Looking for good set of tools... - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-25-2008, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Looking for good set of tools...

I am going to invest in a new set of tools...what should I look for as far as best material. I don't have a ton of money to drop n them...but was looking at getting a desent set. I havent been turning very long...and have been using very old tools. The first time using them...i didnt know what to look for...had a hard time with them. Took them to a sharpening service, and they said they were in pretty bad shape, but would try to shgarpen them the best they could. Picked them up yesterday..and went to use them....really didnt notice any difference. So im not sure if they just don't know how to sharpen them, or its time to get new ones. Im getting frustrated, so I thought I might as well start off with ones I know are good. any suggestions on type and wahtnot will be great!

Thanks for all the advice
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-25-2008, 10:25 AM
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I have a pretty varied assortment of turning tools. I started out with my first three tools being Pinacles from Woodcraft. They work fine and I still use them. They just require a little more frequent sharpenings. I bought a couple of sets of older Craftsmen chisels off ebay next. One set had carbide tips the other reg. steel. They also work fine. I have bought a number of Sorby tools. These I bought one at a time as needed, and always on sale. I also have a couple of tools from Thompson Lathe tools. These come unhandled and are made of some of the highest grade steel available. So I guess what I am trying to say is, you don't necessarily need the most expensive tools right off the bat. They won't turn any better than the off brands unless they are sharp (they don't come sharp even when new), and you still have to know how to properly use them. It doesn't sound like the sharpening service did a good job if you didn't notice a difference when you got them back, unless you are not using them in the correct fashion. Do you have an experienced turner nearby that you could hang out with and make sure you are doing things right? Not to say there aren't more than one way to skin a cat (who skins a cat ), but you don't want to learn a bunch of bad habits and have to unlearn them. Don't ask me how I know this. Good luck,
Mike Hawkins
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-26-2008, 07:00 PM
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Of course it depends on the money but I really enjoy my set of tools, all but one of them are by Robert Sorby. He is very well known for making good tools. The one problem I find with tools is that they are never long enough, the longer they are the more leverage you have and thus you can make a smoother cut.

Here is what I did.
Take PVC pipe big enough to fit the handle of your tool. Drill two holes in the PVC where the handle will go. Stick it in there and then put it 2 screws to stop the tool from moving. Just by doing this my tools are twice as long and the leverage is a lot better, plus the length of the tool let you hold it against your waist and this makes the tool much more firm. The picture gives you an idea of what im talking about. This I find is especially useful for hallow turning.

Having said that the most expensive tools in the world won't do you any good unless you know how to sharpen. It depends on the wood but I sharpen roughly every 10 minutes and I can definitely feel the difference.

Also knowing how to use your tools and when to use what tools matters a lot also. Knowing the angle of your tool rest and the angle of your tool also matters.

There are a ton of things you could be doing wrong and you only need to be doing one of those things to get a bad cut. Best advice like the firehawk said is to find a fellow turner and ask for some help. I don't know where you live but there is likely a guild that meets up every so often and discusses such things. The best way to find this is to go to the AAW website.



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post #4 of 5 Old 10-26-2008, 09:57 PM
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I would definitely look into the Sorby tools. I bought a starter set when I first started turning a year ago and have slowly started to phase the old tools out with Sorby. They're great quality. Check out Woodcraft, as they have 15% - 20% off sales now and again on the turning tools. That's when I usually buy...
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-27-2008, 09:47 AM
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I am new to turning too. I have only done a couple of small projects. I inherited an old underpowered lathe and very inexpensive tools. I had them sharpened by someone else (who knows what they are doing and did a great job) and I still had problems. But last month I bought an inexpensive slow speed grinder and a Oneway Wolverine grinding jig. Wow. It really makes a difference when you can touch up the tool every few minutes as needed. Now I realize that some of the problems I had before were the result of a sharp tool getting dull before the end of a project. So maybe this is what is happening to you.
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