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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have been watching a few videos of turning with carbide tip tools. Do any of you fellows have these tools? How do you like them? What are the bar stock made of, cold roll steel or other?
 

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I bought the 3 main styles about a month ago or so at around $100 each. At the time, neither WoodCraft nor Rockler had the set of 3. They cut real well but takes a while to get used to them - maybe a couple of hours of practice. They dig in really easy so you must use a really light touch and try to extend the tip as little as possible over the tool rest.
I ;prefer the standard bowl gouge and use the carbide tips for difficult areas to reach. They are scrapers with a small cutting area (small tip).They have their place.
The standard bowl gouge with a hollow grind cuts faster smoother and is easier to control.
I am new to carbide tipped tools and so I am not an expert on them.
 

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I assume he did since I never heard of carbon tipped tools.
 

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I was wondering whether he meant "carbon steel" tools, which preceded high speed steel.

Some companies make high speed steel replaceable cutters in various shapes (e.g., mushroom), like the ones by Sorby.

-> My assumption was that he meant carbide tips.

Carbide Turning Tools:

I have a set of three Rockler full size carbide turning tools: Square Radius, Round, and Diamond. I use square tips on the square radius holder. It is a very close fit, good enough, but not perfect.

I wish I had bought the Easy Wood Tools models instead. Why? Because in addition to the standard carbide cutters, Easy Wood Tools also makes their patented negative rake cutters that fit the same tool handles. Those patented negative rake cutters are not available elsewhere, and won't fit my Rockler tools.

The handles for carbide tips are usually cut to match the back bevel of the carbide tip and give it support. That means that you cannot fit a round tip in a square handle or vice-versa. You must have the matching handle for the carbide tip. (The one exception: the square tip is a close fit in the square radius handle and I use it. Note that the square radius tip will not fit in a square handle, though.)

Replacement carbide cutters are available from third parties at a much lower cost. I have used AZ Carbide in the past and recommend them.

The manufacturers want you to think of carbide tips as disposable and replaceable, but you can sharpen standard carbide tips on your own by flattening the backs on diamond stones.

I switch between high speed steel and carbide turning tools without concern for some nonexistent tradition. Some days, the carbide seems to do better, other days, the traditional turning tools. Carbide tips are definitely helpful when turning plastics (acrylics) as I do for pens.
 

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What are the bar stock made of, cold roll steel or other?
Alloy steel is a better choice over cold rolled, but cold rolled may work for you. I have both types of shank materials in my tool arsenal.
Cost issue is variable depending on where one decides to purchase. Amazon has many choices, one of which is; Wood Turning Tools Rougher Carbide Tipped Lathe Chisel Tool Bar 19.68 Inches With 14mm Straigt Edge Square Carbide Insert for Wood Hobbyist or DIY or Carpenter - - Amazon.com

Scroll down on the Amazon page and you can add two more tools to complete the set.
Font Parallel Office supplies Slope Number

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Another option is set of tools with only one handle. Easy enough to make a wood handle for each tool to eliminate the need to change the handle from tool to tool. BEAMNOVA Carbide Tipped Wood Turning Tool Set Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories Boring Bar Holder with Indexable Carbide Inserts Replaceable Tips Woodworking Detailer Hollower Rougher - - Amazon.com
Office supplies Font Writing implement Metal Auto part

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The best (cheapest priced) source I have found for inserts is by ordering from E-bay sellers. Specifically; xttdesign on eBay They usually have a much wider selection of insert sizes than what is currently being shown. Buying in packs of 10 inserts keeps the cost per insert quite reasonable. Typically $2.00 to $2.60 each depending on size and style.

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Some tools which I made myself using cold rolled bar stock.
Textile Gesture Magenta Wood Pattern


Natural material Magenta Cutlery Event Wood
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alloy steel is a better choice over cold rolled, but cold rolled may work for you. I have both types of shank materials in my tool arsenal.
Cost issue is variable depending on where one decides to purchase. Amazon has many choices, one of which is; Wood Turning Tools Rougher Carbide Tipped Lathe Chisel Tool Bar 19.68 Inches With 14mm Straigt Edge Square Carbide Insert for Wood Hobbyist or DIY or Carpenter - - Amazon.com

Scroll down on the Amazon page and you can add two more tools to complete the set.
View attachment 431575
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Another option is set of tools with only one handle. Easy enough to make a wood handle for each tool to eliminate the need to change the handle from tool to tool. BEAMNOVA Carbide Tipped Wood Turning Tool Set Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories Boring Bar Holder with Indexable Carbide Inserts Replaceable Tips Woodworking Detailer Hollower Rougher - - Amazon.com
View attachment 431576
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The best (cheapest priced) source I have found for inserts is by ordering from E-bay sellers. Specifically; xttdesign on eBay They usually have a much wider selection of insert sizes than what is currently being shown. Buying in packs of 10 inserts keeps the cost per insert quite reasonable. Typically $2.00 to $2.60 each depending on size and style.

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Some tools which I made myself using cold rolled bar stock.
View attachment 431577

View attachment 431578
Your tools look great to me, I appreciate the information.

Tony brought up a point I hadn't thought about. If these tips are harder to use than regular HHS tools, maybe I should not try to make some of them. I am really struggling with turning, I just can't get the hang of it. I bought the book that Tony suggested and right away I saw one major thing I am doing wrong. I am presenting my tool way to low to the piece I am turning. After reading some of the information and watching a few more videos, I see I do need to raise the tool rest up and cut higher.

From the videos I have seen, the fellows using the carbide cutters just seemed to flow through the work like it was butter, I never saw a catch or a run with one of the carbide tip tools. If they are harder to use, I may need to rethink these tools. I will go ahead and make at least two of them and see how they work though.

I have seem videos of where fellows made their carbide tools from all sort of things, even from shock absorbers. One fellow bought on if the pry bars that had the screw driver handle on it and made a cutter from it.

I wanted to know what the bar stock should be so I don't spend time to make a tool and it not work worth a cuss.

I really do appreciate all of your help, time and information, thank all of you.
 

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Carbide tipped turning tools were originally designed and expected to be used as scrapers, not cutters.

When you use a cutting tool, you generally ride the bevel, then raise the handle until the sharp edge of the tool cuts fine ribbons of wood from your turning. The general consensus is that you will get a smooth, sanding-not-needed surface with this approach.

With carbide tipped tools, you generally approach the turning at the mid-point with the tip presented horizontally (flat) to the turning. The tip scrapes shavings and sawdust from your turning. This approach may leave a rougher surface that needs touch-up sanding.

Some people use carbide tipped tools as cutters, but it is less common. I do that sometimes, and carbide tips can yield some amazing ribbons.

Carbide is durable. It starts out sharp. For me carbide spends the bulk of its time where it is "not ideal, sharp enough to cut, but not quite dull enough to replace yet."

High speed steel can be sharpened to be sharper than carbide, but it won't hold its edge as long as carbide before resharpening is needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Carbide tipped turning tools were originally designed and expected to be used as scrapers, not cutters.

When you use a cutting tool, you generally ride the bevel, then raise the handle until the sharp edge of the tool cuts fine ribbons of wood from your turning. The general consensus is that you will get a smooth, sanding-not-needed surface with this approach.

With carbide tipped tools, you generally approach the turning at the mid-point with the tip presented horizontally (flat) to the turning. The tip scrapes shavings and sawdust from your turning. This approach may leave a rougher surface that needs touch-up sanding.

Some people use carbide tipped tools as cutters, but it is less common. I do that sometimes, and carbide tips can yield some amazing ribbons.

Carbide is durable. It starts out sharp. For me carbide spends the bulk of its time where it is "not ideal, sharp enough to cut, but not quite dull enough to replace yet."

High speed steel can be sharpened to be sharper than carbide, but it won't hold its edge as long as carbide before resharpening is needed.
This is some good information, I really do appreciate it. I have had good luck using a scrapper, so looks like I will be making a couple of these carbide tools. I am excited to get back in the shop and give it a try as soon as the effects of this last virus shot lets up on me.
 

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Tony brought up a point I hadn't thought about. If these tips are harder to use than regular HHS tools, maybe I should not try to make some of them. I am really struggling with turning, I just can't get the hang of it.
IMHO carbide and traditional tools each have their place. Many bowls have been turned using only carbide tools. Using both types of tools builds a greater understanding of which tool to use for a specific task.

Just a couple details on insert support should you decide to make you own shanks.
Rectangle Font Parallel Slope Number
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
IMHO carbide and traditional tools each have their place. Many bowls have been turned using only carbide tools. Using both types of tools builds a greater understanding of which tool to use for a specific task.

Just a couple details on insert support should you decide to make you own shanks.
View attachment 431591
Thanks Dave, I saw one fellows carbide square tool where the tip was sitting at a angle instead of square. I thought to myself he needed to make a stop to keep the tip square. I had planned to make the stop at the same angle as the tip underside, but square like in your illustration will be much easier. Thanks again, that is very helpful.
 

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I have a set of Easy Wood medium size carbide tools (round, square, diamond). I got them for pen turning (my intro to the lathe). I've been using them for years and I really like them for turning wood, they don't work well with most acrylics. The round and square tools are a couple of my go-to tools. I mark the cutting heads with a permanent marker so I call tell how I've rotated the cutting head.
 

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If youre making your own tools, dont sweat what steel you use, honestly its all the same for this application. Bout the only benefit youll get from using something like 4140ph over 1018 (mild) steel is the 4140 wont scratch if you drop your tool. Changing the alloy of steel doesnt noticeably change the elasticity, you wont get a stiffer tool by going with one over another. You will change how far you can deflect the steel before it goes into plastic deformation, but if your tools are going in plastic deformation modes while youre turning you seriously ****ed up and probably broke your lathe anyways
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If youre making your own tools, dont sweat what steel you use, honestly its all the same for this application. Bout the only benefit youll get from using something like 4140ph over 1018 (mild) steel is the 4140 wont scratch if you drop your tool. Changing the alloy of steel doesnt noticeably change the elasticity, you wont get a stiffer tool by going with one over another. You will change how far you can deflect the steel before it goes into plastic deformation, but if your tools are going in plastic deformation modes while youre turning you seriously ****ed up and probably broke your lathe anyways
Thanks, that is good to know. I was worried that some of the bar might bend. I will post when I get them finished. I am sure I ill have more questions.
 

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I remember way back when, when I was experimenting with bowl turning and hollow forms. There were very few books around on woodturning.
I want to a machine shop and told them I wanted a long piece of square bar stock about 5' long or so. I dont remember if it was 1" or less. I wanted one end to have a slot cut out horizontally and wide enough to fit a machinist lathe tool bit. And directly above the slot I wanted it tapped so I could put a screw in it to hold the tool bit. Damn, that was heavy but worked OK for hollow forms.
Then I met some woodturners and that opened my eyes to a whole new world.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
 

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Thanks, that is good to know. I was worried that some of the bar might bend. I will post when I get them finished. I am sure I ill have more questions.
So long as the bar is thick enough to handle the regular forces of use, nothing to worry about. If you bend a 3/8" bar of mild steel while turning, like i said, your lathe and possibly you are already dead
 

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I heard somewhere, that a newer shape carbide cutter is made for turners that actually works less like a scraper and more like a traditional chisel, but don't recall when or where they are made. BTW, I still use two old carbon steel tools in addition to my HSS. They have some slight advantages and disadvantages.
 

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@BigJim

How is that book working out for you? It appears to have been added to and changed over the years.
 
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