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Thread: Carbide inserts for hollowing tools?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
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    Carbide inserts for hollowing tools?

    I am going to make some carbide tipped hollowing tools.

    I have a complete metal working machine shop (lathe, mill, knife/belt grinder, drill press, saws, TIG and MIG welders, plasma cutter, tooling, . . . . ) I plan on buying some heat treatable stock and making my own straight and goose necks to then be used in a hollowing system. I've bought a lot of carbide inserts for my metal working tools but just now stepping into the wood turning insert world.

    I have done some searching already but thought I would seek the latest insights here for decent sources of carbide inserts and screws for wood turning/hollowing. Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Last edited by Alan Heffernan; 03-29-2019 at 1:21 PM. Reason: bolded carbide tipped hollowing tools - for clarity sake

  2. #2
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    If you're capable of making your own tooling, my $0.02 is Hunter carbides, hands down. First off, I am not a carbide fan, but for hollowing, I use them, and by far the Hunters are my favorites.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Cambridge Vermont
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    I think heat treating would be overkill. I'm not a big fan of carbide but I do have a couple Hunter tools and a couple clones. The main carbide tool I use is the Hunter osprey tool. The way it's used means there's almost no force at all on it. I have toyed with the idea of making tools to hold that style carbide cutter in different swan neck shapes. But I haven't had a chance to try making any hollow forms yet. The only other carbide tool I have is one that's diamond shape. I haven't tried any of the flat/ curved scraper style ones.

  4. #4
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    I'd go so far as to say a hardened shaft on a turning tool could be dangerous. If the annealing wasn't done well, the shaft could snap with a bad catch. Pay attention to what others are doing with Hunter style cutters. Hardly anyone keeps it flat. Usually it's tiled down and also an angle to the side. It can get real grabby if presented straight into the work in a traditional style scraping cut. If you use a flat carbide insert, don't use anything designed for steel. They don't have enough relief and are not honed to be sharp enough. Don't use anything over 6mm. Large cutters are also hard to control hidden inside a vessel.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Heffernan View Post
    I am going to make some carbide tipped hollowing tools.
    ... I plan on buying some heat treatable stock and making my own straight and goose necks to then be used in a hollowing system. I've bought a lot of carbide inserts for my metal working tools but just now stepping into the wood turning insert world.
    I have done some searching already but thought I would seek the latest insights here for decent sources of carbide inserts and screws for wood turning/hollowing. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Hi Alan!

    I second the thoughts of those who say the Hunter carbide cutters are good. I bought and tried various carbide tipped lathe tools and I'm not yet impressed with the quality of the cut. The Hunter tools are in a different class.

    I also wondered about the need to heat treat the shafts. I think making them from either mild steel or some machinable alloy should be fine for hollowing and other turning.

    I really like Mike Hunter's straight and swan necked tools that have tapered shafts such as this one: http://huntertoolsystems.com/product...wan-neck-tool/. The cutters are small and remove wood with little force and the taper provides strength and vibration resistance as well as a smaller diameter at the working end to get into tighter places. If making tools from scratch I'd probably turn a taper on a rod then heat and bend. If heat treating you might anneal for toughness instead of hardness.

    As for cutters and screws, you can buy them from Hunter. He even sells the cutters, bits, and a short shaft with a machined pocket and threaded hole for the cutter:
    http://huntertoolsystems.com/product-category/retrofit/

    JKJ

  6. #6
    I'm not certain that there is any if much difference between the quality of carbide sold today by US suppliers and my favourite is AZCarbide. Price point is great and Ron Campbell is a treat to work with!
    Pete


    * It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for life - Sister Elizabeth Kenny *
    I think this equates nicely to wood turning as well . . . . .

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Haubstadt (Evansville), Indiana
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    I like AZcarbides also, but haven't tried the Hunter. The carbide cutters that came with my Hope hollowing system are also very good.
    When working I had more money than time. In retirement I have more time than money. Love the time, miss the money.

  8. If you have a machine shop and use carbide cutters, you may want to try metal cutting inserts to cut wood. I had some high feed milling inserts, both round and square that were used for metal cutting. Out of the box they dont cut wood at all. I took the inserts on a flat diamond stone and took a half a dozen swipes on the stone, and now the inserts cut wood like butter.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Alan, I have a similarly equipped machine shop.

    I have made a half dozen carbide tools. I typically have bought my carbides from AZ carbide. But I also bought a couple dozen 0.4x0.4" square cutters intended for a jointer/planer @ about $2 each on ebay. Eddie Casteline also sells a variety of cutters at reasonable costs.

    My most sophisticated carbide tool is my own version of the Hunter Hercules tool.

    I also have a few tools that use high-carbon steel inserts that I have hardened. I have taken old files (good source of high-carbon steel), annealed them to a soft state, shaped them and drilled a hole and then re-hardened them. Some I will also temper to make less brittle. I also have a couple of tools that I've made from M2 tool steel. It helps to have an electric kiln and a toaster oven for heat treating.

    I use those tools for specialty purposes but I my primary tools are conventional tools like gouges, scrapers, NRS, etc.

  10. #10
    Steve any chance of a photo and can you please clarify exactly what you did with your diamond stone? Did you swipe the top or the cutting edge or ???
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Estabrooks View Post
    If you have a machine shop and use carbide cutters, you may want to try metal cutting inserts to cut wood. I had some high feed milling inserts, both round and square that were used for metal cutting. Out of the box they dont cut wood at all. I took the inserts on a flat diamond stone and took a half a dozen swipes on the stone, and now the inserts cut wood like butter.
    Pete


    * It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for life - Sister Elizabeth Kenny *
    I think this equates nicely to wood turning as well . . . . .

  11. I've talked to a few guys who use recycled metal turning bits. They hone the top to sharpen it.

  12. #12
    Russel are you talking about carbide inserts or other steel metal lathe bits? The inserts I see most for metal have a small edge and a sort of 'trough' next to the edge. I think they might be ruined by honing the top but I've been wrong lots of times before!!! LOL!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Nugent View Post
    I've talked to a few guys who use recycled metal turning bits. They hone the top to sharpen it.
    Pete


    * It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for life - Sister Elizabeth Kenny *
    I think this equates nicely to wood turning as well . . . . .

  13. The inserts. I haven't tried it with them myself. It apparently works because the top of the cutter doesn't matter. The cutting is done by the carbide on the front edge.

  14. #14
    Interesting, I guess I'll have to give it a try but not too sure yet if I'll try honing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Nugent View Post
    The inserts. I haven't tried it with them myself. It apparently works because the top of the cutter doesn't matter. The cutting is done by the carbide on the front edge.
    Pete


    * It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for life - Sister Elizabeth Kenny *
    I think this equates nicely to wood turning as well . . . . .

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Southwestern Penna.
    Posts
    320
    For several years I have been using Captain Eddie Castelin's carbide inserts. He has a good selection and very good prices. Also he has round inserts in several sizes which are hard to find sometimes. You do sharpen them by honing the top. The ones with the trough are for metal cutting.

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