Chris Schwarz was praising his Arno carbide burnisher in a recent blog article. Burnishers aren’t expensive, or rare or even particularly interesting tools, but they are necessary for setting up a scraper. Reading the article I had the idea to make a burnisher using a worn out carbide end mill from my milling machine. The cutters wear out, I used to save them, and had probably 2 pounds of chipped and dulled cutters at one time. I threw them out months ago, and of course immediately thought of a half dozen things they would be good for. Whoops.
I think the Arno burnisher that Chris loves is less than $30, so don’t rush out and buy stuff to make a burnisher. I had a dull 1/4″ carbide end mill, scrap of wood and some weird copper plumbing fitting. It’s thicker than other fittings I’ve seen, but anything could work for a ferrule.
I started by drilling a 1/4″ hole for the working end of the end mill, then chucked it up in my little lathe using a live center in the hole. I rounded the stock and then turned one end down so it would fit into the ferrule. I took the handle off the lathe at this point and epoxied the copper ferrule on to the handle.
Then I turned the handle shape and sanded it through 400 grit. I probably could have turned a taper into the ferrule, there was enough thickness to do that. Instead, I just sanded it along with the wood.
Saw off the waste from the handle, hand sand it, epoxy the end mill in and slather on a coat of oil. Simple stuff. I’m still waiting for the epoxy to cure, and I’ll probably add more finish, but that’s pretty much it. I’m sure it will work great, I’m eager to try it. I know the carbide is hard, and it’a a mirror finish, so it ought to be just perfect.
If not, well I’m out just a little shop time and some junk from my scrap pile.