Carbide turning tool recommendations

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Forum topic by BB1 posted 03-12-2019 01:35 AM 3782 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BB1's profile


2072 posts in 1901 days

03-12-2019 01:35 AM

I am looking into buying some carbide tip turning tools for my husband. I found this on the Rockler site (Full-Size Ergonomic Carbide Turning Tool and then also this – Savannah Carbide Tip Turning Tool Large Size (3 Piece Set) on Amazon (source was Peachtree). I realize the Easy Wood Tools are the original but those appear to be pretty pricey. Looking for some insight on some of the more cost-effective options, but still good quality. I appreciate any suggestions or insights.

17 replies so far

View Gittyup's profile


215 posts in 3010 days

#1 posted 03-12-2019 03:01 AM

I’m one who says don’t do it. I bought some when I first started turning. Wasted my money (for me). I find the traditional tools are best. May I suggest to buy him one tool, maybe with a handle, like a carterandsons bowl gouge, or a thompsontools bowl gouge. Both also have nice big scrapers. One high quality tool is better than several mediocre ones. And if carbide is a must, look at Hunter osprey or similar Hunter tool. Same reasoning. The Hunter #5 gooseneck would also be a nice gift.

-- tel

View GrantA's profile


3104 posts in 2461 days

#2 posted 03-12-2019 03:45 AM

Check out the carbide tools our own member Kelleycrafts makes here

View gwilki's profile


365 posts in 2527 days

#3 posted 03-12-2019 12:04 PM

You may want to check out Mike Hunter’s carbide tools. They use a cup style cutter, not the flat ones. They are the only carbide cutter that slices wood rather than scrapes it.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View mike02719's profile


300 posts in 4839 days

#4 posted 03-12-2019 12:37 PM

These guys are right. Carbide tools are OK, but not the endall they preach. I find them good at roughing in or removing a lot of material, but you still must go back to conventional tools after all. They do, however reduce the sharpening time while you are roughing. Toolmakers mentioned by the LJ’s are all good and will be cherished for a lifetime.

-- Mike, Massachusetts

View HokieKen's profile


17274 posts in 2192 days

#5 posted 03-12-2019 12:59 PM

I own and highly recommend the tools at Kelleycrafts that Grant linked above. Carbide tools can’t do everything HSS tools can but, they can do a lot of it and greatly reduce sharpening time. They are also good in my opinion for teaching new turners because the learning curve is much friendlier.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View RichBolduc's profile


1444 posts in 1170 days

#6 posted 03-12-2019 01:46 PM

View BB1's profile


2072 posts in 1901 days

#7 posted 03-12-2019 03:17 PM

Thank you for the insights. He does have quite a few traditional tools but is interested in these as well. Kelleycrafts link was very helpful – look like great tools.

View LeeMills's profile


702 posts in 2354 days

#8 posted 03-12-2019 05:20 PM

I have some that I made but don’t use them a lot.
The most well know brand (Easy Money?) is too expensive to me.
You can make your own for not much at all.

Or available here…. and they seem to get good reviews. Probably all three with a handle for the price of one.
Or.. Cap’n Eddie on you tube has them for about the same.
Other forums also have makers in the $27-35 range without handles.
If you make your own this is a good place to me.

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

View Gittyup's profile


215 posts in 3010 days

#9 posted 03-12-2019 06:17 PM

Thank you for the insights. He does have quite a few traditional tools but is interested in these as well. Kelleycrafts link was very helpful – look like great tools.

- BB1

If he turns vases or bowls with overhanging tops and doesn’t have a swan neck, then maybe that #5 from Hunter. Or the swan neck set from Hunter.

-- tel

View AndyJ1s's profile


485 posts in 808 days

#10 posted 03-14-2019 01:57 AM

The Hunter Osprey tools are wonderful, and work extremely well, like spindle gouges, but with carbide. They can rough stock down in a hurry, or ride the bevel for clean, smooth finish cutting, depending on how you use them. Useful for both spindle and bowl turning. Hunter has excellent, fast service too.


-- Andy - Arlington TX

View bgood's profile


38 posts in 779 days

#11 posted 03-14-2019 04:01 AM

Bottom line . . .
If you have carbide tooling then you need carbide sharpening tools.
Diamond wheels and a carbide stand grinder, unless you have one you wouldn’t probably be in the market to buy one.
HSS turning tools are fine for the job and are not an expansive/expensive investment.

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4453 posts in 1792 days

#12 posted 03-14-2019 05:10 AM

Sorry I’m a little late to the game on this one. Thanks for the recommendations guys, all three of those guys own my tools.

I will say Mike from MA is pretty spot on. You can use carbide exclusively just fine, you’ll just have to sand a bit more. I use them to start almost every project and then I slide to some HSS tools to finish it off but you could do it all with carbide if you’re fine with a little more sanding, they don’t leave as good a finish as HSS tools do.

Overall, for starter tools, carbide are a no brainer. You don’t have to sharpen them, you can just replace the inserts. Then sand and you’re done. Depending on the route you go for sharpening, it can get spendy buying the grinder, jig, tormek, Sorby belt sander, whatever method you choose, etc. It’s definitely a good intro and could be the only type of tool you ever use. Every turner however seems to own more tools for different profiles, etc. So I wouldn’t count on just carbides in the long run but it’s a fine place to start and use for most projects to save from sharpening as often.

Just my .02, whatever you go with BB1, your hubby will love them. Your a good wife for getting him a cool gift like this. If he already turns, I suggest finding a bar only option. I can accommodate that and some of the other guys on the forum gave links to buying finished bars as well. That would save some money AND it would give your husband an opportunity to make custom handles that fit whatever style he wants.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View OSU55's profile


2774 posts in 3043 days

#13 posted 03-14-2019 12:33 PM

Only use carbide for hollowing vessels now. Made a set for myself (here) years ago when I started turning, but after I learned how to properly use hss tools I stopped using them. Wouldnt spend $ on name brand tool holders. If you cant or dont want to make your own get Kelley’s or Capn Eddies, who also has good prices on cutters. If a gift get him a nice bowl or spindle gouge instead. Im close to you in Lebanon, you are welcome to come over and try out my carbide tools vs hss.

View lew's profile


13332 posts in 4808 days

#14 posted 03-14-2019 01:32 PM

Easy Wood Tools may be a little more expensive but the quality of the carbide and the new negative rake cutters puts them heads and shoulders above the competition. The cutters stay sharper far longer and cut smoother.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Gittyup's profile


215 posts in 3010 days

#15 posted 03-14-2019 11:33 PM

If a set of carbide is absolute, also consider the Woodpecker tools. Very high quality.

-- tel

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