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UnsquareD #2: Getting Carbided (?) - or Shopmade Carbide Turning Tools - Version 1

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 352 days ago 1279 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Sort of a new beginning, and a new Supernova (chuck) Part 2 of UnsquareD series no next part

When I started turning wood I wanted to get myself a “versatile” turning kit that would fit my budget and “small projects” needs – so I got the mini turning set set with the aluminum handle and replaceable HSS cutters. it’s been working out OK- no real complaints, other than it’s small, so you can’t really extend the tools to your body for controlling the action with your entire body for smooth and precise cuts as easily as you could with a full sized handle (the handle being small results in more wrist control than body control). so I was on the lookout for a larger turning set for a while now…

with the spreading acceptance of carbide turning tools, I decided to jump on that wagon and make some and give it a try to see how it compares with HSS tools. I have no problems grinding and sharpening tools, so being able to make my own tools on the cheap was the big drive here.

For starters I made a set of 3 tools, one for each cutter profile as follow:
  1. Radius Square – for rough and general work
  2. Round – for finishing
  3. Diamond – for detailing and access to tight areas.

And made 1 handle for it (for now… need to make 2 more obviously) out of a piece of rosewood that seemed to have fit the bill in terms of sizing:

For now this will be friction fit, and if it works well, I’ll epoxy the stainless steel shafts into the handles.

Next, I’ll be running some test cuts on an upcoming project to see how they behave (father and daughter nutcracker build) and will report with findings.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.



15 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

1179 posts in 1786 days


#1 posted 352 days ago

Very nice work. Your machining on the bars looks very clean. I made a similar tool myself (just for the round cutter): http://lumberjocks.com/projects/84210 . How you undercut the bars is clever, mine is sometimes tricky to use on small-diameter bowls due to the height of the bar+cutter. I think your tool handle might split without a ferrule, as there’s a lot of torquing motion on a giant lever arm into the endgrain… might want to consider getting some brass or copper tubing and epoxying it onto the end.

Also, where did you buy the carbide cutters? Mine is a sorby model from woodcraft, though I think the easy tools cutters might be better.

-- Allen, Colorado

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15664 posts in 2820 days


#2 posted 351 days ago

Excellent job, Sharon. I envy your metalworking abilities. I really like working with carbide cutters. The purist in me says I should practice with all my chisel profiles, but it’s just so easy to turn to one of the carbides. I do have the same problem you had, though, having bought the mini tools and wishing now I had longer handles.

I’m wondering about your friction-fit test. My instinct tells me that any ability of the tool to move in the handle will be exploited by the vibration of cutting action. But I might be completely wrong about that. Let us know how it goes.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Karson's profile

Karson

34860 posts in 3002 days


#3 posted 351 days ago

Sharon: A nice set of turning chisels. Great job on the build.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View kenn's profile

kenn

782 posts in 2322 days


#4 posted 351 days ago

Just a question from my own ignorance, what keeps the screw holding the cutter from coming lose during use?

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2250 days


#5 posted 351 days ago

thanks everyone!

bob: good catch, the ferules will be put on once I finish the other 2 handles.

charlie: since I was lazy and didn’t mill a taper, I expect the straight shank to come loose during use without epoxy… but just want to make sure it cuts well before gluing it in and finding out it doesn’t too late ;)

kenn – friction. the cutting action/forces are inline with the shank of the screw and not perpendicular/sheared to it, so there isn’t much there to vibrate it out of position.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6749 posts in 1753 days


#6 posted 351 days ago

They look nice Purp. Can any one make these with a bench grinder or do you need some special metal working tools?

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

2333 posts in 645 days


#7 posted 351 days ago

Great looking tools Purp. I had the same problem buying a mini set when I first started and moved up fast. Building my own turning tools gives me great pleasure now. I’ll be looking in the future to see how everything works out.

-- --Dave, Downers Grove, Il. When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2250 days


#8 posted 351 days ago

Thanks guys.

Mauricio – while not the method I used, yes – you can use a bench or angle grinder to shape the metal. can also use a hack saw and files if you must.

Update : Made some test cuts with the friction fit “rougher” and other 2. these cut fast! and produce a nice finish, however, unlike HSS gouges the entire action is a scraping action (not surprised – was a known characteristic) and just doesn’t feel as “zen” and as ‘fun’ as the slicing action and the curling shavings that come off of gouges.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View papadan's profile

papadan

1116 posts in 1970 days


#9 posted 351 days ago

I use these kind of tools for inside turnings. I prefer conventional tools for outside use.

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2250 days


#10 posted 351 days ago

papadan? nice to see you active again!

This was my first experience with insert tooling, and for now I tend to agree with you in terms of ‘working’ preference.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View papadan's profile

papadan

1116 posts in 1970 days


#11 posted 351 days ago

I bought a Sorby about 6 years ago and make my own cutters for it instead of several different tools. Not sure how active I am, health is trying to plant me. ;(

not sure how active I am

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2250 days


#12 posted 351 days ago

sorry to hear that. we all have our chains trying to keep us planted, some more tight than others. I hope you find improvement soon.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View bmwrider1's profile

bmwrider1

14 posts in 1094 days


#13 posted 348 days ago

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6749 posts in 1753 days


#14 posted 347 days ago

Thats a pretty solid deal from Eddie. You can always make a wooden handle for it later to.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2250 days


#15 posted 347 days ago

Thanks Mauricio – but solid deal or not – it seems out of place to me – obviously if you read the original post you see that I already have both tool shaft and cutters so unlikely that I am looking for a ‘solid deal’. also posting a link without any context usually come off as poor etiquette … sometimes referred to as spam…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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