Any Tips on Turning with Carbide Insert Tools?

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novice99

New User
Mike
Well I've taken the plunge and brought home a new shiny spinny thing! (I know no pics it didn't happen, but I'm not interested in a stealth gloat).

I have turned some small things on friends' lathes through the years but always with HSS tools. I decided to get my first set of tools with carbide inserts. Before I send chips flying, I was looking for any guidance in how to (or perhaps more importantly how NOT to) use them, in comparison to standard HSS tools. I guess I'm most puzzled on how to use an insert instead of a gouge. I'm used to rotating my wrist along with the angle of the tool and I'm not sure how a round insert would work in that situation. :confused: Any guidance or warning would be appreciated.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Mike: While I can't answer you, I am interested in the same topic (not yet a carbide insert owner, but someday); so I'll be following this thread.

Henry
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
You will get longer life out of carbide, you will get a sharper edge with HSS. Many many years as machinist/lathe operator on metal. over 30 years working wood and one of the few toola I dont have a use for is a WOOD lathe LOL LOL
 

alachua1947

New User
Donald
Mike,
I've been using easy wood tools about 2 years.
The tool needs to be level. Approach the item you are turning very slowly, as it will gouge into the work very quickly.
Keep the tool rest about 1/2 inch from the work.
Hope you enjoy using them.
 

aplpickr

New User
Bill
We bought our first Hunter carbide tool in 2006. My wife hollowed fifty 2" diameter red maple Christmas bell ornaments before we turned the cutter the first time to get a new edge. The tool is on its second cutter after 1700 ornaments. Many threads on WW forums talk about cheaper general replacement cutters, don't bother. These cutters last so long, that they are almost free. The softest wood that this tool has ever cut is red maple. There is definitely a learning curve, just like any tool. Start with wood that you can use in the wood stove. We now have 7 carbide tools.
 

gritz

Robert
Senior User
Speaking from five years of experience...carbide tools do allow an inexperienced turner with a large sandpaper budget to violate most of the rules of turning and still produce acceptable finished pieces, even professional quality pieces. Personally, I now wish I had used the money I spent for the carbide tools in learning from an experienced turner to produce pieces in one fourth the time, and that only need to be occasionally burnished with a piece or two of fine sandpaper. That said, I will probably still continue to rough with carbide.

Tips: Whatever (scraping, not cutting) techniques you teach yourself using carbide tools will one day have to be unlearned if you are to progress as an accomplished turner. Meanwhile, just learn to use and protect your lath, faceplate and chucks, have fun, work slowly and safely, don't overextend the tool, or grind away with a dull cutter. If you find someday that you are no longer satisfied with your tools and techniques, it will be time to learn from a pro.
 

Charlie

Charlie
Corporate Member
I guess I need to burn all 150+ turnings that I have done in the past 5 years, since I do 99% of my turning using the Easy Wood carbide tools (scrapers), and therefore, I am not an accomplished turner.
Heck, I even have to use a bowl steady rest.




 

gator

George
Corporate Member
Donald -
Does your user name indicate you come from Alachua, FL? We call Gainesville home.

George
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
My advice on using carbide tools for turning. Do it the way Charlie does. The results speak for themselves.

I use them but am not nearly as efficient or good as Charlie is with them.

You basically minimize wrist movement - adjust the rest to attack the wood at a 90 degree angle and at 90 degrees from the rotational axis. Just push straight in slowly with the square tool. Just keep level and move out and around along the rest with the round tool to make roundovers. The pointy tool can be used much like a parting tool only again approach the wood at 90/90 degrees.

Once you master the 90/90 you can finesse things a little by angling the tools somewhat, but always keep it parallel to the floor. Fix your wrist and arm and move your body.

EWT has a lot of good videos showing techniques. If you ever get a chance to visit Charlies shop just watch how he does it.
 

Rick M

Rick
Corporate Member
Scrapers pre-date carbide (and HSS) and the idea they are only for novices is disrespectful and incorrect. Skews and gouges are not so difficult to justify elitism. That said I prefer a gouge and skew for most cuts but I also use scrapers, steel and carbide.

Sent from my T-Mobile G2 using Tapatalk 2
 

Mark Stewart

New User
Mark
I am a fan of the easy wood tools I used them a lot when I had my lathe. I found it much easier to hollow with than HSS. and I found the outside cuts on the ambrosia maple I turned to come clean with minimal sanding but what do I know. Just go slow and enjoy the learning process.
 

Bugle

Preston
Corporate Member
Buy LOTS of raffle tickets and hope you win the 2 day 1 on 1 with Charlie. I've had the privilege of having a 1 on 1 with him using easy wood tools and it is well worth it.
 

