Reply by Lazyman

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Posted on Going down the wood turning rabbit hole

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4184 posts in 1949 days

#1 posted 06-13-2019 08:42 PM

It depends a little on what sorts of things you want to try turning first. Benjamins Best (from PSI I think) and Hurricane Turning tools are both good solid HHS tool brands that won’t break the bank. BB sells a starter set that includes a basic set of the spindle turning tools and one bowl gouge for about $75 on Amazon that will let you try both types of turning. You may not need or use all of the scrapers that it comes with but those are good for regrinding to make your own specialty tools later if you really get into it. If turning pens is primarily what you are interested in, then a set of smaller or micro tools may be a better first set. BTW, you should not use spindle turning tools when turning a bowl. Spindles (edit: originally mistyped “bowls”) are typically turned with just side grain (end grain at the ends) while a bowl is usually turned with the endgrain sideways which spindle tools are usually not strong enough to handle, especially cheap ones.

Carbide is a quick way to get started as it doesn’t require as much of a learning curve and no sharpening skills or jigs. I just bought myself a set of carbide from Harrison Specialties and I am very pleased with them and they are not too badly price IMO. You will probably want the small or medium sized carbide tools for the mini lathe, though if you are mostly doing spindle turning, the large ones are okay too. I personally recommend starting with the spindle turning tools and add the carbide later. I think it is important to learn the basics of spindle turning with the traditional spindle turning tools before you start using the carbide tools, or turning bowls for that matter.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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