Thursday, May 31, 2007
Here are the lathe tools that I use. They are all shear cutting tools and never used as scrapers. I haven't come across any spindle turning (versus bowl turning) shape that I can't manage with these few tools. Actually, I could do without a couple of them. The large roughing gouge and the sizing tool on the right are nice additions but not necessary. I'd say that a quality parting tool, 3/4" roughing gouge, 1/2" detail gouge and a 1/2" or 3/4" skew are all that one "needs". I like high speed steel for the ease of grinding (hss doesn't lose its hardness unless heated very hot, so a little bluing doesn't affect it) and the durability of the edge. Lathe tools do a great deal of cutting in a matter of seconds and constant grinding and sharpening are essential. A sharp lathe tool is the only kind that works. I often let students try to work with a worn tool, and work is best way to say it! Then we sharpen up and the fun begins. I cannot turn with dull tools and imagine that much of my turning ability is knowing when to sharpen. If I was to buy just one lathe tool, it would be the 3/4" gouge. This one tool can take you from roughing to finished work and create some lovely shapes. Learning to expand the uses of just a few tools is a great way to gain skill and confidence while saving a buck as well as valuable shop space!