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  • OT-wood lathe tools

    Yesterday I scored a "very good" to "good" older Rockwell/Delta wood lathe for $25! Everything works great including the speed changer. Now I need to aquire some gouges. Looking in Grizzley cataloge I am wondering if there is any difference between the highend ShopFox and the Sorbys? I do see the longer the handle the more you pay. Also the walnut handles cost!!! Anyone have experiances with these or advice on where else to shop for some decent tooling?

    TIA
    mark61

  • #2
    I don't usually say buy the best but for wood turning it will pay off. You are going be spending a lot of time stoning and honing the tools and the Sorbys will hold the edge better. Also Small design differences can make a big difference in how the tools work. Sorby has been making and refining these tools for long time. If your serious about learning get a Packard Woodworks catalog. You'll see more turning tools and goodies than you can imagine.
    Good luck
    Joe

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    • #3
      What I got a couple years ago:

      Set of 8 Benjamin's Best HSS Lathe Chisel Set
      http://www.pennstateind.com/store/LCHSS8.html

      happy with them when honed, holds an edge pretty well and don't cost too much to get ya goin...

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      • #4
        I bought a set (8), years ago made in England. They require a lot of honing to stay sharp enough to cut well. They're OK, but I'd recommend buying really good tools if you're really serious about turning. Mine are alright for the limited turning that I do, but if I wanted to do more I'd buy good stuff. Bob.

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        • #5
          I think it depends on how much work you're going to be doing on the lathe. I bought a cheap "good" set from HF about six years ago just to have something and they've done everything I've needed. But I turn wood maybe once or twice a year. I've never used the top shelf turning tools so I don't have anything to compare. Don't care to either if what I have works. No sense buying a Ferrari if you're going to leave it parked in the garage.

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          • #6
            Agreed, if you are only going to doing this a few times a year or whatever, there are cheaper turning tools out there that are pretty decent for the money.

            One of the better top of the line tools used to be "Henry Taylor turning tools made in England, The brand was "ACORN". Pricey, but beautifully made.

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            • #7
              Some years back I forged a large gouge out of an automobile rear spring leaf and was amazed at how well it worked and held an edge. I now have a set of Sorbys and love them.

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              • #8
                Can't answer with certainty between ShopFox and Sorby, although I would think Sorby would be worth the price difference. Just make sure whatever you get is HSS. Then learn how to sharpen. The Wolverine sharpening system is very respected. Then watch those gouges multiply. The slope is slippery, and there is no turning back.

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                • #9
                  You could also grind to shape a few old files. They also hold the edge fairly well. Wayne.

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                  • #10
                    You might try making your own from 1/4 HSS tool bit and the carbide inserted ones. I did and will never go back to "woodworking" ones.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dvo View Post
                      You might try making your own from 1/4 HSS tool bit and the carbide inserted ones. I did and will never go back to "woodworking" ones.

                      Pictures?

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                      • #12
                        Until the '70s wood cutting bits were almost uniformly carbon steel, eg HF stuff, inexpensive ($20-50 lathe tool sets) and auto springs reconfigured or altered files. Then HSS was
                        enlisted, usually M2, but sometimes more exotica, and a few manufacturers tried screw on tool ends but problems with shaping limited this. Since lathe tools that most commonly
                        are used are some sort of gouge, a carbide version would be very difficult to obtain for DIY, using a cylindrical carbide stock, braising it to steel and then extensively shaping-difficult
                        because non planar diamond cutters are rare so carbide will be limited to skew cutters. Buying a single gouge in 3/8 or 1/2" will allow you to do a great deal and give you a sense
                        of how far you want to go with this new endeavor. The Woodcraft stores/web site has a lot of work holding stuff well worth looking into if the bug bites. Work holding methods
                        become important as you get into bowl and weed pot turning. There are a variety of chucks, much better than the face plate and screws method.
                        Steve

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                        • #13
                          Mark,

                          Are you (like me) a metal turner who now wants to turn some wood? When I first started turning wood, I thought, fine, it's like a metal lathe with bits missing, so go at it as you would as if you were turning metal. Then, I spent a couple of hours at a basic woodturning class, and found that they do things totally differently. Example - starting with a square lump of wood that you want to make round. Normally, I'd plunge the tool in, and then move from right to left. The wood turner teacher took a chisel, started the lathe, laid the flat underside of the chisel on the top of the work and then pulled the chisel backwards until the tip started to cut. I expected disaster, but it worked perfectly.

                          Might be good to take a couple of hours of lessons, and then buy the chisdels / gouges etc.

                          Ian
                          All of the gear, no idea...

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                          • #14
                            Have a look at this:
                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E3VG6dsVYs
                            While banjo making is not for everyone this artisan has built a really novel wood-machining machine. I hesitate to call it a wood lathe in the conventional sense of the phrase.

                            Another source is Lee Valley Tools (usual disclaimer): http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/pag...=1,330&p=49233
                            All kinds of advanced tools beyond the usual set of 8.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by caveBob View Post
                              Set of 8 Benjamin's Best HSS Lathe Chisel Set
                              http://www.pennstateind.com/store/LCHSS8.html
                              +1

                              Even if you don't buy a set, Penn State Industries is a good place to get singles. I would definitely recommend HSS. They're also selling carbide tipped tools now, too.

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