Author Topic: Making old screw drivers into offset chisels  (Read 6593 times)

agaboric

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Making old screw drivers into offset chisels
« on: March 11, 2010, 04:52:26 PM »
I am in the process of making some offset chisels with some old screw drivers I have aquired. I broke one of them bending it in my vise, I realize that tool steel is very brittel but I thought I will try this anyway. My next step is to sharpen them on my water stones and once I get them sharp I was wondering if I can reharden the the tip so that it will hold an edge longer, is that posible? and I just want to know if others have done this too.
Thanks,
Andy

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Making old screw drivers into offset chisels
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2010, 11:59:06 PM »
Screwdrivers may or may not be the right steel for the job.  They are meant for toughness.  Assuming one is simple high carbon steel, they are good for the purpose because the shaping is practically done.  It is wrong to cold bend steel that is to be used for tools, whether it is annealed or not.

I heat them with a propane torch to bright orange then quickly bend them using a vise or pliers.  Depending on where it will be used, I make the "foot" from 1/2" long (for leveling tang or lock inlets) to 2" long (for barrel channels).  Re-heat and get the second bend in to make the dogleg.  Make sure that when the foot is flat on a wood surface, the handle is slightly tilted upwards toward the butt of the handle.  Now heat the foot but no more to bright orange and quench in transmission fluid while stirring around.  Do it outside or you will hear about it.  Check to see it got glass hard by trying it with a new file.  Polish everything up.  You can use an old brick to do this if you want to be old-timey and cheap (they go together).  Next I heat the chisel with a propane torch focusing on the last bend and watch the tempering colors run toward the edge.  Go slow and easy, sweep the flame, don't hold it too close.  When you get nice long color transitions you're doing it at the right rate.  When a dark straw reaches the tip, plunge in the transmission fluid again.  Sharpen and use.
St. Louis, Missouri

agaboric

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Re: Making old screw drivers into offset chisels
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2010, 02:25:34 AM »
Okay, well I wil not do that again, should I just get some mild steel and make them from scratch? So a propane torch will get steel hot enough to bend it? Well I am new to this forum and making tools, so if I do something that is not right please let me know.
Thanks,
Andy

Offline Artificer

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Re: Making old screw drivers into offset chisels
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 06:05:14 PM »
Unless you are using gunsmiths, precision or expensive cabinet makers screwdrivers; I wouldn't bother trying to make another tool out of most screwdrivers.  The quality of steel can be very questionable and it can range from so-so to downright awful. 

O1 oil hardening tool steel is the true friend of home or small workshops to make many tools and this is one application where it would work well.  You can find it on line in lengths you can use or check with machinists in your area. 

http://www.threeplanes.net/toolsteel.html

Rich gave excellent advice on hardening and tempering. 

Gus


Offline T*O*F

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Re: Making old screw drivers into offset chisels
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 06:18:51 PM »
Quote
should I just get some mild steel and make them from scratch?
Sometimes we are penny wise and pound foolish.

Dru Hedgecock sells 4 different chisels made from O1 tool steel, in both straight and bent for around $6 each.  They are long enough that you can buy the bent set, cut them in half, mount them in handles, and grind a straight set from the other halves.

This way you have a set of 8 chisels for less than $30, and still get some practice grinding chisels and making handles.

I don't have Dru's contact info, but I think he advertises in the ML mags.
Dave Kanger

A dedicated person with just a pocketknife can accomplish more than a lazy person with an entire toolbox.

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Making old screw drivers into offset chisels
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 08:09:02 PM »
I use 01 drillrod as Gus said, or old Grobet pillar files.  They are the best.  I forge the drillrod to a spatula shape on the end.  I'll make a tutorial someday.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Joe Stein

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Re: Making old screw drivers into offset chisels
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 09:52:11 PM »
Unless you just want to make your own for the experience, or want a special size or shape, I think The Old Fox has a better idea.  I think Stonewall creek carries those chisels, at least Troy has had some at Dixon's the last two years.
-Joe

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Making old screw drivers into offset chisels
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2010, 01:52:22 AM »
I'd agree, there's a lot of ways you can make a sub-par chisel and spend a lot of time doing it.  A good dogleg inletting chisel is not a good first timer tool project.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline D. Keith Lisle

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Re: Making old screw drivers into offset chisels
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010, 02:59:24 PM »
I will second the chisels made of  the  01  steel, they are great.  Good all around steel for making small cutter tools in a shop.

Dunlap Woodcrafts also carry the same  01  chisels.  I have been using those chisels for years & use them on every gun I build. Every breech & tang I do is done with those chisels.  I bought 8 & cut them to dif widths.   I think all the dealers get them from Dru Hedgecock, but I am told he is ill & not working right now.  I know called last week & got no answer.

Also you can sometimes find some cheap wood carving sets at flea markets or Harbor
Frgt. and get the ones with the long shank metal blades that are thick. (not the ones with all handle & lil stub blade). These make some pretty good scrapers & cutters. Just heat & bend & quench in some camola oil or motor oil.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2010, 03:20:12 PM by Birddog6 »