What chisels/gouges should i acquire?

JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
I recently purchased a lathe and some tools from a member here. The chisels are made by Crown. Ive attached a picture of the set i believe i have, minus the round nose scraper.
The tools are:

No. 230 - 3/4" 19mm Roughing Out Gouge
No. 236 - 3/8" 10 mm Spindle Gouge
No. 245 - 1/4" 6 mm Parting Tool
No. 270 - 1/2" 13mm Skew

My question is, what other tools should I get? Its a 10" lathe so I won't be turning any big bowls but I'm interested in learning/turning anything and everything. Legs, small bowls, cups, etc. Ive made a few thingamabobs to practice using the tools, but not sure which others would come in handy.

From videos I've seen it looks like a 3/4 skew chisel would be a good addition, not sure if rounded or straight.

Also hoping to find someone local that would be willing to share some knowledge.
 

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Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Start with that set, learn well, then when you come to a project that really requires a different tool buy it. Otherwise you end up with some expensive tools that you’ll never use.

It would help to know where “local” is.
 

JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
Sorry, I've been clicking on everyone's name to see where they are located :D.

Cherryville, about 15 minutes west of Lincolnton. An hour west of Charlotte if not rush hour.

Only thing I noticed that piqued my interest with the 3/4 skew was being able to quickly take off stock, like if doing a mallet to get closer to the handle size. I'd suppose the rough gouge could do it but all the videos I've seen they've switched to a skew, i guess because they have it.
 

beloitdavisja

James
Corporate Member
You have a great starter set - all of those are the corner stone of traditional tools. If you want to do some small bowl work, I'd pick up a 3/8" bowl gouge. That should round out your collection nicely.

For what I do (mostly pens, and bowls), my most used tools are:
  • 1/2" skew
  • 1" skew
  • 3/8 WoodRiver Bowl gouge
  • 1/2" Sorby bowl gouge (actually a 5/8" since it's british and they measure gouges differently)
Pretty much all my pens are turned with the skew - wood or acrylic. Learn the skew, and it will be the most useful tool in your collection for it's versatility. Watch Alan Batty's video on the skew for a wealth of information. The skews I have are from my Harbor Freight set. They won't hold an edge like Crown or Sorby will, but my sharpening setup makes it pretty easy to touch them up, so I'll keep using them until I either wear them out or a better one is gifted to me :)

If you want to venture into some carbide tools, a NCWW member sells them on his site and I highly recommend them. He's much cheaper than Easy Wood Tools or equivalent brand. You can buy the tool only, and turn the handles yourself. I find that the most useful one for me is actually the detailing tool.

Finally, and I say this to all new woodturners - DONT use that spindle roughing gouge anywhere on a bowl.
 

JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
Thanks for the reply. I have heard in quite a few videos to not use the roughing gouge on a bowl. But I was under the impression it was inside (end grain) only. Do you say anywhere on a bowl to remove the temptation to use whats in your hand and end up with a flying metal (or wood) projectile?
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
IT also depends on how big or how small you are working. I do medium-medium larger stuff, so most of my tools are bigger/longer. But, that said, what Mike wrote is the most important, just work with what you got until you understand how each tool works, you can effectively use them and then, you can move from there.

After the starter set, make sure you only get quality tools.

I always tells guys, do not buy a Steinway piano until you know how to play piano and can tell why that piano is better. Same is true for anything.
 

JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
IT also depends on how big or how small you are working. I do medium-medium larger stuff, so most of my tools are bigger/longer. But, that said, what Mike wrote is the most important, just work with what you got until you understand how each tool works, you can effectively use them and then, you can move from there.

After the starter set, make sure you only get quality tools.

I always tells guys, do not buy a Steinway piano until you know how to play piano and can tell why that piano is better. Same is true for anything.
I suppose experience will tell but right now the skys the limit. Obviously with a mini lathe I won't be turning any salad bowls, but I think id enjoy goblets, small bowls, mallets, pens, etc. Maybe if I get proficient enough id give table legs a try, havent looked into how to duplicate designs, but that'll be down the road a good ways anyway.

