#22
I recently took a class on pen turning and bowl turning. The class was taught using carbide tools. I have an old (about 1936) Atlas / Craftsman combination wood/metal lathe and a set of early Craftsman HSS turning tools. I would like to make a few pens for Christmas and feel that learning to sharpen the tools as well as how to use them will take too long, since my class was strictly using carbide tools. I am also concerned if the arthritis in my hands will make it more difficult. I am seeing small, medium, & large size tools, and am not sure which ones to buy. Will the small tools restrict me to pens and small items only, or can they be used on larger projects? I do have the set of HSS tools for use in the future. The large carbide tools are also out of my current budget as well. Let me know what you recommend. Thanks!
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#23
First off, let me say that I'm pretty much a beginning turner, so take this with a grain of salt.

I bought the Easy Wood medium sized carbide tools and have turned pens and some lidded bowls as well as some spindle turning. The tools have worked just fine. One more experienced turner made the comment to me that carbide doesn't give as good a finish on the wood as high speed steel, but the solution to that is a bit more sanding. With pens, that sanding is going to be there anyway, IMO, so it doesn't matter. That might make a difference to someone who is doing some very fine or thin work, but just switch to HSS for that last few passes.

I have the Easy Wood medium sized tools.



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#24
(10-31-2022, 02:27 PM)Blaine Wrote: First off, let me say that I'm pretty much a beginning turner, so take this with a grain of salt.

I bought the Easy Wood medium sized carbide tools and have turned pens and some lidded bowls as well as some spindle turning.  The tools have worked just fine.  One more experienced turner made the comment to me that carbide doesn't give as good a finish on the wood as high speed steel, but the solution to that is a bit more sanding.  With pens, that sanding is going to be there anyway, IMO, so it doesn't matter.  That might make a difference to someone who is doing some very fine or thin work, but just switch to HSS for that last few passes.

I have the Easy Wood medium sized tools.

Blaine,

Thanks for the input. I was thinking that the medium size tools might be a reasonable option. I am concerned that the small tools might be too small for projects other than pens.
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#25
I do almost all my pen turning with a 5/8" HSS bowl gouge. As a matter of fact, I use mostly that gouge and a parting tool for nearly everything. Other than pens, I do mostly segmented turning so I don't ever turn really rough or out of balance stock so I don't make really heavy cuts.

I have other tools but really like that gouge so I guess size doesn't matter all that much. It's how you use it.
We do segmented turning, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.
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#26
The carbide tools that are in the size range of the Easy Wood mid sized tools are a good choice for what you are talking about doing on that lathe.

I have the Easy Wood mid-sized and the larger size tools as well as some assorted other brands and sizes.

The mid-sized are a good compromise of giving you leverage (less battering on your hands) and controls.

You probably want to stick to wooden pen blanks as long as you are using carbide (or until you have a LOT of experience using the carbide). The plastic pen blanks are easy to chip compared to wood.

Also, unless they are marked HSS, those older Craftsman turning tools may be tool steel. Some people feel that they can get tool steel sharper than HSS, but the trade off is that bluing the tool steel on the grinder draws the temper. If you draw the temper, then you need to heat treat the tool steel before cutting with it. You can use the spark test on the grinder to tell tool steel vs HSS if your grinder still has the stone wheels.
"the most important safety feature on any tool is the one between your ears." - Ken Vick

A wish for you all:  May you keep buying green bananas.
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#27
Medium size is fine for pens. It also allows you to turn lidded boxes or other smaller projects without much difficulty. Keep in mind that carbide tools will eventually dull and require replacement. For the circular inserts, you can loosen the mounting screw and rotate the insert to get a fresh edge. A conventional spindle gouge will leave a smoother surface if it's sharp, but sanding a pen blank is pretty quick, so it's not that much of an advantage.
Still Learning,

Allan Hill
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#28
I buy carbide turning tools from this guy. He used to advertise on woodnet (A member).
Nice stainless steel shafts, reasonable price, good quality
https://www.ncwoodturningtools.com/
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#29
i really like the simple tools stuff, and i think they're prices are really good too.  i have these and use 'em a good bit . . . love 'em!

Simple Woodturning Tools Simple Start Carbide Lathe Tool Set of 3 Mini Tools with 8" Solid Aluminum Handle, USA Made, Stainless Steel, Set of 3 - - Amazon.com

their site seems to have larger sets:

Simple Start Carbide Wood Turning Lathe Tools | Simple Woodturning Tools
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#30
(11-04-2022, 10:44 AM)arthropod98 Wrote: i really like the simple tools stuff, and i think they're prices are really good too.  i have these and use 'em a good bit . . . love 'em!

Simple Woodturning Tools Simple Start Carbide Lathe Tool Set of 3 Mini Tools with 8" Solid Aluminum Handle, USA Made, Stainless Steel, Set of 3 - - Amazon.com

their site seems to have larger sets:

Simple Start Carbide Wood Turning Lathe Tools | Simple Woodturning Tools

Other than the mini-Sorby turning tools (too small to find the insulation tube), it can be helpful to get some of the black foam pipe insulation to slip over the aluminum handles.

The foam provides some cushioning and thermal insulation. The hard part is finding the insulation the right size for the handle.
"the most important safety feature on any tool is the one between your ears." - Ken Vick

A wish for you all:  May you keep buying green bananas.
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#31
Pool noodles work well on my rake and broom handles
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Carbide turning tools


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