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  1. #1
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    Default Everyday turning tools

    Hi all,

    I don't turn often but occasionally turn a piece to use as part of a furniture item - maybe once every few weeks. To date it's been spindle work but I'd also like to try a bowl or two sometime. I've got an old beast of a lathe, WMS Tekny from Germany (heavy!!) but have just been using some no name chisels I was given by a mate. I'm sure they were the cheapest possible - they've gone kind of blue at the tips (from heat, using when blunt?) and don't seem to hold an edge long. I compensate by lots of sanding. Not ideal!
    I'm sure I'd feel more like turning with some better quality tools - these days I try to buy the right tool once only where possible!

    I'm looking to buy a few high quality chisels. I suspect anything will seem like a massive improvement from what I have now.

    So, what would be in your everyday toolkit, the ones that you reach for all the time?

    My thoughts are:
    * Spindle gouge say 10mm
    * Skew chisel
    * Parting tool
    * Bowl gouge

    I haven't put roughing gouges on the list because I use mostly rectangular stock that I can easily rough out on the bandsaw first - I think this is better practice from a safety perspective. But perhaps I should still get them?

    Also would love brand recommendations... drowning in info at the moment, honestly just want to know what will serve me well for a long time.

    Thanks for any input!

    Pat

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  3. #2
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    Default

    Pat, given the use you anticipate I suggest you buy the tools you have listed from McJing.

    Woodturning Chisels, HSS Blanks and Chisel Handles

    I bought one of their turning tools (a detail gouge in a size that I couldn't get from anywhere else) many years ago which I use most days when I'm turning and I have found no fault with it. If you are only ever going to turn a few bowls their bowl gouge will probably be just fine.

    You can also use a bowl gouge as a roughing gouge, so you can save on buying a separate spindle roughing gouge.

    Get the standard skew and not the oval skew for spindle turning.

    Should you ever get into turning lots of bowls come back and we can recommend some bowl gouges with better than standard M2 HSS.

    Buy unhandled plus ferrules and turn you own handles to suit your preferences.
    Stay sharp and stay safe!

    Neil



  4. #3
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    Default

    Thanks very much Neil - I really appreciate your input!

    I'd been looking at those McJing ones. The only thing about doing my own handles is, how do I get the hole for the tang to be perfectly centred? Free hand it with experience? I have a drill chuck for my lathe but no chuck to hold a spindle in (perhaps a scroll chuck is the next purchase??).

    Otherwise I've been looking at a Hamlet set - "Sheffield" but I have no idea if it's quality or not.

    Thanks!

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PFH View Post

    The only thing about doing my own handles is, how do I get the hole for the tang to be perfectly centred? Free hand it with experience? I have a drill chuck for my lathe but no chuck to hold a spindle in (perhaps a scroll chuck is the next purchase??).
    Free hand isn't the best way to go.

    You can use the drill chuck in the tailstock. Turn the lathe off about every inch that is drilled, and while the lathe is turned off hold the spindle to withdraw the drill and remove the shavings. Repeat until the desired depth is achieved.

    I have seen this done with the drill chuck in the headstock and the spindle blank held from rotating with one gloved hand and the tailstock quill advanced and retracted with the other hand, BUT I'm not recommending that method.

    Drill before turning the outside of the handle, using the drill hole to centre on.

    Quote Originally Posted by PFH View Post

    Otherwise I've been looking at a Hamlet set - "Sheffield" but I have no idea if it's quality or not.
    Hamlet's M2 HSS are good, but you are paying for the handles and a premium for the name. IMO, you would need to be turning more regularly to justify the additional cost.

    Also keep in mind, if you buy 'a turning tool set' you invariably buy at least one tool in the set that will be rarely, if ever, used or the wrong size for your purposes. I'm not a fan of buying turning tools as a set. The advantage of buying individual tools is that you can go up in quality/cost with any tool that really matters to you.
    Stay sharp and stay safe!

    Neil



  6. #5
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    Default

    I agree with Neil. I have a few McJing tools and they have been just fine. First though get yourself a scroll chuck. It will open up so many turning options for you and perhaps provide the impetus you need to get further into it. I have two - a 100mm cheap Chinese one from Hare and Forbes for less than $180 and a Supernova II for $200+. Both are excellent with the main benefit of the Supernova being availability of optional (but not cheap) alternate jaw set ups. WARNING! You will need the chuck to fit your lathe spindle thread size so make sure you can also get a suitable thread insert with the chuck. .

  7. #6
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    Default

    I meant to also say that it is easy to make handles without a chuck. Make the blanks in two halves, chisel out the slots for the tool tang, glue the two parts together and then turn to your desired shape. See Woodturning Handles | An Alternative Approach - YouTube for an example - but you can find plenty more.

  8. #7
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    What Neil said . See if there is a woodworking club near you . If there is ,there is bound to be someone who could get you started with makeing your own handles .
    Ted

  9. #8
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    Default

    Thanks all!

    I've ordered them from McJing and look forward to making the handles!

  10. #9
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    One consideration when starting out is that you’ll also be learning how to sharpen your gouges, and I appreciated having a set of cheap HSS tools to learn with. It you get it wrong, you can grind a bit more off and correct it easily enough, but with a premium gouge, the steel you’re grinding away is very expensive.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PFH View Post
    Thanks all!

    I've ordered them from McJing and look forward to making the handles!
    As much as i love Mcjings. the quality of steel leaves a bit to the imagination, and wont hold an edge as good as other gouges on the market. I bought a spindle gouge blank for $38, only to head round the corner and Timberbits had a Hamlet detail gouge for $44..... i like my own handles but for that price the $6 is worth the better quality steel.

