Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Hollowing tools recommendations

  1. #1

    Hollowing tools recommendations

    I am interested in picking up some tools to help me do some mild hollowing work. Nothing too dramatic, and I know if I get into it, I will likely want to look at full featured hollowing rigs. Right now I have some bowls that I roughed an outside curve that narrows slightly toward the rim, and I can't effectively/safely make the interior cuts with my bowl gouges or conventional scrapers.

    I was looking at the John Jordan hollowing tools as some good arrows to add to my tool quiver. In terms of flexibility, should I start with the 1/2" or 3/4" versions? Is there something else I should be looking at?

    Thanks for any advice. Cheers -


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    San Diego, Ca
    Since you are just starting out, you might just try and make your own hollowing tools. Captain Eddie Castelin has some youtube videos. Hollowing tools are typically just scrapers. On his videos he shows how you take a piece of steel (square or round) and 1/2" dia. You drill a diagonal 45 degree hole at the tip - - stick in a small piece of hardened steel (e.g., a snapped off drill bit) fashioned as a scraper, then you superglue the bit into the piece of steel. Making a handle is an easy wood turning project. Or you can get a round carbide scrape and screw it onto a shaft (straight or curved). Smaller hollowing tubes are less prone to catch. Larger ones can be difficult to control.

    BTW, I learned from Mike Jackoffsky (professional turner that has done perhaps 5000 hollow forms) that when you hollow you hollow (if without a laser or camera) by feel and sound and perhaps with a bent wire gauge to determine thickness. Don't bother to look into the hole as it won't give you a lot of info.

    BTW, you can do some hollowing with regular tools. I have a 6" diameter round sphere with a 1-1/4" dia hole. IIRC, I used standard smaller scrapers inside. I've heard of people taking an Allen wrench and sharpening it and stuffing it into a handle to remove the wood around the rim. Many Allen wrenches are hardened steel. Even if they aren't you could use them but just would have to resharpen more frequently.

    Or you could buy a "Swan neck" hollower. They aren't all that expensive.

    I tend to work on the frugal side. Others may suggest a $500 hollowing rig and $500 of tools. But I'd suggest starting simple and then add things as you want to further "push the envelope".
    Last edited by Brice Rogers; 04-16-2021 at 12:59 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    My 3/4" tools are from John Jordan, then I got 1/2" tools from Trent Bosch to be able to work through a smaller hole. Bigger is more stable and able to reach deeper if access is not an issue. Both work great--they are pretty simple tools. The simple steel cutters, for me, work better than the carbide ones. If you want to go taller than 10" or so you'll need to think about scaling up to 1" tools. A straight tool would be relatively easy to make, swans necks will require more metalworking skill than I have or want to acquire. The ones I have seem pretty fairly priced for what's involved; I'd rather turn than make tools.

    Whatever you do, make sure that any bent tools you get or make are designed such that the cutting tip is aligned on the main axis of the tool, otherwise there will be a strong tendency to rotate the tool and get you into unfavorable and possibly catchy cutting geometry.

    A stabilizing rig makes life much easier for large deep or wide hollow forms hollowed through small holes, but is way overkill for tasks like undercutting bowl rims. For that something like one of Mike Hunter's bent tools with a cup carbide cutter might well give you a nicer surface, as might a scraper ground into a shape to provide the clearance you need to make the undercut.

  4. #4
    I found the Hollow-Pro set to be a good entry into hollowing by hand. The Hunter cutters are excellent.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    sykesville, maryland
    The hunter tools are good. I like the smaller cutters because they aren't as grabie. You'll want a straight tool and swan neck for most hollow forms. Just undercutting rims on bowls, the swan neck works best.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Strongsville OH
    All the tools mentioned previously are quite good. I will throw one more into the mix: the Kelton hollowers (set of 3). They are pretty inexpensive and work great. For hollowing by hand, I have two 3/4 inch bars (straight and swan neck) and the Kelton set for 1/2 inch. I also use the Jamieson rig quite a bit with the same 5 bars. The Jamieson rig comes with a swivel tip which offers great adaptability but are best for use in a rig, because his boring bar is straight rather than swan necked. I suppose you could add the swivel tip to a swan necked bar which would make it easier to use for hand hollowing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kapolei Hawaii
    I like the Rolly Munro cutter. It's shrouded, and adjustable so you can adjust how aggressive (or not) you want to be. Work really well on end grain, not so well on side grain as the shroud sometimes clogs up with shavings if you get too aggressive. I have 2. One is mounted on my Monster hollower, which sadly is no longer available. It uses the Hunter carbide, so sharpening is not needed.
    I also have other Hunters, they all work very well. I have his batch #1 tool, when they first hit the market. It's pretty short, but works well for boxes. I think I have 4 hunters in various configurations. Not counting the Munros. Good cutters.....

  8. #8
    Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who responded. I very much appreciate all of the ideas and info. Cheers -

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregg Carrier View Post
    I was looking at the John Jordan hollowing tools as some good arrows to add to my tool quiver. In terms of flexibility, should I start with the 1/2" or 3/4" versions? Is there something else I should be looking at?
    I haven't tried his 3/4" but have the 1/2" straight and swan neck shafts and the standard and arm brace handles. They work well for small to medium vessels (whatever that means!) I like the feel of the arm brace handle, gives support somewhat like a captive hollowing system without the bulk and expense.

    However, I reach for a different tool for bowls with a turned-in rim. I like the Hunter swan neck to get under the rim. The cutter is angled and removes material nicely. The shank is a very sturdy 5/8" steel, tapering to smaller at the end. The swan neck tool is machined so the carbide cutter is angled down. I also use the straight tool and more recently got the reverse swan neck tool for turning on the other side.

    The Hunter tools can leave a smoother surface than the small bit on the JJ tools. but I usually use a different tool for smoothing - my favorite is a sorby swan neck with their teardrop scraper, or occasionally their round or small curved hand scraper in which I cut a hole to mount. These are used with the scraping edge tilted down a bit. I use the straight shaft near the bottom and sides and the swan neck where needed. Sharpened just like the Stewart McDonald hand scrapers. Note that the sorby tool I have is not like the swan neck hollowing tool they are selling now. Mine is flat on the bottom instead of having a machined flat on the top as their swan neck hollowing tool. I think it's this one or close to it: (I bought it a bunch of years ago, don't know if they still sell the exact tool I have.)

    BTW, I usually only use these inside - I prefer to use negative rake scrapers on the outside and the inside anywhere they can reach. (I've been considering grinding some NRS tips to fit the sorby tools.

    Attached Images Attached Images

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts