turning with butt chisels

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Forum topic by Joshy posted 04-20-2011 01:54 AM 1151 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 2590 days

04-20-2011 01:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Has any one ever used butt and or bench chisels for between centers turning. I recently made a spring pole lathe, mostly from scrap boards, because money is kinda tight. I have learned that butt chisel will work if properly honed. I guess my question is (am I wasting my energy by using these chisels and are real turning tools that much more effective).

6 replies so far

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3364 days

#1 posted 04-20-2011 02:09 AM

If they work for you then go with it. Normally a roughing gouge will work quicker at turning down a block, but if you can use something like a pair of vice grips to hold the chisel at an angle, you can do fairly well.

View Joshy's profile


13 posts in 2590 days

#2 posted 04-20-2011 02:40 AM

Thanks for the reply to my question. Have you ever used a spring pole lathe.

View Loren's profile


10380 posts in 3643 days

#3 posted 04-20-2011 02:43 AM

You can also grind old files to make woodturning scrapers. They work
pretty well because the file steel handles the heat from turning friction

Turning works best if you have a handle on the tool long enough to
put two hands on it.

I wouldn’t recommend using good bench chisels on a lathe – you
might break them or bend them badly. Just a concern. They
aren’t made for turning you know.

You ought to be able to get a used starter set of inexpensive turning tools
on ebay for $20 or something.

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3584 posts in 3364 days

#4 posted 04-20-2011 02:49 AM

Joshy, I have never used a spring pole lathe, but have contemplated building one myself. Right now I have a Ridgid 12×37 and a little Jet 10×14. I make quite a few of my own chisels from different kinds of scrap metal. Just grind to shape and harden the working end. Make and install a handle on them.

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13 posts in 2590 days

#5 posted 04-20-2011 02:38 PM

Thank you for the information on making your own turning tools. I have a very old blacksmith forge and anvil. I also have some old rusty files, but how do you cut and or grind them? My dad has a lot of old railroad spikes, will those work? One more question, if any you were to recommend a few basic turning tool what would they be. I might break down and by some.

View poopiekat's profile


4354 posts in 3730 days

#6 posted 04-20-2011 04:00 PM

My first roughing gouge, which I made years ago, was a 18” piece of 3/4” black iron pipe. I ground the end to a bevel similar to what I’d seen in store-bought examples. It worked!!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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