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What size turning tools to start with?

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WoodPecker

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Hi,

I've decided to start keeping an eye out for some good quality turning tools, I have an idea what to start looking for but what sizes. Intend watching out for the first three first and then taking it from there:


Roughing gouge
Parting Tool
Spindle gouge

Skew

Boul Gouge
Round nose scraper
 

Argee

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Adrian,

The roughing gouge will depend upon what you're intending to turn down from square to cylinder - I like to use a fairly large one, suitable for table legs, lamp standards, etc. and I've become quite adept at using it on smaller projects too. Probably, a 3/4" is the place to start.

Parting tools also depend upon what you're parting from what. I've got a couple of different sizes, but I favour the very thin variety for fine parting off - although you can get the occasional grab with them if not careful. Larger parting tools can double as small skews - but only if very sharp!

Spindle gouges are much of a muchness (as my dear old Mum used to say!), the 1/2" is pretty well standard here. If you only do occasional spindle work, have a look at the Spindlemaster, it's a little more user-friendly.

Skews are an acquired taste. I've tried the oval ones - hated them and reverted to the largest flat one I could find. Remember to get the tool rest above centre and never try to plane inwards from an edge, otherwise you're likely to get a spectacular dig-in.

Bowl gouges come in a variety of sizes, although the 3/8" is the most often used. I do have larger and smaller sizes, but find that the 3/8" is the one I most often reach for.

Round nose scrapers are not my favourite tool, but around 1" is readily-available and fairly user-friendly. HTH, although I'm sure that there will be other replies that will differ - turning swiftly becomes a matter of personal preference and I'm pleased to see that you've got your eye on quality right from the start. :)

Ray.
 

Taffy Turner

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Hi Adrian,

Turning tools are a bit of a personal preference thing, but here are the sizes I would look for to start off with: -

Roughing gouge - 3/4" is the most common, although 1" or even 1 1/4" would probably suit.

Parting tool - 1/8" is most useful.

Spindle gouge - 3/8" is the most used tool I posses.

Skew - Either 1" or 3/4" oval section, or flat section with rounded corners.

Bowl gouge - Either a 1/2" or 3/8" depending on how big bowls you intend to turn. For small bowls go for the 3/8, if you fancy having a go at bigger stuff, go with the 1/2"

Round nosed scraper - probably a 3/4" would suite. Go for the deepest one you can find - less vibration!

As I said, the above would be my preferences, but I am sure others will be along soon with their favorites - as I said, it is a bit of a personal thing, and is heavily influenced by the kind of work you intend to do.

Make sure you only go with well known brands (Robert Sorby, Crown, Ashley Isles, etc)- avoid cheap unbranded stuff like the plague. Cheap tools are not only a waste of money, but could put you off turning for life! Record Power do a good range of turning tools that are very reasonably priced for the quality, and would be fine for a beginner who didn't want to lay out large chunks of cash initially. I have a number of tools from Craft Supplies "Home of Woodturning range", and have been very happy with them - not the cheapest, but not the dearest either!

All the best,

Regards

Gary
 

WoodPecker

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Make sure you only go with well known brands (Robert Sorby, Crown, Ashley Isles, etc)- avoid cheap unbranded stuff like the plague.
I assume I should go for HSS in addition to this? I was at a market last weekend and I had a chance of buying a good looking second hand spindle gouge (I think it was crown) for £20, I couldn't see HSS on it anywhere so i didn't buy it, anyway I thought he was looking for a bit much for it as it was second hand after all even though it looked like it it had been looked after, and I've seen new ones on the web for not much more than this.
 

Argee

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WoodPecker":d04ea6ve said:
Make sure you only go with well known brands (Robert Sorby, Crown, Ashley Isles, etc)- avoid cheap unbranded stuff like the plague.
I assume I should go for HSS in addition to this?
Yes, HSS is the way to go. You may not neccessarily find this stamped on the tool, but tools from those manufacturers mentioned by Taffy will be made of it. If it's another maker, then be sure to check it's HSS first. This link may be of interest.

Ray.
 

PowerTool

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Yes,stick to HSS.

I bought my first lathe earlier this year,which came with some chisels,which I duly used.
After learning more (via forums like this),I recently bought a set of HSS chisels,and they are just ssoooo much better (even though the price comparison is one HSS chisel = one set of cheaper chisels) - another case of "once you try them,you will wonder how you ever managed before" :D

Andrew
 

WoodPecker

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Yes, HSS is the way to go. You may not neccessarily find this stamped on the tool, but tools from those manufacturers mentioned by Taffy will be made of it. If it's another maker, then be sure to check it's HSS first. This link may be of interest.
Thanks for the link, That's useful to know about the Henry Taylor tools. I had a look at the other manufacturers sites to see how to identify HSS:

Henry Taylor tools - Dark stained beech handle = HSS, Yellow handles = Carbon Steel.

Robert Sorby, HSS is stamped on the shaft. (Are there exceptions i.e. Unstamped HSS tools???)

Crown tools - Dark stained beech handle = HSS (But I don't know if this is to specifically identify HSS)

Hamlet Craft - Dark handles, HSS is stamped on the shaft.

Ashley Isles - Quote from web page:
"Ashley Iles standard turning tools are available in both carbon and high speed steel. Some patterns of tool are available in both types of steel. Other patterns are available in one type of steel but not the other. "
No info on how to identify HSS tools.

