HSS Turning Tools (Follow-up Question)...

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Forum topic by ScrubPlane posted 01-04-2014 02:48 PM 939 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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190 posts in 1620 days

01-04-2014 02:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question lathe turning

As I watch more and more turning videos I notice that while most of the demonstrators have a full array of tools in the background, some of which are of course specialty tools, they typically use just two or three chisels for the entire project.

What do you consider your ‘baseline’ of turning chisels by type, size, and specialty grind if applicable?

Additionally, what is your preferred method for sharpening your chisels (please note jig brand if applicable)?


5 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


1854 posts in 1559 days

#1 posted 01-04-2014 04:32 PM

Depending upon what am turning will dictate which tools will grab. Except for skews, parting, and bedan all my gouges have different bevel angles.

For bowl turning like 5/8” gouge fingernail ground for hogging out wood, and ½ “ gouges with either fingernail or side grind. Have both heavy duty & light duty scrapers may or may not use. I can shear scrap with gouges or scrapers.

Spindle turning several 3/8” & ½” gouges with fingernail grind, assorted size skews, & parting tools and one Bedan tool.

Small set of ¼” hollowing tools.

Been using a six inch bench grinder with 46 & 80 grit wheels, use either Wolverine jig or free hand sharpen depending upon tool. Also use diamond card for honing or sharpening some tools that don’t sharpen on grinder.
Have carbon steel, HSS, and exotic steel tools.

-- Bill

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Jim Baldwin

55 posts in 1783 days

#2 posted 01-04-2014 05:08 PM

Spindle turning requires a minimum of 3 tools at hand, namely: gouge, skew and parting tool. I also use a large gouge for roughing-out (making it 4 for me), that’s it! I have about two-dozen tools to choose from but only 4 are within immediate reach. Using more tools than that is usually wasting time.

Grandpa made the 2’ long turning tools 60-75 years ago and I still use them. Each tool has a different handle for easy identification while in use. Sharpening is free-hand on a bench grinder and hone stones.The HSS tools are kept razor sharp as most cutting is shear. The lathes are Porters, circa 1880’s. The shaft/belt driven head-stocks were modified with electric motors but before that (while in factories where they came from) they typically ran continuously without stopping, on babbitt bearings.

-- Jim Baldwin/

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190 posts in 1620 days

#3 posted 01-04-2014 05:26 PM

Bill…What’s the benefits/drawbacks of the fingernail vs sidegrinds? thanks…

View Wildwood's profile


1854 posts in 1559 days

#4 posted 01-04-2014 10:12 PM

Do not really see any drawback to either fingernail or side grind, lot has to do with style of bowl you are working on.
Like many turners like both styles on my bowl gouges have different bevel angles on them. On spindle gouges prefer fingernail although have one old 3/8” gouge with very pointed tip for reverse turning, and final turning.

Elsworth, Irish, side or sweptback grind & Texas grind all the same thing.

Some turners use a side grind for both spindle & bowl turning.

Some turner like a double bevel on their bowl gouges regardless how bevel is ground.

Think Dale explains lot better than I can.

-- Bill

View Wildwood's profile


1854 posts in 1559 days

#5 posted 01-05-2014 11:20 AM

Could not find Tool Grind page yesterday where turners address bevel angles. While some have a preference for single shape fingernail or side grind many use both styles.

Only other point to gleam from that page is people have found a bevel angle for gouge (s) they own that works for them, and do no vary too much from it.

-- Bill

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