3/16" Oland Tool

Back in the 1970's Knud Oland, a Scandinavian who had emigrated to the United States, would have only dreamed of the quality and diversity of today’s tools. What was available to him was either of poor quality, poor design or hideous expense. Being an innovator he designed a tool that any one could make cheaply in the home shop and one that worked well.

All wood turning tools have three parts, a handle, a shaft, and a cutting or scraping tip. Generally the cutting tip is also part of the shaft but this is not necessary. One of the problems that this gives is simply that over time, as the tool is sharpened, it shortens to where the tool is no longer usable and becomes scrap. What if the tip and the shaft were two different pieces? This is the point that Knud Oland made the difference in turning tools.

From the name you would think that the size of the shaft of this tool is 3/16". Actually the size of the shaft on this tool is 1/2". The 3/16" comes from the size of the HSS (High Speed Stainless) cutter inserted in the end of the tool.

This is a very simple tool to make as it only requires a few simple parts and tools and the basic skill set of your average wood worker. You will start with a piece of cold rolled steel rod 14 - 16" long. The diameter of the rod will vary with the size of the cutter used in this case I am using a 3/16" cutter so I am using a 1/2" rod. The cutter is made from a standard 3/16" HSS machine lathe cutter. These cutters can be purchased many different places. The least expensive place I have found is Harbor Freight I picked up a set of various cutters in the store for $1.99.

You will need to drill a hole on the center of one end of the rod to accept the tool and a drill and tap a hole in the side of the rod for a set screw. You can drill for two set screws if you don't feel one is sufficient. The setscrews I used are #10-32 but you can use whatever size you want. You will of course need to tap the hole for the set screw so you will need the appropriate sized drill and tap. If you do not have a set of taps you can buy a drill bit and tap kit from Home Depot for about $20. Here is a picture of the shaft with the cutter in place.

You will notice I drilled a second hole and tapped it but I didn't think the second screw was needed after I got the tool together. You will also notice I ground a bevel on the end of the rod to increase the clearance at the end. The cutter is ground a 45 degree angle and slightly rounded.


If you are thinking of making this tool you are a wood turner so making the handle should be a simple project. I modeled this handle after the handles on my pinnacle brand turning tools and I find this to be a very comfortable handle. I drilled a hole in the end of the handle 31/64" in diameter. If you do not have a drill bit that size you can just drill the hole at 1/2". The hole should be 2 - 2 1/2" deep and the shaft is secured in the hole with CA glue.

The ferrule shown in the picture above is made from a standard copper pipe coupling you can pick up in any hardware store. The tenon on the end of the tool is sized so the ferrule will fit tightly. It should require a hammer to set the ferrule.

So those are the basic steps of making an Oland tool. The overall price of the parts in this tool are less than $10. If you were to purchase this tool from a manufacturer you can expect to pay $65 or more.

Here are some links with more information on Oland tools.

Oland Tools Homepage The homepage for Knud Oland and his wife. Selling Oland tools and showcasing their work.

Around the Woods a good overall site for woodturning with an extensive section on making tools. This is were I got my initial information on making this tool as well as others