Bowl Tool Rests

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Forum topic by Spinzwood posted 05-19-2017 05:38 PM 905 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 1252 days

05-19-2017 05:38 PM

Just starting out and would like to turn smaller bowls on my Jet Mini 1014. I’ve seen curved tool rests and they look like they would be very helpful. I see them made from cast iron and steel rod. I believe it is Penn Ind that has a set of 4 made from rod that look good as well as three sized straight rests that are also from rod.

I’d like suggestions on what to get.. Thanks

7 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5308 posts in 4840 days

#1 posted 05-19-2017 06:11 PM

I have the Sorby “rod” style. Find them to be quite good.

-- [email protected]

View SignWave's profile


472 posts in 3915 days

#2 posted 05-19-2017 06:14 PM

This is just my opinion, but for a small lathe, a curved tool rest is of marginal benefit, mostly because the things that you’re turning are so small that you can rarely get the edge of the tool to be very far from the toolrest anyway. Also, consider that in the photos where they advertise the curved toolrests, the shape of the bowl matches the shape of the toolrest very closely. If your bowl has a different shape, then it won’t match as well. I’m not saying they are of no benefit at all, but I don’t recall ever turning a sub-10” bowl where a straight vs. curved toolrest kept me from turning the shape I wanted.

Having said that, I did find the small toolrest that came with my mini-lathe to be limiting. It’s only about 6” wide, which means half that on each side. Having another option that is a bit longer does help, including getting to the inside of bowls. I made my own out of a piece of scrap angle iron that I had around, which happened to be about 8.5” long. In my experience, it wasn’t the curve, but the amount of reach that made a difference.

IMO, the solid bar toolrests that PSI sells which have 5/8” post have a post that is too short. The curved ones look better in that respect. Still not sure they’re worth the money in terms of how often they’ll make a difference. Again, just one person’s opinion.

If you haven’t already done so, then I recommend making sure that your existing toolrest has a smooth surface. You can use a file to get it smooth. I used some sandpaper and a flat surface to get mine smooth. It makes a huge difference.

-- Barry,

View OSU55's profile


2658 posts in 2869 days

#3 posted 05-19-2017 09:37 PM

I agree with Barry. I have several curved rests that I used for a while. While watching videos of accomplished turners I noticed most used strait rests. I started just using my strait rests and found I dont need the curved ones. The post pivot area always gets in the way for inside work. I do have a 12” one from woodcraft with the small rod on top that I use about all the time, along with one I made from 1” bar stock about 8” long with the post offset to one side. These cover everything I need. The wc one has the end ground in a sweeping arc so I can fit it into a bowl center.

View Spinzwood's profile


16 posts in 1252 days

#4 posted 05-22-2017 12:28 AM

Thanks all.. Looks like it makes sense to stick with the stock 8” rest for now.

View bigJohninvegas's profile


804 posts in 2342 days

#5 posted 05-22-2017 02:01 AM

I had this tool rest for my 10” rockler mini lathe. I worked very well for me, and I have been wanting a curved tool rest for my current lathe. Jet 16X42. The curve won’t match every thing you turn, but it does not need too. It will let you get deeper into many different shapes.!!

-- John

View Spinzwood's profile


16 posts in 1252 days

#6 posted 05-22-2017 03:08 AM

Thanks John.. I hear Robust makes good product. As mentioned above, I will probably try using the std rest that came with my mini.. If I come across something or find I’m just not having success.. This one looks quite good. I appreciate you getting back to me.

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1732 posts in 2610 days

#7 posted 05-22-2017 02:45 PM

Those tapered tool rests are good for spindle work, and large bowl openings and hollow forms, but if you think you will be doing stuff with small openings, get the 5/8-3/4” bar rests if you can find them…......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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