|Review by Rick M.||posted 01-31-2013 06:23 PM||3687 views||0 times favorited||16 comments|
Easy Start tools are the entry level carbide lathe tools by Easy Wood Tools. With a 9” maple handle and 3/8” cutter the Easy Start are 3-1/2” shorter than the Mini series. The rougher comes with the Ci2 square cutter while the finisher comes with the Ci3 round carbide. Cost was $59 each + tax.
I debated which tools to buy for a long time, in the end two things swung my decision:
1) I wouldn’t have to sharpen another tool. I already have planes, chisels, knives, etc.; enough to sharpen. If I could get away with not sharpening I was going to try it.
2) Made in USA. I considered a number of alternate brands and even making my own but in the end I decided to support an American company.
The square tool is the rougher and it works well for that. In a month of use I’ve already dulled one cutting edge but I was pretty tough on it wanting to know just how durable it would be. I’ve debarked a few turning pieces, cut through knots and accidentally tapped the spinning metal stuff a few times (this chipped the blade). The round tool is supposedly a finisher but I can’t get a very smooth cut with it, that might be my inexperience. The round tool is fantastic at roughing though and peels away wood fast. An odd thing that happens once in a while, mostly with the square cutter, is that it stops cutting. I clear the dust from the tip, double check my angle is straight but it just rides the surface. At some point it will suddenly cut again. If anyone has insight on what I might be doing wrong, please let me know.
Update – I still can’t get a smooth finish with the round ‘finisher’ but it works very well for coves and the inside of bowls. And whatever my problem was with the square sometimes not cutting must have just been inexperience with the tool because it hasn’t happened in a long time.
Many years ago I had a class working on Delta lathes with high speed tools, it was mostly spindle work but we did some end grain cutting. The neatest project I did was a balero, or cup and ball game, which included spindle turning, end grain cutting and turning a ball. Based on memory, the carbide cutters do not cut as cleanly as sharp HSS. I find myself doing a lot of sanding after the carbide cutters to remove tear-out. It’s possible the woods I have used are partly to blame… in the last month or so I’ve turned construction pine & fir, air dried spalted maple, green spalted maple, kiln dried padauk & walnut, and air dried holly. The maple and pine had the worst tear out but everything so far has required extensive sanding.
Update – After making my own carbide tools I’ve realized the carbides on my EWTs were dull. I don’t know if it was just a bad batch but they were definitely dull compared to the carbides I bought off ebay and they haven’t held an edge well either so I’ve downgraded the rating.
Fit and finish: 5-Outstanding
Ergonomics: 4.5-Excellent, (size is good for my 7×12 lathe but the 9” handle is a bit cramped)
Cutter smoothness: 3-Good
Cutter durability: 2-Poor
Unfortunately the detailer is not available as an Easy Start and they don’t offer a parting tool. I’m not convinced the detailer is worth $90 so I will end up buying a HSS skew and parting tool.