Hmerkle

Administrator
Hank
Here is a great piece on EWT;
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/w...z-blog/easy-wood-tools-do-make-turning-easier
along with the video...

for years people said "You can't make carbide sharp enough to cut wood..." EWT did and now people are jumping on the band wagon...

It would be GREAT to spend some time with Charlie (anyone with great execution of a tool you want to learn) That is why we have sharpening classes and Rob Cosman, Paul Sellers and a myriad others are making money TEACHING, on-line or in person!!
but on-line videos are great too;
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh48-qjFjHhHCDPuuPZg4VQ

Also consider the robert sorby turnmaster - I don't have one so maybe someone else can chime in - but I like the idea of a head that can hold any one of the inserts rather than three different tools...

http://www.robert-sorby.co.uk/turnmaster.htm

Again - I am not the expert - but a carbide lathe tool is typically used in a scraping approach to the wood. I suggest to think of it like a blade - so if you approach slightly skewed you will move from a scraping cut into a slicing cut. Again, I may be corrected here - but I don't think you would ever get into a situation where you would litterally "Twist the tool" like you would using a bowl gouge or a "Pare to point" like using a skew. (Starting at a 45 degree angle to the axis and turning into an almost vertical finish - for example turning the end of a tool handle.

Last, I do not own any EWT tools (perhaps I am too cheap?) but to me it is just another tool. I have a Dewalt planer, a jointer, a table saw and a LOT of other power tools, but I also have hand planes and hand saws! Each of them works, and some work better than others because I know how to use them!
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
I never had any lessons and don't do professional turning. So, I will not offer any opinions that would be shot down anyway.
 

Hmerkle

Administrator
Hank
I never had any lessons and don't do professional turning. So, I will not offer any opinions that would be shot down anyway.
Yes, but the questions is - do you use carbide turning tools?

...and I will steal a little bit of Mike's thread and ask (Mike and Charlie + anyone else who wants to chime in...)

1. Do you use carbide turning tools?
2. Why
3. When would you "turn" :)rolleyes:) to a carbide tool rather than a HSS tool?
4. Name one advantage of one over the other...
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
I have some carbide tools, I have not had a chance to use them enough to form a valid opinion.

I got them for roughing because it seems to be an area where sharpness can be compromised and long lasting would be an advantage.

Carbide does not have to be sharpened/changed as often, carbide can not be as sharp. I would still use HSS for finishing.

But for me the jury is still out. I'll let you know after I have some lessons from a pro and accomplish turning a real bowl.

I'm still looking for a good deal on a 3/4 inch bowl gouge.


Edit:

I forgot that my Oland tool has a carbide insert, not the wide, flat kind. I use a 1/4 inch square carbide bar from a metal tooling supplier and ground to my personal satisfaction.
 

Hmerkle

Administrator
Hank
I forgot that my Oland tool has a carbide insert, not the wide, flat kind. I use a 1/4 inch square carbide bar from a metal tooling supplier and ground to my personal satisfaction.
Picture please - I think I know what you are talking about, just not sure...
 

Rick M

Rick
Corporate Member
The carbide tool I like and use the least is the radius cutter, the corners tend to catch and tear jagged spirals. But some people really like them so maybe I am too aggressive with it.

Sent from my T-Mobile G2 using Tapatalk 2
 

gritz

Robert
Senior User
Yes, but the questions is - do you use carbide turning tools?

...and I will steal a little bit of Mike's thread and ask (Mike and Charlie + anyone else who wants to chime in...)

1. Do you use carbide turning tools?
2. Why
3. When would you "turn" :)rolleyes:) to a carbide tool rather than a HSS tool?
4. Name one advantage of one over the other...
In response to Hank's query:

1- Yes...for roughing and some final touches.
2- In roughing, it's faster, smoother, easier on the lathe and my body, plus I sharpen less.
3- Re-cutting a bowl foot. Gives a clean outside edge and reduces the chance of a catch during the final passes on the bottom. OK...I'm a chicken but I don't want to waste time and effort to make firewood the final result.
4- The advantage is that you sharpen HSS tools in such a way that a burr is left (similar to a cabinet scraper,) and that is what does the cutting. Inn addition, you can shape the primary and secondary bevels of the tool for the job to be done. An Oland tool, or a gouge with a carbide tip can also be sharpened to leave such a burr. A HSS scraper can be as well, but I have found that it is nigh impossible to do that on the squares and disks used on most popular carbide tools in a home shop setting.
 
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