I guess quality tools really are like pianos, I dont know what would qualify as a quality tool much as I wouldn't have been able to name Steinway as a piano maker. Are the Crowns considered beginner or good quality?
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
Crown tools are good! You can keep those in your kit until you're a master turner and the irons are ground down to nubs. In my experience, good HSS turning tool sets are always popping up on Craigslist for very cheap. I've netted both my large skew and two bowl gouges for free by buying a used set, removing the tool I need, and reselling the set for the same price.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
Cody, you could go to the AAW site and see if there is a local group of turners in your area. There was a group in Hickory at one time. Anyway, the way to get good at turning is to turn. Practice, practice, practice. Try different woods. Look at the YouTube videos to get ideas. Good luck.

Roy G
 

JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
I've been practicing as I have time, just trying out the tools and how to manipulate them from info I've found in videos. Just practicing on pine cutoffs right now. I understand that it'll react differently when using different wood/hardwoods.

Here's a picture of the second thingamabob I turned just getting a feel for things.
 

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Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
In MHO Crown are very good tools, and Sorby is very proud of it's tools price wise. What you have is a good starter set. Mike is correct. Use what you have until you need an additional tool. I looked at the skew video. Wow! It's an eye opener, and I think I'll give some of his techniques a try. I have a 1 in. straight and 1 in. rounded skew. I have found little use for the rounded. I think there is something I don't know about this tool. If I keep fiddling with I may have an enlightenment, and decide it's the best thing since sliced bread. That said You learn by using and I still need to do a little using. Play with what you have and when you see what you have can do you may never need ant other tools. LOL I was first introduced to the lathe in 8th grade shop (long ago) and I remember what my teacher said "a boy with a lathe can make a lot of sawdust and come up with a toothpick."

Pop
 

smallboat

smallboat
Corporate Member
Good advice all around. I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this so I will.
Whatever you have, you'll need to keep it sharp.
 

JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
I was slightly off on the set, appears the skew I have is a 3/8 skew.

To make sure I have the rest right I'm attaching a picture of my actual tools.

The roughing gouge Im guessing is measured from inside cutting edge to inside cutting edge. That would make it 3/4. So, from top to bottom looks like:
3/8 spindle gouge
3/4 roughing gouge
3/8 skew
1/4 parting tool? Not sure how this one is measured. If its across the long section I'd guess its half inch, haven't measured it to be precise. Of along the cutting portion itd be around 1/8. So if it is 1/4" is it half the long section measurement?

Please correct me if I'm wrong on any if this. I should've put something in for size, but I do know measuring across the inside points of the roughing gouge was 3/4"

I'm having fun feeling the lathe out.

Speaking of sharpening. I have stoned for my chisels, is there a more appropriate sharpener for the lathe tools? Don't have a bench grinder, its on the lost of nice to have but haven't had a reason to pick one up yet
 

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beloitdavisja

James
Corporate Member
I don't believe that's a skew. Looks more like a point tool, which is a sort of specialty tool. Skews are not made from round bar stock. Might have a better idea if you had a close up of that tool.

The parting tool is measured by the cutting portion, so it's a 1/8".

You won't want to use flat stones to sharpen. It's difficult to sharpen the curved surface consistently. I'm sure you could do it, but you'd soon find it time consuming and frustrating. My sharpening setup is a 1/2hp slow speed Rikon grinder, with 2 CBN wheels from Woodturner's Wonders (180 & 600 grit) with a One-way Wolverine sharpening jig. It's not cheap, but well worth the money in the long run. Altogether that setup is around $500 (~350 for the grinder & wheels in a package deal, and another 100 or 150 for the wolvering jig).
 

JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
I cant seem to find one like it anywhere. Closest I've found is an ovak skew but this looks more round than the pictures I've seen of the ovals.
 

JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
A god among men. Don't know how I didn't find that.

So, with the new revelations about what tools I actually have, are they good to start out :p

I haven't yet but will be looking at that list to see what turning clubs are in the area. Mike, if you are interested, I have a friend that lives out that way in Yadkinville, I can always find a reason to come out your way for a few hours if it wouldn't impose on you! I only say that because I believe I've seen where you've mentored a some people on the forum.
 

JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
So I'm also looking to get a chuck. I believe the thread is 1x8. Any opinions on what chuck I should get? I'm finding out that between centers is great for learning but all the fun stuff I need a chuck for.
 

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