Reply by jgt1942

  • Advertise with us

Posted on Lathe tools, is carbide worth it?

View jgt1942's profile


203 posts in 2030 days

#1 posted 11-20-2014 01:29 AM

Henry Taylor Woodturning tools are a great choice and will not cost you a ton of money. Sorby is another great tool. There are better but then the price really goes up. I highly suggest staying away from HF too often you get what you pay for, e.g. a low grade tool. Lately I’ve been giving very serious consideration to D-way Tools (see I suggest that you join a local woodturning club and often you can pick up really good deals on tools. Recently I picked up two tools, one was FREE and the other cost me $2.50. Both were HSS tools (High Speed Steel). BTW if the tool is not HSS or better I suggest that you stay away from it.

For your grinder I suggest starting with a slow speed grinder with 8” wheels. I got mine Rikon Slow Speed Grinder from Woodcraft on sale for about $100 (at least I think this was the price). I then made the plunge and purchased a set of CBN wheels from This was a purchase through the local woodturners club thus we got a deal.

The next jump is to consider if you want a sharpening jig. Some people are skilled enough to avoid using such. My wood turning instructor (BTW I’m an old fart and just taking classes for fun) feels that they are a waste of money but she is VERY skilled and has pieces in the Smithsonian. When she sharpens a tool (and this is VERY often when she is turning) it looks like it was done with a jig. In that my skills are nowhere near her skills I’m considering the Oneway Wolverine Grinding Jig $92,
BTW I’m SUPER pleased with the CBN wheels!

However once you start down this road there are other tools that you will need with it.
Wolverine Vari-Grind Attachment $58
To ensure you got the angles correct you might want a set of Raptor Set Up Tool – $8.25 each (each tool is a different angle and so noted by the number on the tool)
Possible discount coupon at

Now that I am about to break the piggy bank I added all this plus a lot of other tools to my Christmas list. Hopefully Santa will be super nice to me. Currently I’m trying to sharpen my tools by hand and sorta doing a good job. When I can I go by my friend’s house where he has the above jig. It really does produce a nice edge.

Speaking of edge, you want to remove as little as possible from your tools. As you suggest they can get expensive.

As you gain more experience you will start to look at specialized tools some of which you can make. Also it helps to have a friend with a metal lathe and he can help you make some special tools.

Also you will quickly learn that it is a must to have a sharp edge thus keep the grinder close to the lathe. Last week I was turning some Iron wood and the edge on the tool would last about 15 seconds. I spent more time on the grinder than the wood. Because Iron wood is soooooo hard it takes a LONG time to turn it. At this time I have only turned the outside but it looks super!

BTW nice job on your bowls but I can see in the image where you turned the inside your tool was not sharp or at least that what it looks like.

For sanding I highly suggest using the Mirka Autonet or Abranet disk. See my review at

-- JohnT

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics