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Thread: Buying First Turning Tools (set advice and/or individual)

  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Mattsen View Post
    I forgot to ask: the 8" tool rest that came stock with my lathe seems like something I'll want to upgrade. Any suggestions It's a 1" (24.5mm) post. I wonder if you just buy another tool rest that's larger or are there systems? Better makers than others for reasons I'm not aware of?
    I've added a few tool rests to my 12/16 setup. I have the Robust 12" and 9" J-rest. I also have the Oneway 12" curved tool rest for bowls. I also plan on getting the D-way 13" offset for additional reach from the side.

    I like the 12" Robust for longer spindles as well as for some bowl turning. I don't use the J rest as much as I thought I would for bowl interiors, but it does come in handy sometimes, though I feel like I have to constantly adjust it. The Oneway curved tool rest is fairly new to me - overall I like it for reaching around larger bowls more easily, but bowl interiors I still have to fiddle around with it a bit, and it does induce vibrations when it is supporting the bowl gouge all the way at the end, but this could also be due to the banjo not holding it as solidly as possible.

    Tool rest purchases will really depend on what kind of turning you want to do. If you want to do even smaller things, Robust has a 4" as well, I believe

    I've heard good things about Steve Sinner's tool rests, but I believe you have to call in to order, so I haven't tried one of his.

    Before you order a tool rest, make sure the post is of the correct diameter and length for the 12/16, and that the distance from the top of the post to the top of the tool rest is also appropriate. If I remember correctly, for the 12/16, you can't use the full height Robust tool rests, you need the shorter one from the tool post top to the tool rest top, if that makes sense.

  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Mattsen View Post
    Would this be a decent starting point for a chuck to use in tailstock for forstner and other bit drilling procedures? Is there anything about buying a chuck that I should lookout for other than quality/longevity vs price (these are inexpensive options)?

    PSI Woodworking Products TM32KL 1/2-Inch Keyless Drill Chuck with #2 Morse Taper Arbor (1/2" 2MT Keyless) ($40)


    Rockler sells a keyed chuck and taper which ends up being ($60)

    Woodcraft sells WoodRiver - 1/2" Capacity x #2 MT Lathe Keyless Drill Chuck ($64.99

    If you had to buy two Forstner bits for drilling boxes what sizes are ideal?
    The PSI keyless chuck looks like it would work just fine. I believe all my keyless chucks were right around that price point too, and I have not had any problems with mine.

    What size boxes are you thinking of making?

    The most common forstner bit that I use is a 2 1/8, which is a very convenient size for me since it is the largest one that I have, and the 2 inch chuck jaws fit into the mortise that this cuts, making bowl mounting a lot easier for me. Other than that, I don't really use any other sizes for my turning. I've thought about larger forstner bits, but there just doesn't seem to be one that has universally great reviews - if you find one though, let me know!

    The 2 1/8 forstner bit that I use the most is also the 'wave' style, but by freud: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000AV74R/

    I do have a woodcraft set from 1/4 through 2 1/8, and I use those in my hand drills when needed typically.

  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by Melvin Feng View Post
    The PSI keyless chuck looks like it would work just fine. I believe all my keyless chucks were right around that price point too, and I have not had any problems with mine.

    What size boxes are you thinking of making?

    The most common forstner bit that I use is a 2 1/8, which is a very convenient size for me since it is the largest one that I have, and the 2 inch chuck jaws fit into the mortise that this cuts, making bowl mounting a lot easier for me. Other than that, I don't really use any other sizes for my turning. I've thought about larger forstner bits, but there just doesn't seem to be one that has universally great reviews - if you find one though, let me know!

    The 2 1/8 forstner bit that I use the most is also the 'wave' style, but by freud: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000AV74R/

    I do have a woodcraft set from 1/4 through 2 1/8, and I use those in my hand drills when needed typically.
    2 1/8 seems ideal, thanks. The reason I asked about multiple bits is if people typically use a smaller one first then the full sized (2 1/8) or just one. I'm looking at smaller style boxes and maybe some acorn boxes later on. Spice jars (wife request). But mostly I'm interested in something similar to the boxes George Watkins makes ("from the tree"). Absolutely love his work. Something to aspire to and a project that interests me a lot.
    il_794xN.2854121204_4gp2.jpg

  4. #64
    Oh nice, didn't realize you had the same lathe. Once again, I appreciate the support for you (and all the contributors).

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Mattsen View Post
    2 1/8 seems ideal, thanks. The reason I asked about multiple bits is if people typically use a smaller one first then the full sized (2 1/8) or just one. I'm looking at smaller style boxes and maybe some acorn boxes later on. Spice jars (wife request). But mostly I'm interested in something similar to the boxes George Watkins makes ("from the tree"). Absolutely love his work. Something to aspire to and a project that interests me a lot.
    il_794xN.2854121204_4gp2.jpg
    Ah! Then I'd recommend looking at those dimensions of what you will be working on the most, and buy based on that. I don't have too much trouble drilling with the 2 1/8 bit on my 12/16, but you do have to be careful as I can definitely stall the motor if I'm too aggressive. With the forstner bit, you also want to pull it out regularly so that it doesn't overheat.

