Hollowing Tools for Small Vases and Small Hallowforms

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by Shaun posted 03-23-2018 12:29 AM 2688 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Shaun's profile


39 posts in 1204 days

03-23-2018 12:29 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question lathe turning

Hi everyone

I’ve started making small vases on the lathe. Anywhere from 1.5” tall to 7” tall. Since I don’t have any hallowing tools, I use a forester bit to go as deep as I can and call it a day.

This is fine since I’m still relatively new to turning but I would like to start doing them right. I would also like to try my hand at small hollowforms and have a tool for making lidded boxes. The bowl gouge does not work well for lidded boxes. I work with mostly dry wood but might try my hand at green.

I’ve read a lot about traditional angled scrapers and the more modern carbide based tools. I haven’t tried carbide yet but it looks to be basically a scraper without the bur.

I would love any feedback on the difference between solutions like these:

Easy Hollowers,330,49233,69478

Kelton Hollowers,330,49233,69095

Crown’s Deep Hollowing Tool,330,49232

Any advice, guidance and experience you can share would be most appreciated.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

10 replies so far

View RonGreenbush's profile


6 posts in 1396 days

#1 posted 03-23-2018 11:29 AM

You should look at

-- Ron, Greenbush

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3289 days

#2 posted 03-23-2018 12:57 PM

Years ago I bought parts of the Sorby RS2000 hollowing system. The whole system is too much money, so I just bought the swan neck with three cutters, the side angle handle with holding collar, and the arm brace for the back end. Ends up being a tool that has almost a one foot depth into a bowl, more than enough for most applications. And the arm brace is WAY more stable than any wooden handle.

In the end, it has been the best hollowing tool I’ve used to date. Much more solid than any traditional wooden handled tool. I sharpen the cutters on my CBN wheels easily.
It is not, however, carbide, if that is what you are wanting.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Bill Commerford's profile

Bill Commerford

35 posts in 1969 days

#3 posted 03-23-2018 01:53 PM

I have had good luck with the D-Way hollowing tool

View Wildwood's profile


2865 posts in 2909 days

#4 posted 03-23-2018 07:47 PM

Not a big fan of easy hollowing tools but do look interesting!

Those Kelton hollowing tools look lot like John Jordon tools and like them the best.

That crown deep hollowing tool too expensive for what you get. Might as well stay with conventional turning tools.

These Poplar bowls were turned without hollowing tools just bowl gouge & heavy duty scraper. Didn’t have big enough hollowing tools and didn’t need them. Now have Lyle Jamieson style set up. Have Jordon arm brace too but would recommend the Sorby arm brace over it.

Some folks already brought up the need for an arm brace and if can weld putting an outrigger on side of your tools similar to D-Way set up.

I like the D-way set up due to stability of his system Not sure if its what you need.

The Dane had a very inexpensive 1/2” fully articulating set up that uses carbide cutters that might work well for you.

-- Bill

View OSU55's profile


2647 posts in 2764 days

#5 posted 03-23-2018 09:37 PM

For 6” depth you dont need anything special. I use shopmade tools for that, see here. I use carbide and hss cutters. I also have a 3/8” swan neck hollower, shop fox I think, for getting around corners. It has a small bullet shaped hss cutter. For limited hang over the rest, I find a dowel insterted into the beck end of the tool handle, sticking out perpendicular, that I hold with the back hand, works. Larger, more offset and deeper hollowing needs more. I like Lyle Jamieson’s design, but dont have it yet.

View TravisH's profile


717 posts in 2709 days

#6 posted 03-23-2018 09:52 PM

For hollowing small vessels I made my own from hex keys. Doesn’t take much time and good afternoon project. I typically cut them so only a small crook is left, then make a little forge and do a little shaping and then finish up with a dremel and grinding wheel. A final heat and quench and good to go. They have worked well for me the past few years.

