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Lathe Chisel Recommendation

by MOJOE
posted 575 days ago


32 replies so far

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bobasaurus

1174 posts in 1781 days


#1 posted 575 days ago

The narex or woodriver might be a good basic set to start with. A little higher end would be the new run of stanley sweetheart 750 chisels.

-- Allen, Colorado

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ShaneA

5249 posts in 1196 days


#2 posted 575 days ago

Rockler had a 6pc Sorby set of lathe chisels on sale recently, not sure if they still are. Eddiecastiln.com (hope I spelled it right) offers reasonably priced carbide options. Other LJs have recommended them.

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RussellAP

2938 posts in 884 days


#3 posted 575 days ago

Basically there are two types of steel for chisels, I can’t recall their names but one is high speed steel and the other is harder and likely carbide.
If you are beginning, then it’s best to get used to sharpening chisels and develop a good system, they need sharpening often unless you like flying hunks of wood.
HSS are good, a good bowl gouge and a Versa Chisel is a must. Beyond that I don’t really use much except some round side scrapers.
This is the set I started with. http://www.amazon.com/PSI-Woodworking-LCHSS8-Chisel-8-Piece/dp/B000KI8CTS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356493411&sr=8-1&keywords=lathe+chisel

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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BentheViking

1746 posts in 1161 days


#4 posted 575 days ago

ive got my eye on these narex chisels as a set that i want and would probably be what you’d like. Not high end, but not junk. I’d love to get them but right now im not really doing much hand work.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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BentheViking

1746 posts in 1161 days


#5 posted 575 days ago

oh shoot i should have read that more carefully…i thought you were looking for regular chisels not lathe chisels. Got me there!

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View rum's profile

rum

148 posts in 1183 days


#6 posted 575 days ago

For a starter set either the PSI “Benjamins Best” or better HF set (http://www.harborfreight.com/8-piece-high-speed-steel-wood-lathe-chisel-set-69723.html) are pretty good. The other alternative is to go carbide and get a set of the “easy wood tools” chisels or one of their competitors (hint they aren’t the cheapest, but I’m to lazy to search more at the moment). I’ve never used the easy tools (I have one carbide crook neck from another mnf) but folks who use them seem to like them a lot. The advantage of traditional tools is that they are somewhat more flexible, but you do need to sharpen them more/a LOT (consider you’re cutting something like ~10k feet per hour with a lathe chisel, imagine if your hand plane covered that much wood). Sharpening pretty much requires a grinder (the woodcraft 8” slow speed is semi often on sale for around $100 and is perfectly good). Some of the higher end HSS tools do hold their edge slightly better, but you still have to sharpen them a lot so cheaper chisels to start with until you get your sharpening technique down are imho a smarter move so you don’‘t chew up an 1” of a $100 chisel trying to fix a grinding oops (not that I’ve done that.. but I have this friend see .. ;D)

For traditional starters (if you don’t get a set) I’d recommend: – 1” skew chisel – 3/4” roughing gouge – 3/8” spindle detail gouge – 1/8” parting tool – 1/2” or 5/8” bowl gouge – 1/2” round scraper, maybe a flat scraper as well

I don’t have real suggestions on the carbide, but if you go that route I think you’ll at least also want a parting tool.

You’ll undoubtedly want more before to long :). In case you haven’t figured this out yet the lathe is the cheapest part :D

Also PLEASE PLEASE get a face shield and wear it!!! Another turner was just killed when a piece came off of the lathe and hit him in the face!! :O The Uvex Bionics is priced competitively and works quite well.

+Also if you can please do get some help/training, a local club can likely hook you up with a mentor (or if you are really lucky there is still adult education available at the local HS, but thats sadly becoming vanishingly rare). There are a few major no-no’s that can cause serious and permanent injury very very fast (do not use a spindle gouge on bowls or any other wood where end grain is rotating into the tool, instant and vicious catch; always start with the tool on the rest; and … more).

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tamboti

207 posts in 1739 days


#7 posted 575 days ago

Hi Read rum’s advice carefully one of the best pieces of advice I have seen on forums regarding beginers in along time.
There are three types of lathe tools Carbon Steel don’t hold an edge for long High Speed Steel these hold a edge for a lot longer. Then there is Carbide / Tungsten which IMHO are just plane old scrappers where the other two are tools that cut the wood and give you the thrill of seeing shaving and long ones when you turn green wood. Regards Tamboti

PS turning is addictive and there is no known cure so beware but please do enjoy it and no pictures it did not happen

-- Africa is not for sissies

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MNgary

235 posts in 1014 days


#8 posted 575 days ago

When I began turning, Mojoe, I started building my collection of Sorby turning tools slowly; but immediately purchased a cheap ( I think I paid $17.95) set of 5 tools that I knew would go dull very fast and not provide the smooth turnings I wanted. But I felt the cheapies would provide ample opportunity to develop my sharpening skills, which they certainly did. For me, I also discovered by using the low-grade steel tools that I was not interested in having a lot of scrapers but, instead, would focus on having gouges and chisels.

I didn’t undertake any projects with the inexpensive tools. I only focused on developing turning technique and skill in hand sharpening (didn’t have the interest in spending hundreds of dollars on mechanical sharpening machines and jigs). After a short time I acquired both sharpening skill and awareness of what turning tools I would need so I could begin building a collection of quality tools.

-- I dream of the world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

1155 posts in 894 days


#9 posted 575 days ago

I have the Harbor Freight set and they are fine. Even after my attempt at sharpening I feel like I make more sawdust than curly cues, so I have been thinking about the carbide tools. If you can afford a couple Of carbide chisels I would look at those first. You will spend more time turning and less time and money on sharpening systems. I suppose it’s like learning to rebuild a carburetor even though you can afford fuel injection – it’ nice to know, but….

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Danpaddles

534 posts in 909 days


#10 posted 575 days ago

This guy has a very reasonably priced carbide tool, I’ve been tempted myself, although I do not find sharpening onerous.

http://www.eddiecastelin.com/products_and_services

Lots of choices here http://www.ptreeusa.com/wood_turning_tools_list.htm

Certainly do not go for less than high speed steel (HSS designation) in any case. And you need a grinder, or maybe rig a wheel on the back side of your head stock. Someone makes a jig. But Craigslist has grinders all the time around here. Then, buy a higher quality wheel for it.

A band saw is helpful as a back up tool, to knock off corners and cut logs down to size.

Yes, turning is addictive, one of the most enjoyable sensations in woodworking. Love to see the wood fly, and the project take shape right under your hands. Always new projects to try, new technique to learn. Not real noisy, and makes more chips than fine dust.

-- Dan V. in Indy

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rum

148 posts in 1183 days


#11 posted 575 days ago

dhazelton:

If you are making sawdust you have one of two problems (probably both :D):

- your tool is to dull. You can get the HF tools sharp enough and I’d work on doing that before dropping more dollars.

- You aren’t presenting the cutting edge correctly. Go get a stack of cheap 2×2’s and just practice making them round until you can get shavings to spin off of them. When you’re in the right spot the shavings will just fly off even if the tool is a bit dull with this softer wood. The very little I’ve played with carbide I actually find it harder to get the right angle because I don’t have the reference bevel on the backside. Once you know how the tool SHOULD cut its easier to make other tools do what you want.

Take the chisels and with the lathe OFF cut some shavings off of the work. Once you do that and see what the correct angle for the tool is to make a shaving try the same angle and altitude (angle is left/right, altitude is the tool handle up/down) with the lathe on. You should be able to get curlies (at least small ones) pretty quickly by going back and forth that way. Do this with each tool and you’ll start to figure out how they work pretty quickly.

Dan;
Eddie is the other carbide tool dealer I was thinking off but couldn’t remember after a few eggnogs last night, thanks for digging that up. He is generally well regarded and reported to treat folks fair.

Today the only use I can see for Carbon steel is for shop made tools like ? (hook) shaped bowl cutters or other specialty tools. Any of the HSS steel tools are going to be “pretty good” compared to what you could get a generation ago. When I took my first class we sharpened all of the lathe tools on slip stones.. man that was tedious!!

I should have added that the woodcraft 8” slow speed comes with good enough wheels. They aren’t perhaps as nice as the Norton or a CBN, but you’re paying close to the same price for a decent set of wheels and a grinder as a set of wheels would normally cost.

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SCOTSMAN

5243 posts in 2183 days


#12 posted 575 days ago

IMHO for what it’s worth don’t buy a cheap set you just get junk.I advocate getting a good set not neccesarily the most expensive but there is no such thing as a starter set,just what does that imply when you get proficient you buy a better set? That’s just a waste of money .Better buy a good used than a new starter set.Definitely don’t buy carbide woodturning chisels they will blunt more quickly and sharpening is or becomes a constant chore get hss and stick with them Plenty of people sell their hss tools when giving up on what seems to be a hobby not best suited to them.Selling used carbide tools will be harder if you change your mind re turning a good set of hss will get you most of your money back.Don’t waste time and money get what you need from the get go IMHO or 2 cents worth.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View MOJOE's profile

MOJOE

547 posts in 1866 days


#13 posted 574 days ago

Well Folks,
I went with the Ben’s Best set of 8 from PSI…...while on their site, I also picked up a bottle stopper mandrel and some stoppers, as well as a 5-6 roll box of sand paper. I also found a drill chuck locally. Tamboti…..guess you were right, the lathe does appear to be the smallest part of the investment….oh well, haven’t turned since high school, and can’t wait for my shipment to arrive!

Thanks Everyone,
joe

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

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MOJOE

547 posts in 1866 days


#14 posted 574 days ago

Btw….since I’ll be sharping here, I’m also considering the “wolverine” system to add to my current grinder (with some better quality wheels).......thoughts on this set-up?

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

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lew

9938 posts in 2353 days


#15 posted 574 days ago

Here’s a jig that may be what you are looking for-
http://www.woodturningonline.com/TurningVendors/Newand_Hot.html

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View rum's profile

rum

148 posts in 1183 days


#16 posted 574 days ago

The Benjamins set will definitely get you started. Once you’ve mastered all of those you’ll be doing pretty good :D The only thing I might want to add to that would be a 1/4” or 3/8” detail spindle gouge, although you can do most of that work with a skew as well it is fussier.

Don’t bother going to fine on the wheel, something in the 60-100 grit is good.

The wolverine jig is good and will help you get started on getting the angles correct. I haven’t seen the HannesTool Lew pointed at before but it looks like basically the same setup (slightly different in the details but the same idea). If you’re feeling handy there are plenty of folks who have built their own version, but personally I found it worth it to just get turning :D In the end I mostly freehand most of my tools and mostly use the jig if I’m resetting an angle, but getting to that point took a bit of practice (and I go back to the jig every so often to make sure things haven’t drifted).

You’ll also want a diamond truing tool (more a cleaning tool imho), the cheaper square ones work well enough. The wolverine one arguably gets a truer wheel but is a lot fussier to use and more $$$ (it has one larger diamond instead of a bunch of smaller ones). The white wheels tend to glaze up pretty fast in my experience and once that happens they really heat to tool up quick; so a quick pass to clean it up is useful there.

For sharpening on the grinder you want to use a really really light hand (its hard to emphasize how light). If you haven’t done much like this go down to the big box and get a short piece of soft steel (maybe a round piece and a flat piece) and practice with that instead of grinding up your new gouge/chisel right away. If you can grind an edge on that without it getting to hot to handle you’re getting pretty close to right on. Its a cheap $3-4 to practice with.

Mostly I take gouges straight from the grinder (honing it a smidge does actually help get a cleaner cut and makes the edge last longer so for finishing cuts its sometimes worth it on difficult wood, otherwise there is always the “80 grit gouge” – aka sandpaper :D). I don’t grind the skew very often (really only to shape it initially, I prefer it to be slightly rounded towards the heel as its easier to use that way) instead using a medium/fine stone to hone it during use. You want the skew scary sharp and I like the slightly rounder shape off the edge from honing as opposed to the hollow grind from the wheel.

View moke's profile

moke

463 posts in 1374 days


#17 posted 574 days ago

I too, think the bens best set is fine to start with. As I have stated before, unless you are good at sharpening already, you stand a great chance at taking a good set of tools and screwing them up sharpening them poorly. DAMHIKT….Now make no mistake, they can be reground easily by some one who is good at sharpening and brought back to their former “beauty”. I have taught a few people to turn and it is my opinion that “the tools should mature with the turner”. You might want to look into the “easy wood” line too. While they are pricey, they really don’t need any sharpening…they use inserts.

Start slow, try a lot of stuff, and keep at it.

View WoodChuck84's profile

WoodChuck84

54 posts in 1470 days


#18 posted 570 days ago

There are several homemade sharpening jigs projects posted. I have a homemade jig that performs just fine. I finally broke down and bought a real Vari-grind jig, but still use my homemade arms.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/37710
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/36940
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/22480

I’m sure that there are more on the site as well.

-- Hello, my name is Jarrod and I am a woodaholic.

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WoodChuck84

54 posts in 1470 days


#19 posted 570 days ago

BTW- the Benjamin’s Best tools are great for beginners, although you will appreciate the higher priced Sorby’s when you can afford them. I bought a virtually unused set of sorby’s from a guy with a lathe and tools posted on CL—offered him a price for the chisels without the lathe and we both got a good deal.

-- Hello, my name is Jarrod and I am a woodaholic.

View MOJOE's profile

MOJOE

547 posts in 1866 days


#20 posted 569 days ago

@WJS – I greatly appreciate the links to the sharpening jig…....I suspect I have a few scraps of oak in the shop that will work just fine. It kinda serves double duty, lets me work on a quick project….and saves me $80 :-) !!!

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

View NedB's profile

NedB

658 posts in 2163 days


#21 posted 566 days ago

I have a set of Benjamin’s Best, and they do indeed ‘work’... and will get you turning. I recently received a trio of gouges from Thompsonlathetools.com. Can’t wait for it to warm up enough out there to make heating the shop enough worthwhile.

I don’t know how handy you are, but the King Heiple shop built sharpening jig plans are available on finewoodworking’s site. http://www.finewoodworking.com/pdf/ShopBuiltJig.pdf

I built one, but honestly am looking to upgrade both my grinder and add a true wolverine system to the shop this coming spring.

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1 http://nedswoodshop.blogspot.com

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thedude50

3503 posts in 1075 days


#22 posted 565 days ago

Dare I ask if you have already made this purchase if not id ask what are you going to be turning .

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View playsk8r's profile

playsk8r

21 posts in 632 days


#23 posted 565 days ago

Hi, I am fairly new to turning. My grandfather has been my mentor, and we have a quite comprehensive set of Sorby HSS gouges, chisels and scrapers. I believe that the high quality tool steel is well worth the price. I once roughed down the whole exterior of a maple bowl without sharpening. I would definitely recommend these tools to anyone. You can easily find a basic five chisel set for around four hundred(in canada that is, probably cheaper in the states). This isn’t a bad price, and if you expand more toward bowl or spindle turning, you can expand the set by adding gouges, deep or shallow flute, and scrapers and skews to match. But go with a high quality set, and it will last you for a long, long time.

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playsk8r

21 posts in 632 days


#24 posted 565 days ago

I like writing a lot, and I have a lot to say. I could go on…

View MOJOE's profile

MOJOE

547 posts in 1866 days


#25 posted 565 days ago

thedude50…..the purchase has been made, actually were delivered today. I touched up the roughing gouge and bowl gouge and turned down some cherry…..all went well except I think I see why the “ellsworth” grind is so popular…..the wings of the “factory” bowl gouge didn’t seem to be positioned well for me. Anyway, I’m planning to turn bottle stoppers and pens right now, and then graduate to bowls. I read thompsonlathetools.com today and think I will use this set to master my sharpening techniques….....once I get the sharpening down, I will likely purchase 2 or 3 good quality tools.

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

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playsk8r

21 posts in 632 days


#26 posted 565 days ago

The point of the so called “ellsworth grind” is to create a much longer bevel, making it much easier to ride the bevel for a fantastic, shearing cut. I know it sound like a lot more work, but once you get those long, gorgeous shavings, it will be impossible to go back to anything else.

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thedude50

3503 posts in 1075 days


#27 posted 565 days ago

how are you getting a elsworth grind did you buy a grinder with a woolverine jig or did you get a Tormek

any way why I asked I am currently testing a set of tools from Rockler they are kind of short but intended for smaller projects the 3 tool set is under 200 bucks and is a dream to use I did have to re learn what tool does what but the spped has me thinking i will likely get some easy wood tools in the future or maybe I can work with Rockler to develop a full line of full sized tools like this set I really love these tools so much i was turning all day and broke my lathe

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

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playsk8r

21 posts in 632 days


#28 posted 565 days ago

I have the wolverine jig, with the vari-grind attachment

View MOJOE's profile

MOJOE

547 posts in 1866 days


#29 posted 565 days ago

No ellsworth grind for me yet…...I’m just guessing it will work a little nicer. I do plan to get a wolverine jig though.

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

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thedude50

3503 posts in 1075 days


#30 posted 565 days ago

I have both and the Tormek wins hands down why because all the grinds are the same they are always exactly the same you want how much angle and what kind of grind you write it down and the numbers you use and repeating it is as easy as pie

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

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playsk8r

21 posts in 632 days


#31 posted 565 days ago

After spending half an hour grinding a not so nice fingernail grind on my 1/2” bowl gouge, I am ready to invest in a Tormek

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thedude50

3503 posts in 1075 days


#32 posted 555 days ago

I wanted a tormek for so long it hurt and now that I own the t7 I cant imagine life without a tormek. I know its a big investment but whats wrong with buying what you want.

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

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