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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Brisbane, Qld
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    927

    Default Hollowing tools - which?

    Hi folks,

    Think the time has come to finally buy a hollowing tool - looking for opinions, what's good?

    Sounds like the rolly munro and vermec tools both come pretty highly recommended, and I do like buying from small local companies - well, NZ is close enough!

    I do love very hard timber and also do a bit of work in epoxy, so something suitable or adaptable to match would be preferable to something that's mainly aimed at softer stuff.

    Cheers,

    Danny

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, South Australia
    Posts
    3,071

    Default

    After trying few different ones, my preference is for the Woodcut power head.

    See if you can try a few before you buy to see what works for you. If you lived a bit closer you could borrow some of mine to try.

    Other than Woodcut's Irons Toolgate, which I really like for reaching into hollow forms, I'm not a fan of other hollowing tool capture support systems. My thoughts on that: if you are unable to control a hollowing tool freehand you are probably not yet ready for hollow forms...
    Stay sharp!

    Neil



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Brisbane, Qld
    Posts
    927

    Default

    Thanks Neil - I've been trying to wrap my head around the woodcut toolgate... Does it just hold the tool in one spot above the bed, and then you control the tool by swivelling around the gate, and extending/retracting 'through' the gate?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, South Australia
    Posts
    3,071

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rtyuiop View Post
    the woodcut toolgate... Does it just hold the tool in one spot above the bed, and then you control the tool by swiveling around the gate, and extending/retracting 'through' the gate?
    Exactly.

    And, as the post is held in the tool rest banjo, you can also manoeuvre that around to preposition the gate. As you can see from the image, there are also a number of holes along the bar to re-position the gate.

    If I'm working on a hollow form that has a large enough opening to accommodate the bar, I insert that right into the form to give the give maximum support while hogging out the inside.
    Stay sharp!

    Neil



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Brisbane, Qld
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    Default

    Got it - thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Port Sorell, Tasmania
    Posts
    367

    Default

    Im not hugely experienced with hollow forms, probably done 20 or 30 so nowhere near in Neil's league. Most have been turned from old dry blackwood with knots, holes and voids. I love the look of this type of wood but turning it is hard work but by the time I have finished I generally feel like I have been worked over by Jeff Fenech.
    I use a Rolly Munro hollower and find it is generally OK but blackwood chips tend jam between the cutter and the shield to the point where I don't use the shield. This makes the tool a little harder to handle and prone to digging in, particularly in any areas where it's cutting against the grain or if there is a void in the wood. These problems are accentuated with greater overhang from the tool rest. None the less I like the slicing action of this cutter. Up to about 200 mm of overhang it works pretty well.
    I am keen to make some form of captured / articulating arm simply to ease the strain on an ageing body, and make some deeper vase's, but that's still in the design phase.

    Tony
    You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. ~Oscar Wilde

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Burwood NSW
    Age
    78
    Posts
    1,149

    Default

    The fact that there are so many hollowing tools on the market is indicative that no one has found the perfect tool yet . I usually use a system based on the woodcut powerhed as described by Neil for deep hollowing . For more shallow work , I often use the Leady hollowing tools .
    Ted

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Adelaide
    Age
    62
    Posts
    40

    Default

    I've been using the large Robert Sorby Swan Neck Hollowing Tool with reasonable success. Though it can be a bit of a wrestling match to keep it from rotating - need to keep your wits about you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, South Australia
    Posts
    3,071

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DAL1957 View Post
    ..... can be a bit of a wrestling match to keep it from rotating
    I added a bicycle handlebar side extensions (like this) to one of my first hollowers and that helped to control any tendency to rotate. Something like that could be added to any freehand hollower.
    Stay sharp!

    Neil



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, South Australia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tony_A View Post
    .... I like the slicing action of this cutter.
    I also prefer hollowers that slice (like Woodcut and Munro) for the bulk of the hollowing task. Many other makes use scraper tips of one sort or another. That's OK if you like to turn that way, it's just not my preferred way of turning. Some use a cup tip that does produce a 'cut', but many of them don't have the guard that can be adjusted for depth of cut. The Sorby Sovereign heads do have the adjustable guard, but not having used one I cannot comment on how well they work.

    Of course, I do finish off with a fine scraping cut and for that my preference is for the Woodcut scraper head that can rotate in the shaft to the desired shear scraping angle... this one. There are plenty of scraping tip designs that present the scraper tip horizontal to the wood, but as far as I know this particular scraper head is the only one that allows for variable shear scraping angles. Munro does have a shear scraping tip, but it is preset at 45deg. There appears to be a newer/another Woodcut scraper head design (this one) but I've not used it, so can't say if it also allows for shear scraping angles, but it looks like it may.

    My experience of the Woodcut and Munro heads (I have both) is that the Woodcut with its open sided cutter is less prone to clog, but all designs with an adjustable cutting guard will do so to some extent, depending on the condition of the wood.

    Last point: You only need to bring the inside of a hollow form up to a touch finish as far as fingers can reach. The inside surface beyond that only needs to be finished to the level that an eye can appreciate peering into the dark interior of the form, which really doesn't happen all that often.
    Stay sharp!

    Neil



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    821

    Default

    This thread is a great example for a club to do a day of 'testing" of the hollowers the club members use. Get to see and try different systems. Not a put down of whichever you reckon is better/worse, but a good chance to see what is out there and have a go to see if brand x is for you...
    Lyle.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Adelaide
    Age
    62
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilS View Post
    I added a bicycle handlebar side extensions (like this) to one of my first hollowers and that helped to control any tendency to rotate. Something like that could be added to any freehand hollower.
    Seems like a good idea. I have just ordered a set of eBay, now just have to wait for it to arrive, annoying really as tonight’s project is hollowing a potpourri urn.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Adelaide
    Age
    62
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilS View Post
    I added a bicycle handlebar side extensions (like this) to one of my first hollowers and that helped to control any tendency to rotate. Something like that could be added to any freehand hollower.
    Seems like a good idea. I have just ordered a set of eBay, now just have to wait for it to arrive, annoying really as tonight’s project is hollowing a potpourri urn.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Townsville. Tropical Nth Qld.
    Posts
    732

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tony_A View Post
    Im not hugely experienced with hollow forms, probably done 20 or 30 so nowhere near in Neil's league. Most have been turned from old dry blackwood with knots, holes and voids. I love the look of this type of wood but turning it is hard work but by the time I have finished I generally feel like I have been worked over by Jeff Fenech.
    I am keen to make some form of captured / articulating arm simply to ease the strain on an ageing body, and make some deeper vase's, but that's still in the design phase.

    Tony
    Quote Originally Posted by rtyuiop View Post
    Hi folks,

    Think the time has come to finally buy a hollowing tool - looking for opinions, what's good?

    I do love very hard timber and also do a bit of work in epoxy, so something suitable or adaptable to match would be preferable to something that's mainly aimed at softer stuff.

    Cheers,

    Danny
    Guys as someone said, there is no one size fits all. Over the last 30 odd years I have tried a lot, bought too many and then I decided to do deep hollowing and I don't have the strength to control them. So I searched the world, found several articulated setups but before I could buy one they disappeared off the market. I reckoned Trent Bosch made the best TC tipped tools, so I bought them and made the rest. This photo shows my rig with its adjustable handle and it eats harder wood easily.
    Rgds,
    Crocy.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, South Australia
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    3,071

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Croc View Post

    ...then I decided to do deep hollowing and I don't have the strength to control them.
    Fair comment Old Croc.

    I guess that is what awaits all of us if we go the distance...
    Stay sharp!

    Neil



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