A few years ago, I bought a router from Harbor Freight (HF) to use in my horizontal mortiser, which I still need to make. The router came with a fence and the rails were removable. Ultimately, I discarded the router base and all the accessories except for the two rails for the fence. I felt there was some sort of purpose for them but didn’t know what at that time.
Smash cut 2 years later, I just finished gluing up my daughter’s headboard panel and had time to kill in the shop as it was still early (10 pm). I saw one of the bars from the HF router sitting on my counter (yes, 2 years later it was still sitting on my counter) so I picked it up and decided it would make a good hollowing tool. Yes, I have ADD but have not been clinically tested.
With my metal vice and a MAP/Pro torch I began heating and bending the shape of the hollowing tool. There are two types to make. One with a slight bend for initial hollowing and one with a more aggressive bend for final hollowing. I chose the latter for this one.
After bending the shape I then ground the cutting end and heat treated the steel to harden and temper it. While the steel was in the oven tempering I made the handle from a scrap piece of maple and a 3/4″ copper cap. Didn’t want to waste time.
When the steel cooled I inserted it into the handle, spray painted it black, and touched up the top and the bevel at the grinder (15-20 degrees) and with fine sandpaper. It was then time to see how the tool worked. Surprisingly it worked well and I was happy with the result. I will be using this tool to make more small hollow forms in the future.
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