbide cutter? A wheel grinder, belt grinder, angle grinder, file?

  7. Kelsey Smeltzer says:

    I used .75′ square Hot Roll bar and a Captain Eddie Round and Square cutters. This stuff is not hard to cut/file. I think it took me about 30 minutes to file one end round to fit into a Jimmy Clewes quick coupler. I used a small angle grinder (Harbor Freight) to make the primary flat slightly negative taper for the cutters and finished off with a file then drilled and tapped a hole for the set screw.

  8. Kelsey Smeltzer says:

    Oh, I forgot. I bought one Wheelbarrow handle, straight grain Ash and made several handles.

  9. Benjamin Hall says:

    Where did you purchase the steel from? I would like to make some of these but haven’t found the steel so cheap anywhere.

  10. k-dub says:

    Great post. My brother is always mentioning how I should save some big bucks and make my own cutter bars. After reading your post, I’m going to do exactly that. Thanks for taking the time to inspire us, Bill.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.