    However, i do like the blanks so i can do this - a take anywhere set which wont weigh my bag down with a thousand and 1 chisels.

    Portable set.jpg

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fumbler View Post
    As much as i love Mcjings. the quality of steel leaves a bit to the imagination, and wont hold an edge as good as other gouges on the market. I bought a spindle gouge blank for $38, only to head round the corner and Timberbits had a Hamlet detail gouge for $44..... i like my own handles but for that price the $6 is worth the better quality steel.
    I kept in mind the user's requirements ... viz. "I don't turn often but occasionally turn a piece to use as part of a furniture item - maybe once every few weeks... I'd also like to try a bowl or two sometime." I also noted that the tools that Pat currently has were blue on the tips, so most likely not HSS.

    Next step up from there is M2 HSS. In my experience there isn't a lot of difference between tools made from M2 HSS from the different makers. The steel composition is basically the same and any differences come down to the heat treatment and the finish, and there is no guarantee that that will be consistent from some well known brands, which I won't name here.

    Unfortunately we can no longer get the P&N tools in M2 that were so reliably consistent. They were what I always recommended in the past as 'every day' or starting tools.

    The chaps from Woodfast were getting some M2 turning tools manufactured for them and they were OK, but they have given the game away. Likewise, Gary Pye has been getting some made for him, but his seem to be of stock quite often and having not used any of his I can't comment on the quality. Putting aside Pye, ie if you can get them, as far as I know there is currently no equivalent to P&N or Woodfast tools here in Australia. You have to go down or up in price from there. Given the users requirements, I went down; thus my McJing recommendation.

    The current price, for example, for a 1/2" spindle gouge in M2 from McJing is $36 and for an M2 Hamlet in the same size from Timberbits is $58. That's a $22 premium or 60% more. No doubt the Hamlets are a bit better, but for the intended use I'm not convinced that you would get a 60% better performance. Also keep in mind that Pat was looking to buy four or five replacement tools and the overall cost was going to be considerable if he went up market for all of those. This way he can selectively upgrade any particular tool later on if he feels the need for that.

    If Pat was mostly turning then I would have recommended different makers/suppliers.

    Yes, there is always a better tool out there, but most of us don't really need them for what we actually do with them!

    I occasionally amuse myself by looking at the HiTec tools online... my workhorses are 5/8" bowl gouges and the Hitec top of the range gouge in that size is eye watering in every way, including the price! Here it is, and that is in US$...

    https://glaserhitec.com/product/5-8-...owl-gouge-15v/

    It is possible that that bowl gouge is marginally better that my current 5/8" in 15v steel, but not twice as good at twice the price. My user requirements are well south of that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fumbler View Post

    ....a take anywhere set which wont weigh my bag down with a thousand and 1 chisels.

    Portable set.jpg
    I have also gradually moved over to having all of my longer tools in removable handles. It makes sharpening them that much easier without the handles attached.
    Stay sharp and stay safe!

    Neil



  13. #12
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    Thanks Neil, there was no disrespect in there, i was just putting it out there. Yes, i probably don't need this lot either as i have a drawer full of them but i had a few spaces in the roll and without going into detail i needed some retail therapy. And we all know how that helps these days for more than just the spender. and guilty as charged for not just looking - but buying some hitec tools that i dare say i will never use, but i can answer "why, yes i do have one of those" when people ask.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fumbler View Post
    Thanks Neil, there was no disrespect in there, i was just putting it out there.
    And no disrespect detected... all's good.

    I'm open to be challenged at any time someone thinks I'm holding the wrong end of the racket...

    We all have opinions that we should be able to freely express on this forum. An exchange of ideas is what I value on this forum. Some of us might confidently express our opinions based on our greater experience, however, we could just be repeating our old mistaken understandings and need to learn some new ways...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fumbler View Post

    ... buying some hitec tools that i dare say i will never use, but i can answer "why, yes i do have one of those" when people ask.
    Unless sent one to review, Hitec is one make that I'm unlikely to ever get my hands on.

    However, over time I seem to have acquired and use most of the makes that are readily available to us here in Oz, and some from elsewhere. The spin off from that is that I'm able to compare them side by side in regular use and report on that here on the forum for anyone who might be interested.

    In summary: In use I find there is very little difference between the dozen different makes that I regularly use. The 15v gouge does cut for longer in dirty and really tough woods, but with a less keen edge. The M42 gouges takes the keenest edge and does the best finishing cuts. D-Ways come with the best finish. All of them get used regularly. Each has its use and although some flute profiles are preferred none of them are duds. IMO, you can't get it badly wrong if you go with any of the well known brands.
    Stay sharp and stay safe!

    Neil



  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PFH View Post

    ...have just been using some no name chisels I was given by a mate. I'm sure they were the cheapest possible - they've gone kind of blue at the tips (from heat, using when blunt?) and don't seem to hold an edge long.
    Pat - thought it was important to say that any HSS tools, including the M2 ones you are getting from McJing, can still get blued when grinding, depending on your grinding method. However, unlike high carbon steel that goes soft when overheated, any bluing that you can see from grinding HSS will not de-temper (anneal) the steel. It is not possible with the grinding methods we use to get HSS to a temperature where it will lose its hardness.
    Stay sharp and stay safe!

    Neil



  16. #15
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    Default sctapers

    Don't forget scrapers -the thickest old rusted out files that you can find. Good hard steel - Cost 0$ - 50c . shape as wanted.

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