Six Micro carving chisels for 20 dollars

While working on the Praying Machine, I ran into problems carving the wings. I just can’t get up under the edges of the small feathers with the chisels that I have. I looked at Woodcraft and saw that I was going to spend $35 apiece for good carving chisels that would do what I needed to do. Instead of buying those, I made my own.

I got w1 (water hardening) steel rod in 1/16″ and 1/8″ from Speedy Metals for just over two dollars per 3′. I heated the pieces with a torch and pounded the ends out thin. Next, I made the two bends with needle nose pliers. Nearly done, I rough shaped the chisels with files and a grinding wheel:

dog leg micro carving chisel

Here are all the chisels after heating and quenching in water:

handmade micro carving chisels

After quenching, the steel is too hard – brittle like glass really- so I put them in the oven at 450 for a couple of hours to temper the hardness some.  With the steel I used, that should bring me to a hardness that will hold an edge but not break.

Next step was to polish them on a felt wheel with a little rouge:

Polished Micro Carving Chisels

You can see that they are all dog legged.  I made a center v cutting chisel, a right cutter, and a left cutter in each size rod. That should let me get to each part of the feathers on my project.

I heated the handle end of each rod hot again and pressed them into tightly drilled holes in cherry handles:

Micro Carving Chisels cherry handles

I am really pleased with how they turned out and I saved myself quite a bit of money. Shipping included, I spent  20 dollars in total. With the small sized steel I was using, I was able to do the forging with just a hardware store propane torch and I had scraps in the bin for the handles.  All in all, it was a productive Saturday.

Happy Making,


2 Responses to “Six Micro carving chisels for 20 dollars”

  1. Great reading youur post

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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

%d bloggers like this: