Easy Wood Tools vs 'Traditional'

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Forum topic by ScrubPlane posted 12-28-2013 02:36 PM 4130 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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190 posts in 2221 days

12-28-2013 02:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: resource tip question lathe turning

I started turning again a couple of years ago after a thirty year hiatus and at the advice of several friends I purchased the Easy Wood turning tools.

Has anyone tried and rejected the Easy Wood tools in favor of traditional turning tools, and if so, why?

I apologize if this question is redundant as I did post it some months ago, just thought I’d try for more feedback.


22 replies so far

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

377 posts in 3108 days

#1 posted 12-28-2013 04:50 PM

I have 2 carbide tools from a different vendor.

One is square shaped with a square shaft. It does a decent job roughing the outside of bowl blanks. It does make small chips instead of shavings and leaves some tearout so it needs to be followed with another tool.

The other tool with a round tip and round shaft is supposed to work for hollowing the inside of bowls. I have never been able to use it without catches.

I received a really good bowl gouge when I bought a used lathe and prefer it over the carbide tools. The square carbide tool was useful when I was learning, but I rarely use it any more.

-- Steve

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2274 days

#2 posted 12-28-2013 05:02 PM

They both have their place. HSS is so much sharper (if you can sharpen it correctly). I like my easy rougher for grunt work. It does a quick and dirty job. I also like my easy finisher for finish work. When I am done shaping and crank the lathe to sanding speeds and take super light passes with the finisher. I can generally start sanding at 320 grit.

I would ever want to be without my traditional HSS gouges and skews though.


View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2161 days

#3 posted 12-28-2013 05:26 PM

Bought this Shear scraper and two extra cutters month or so back. Making a lot of end grain vases and wanted to clean up minor & major tear out. With only limited experience with carbide tools not thrilled.

I did follow instructions provided and tried sharpening with my diamond card file. Actually, did better clean up with traditional scrapers and pull cut with my bowl or spindle gouges.

Whether problem is me, the tools, or wood working with cannot say. Easy Wood tools have a better reputation but cost lot more than I spent for essentially two tools in one.

If want a tool for roughing do not expect it to provide an excellent finish on all wood surfaces. Get a finishing tool for that purpose. So other than buy both types not much can add. No carbide tools will not replace traditional turning tools.

-- Bill

View ScrubPlane's profile


190 posts in 2221 days

#4 posted 12-29-2013 12:14 AM

LumberJoe…I ‘feel’ like I should migrate to the traditional tools at some point and while I’ve worked with gouges and ‘scrapers’ in the past, what would you consider to be a good estimate learning curve for a skew? thanks…

View ScrubPlane's profile


190 posts in 2221 days

#5 posted 12-29-2013 12:16 AM


I also have the round bladed ‘finishing’ tool and have had some nasty catches as well. Seems like they occurred when I was trying to be too aggressive and the blade needed rotating.


View poospleasures's profile


741 posts in 2510 days

#6 posted 12-29-2013 12:28 AM

I will speak in favor of the carbide tools. I have not had formal training with turning tools and do find the carbides are a lot more forgiving than a bowl gouge which I can use on occasion but do feel hesitant because of some earlier catches. With practice I am able to get a fairly smooth finish with the carbide and a little use of a scraper usually start sanding with 150 paper. I know some turners think this is not the way to go but I say whatever gets the result you want is the way to go. Most of the folks who have commented on my bowls seem to like them. Take a look at my projects to see what you think. Keep doing what makes you feel good.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View TheDane's profile


5441 posts in 3689 days

#7 posted 12-29-2013 02:15 AM

I use carbides (18mm square and round cutters) for roughing work. Once I get close to where I need to be, I switch to the HSS tools for cleanup and finishing cuts.

Using the HSS gouges, scrapers, etc. is like anything else … the more you practice the better you get.

Full disclosure: I have taken some classes and belong to two turning clubs. I would heartily recommend finding an AAW-affiliate club in your area … in my case it has paid big dividends.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Woodknack's profile


11792 posts in 2406 days

#8 posted 12-29-2013 03:56 AM

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

208 posts in 1758 days

#9 posted 01-01-2014 08:44 PM

Like several of the other posters, I own both EWT and traditional carbide and HSS tools. I like the EWT tools for the heavy stock removal (square ends) and initial smoothing (round ends). I use my standard tools beyond that point.

If you do decide to buy EWT tools, do yourself a big favor and buy replacement cutter heads from Cap’ Eddie Castelin at His parts are every bit as good as the EWT ones and WAY less expensive.


-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

View ScrubPlane's profile


190 posts in 2221 days

#10 posted 01-01-2014 08:54 PM

Thank you one and all for your thoughtful suggestions. I think much of what has been written ultimately falls under the heading of personal preference with few absolute ‘right or wrong’ answers.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2312 days

#11 posted 01-01-2014 08:58 PM

I have several interchangeable carbide tools, The one I like best is from Capt Eddie, loads cheaper and you get more bits.
The lion share of the work is going to be HSS bowl gouge and scraper though, the Easy Wood turning tools just don’t remove enough material so I use them to finish out and to give a final smooth over.

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

View Thuzmund's profile


148 posts in 1655 days

#12 posted 01-02-2014 05:08 AM

One thing I’ve noticed is that beginners instinctively start “shoveling” out wood in ever-deeper ditches or coves. But when I watch instructional videos or experienced friends, I notice that they often “peel” wood in a much more decisive and aggressive manner, sometimes even starting a bit “inside” the top lip of a cylinder, so that in a couple cuts they shear off exactly what they want. It’s quite efficient and I’m not sure if you can or can’t do that sort of thing safely with scrapers. I’m still just a beginner myself, so I’m not really sure if my observation is right and there actually are two types of cuts that are inescapably different from one another. If there ARE two different types, you will be then limiting yourself to just one type, at least in theory. Also, remember that HSS sets do include a couple scrapers, which are sharpened the same way as carbides, just much more often.

I don’t know enough about turning to offer more than my own experience: I find it easier to shovel than peel as a beginner, but it seems like peeling should be the ultimate goal.

More beginner banter (take it all with a grain of salt):

0. (goes without saying) The learning curve on scraping is nothing compared to chisels. You’ll have very fast access to a solid first month of turning, instead of doing a lot of studying or frightening experimentation.
1. Since I still find it safer and more secure to shovel rather than peel, I don’t really miss out on the peeling action of the chisels. (I mean, I definitely miss out because I can’t do it yet, but any $$ towards peeling would be wasted since I’m not peeling yet.)
2. I do 90% of the work with just one or two chisels, because I’m not good with all the tools yet. If that one tool were a scraper, I suppose I’d have 90% of the functionality of my HSS set in a single tool, right? :) Until I wanted to get ahold of some chisels anyway.
3. After a few hours of shoveling, I noticed that I can do something in between, like taper down one way and the peel it flat going the other direction. I can do this with scraper-type tools, just not as deep as I’ve seens folks do it with chisels. So therefore, you can probably assume that you can do a bit of light peeling with those scrapers. It’s not really an all-pr nothing proposal between the functionality of the two types of tools, but it may become increasingly lop-sided over time and you learn to use chisels differently and the carbides do the same old thing.
4. I have used the PSI Versachisels and written in other posts how they allowed me to go just a tad bit beyond my skill level. Scraper-type tools do seem easier for my beginner hands and knowledge to handle than bowl gouges, etc. I have used the carbide-type inserts and they are indeed easy for beginners to use.
5. If you’re afraid of sharpening chisels and this is pushing you towards the carbides, know that it’s damn hard to sharpen by hand but very easy to sharpen on a bench grinder. Just carefully find the angle that the manufacturer left for you and be light about it. It’s really a cinch to get functional, sharp chisels, even for a beginner like me!

-- Here to learn

View Woodknack's profile


11792 posts in 2406 days

#13 posted 01-02-2014 07:40 AM

I’m not sure I understand the shovel vs peel analogy but I have noticed there is a decided difference between production turners and others. Watching an experienced production turner is amazing, the moves are aggressive yet elegant and precise; like a dancer.

-- Rick M,

View RolfBe's profile


28 posts in 1840 days

#14 posted 01-02-2014 03:43 PM

I much prefer using a quality HSS tool over the carbides.
Since putting together a rather expensive sharpening system and learning the proper way to sharpen and most importantly use my tools the finishes that I am getting are amazing.
A couple of other factors I am a member of a turning club and I have been watching lots of youtube videos.
The series that Wildwood turned me onto and my friend Steves really go a long way in teaching you about wood grains and cutting directions.
Good quality Sharp tools are critical

-- "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can" Hawk G4 ss, New Nova 16-24 DVR XP

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 2789 days

#15 posted 01-03-2014 02:32 AM

Carbide is for hogging out – HSS is for the finishing.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

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