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Carbide vs. traditional?

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Forum topic by Evangogh posted 10-14-2014 02:59 AM 1867 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Evangogh

126 posts in 797 days


10-14-2014 02:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe turn chisel carbide cutter traditional

So I finally got my hands on my first carbide cutter, and I keep finding myself using it more for smoothing parts out rather than design. I know it has to be kept flat, and I’m getting more used to that by the day, but it seems like the negative outweighs the positive?

What are everyone’s thoughts on carbide vs. traditional chisels?

-- Turn on, brothers and sisters!!!


22 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3130 days


#1 posted 10-14-2014 03:10 AM

Most carbide ‘cutters’ aren’t really ‘cutters’ at all … they are scrapers. In my opinion, you can’t get as clean of a surface with a carbide tool as you can with HSS tools. The exception would be the carbide inserts that are dished out on the top (e.g. Hunter tools … http://www.hunterwoodturningtool.com/ ).

I use my carbides strictly for roughing to hog off material … I use HSS tools for shaping and finishing cuts.

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

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Evangogh

126 posts in 797 days


#2 posted 10-14-2014 03:30 AM

Interesting… That’s basically the opposite of what I’m doing XD. I keep seeing in tutorial videos people using the carbide cutters (scrapers!) to clean and level out blanks, but mine just never quite cut it for that (no pun intended). While I love that thing, I keep finding myself using my traditional (HSS as you said it?) tools. It just feels like there is so much more control…

-- Turn on, brothers and sisters!!!

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7934 posts in 1847 days


#3 posted 10-14-2014 04:16 AM

Great for hogging off material. I also use them for very hard woods so I don’t have to sharpen my steel tools every 5 minutes.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1887 posts in 1602 days


#4 posted 10-14-2014 11:40 AM

I agree with Jerry, carbide great scrappers, but can do the same thing with my heavy duty HSS scrapers. I can also shear scrap with skews and gouges to take out rough spots.

Although manufacturers rave about not needing to sharpen carbide inserts. Cost of replacing inserts not cheap.

Tool cost and ability to incorporate design elements or features in your woodturnings need some traditional turning tools. You need sharp tools to turn wood so sharpening another skill must have.

Bottom line a mix of carbide & traditional tools not a bad idea.

-- Bill

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hairy

2384 posts in 2999 days


#5 posted 10-14-2014 01:45 PM

There’s nothing wrong with using a scraper. I see lots of good turners, some well known pros, that cut with a gouge and then clean up their cuts with a scraper. Scrapers can leave a very clean surface. Even carbide.

Carbide cutters have a place. They don’t all have to be kept flat on the tool rest, and I sharpen mine. Diamond hone will do it. I have only done this on EZ Wood tools cutters, any cutter that’s flat on the top should be able to hone.

The best thing about them,IMO, is they give new turners experience turning, safer than traditional tools. The learning curve is achievable. Tool cutting edge on center, tool flat on the rest, move side to side or straight in. Even I was able to do that! It takes time to learn when to lift the handle, roll the cutting edge, point the bevel in the direction of the cut,lean your body, swing your partner do si do, etc. Every tool is used differently. Do some of that with wrong tool or situation and you can get hurt bad. Experience builds confidence, then you can see and understand what a gouge or other traditional tool can do.

-- stay thirsty my friends...

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Nubsnstubs

826 posts in 1197 days


#6 posted 10-14-2014 02:49 PM

Nothing wrong with carbide. I have 3 Easy Woodtools, and have been using them now for 2 years. When first gotten, they gave me the cleanest cuts I’d ever made. Sometimes, the shavings looked like wisps of smoke coming off my form. The shavings kinda floated up and then leasurely started the downward fall, catching wind currents as they fell.
After the carbide gets dull, they can be sharpened, but don’t cut like they did with factory sharpening…
I do not shape any form that has bark on it as dirt embeded and carbide don’t mix well. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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Bill White

4458 posts in 3427 days


#7 posted 10-14-2014 05:00 PM

I bought my carbide cutters (and a couple of bars) from Capt. Eddie, and have been quite please with them. Way less expensive from him than elsewhere.
He’s recovering from surgery now, but I think that cutters (no bars) can still be bought from his web site.
I use both carbide and HSS. They have their place.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3130 days


#8 posted 10-14-2014 07:44 PM

I bought my carbide cutters (and a couple of bars) from Capt. Eddie, and have been quite please with them. Way less expensive from him than elsewhere.
He s recovering from surgery now, but I think that cutters (no bars) can still be bought from his web site.
I use both carbide and HSS. They have their place.
Bill

- Bill White

Thanks for mentioning Captain Eddie. He is recovering, but has a long road of rehabilitation ahead of him. His wife (Management) would like everyone to know that she has a TON of cutters still available for orders. She is processing orders as they come in so pass the word along, please! Order via: http://www.EddieCastelin.com

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

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

200 posts in 1199 days


#9 posted 10-15-2014 02:10 PM

+1 with Gerry and several others. I own and use several carbide cutter tools and find them very useful for hogging out and initial smoothing of wood, but not as good as traditional gouges and scrapers for a fine finish.

I also second the request to buy from Cap’n Eddie when you need cutters. He is a great guy and makes excellent products at very reasonable prices. Let’s all support him while he is getting back on his feet. He has contributed a lot to the woodturning community and I ask everyone to keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Ron

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

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

404 posts in 2661 days


#10 posted 10-15-2014 03:00 PM

I’ve had my set from Harrison Specialties for about a year now. I agree they’re great for the new woodturner because they’re not so sensitive to catching. The biggest knock I have against them is end grain tearout. No matter how I try to orient the tool or myself or the piece of wood I get tearout every time.

View Evangogh's profile

Evangogh

126 posts in 797 days


#11 posted 10-15-2014 08:26 PM

Wait, I’m confused now… Does HSS mean High Speed Steel or something about Harrison Specialties?... I had assumed it was a generic term for the kind of metal used in the traditional looking chisels?

-- Turn on, brothers and sisters!!!

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3130 days


#12 posted 10-15-2014 09:23 PM

Does HSS mean High Speed Steel …?

Yes, HSS is High Speed Steel.

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

View Woodmac's profile

Woodmac

5 posts in 3417 days


#13 posted 10-22-2014 03:15 AM

I have two homemade carbide tools, one square cutter, one round. The latter is my go to tool for that transition between the side and bottom of a bowl. While they are officially scrapers, you can angle them for a smoother skew scraping action. I have been successful in honing them with diamond sharpeners for reasonable sharpness. I did turn one platter from iroko that was so dense and dulling to my HSS tools that I had to complete the job with carbide alone, Will not turn that wood again!

View Evangogh's profile

Evangogh

126 posts in 797 days


#14 posted 10-23-2014 11:34 PM

Iroko, huh?... CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!

I wonder how long my $80 set of chisels will last! hahahahaha

-- Turn on, brothers and sisters!!!

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

8022 posts in 1449 days


#15 posted 10-29-2014 11:15 PM

Informative topic here fellers. I’m fairly new to turning… and I’m proof that carbide tools are less intimidating for the noob. I was fortunate to swap another LJ for a couple carbide tools and I love them.

Also agree carbide tools are primarily scraper tools. However, I’m sure some of you have seen the Hunter Ospy tools that change the game a bit. They are a carbide tool that cuts more like a bowl gouge.

+1 to helping Captain Eddie. I plan to order my next bit of cutters from him Can’t wait till he has some more shafts available.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

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