Obsessive Tool Building: Turn a Metal Scriber from Brass

CNC & Machining Workshop
Obsessive Tool Building: Turn a Metal Scriber from Brass


A metal scriber is one of those shop tools that you reach for all the time, without thinking. It’s essential for marking out your project lines on metal, and it comes in very handy as a pick or scraper too.

It also makes a great first project for your new metal lathe. You will get a bit of practice facing and turning some brass, as well as drilling with the tailstock and using a metal adhesive. I will also show you a neat little trick for making your own small drill bits from common sewing needles. The scribing tool you’ll make is also nearly infinitely reusable, even if you wear out the tip. I’ll also show you how to trim down another needle, then release the glue to replace the scribing tip.



The supplies to make metal scriber:


  • Brass rod (somewhere between 3/8” and 1/4” in diameter)
  • Metal adhesive
  • Steel sewing needle (approximately 1mm in diameter)


  • Grinder or belt sander (if not available, use a vice, triangular file, and pliers)
  • Metal lathe
  • Cutting tools (as described in the video)
  • Drill bit (a little wider than your needle)
YouTube player

3 thoughts on “Obsessive Tool Building: Turn a Metal Scriber from Brass

  1. krazz says:

    I think the title should read:

    Turning a metal scriber from brass, since this is a turning operation.

  2. Brendan says:

    Which model of lathe are you using in this video?

    1. Obsessive Tool Building: Turn a Metal Scriber from Brass Clickspring says:

      Hey Brendan, the lathe is a Sherline 4000 manual lathe. Cheers, Chris.

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Chris from Clickspring

Hi I'm Chris, and I make home machine shop project videos for my YouTube channel Clickspring. I have a passion for making useful things with my benchtop lathe and mill, and I hope that the projects I share with you will inspire you to make some cool things in your shop too.

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