The spindle gouge I looked at in the market had a dark handle, could have been HSS, I guess a little knowledge can be a powerful thing :roll:
 

geoff_tulip

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there are many makes of tools out there - i would second the advice to stick to a well known make, and keep to hss. if you havnt master grinding you may find you are grinding away a fair bit of expensive tools at the start. as a beginner i bought a set of tools from record. about 8 in the set i think. but a smaller set would have done jsut as good. a skew, parting tool, spindle gouge, roughing gouge, and 3/8 bowl gouge is a sensible start. form there you will see whether its bowls or spindlework that is your thing and hence expand your tools and step in quality if needed.
 

Taffy Turner

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Adrian,

I don't think you can rely on the colour of the handle to identify the type of steel in the tool.

The only definitive way I know of doing it is by spark testing. If you get two tools, one of which you know is definitely carbon steel and the other is definitely HSS, lightly grind each one and watch the sparks that come off - they are totally different. One has white colour sparks, and the other is much more orange. Sadly, I can't at the moment remember which is which! #-o Also the pattern is different. If you try it you will see what I mean.

I realise that this isn't much help when looking for second hand tools at a boot sale for example! I think the safest option is that if it isn't stamped or etched HSS, then steer clear.

Regards

Gary
 

WoodPecker

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I realise that this isn't much help when looking for second hand tools at a boot sale for example! I think the safest option is that if it isn't stamped or etched HSS, then steer clear.
I reckon you're right, I don't suppose a guy in a market/boot sale will be impressed if I ask him if I can grind it before buying, "I've got a genny and a grinder in my boot, do you mind if...." :shock:
 

CHJ

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Taffy Turner":1j0ykb4c said:
..snip... One has white colour sparks, and the other is much more orange. Sadly, I can't at the moment remember which is which!
The HSS will be a whiter Spark, basically the harder the steel the whiter.
 

trevtheturner

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Hi Adrian,

I have just been looking at the latest Rutlands catalogue and their new range of Dakota turning tools looks interesting, with attractive prices. Description of the steel looks good, although I cannot give a recommendation, never having used any Dakota stuff. Perhaps somebody else has?

Other than that, I started with Henry Taylor HSS tools (best prices from Benfield Tools, Weston-super-Mare) - they have been fine and I still use them.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

Chris Knight

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Trev,
AFAIK, Dakota is just Rutlands' catch-all name for any FE imported stuff so it may or may not be good and probably even the same tools differ in quality as stock turns over.
 

trevtheturner

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That certainly makes sense, Chris, as a second look showed me that Rutlands have some 55 pages of various Dakota stuff in their catalogue. :shock:

Thanks for the information.

It certainly seems to be a case of caveat emptor here.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

Taffy Turner

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If I was looking for a reasonably priced set of decent turning tools to start off with, I would certainly give the Record Power range a good looking at.

They appear to be perfectly decent quality, and the prices are very competitive.

They are available individually, or as sets.

See here for details

http://www.recordpower.co.uk/index.pl?c=TURNING-TOOLS

Regards

Gary
 

Noel

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Agree with Taffy, the Record set seems reasonable quality. Had them for about six months now. Factory grind profiles need a bit of modifying, but otherwise can't fault them.

Noel
 

MARK T

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In reply to Chris's comments on Dakota:

1. Dakota is a registered trademark of Rutlands Ltd
2. Over 65% of the Dakota products are sourced from North America. The balance are from factories in Taiwan, China, Germany and Scandinavia.
3. Rutlands inspects and tests all Dakota branded products prior to inclusion in the Rutlands catalogue.
4. In relation to Dakota turning tools, these are manufactured in the same factory as another well known Sheffield brand that is mention on this page.
5. The quality control systems adhered to by the factories that produce Dakota products ensures batch quality and batch consistency.


Regards

Mark
Managing Director
Rutlands Ltd
 

Noel

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Hi Mark, can I make a few little constructive comments?
Speaking personally I enjoy flicking through your catalogues etc and I can understand people's scepticism regarding the "Dakota" brand. In the modern tool world rebranding and relabeling is so common it very hard to ascertain quality. I have a couple of Dakota items (aquired used) and they are identical, generically, to items sold from Woodcraft in the US to Carbatec in Australia and all points in between and I think this is where the scepticism is coming from. Granted it's not easy trying to establish a brand these days in a crowded and transient market.

Couple of other things Mark. "Highly recommended by Rutlands Ltd". This statement really does my head in and adds no value whatsoever to the product in question. Well of course you recommend it!!! But the statement insults my intelligence. Same goes for the quotes that are often included in the product description such as "America's best selling carbide router cutters" Under what brand are they best selling? With the world getting a smaller place these days woodworkers are becoming more interested in the pedigree of tools in order to make a more informed purchasing decision.

As you may well be aware Rutlands had a few customer service issues in the past from Forum members and I'm glad that the tide has turned and most posts from members are now positive. On a further positive note the artwork and layout of the Rutland catalogues are very well done and, as mentioned earlier, I enjoy looking through them.

Regarding the Dakota router cutters, I guess I shall have the chance to find out what they are like as I'll be ordering a set shortly, now that postage charges are more attractive.

Rgds

Noel
 
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