View LesB's profile


2556 posts in 4217 days

#7 posted 03-23-2018 09:59 PM

For several years I have been using the Munro articulated hollower:,330 It works great and with proper adjustment you never have to worry about catches or hogging out too much wood in one pass. It is pricey but for me it was worth every cent. There are a couple of similar tools if you do a little searching.

-- Les B, Oregon

View LeeMills's profile


702 posts in 2076 days

#8 posted 03-24-2018 01:05 PM

First I will say that I am not a big fan of hollow forms with the really small openings. I do enjoy looking at them from other turners but not enthused to turn more myself.
I do like boxes (usually about 3” deep), vases up to about 8”, and enclosed forms (which have a fairly large opening of 2” or more.
I have a Sorby Swan neck that I have used a couple of times for small openings.
I have the Sorby RS200 which I use a lot. $79 on Amazon
Here is one video on it. There are quite a few on youtube or at the Sorby site.

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

View bigJohninvegas's profile


773 posts in 2236 days

#9 posted 03-25-2018 04:56 AM

As far as hollowing goes, I am a real fan of the Jimmy Clewes Mate tool. The Mate tools have a rectangle shape square edge bar.
So you just keep the tool flat on the tool rest. Plus the angle that is on the cutter keeps the tool from self feeding. That helps to keep it from catching. It is by far the most friendly easy to use hollowing tool I have used.
I have a Mike Jackofski Hollow pro tool with the 5/8th bar. its too has a square bar with rounded edges. works well but you really got to pay attention to keep it from catching.
And I have used the Hollow pro Rocket tool as well.
The rocket tool has a round bar. This bar must be rotated left a bit to cut. You have to find the sweet spot to make them work. And keep them working. I do not own the rocket tool, and have not used it enough to get consistent with it.
I picked up the mate tool #1 straight and hook tool when they were first out. I don’t see the hook tool on the web site at the moment. But it gets into the tight spots where I had tried the Rocket tool. (Small Christmas ornaments.)
Pictured is the #1 mate tool and #1 mate hook tool.
Both turnings pictured were hollowed with the Mate #1.

I turned both these yesterday. Thought I was going to need the hook tool on the small hollow form on the right, but did not. Used the Mate #1 for both. That small hollow form has a 1” opening, and is 3 1/2” at its widest, and about 4 1/2” tall. I used a 1” forstner bit to the depth I wanted then started hollowing. If I had started with a 3/4” or smaller opening then I would have needed the hook tool I’m sure.

-- John

View Wildwood's profile


2865 posts in 2909 days

#10 posted 03-25-2018 03:38 PM

JMHO, depending upon design & size of boxes don’t really need hollowing tools to turn. Biggest reason simply learning to use bowl or spindle couges & scrapers will help you learn tool control especially for small boxes & vases.

Yes those gouges or scrapers have some limatation how far over the tool rest you can control them but so do hollowing tools the deeper you extend them over the tool rest.

That’s why recommend things like out riggers, or an arm brace to make life easier and safer when hollowing once get above 1/4” to 1/2” diameter tools. Flat bars tad better than round hollowers might have easier learning curve but have no exeperience with them. Several years ago bought set of three ¼” unhandled Sorby HSS hollowing tools (no longer sold) that still use to day to make ball ornament and acorns. Before those made my own hollow- ing tools from allen wrenches.

John Jordon famous for his small opening hollow forms with his 1/2” tools without items mentioned above because of his tool control. Many other turners have done and do the same also. Include a link to his interesting site, also one of the few hollowing tools using HSS cutters.

I like HSS or 5% cobalt 3/16” or 1/4” x 2 1/2” square cutters because very cheap if shop around. Because can grind your own bevel angle & cut or grind to fit your tools. Have nothing against carbide cutter tools other than cost of cutters.

Only difference between small or large openings hollow forms besides size of tools is how much sanding you want to do if tool control is sloppy.

-- Bill

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics