Turning tools VS Carving tools

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Forum topic by Ed Pitts posted 08-20-2015 10:44 PM 6342 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ed Pitts

4 posts in 1600 days

08-20-2015 10:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: turning tools

Hi All,
New venture for me.
I have been carving for several years and now I want to try a little turning.
I just traded for a Jet 1014I with the extension bed although I may never use the extension.
I thought I might make wheels for toy cars and trucks for the kids. I know I can buy wheels but I think there is more choice in looks if I do my own.
I may also try some pen turning, not for sale but as gifts. If turning is anything like carving it takes a special niche to make money and I am not chasing a dollar. However, I’m 81 and not wealthy. That’s the reason for my question.
I have a goodly sum invested in a collection of Swiss made carving tools. All sizes from palm tolls to full size gouges etc;
I know there will be many opinions but that’s O.K.
What do you think about using the longer carving tools in my collection for small turnings?

-- Ed Pitts

7 replies so far

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3888 days

#1 posted 08-20-2015 11:04 PM

I have turned a small finial on my lathe with carving tools. It was the first thing I carved and did it out of necessity before I bought my turning tools. I was lucky I didn’t have any catches I guess, because in hindsight I think a bad catch could have snatched those short carving tools right out of my hand. Also, turning gouges have a large, thick face below the cutting edge that keeps it from gouging into the wood too much, unlike the much thinner carving gouges so even with a long handle, the tools are still made differently. You could probably find some uses for some of your carving tools, but I would still recommend at least a larger roughing gouge and smaller gouge, plus a parting tool. Those and a skew chisel are mostly what I use. I got a set of HSS tools from Delta that had those three tools plus two scrapers that I rarely use. I think I paid around $60.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View bondogaposis's profile


5538 posts in 2856 days

#2 posted 08-20-2015 11:04 PM

Turning gouges are configured vastly different from carving gouges. My opinion is that it will be a good way to ruin a carving gouge and not be able to turn with it anyway. Turning gouges are much, much thicker, and made of high speed steel. They need to be able to withstand the downward pressure on the edge and be able to dissipate a lot of heat. A carving gouge won’t be up to that.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View LeeMills's profile


678 posts in 1806 days

#3 posted 08-21-2015 03:07 AM

In addition to what the others said. If you do use one it will have to be an out-cannel. Most carving tools have a “square” end and turning gouges typically have a fingernail grind.
I do have a 3/4 shallow sweep ( I don’t know the number) that I reground to out cannel and a fingernail grind and it works fine for light work such as stoppers or jump rope handles. It was free so I didn’t waste anything; I don’t think I would change a nice carving tool.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Ed Pitts's profile

Ed Pitts

4 posts in 1600 days

#4 posted 08-21-2015 08:39 PM

Thanks for the replies. That’s kinda what I thought because the sharpening angle is so different.

Well, the good side is that it seems like I mostly need a roughing gouge, a skew and a parting tool. I have those in HSS from Sorby plus a couple of different scrapes.


-- Ed Pitts

View Ed Pitts's profile

Ed Pitts

4 posts in 1600 days

#5 posted 08-21-2015 08:41 PM

In addition to what the others said. If you do use one it will have to be an out-cannel.

- LeeMills

What is the term “out-Channel”?

-- Ed Pitts

View bondogaposis's profile


5538 posts in 2856 days

#6 posted 08-21-2015 09:15 PM

In-cannel or out-cannel refers to whether the bevel is on the inside or outside of the gouge.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Wildwood's profile


2736 posts in 2639 days

#7 posted 08-22-2015 05:03 PM

You really do not need many turning tools to turn wheels or pens. I am partial to full size tools with except to thin parting tool (short) over mini turning tools.

Thin parting tool

Diamond parting tool

Roughing gouge

3/8” and or both ½” spindle gouge

½” traditional skew gouge

Scrapers for narrow wheels many folks make their own but you might be interested in one or more of these. This where a thin parting tool will come in handy.

If live near a Harbor Freight store might prefer to buy one of these sets.

With little skill can turn scarpers that come with those sets into beading tools.

-- Bill

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