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Reed Gray View Post
    Your list of tools above are what I would consider a good starting set. I guess part of selecting what you will want and need is dependent on your lathe. If you have a 16 or bigger lathe, then go with the larger sized tools. If you have a minl lathe, then go with the smaller tools, except for the parting tool, generally thinner is better. Once you get into bowls, you will want at least 2 gouges. One with a more pointed nose, like the 40/40 grind, and a bottom of bowl gouge, which has about a 60 or 70 degree bevel angle. For scrapers, I would suggest 2, one a standard scraper, and one ground to be a NRS (negative rake scraper). Both can be handy, and with the round nose, you can cut in either direction. I would go with at least M2HSS, and not stuff that is just listed as 'HSS' as that kind of quality is not dependable. I have a bunch of videos up on You Tube, mostly about bowl turning, but a lot about sharpening. I am one who prefers to buy better quality tools to start. I still have some tools from the first set I got, back in the days when there were not all the specialty tools around. None of them ever got worn down so short that they were not sharpenable any more. Woodcraft does carry some nice tools. Thompson and D Way have some of the best out there. Packard and Craft Supplies are also good sources, and Lee Valley has some good tools also.

    robo hippy
    I'm slowly working through your collection of videos and had watched a few before seeing this post. Tons of good info!

    I have a Laguna 12/16 Midi lathe, capable of 16" bowls w/ the extension pkg.

    Would you have any NRS and curved scraper suggestions? So many out there to choose from. I know I want a 3/4" NRS scraper and 3/4" round nose scraper for making boxes, but perhaps larger size is better for other work like bowls. Eventually I may get to making some of my own tools but I need a starting point for now. Sizing tools is difficult for a newbie like me. I have learned a bit about who makes the quality steel.

    I plan on getting a Thompson bowl gouge through the club I've recently become a part of (Southwest Washington Woodturners Association). Primarily, does a 1/2" bowl gouge seem right for the size work I can do on my lathe?

  7. #67
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Mattsen View Post
    ...
    Would you have any NRS and curved scraper suggestions? So many out there to choose from. I know I want a 3/4" NRS scraper and 3/4" round nose scraper for making boxes, but perhaps larger size is better for other work like bowls. Eventually I may get to making some of my own tools but I need a starting point for now. Sizing tools is difficult for a newbie like me. I have learned a bit about who makes the quality steel.
    ...
    I've never bought a NRS but I've made plenty, all ground from Thompson tool scraper, skew, round stock and a few ground from gouges. The size and the profile depends on what you are doing. I sometimes regrind one on the fly for a special profile or purpose, for example to fit into a tight spot.

    You probably need to start slowly, get more experience, and try various things before you decide what works best for the things you want to do. Remember that any scraper can be reground to make a different kind of scraper. I've posted these before, but after trying a lot of things I find these NRS the most useful for me. I usually put a different NRS grind on the other end for more mileage. I don't put any of these in handles - they are used so gently there is no need.

    _scrapers_IMG_7777.jpg scrapers_neg_rake.jpg scrapers_small_thompson.jpg

    (All these are for smoothing, not for hollowing.)

    I have more but I don't have more pictures at the moment.

    JKJ

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    I've never bought a NRS but I've made plenty, all ground from Thompson tool scraper, skew, round stock and a few ground from gouges. The size and the profile depends on what you are doing. I sometimes regrind one on the fly for a special profile or purpose, for example to fit into a tight spot.

    You probably need to start slowly, get more experience, and try various things before you decide what works best for the things you want to do. Remember that any scraper can be reground to make a different kind of scraper. I've posted these before, but after trying a lot of things I find these NRS the most useful for me. I usually put a different NRS grind on the other end for more mileage. I don't put any of these in handles - they are used so gently there is no need.

    _scrapers_IMG_7777.jpg scrapers_neg_rake.jpg scrapers_small_thompson.jpg

    (All these are for smoothing, not for hollowing.)

    I have more but I don't have more pictures at the moment.

    JKJ
    Those on the left look ideal toward what I'm looking for (or make). What degree is the grind on those on the left? The ones on the right look new to me. I hadn't thought about just not using handles, nice idea. I'm sure it's easier to sharpen/grind that way.
    Last edited by Allen Mattsen; 02-20-2021 at 4:47 PM.

  9. #69
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Mattsen View Post
    Those on the left look ideal toward what I'm looking for (or make). What degree is the grind on those on the left? The ones on the right look new to me. I hadn't thought about just not using handles, nice idea. I'm sure it's easier to sharpen/grind that way.
    Those on the left are the same ones as in the middle. I use about 60-deg included angle for these. I have several ground nearly the same and burnish a burr on the side I want to be up, giving me Left hand and Right hand scrapers, sometimes more appropriate in some areas, inside or out. I can swap the direction as needed by honing off the burr and adding another. I keep several mostly ground the same so as one gets dull I can pick up another.

    Most NRS are ground with the lower bevel longer and the upper bevel shorter but it doesn't matter one bit, as long as the included angle is less than 90-deg. By grinding the bottom bevel the same as the top I get the same feel regardless of which side is up. (with the correct burr, of course)

    I've seen several professional turners use and sell these ground similarly BUT rounded over at the end where I grind more or less a flat. For me, the flat works far better in some situations, for example holding the tool straight into a mostly flat or slightly dished surface. With the flat I can make a flatter surface without having to pay as much attention! I have never seen any others made like this but I know several people now using this design after seeing it.

    Here I'm using the rounded part to work on a concave curve. BTW, from the photo it might look like the tool tip is raised a little but it's not, it's perfectly horizontal and held flat on the rest.

    NRS_curved.jpg

    The flat is especially useful when removing tool marks corners or wings when "turning air". I've had people tell me you cannot use a scraper on wings but I disagree. I keep the speed high, keep the tool rock steady against the rest.

    NRS_IMG_7515.jpg

    I do have one I've ground with a rather tight radius on the end for a special purpose, cleaning up in a fairly narrow cove on the base of a piece. Worked well. Also ground at 60-deg with the top and bottom bevels the same. I ground it from a Sorby scraper.

    NRS_rounded.jpg

    BTW, you can also use a swept-back spindle or bowl gouge as a NRS if you turn it upside down. Similar to sheer scraping but doesn't cut quite as well BUT can be a little more forgiving than shear scraping if you mess up a bit. Good for tight spots sometimes if you don't have something else handy. I think I was making the box in the 3rd picture.

    scraper_gouge!.jpg scraper_gouge2.jpg elm_box_comp.jpg

    I have a bunch of small scrapers as in the photo on the right. One is only about 1/8" wide, rounded on the end. I sometimes small scrapers for a single purpose, sometimes find I use them over end over. I think all of these are sharpened on both ends with a different profile. A small scraper is good for cleaning up inside a recess up against edges in tight places.

    scraper_box_IMG_20171220_113048_415-1.jpg

    One funny story about the small scrapers - many years ago I was at John C Campbell for a class and I brought some of these along. A good friend at the lathe in front of me turned around and saw the scraper I'd ground from a Thompson shallow detail gouge. He hit the ceiling - said he'd had one on backorder for months and here I was grinding them into scrapers!

    JKJ
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 02-20-2021 at 8:05 PM. Reason: typos

  10. #70
    Thoughts on the D-Way bowl gouge, U shaped, fingernail grind vs Thompson V shaped, fingernail grind bowl gouge?

    I like the D-way handles and quick-change ability of those and I've read that for a beginner like myself, the Thompson gouge may be a bit more challenging. I get that Thompson's steel is deemed better by most accounts. Just thinking in terms of usability as far as the flute shapes here, mostly.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Mattsen View Post
    Thoughts on the D-Way bowl gouge, U shaped, fingernail grind vs Thompson V shaped, fingernail grind bowl gouge?
    ...
    After years of hearing about and trying various grinds and flute shapes I've come to the conclusion that there is not a huge difference, especially to a beginner. Some pros say only use this, this is better, just trust me. Part of the strong recommendation is because that guy has gotten used to it. I'm convinced that an experienced turner can turn well with almost any shape, once he makes a few cuts and sees how it handles.

    I think you'll be happy with either tool, or another good brand, especially once you get a chance to experiment with the shape of the grind. What's more important is learning good tool control and how to keep the tool sharp.

    My opinion only, some tool connoisseurs will have other opinions.

    JKJ

  12. #72
    What are your thoughts on bottom bowl gouges, specifically if your bowl size limit is 16"?

    I noticed Thompson is sold out of them and watched an interesting video on them from D-Way tools. I've read in other (woodturning forum) searches that many think you need the two together but I don't know Probably not necessary at first or for smaller bowls, but need some perspective on this either way.

    I'm going to buy the 1/2 D-Way tools fingernail grind bowl gouge with 12" handle tomorrow barring an onslaught of new info 😊

  13. #73
    I just went through this process and got the PSI Benjamin's Best ones. They seem nice. PSI sent me some free carbide ones with the lathe I bought as part of a deal they were running a few months ago, and I sold those for $80 on CL, essentially getting the BB one's for free.

  14. #74
    New, quality tools so far:

    D- Way 1/2 bowl gouge (& 12" handle)
    20210227_184220.jpg
    2 other Doug Thompson 3/8 gouges (Spindle and Bowl, bought locally though my club since they had on hand)
    20210227_184151.jpg

    I think next must be a good NRS (or grind one from stock) and a box scraper. Hard to decide on the sizes of scrapers
    Some say big, heft ones and others use 3/4 or 1".
    Last edited by Allen Mattsen; Yesterday at 10:57 PM. Reason: typos

  15. #75
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    Allen -- Congratulations on the new tools! I'm sure they'll serve you well.

    I have several negative rake scrapers. In fact, most of my scrapers have been ground to have a negative rake. But you know what my most frequently used negative scraper is? My skew! Laid flat on the tool rest, it is a great negative rake scraper. (I also use my skews for planing cuts, peeling cuts, making beads, shallow coves, etc. Which is why one is always close to hand when I decide I need to refine a shape by scraping.)
    David Walser
    Mesa, Arizona

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