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Cutting a fine groove

Where to buy a tool for cutting a narrow groove

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Ian Skeldon 215/06/2017 19:51:01
540 forum posts
54 photos


In one of my latest projects I wish to cut a groove about 1mm deep and about 0.5mm or 0.6mm wide, material will be stainless steel. I am almost resigned to trying to re-grind a HSS parting tool in order to do this.

Of course someone out there has probably done this already or knows where a tool that is narrow enough can be bought?



JasonB15/06/2017 19:57:56
22017 forum posts
2540 photos
1 articles

Something like the Mini-thin parting & grooving system would do the job nicely. Tips come in a range of widths in about 0.1mm increments and not too hard to make your own holder if you don't want to buy one. MSC sell them.

not done it yet15/06/2017 19:58:52
6519 forum posts
20 photos

Slitting saw?

steamdave15/06/2017 20:05:59
495 forum posts
39 photos

Make a parting tool from an old hacksaw blade if you don't want to buy a special tool.
I must say the MiniThin tools look good, though!

The Emerald Isle

Douglas Johnston15/06/2017 20:31:16
763 forum posts
34 photos

I bought some of the Mini thin blades a few years ago and found they were very nice for this sort of thing. The downside is the cost and the fact that they are pretty fragile. My ones fractured long ago and would only be replaced if they were cheaper or really needed.


Peter Tucker15/06/2017 21:04:21
183 forum posts

Hi Ian,

A circlip grooving tool can do that job.

Hope this helps.


Ian Skeldon 215/06/2017 21:09:52
540 forum posts
54 photos

Thank you, lots of ideas there and a kind offer from John Stevenson. Who are MSC by the way?

Thanks again,


Robbo15/06/2017 22:15:37
1504 forum posts
142 photos

Google "msc" and this comes up - **LINK**

Other search engines are available.

Hopper16/06/2017 00:21:54
5508 forum posts
137 photos

Does nobody grind their own toolbits anymore? A piece of 1/4" or 5/16" or whatever HSS ground down in the shape of a shallow parting tool to the correct width will take you about five minutes to make. You  can use a micrometer to measure the width of the toolbit tip so you can get the width to within a thou or so if you so desire. Finishing the last thou or three on an oilstone may help if width is that critical. Shape of the tool is shown below at D, sides have the usual five to ten degrees or so of relief. For grooving you will not need to make the blade so long, so it will be sturdier and easier to grind to such a thin width. Not too hard really.

Edited By Hopper on 16/06/2017 00:27:44

Edited By Hopper on 16/06/2017 00:30:50

Ian Skeldon 216/06/2017 13:00:51
540 forum posts
54 photos
Posted by Robbo on 15/06/2017 22:15:37:

Google "msc" and this comes up - **LINK**

Other search engines are available.

Thanks Robbo

Ian Skeldon 216/06/2017 13:08:40
540 forum posts
54 photos

Hi Hopper,

In years gone by yes I ground many a tool on various grindstones, in fact I was made responsible for dressing them and checking balance, width and dia to make sure they were safe and ready to go or change the wheels if needed. I even went to universal to learn more when they were based in Staffordshire.

The reason I don't now is that I have a poxy little bench grinder which would be ok at a push, apart from the useless tool rests, they are so small they are next to useless, and I know what your thinking, why not make better rests. You would be right in that as well, although I am thinking of upgrading to a decent (ish) grinder and then using some angle plate to give me a tool rest that's safe to use and will allow me to produce more of my own tools when required.

JasonB16/06/2017 13:20:25
22017 forum posts
2540 photos
1 articles

I prefer the Mini-thin and find the tips quite durable. I have ground narrow HSS ones in the past but although they may take 5mins to grind the often seemed to snap in 4minsblush I originally bought it as I had quite  afew "E"clip grooves to do in 3mm dia silver steel which it was ideal for. Also good for a relief cut at the end of a thread where it buts upto a shoulder.


MSC often do the tips at a reduced rate in their monthly sales flyers which is the time to buy them, they also have a set with holder and about 5 tips at a good price too that regularly crops up.

Edited By JasonB on 16/06/2017 13:22:08

Neil Wyatt16/06/2017 23:00:27
18899 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

I ground a short 1mm wide tip on the end of wider parting tool.


Nige25/06/2017 08:07:11
370 forum posts
65 photos

Last night I was sorting through a load of old taps and dies I inherited along with the ML4 and wondered if taps that had seen better days could be ground to serve as lathe tools for occasions such as Ian Skeldon 2 is enquiring? I know the taps are 'hard' as they are HSS but seem to remember that they are also 'brittle' and wonder if this precludes their use as lathe cutting tools?

The smallest taps and dies I found in the stuff I sorted out are 12 BA ! 😳


IanT25/06/2017 09:26:07
1946 forum posts
194 photos

My 'groover' is a bit of Junior hacksaw blade, held in a special tool holder I made (very quickly) by first slitting a length of square mild steel (to take the piece of blade) - then turning that end round before clamping the blade with a collar and grub screw that fits over the turned end. Hope that's clear but I'll post a photo if anyone Is particularly interested.

Costs virtually nothing to make and works well on small brass & mild steel parts (not tried it on stainless). Needs a bit of side room from the chuck and I've meant to make a Mason form of blade holder but not got round to it yet as this as been OK for my needs thus far....



Russell Eberhardt25/06/2017 11:08:45
2726 forum posts
86 photos
Posted by Hopper on 16/06/2017 00:21:54:

Does nobody grind their own toolbits anymore?

Yes, here's one I made earlier. A 1 mm parting tool for parting a number of parts off 1/8 in silver steel.

2017-06-25 11.54.45.jpg

I've also made a holder for 1/8 round HSS or silver steel toolbits. The latter can be made very quickly by filing before hardening and finish grinding. The round bits are very good for threading as they can be rotated to suit the helix angle - not my idea G. H. Thomas' idea.


Edited By Russell Eberhardt on 25/06/2017 11:09:29

ega25/06/2017 11:21:04
2402 forum posts
196 photos

Ian T:

"My 'groover' is a bit of Junior hacksaw blade"

This interested me as I have always thought the Junior blades were made from old tobacco tin lids! This clearly works for you, of course, and I may give it a try. The Junior blades do seem to be a few thou thinner than a conventional 12" hacksaw blade and a good deal thinner than standard parting blades.

Given that it seems necessary to grind the teeth off the blade an all hard type would appear to be a better bet.

Ian Skeldon 225/06/2017 17:18:26
540 forum posts
54 photos

I decided to try a few trial attempts before committing to the required end product. The hack saw blade attempts were not very good, but to be honest I will try again with a better quality hacksaw blade. Grinding an old HSS tool is almost there, but the tool still needs to lose another 0.3 or 0.4 mm in width in order to produce the result I need. I did manage to get one groove that is satisfactory, I used a very thin carborundum disc from a set intended for a dremel drill, it took for ever but did eventually manage it. It has made me think about using a mini drill somehow secured in the tool post and then grinding the groove, I will let you know if I do try this and of if it works.

Mean time thanks for all the suggestions.

Russell Eberhardt25/06/2017 19:19:37
2726 forum posts
86 photos
Posted by Ian Skeldon 2 on 25/06/2017 17:18:26:

I decided to try a few trial attempts before committing to the required end product. The hack saw blade attempts were not very good, but to be honest I will try again with a better quality hacksaw blade.

I made a holder for broken bits of HSS hacksaw blades about 20 years ago and still find use for it occasionally. The 12" x ½" blades are about 0.7 mm thick so will still need to be thinned down a little.


Ian Skeldon 225/06/2017 20:23:28
540 forum posts
54 photos

Trying the hacksaw blades has made me realise how poor our general quality of simple tools and engineering supplies have become. As an apprentice (many, many years ago) hacksaw blades were very hard and of course that made them brittle, but they never bent, twisted or deformed like the stuff you get now, and they lasted well, ah well reminiscing over.

Thanks Russell, I'll try to source some dearer, better quality ones and have a go with one.


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