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.


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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:

      Randy,
      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

    red

  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.

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