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Sheer Cut Carbide Turning Tools -- Harrison vs. Hunter vs. Other?

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Forum topic by Lazyman posted 05-02-2019 01:13 PM 1192 views 1 time favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lazyman

3324 posts in 1746 days


05-02-2019 01:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: turning carbide lathe

Since my current mid-sized Rockler carbide tools are a little small for my new larger lathe I’ve been thinking about getting some new carbide tools. I typically only use the carbide tools as a roughing tool and switch to HHS tools for final shaping and finishing cuts but I’ve been impressed with the demos I have seen for the sheer cut Hunter Tools and the Harrision Specialties tools. I am looking for feedback from anyone familiar with either of these tools, especially anyone who has used both or who knows of another brand who sells a sheer cut carbide tool that is worth considering. I found that AZ Carbide sells the sheer cup carbide inserts that say they are for the Harrison tools and I thought about making my own tools as well but I am not sure that I have the metalworking experience, much less the right tools to accurately mill the ends to hold the cutters.

I like the look of the Hunter tools but it looks like they only sell the round sheer cut tools and their “families” or styles are a little confusing. I think that the Badger line is what I would want since I am looking for something beefier than my current tools. You may be able to get their tools slightly cheaper from chefwarekits.com, though I have not looked at shipping cost differences. Since I may buy an indexing wheel from them, that may make that a cheaper option? You can get a wood handle added to the Hunter tools for about $12 or make your own.

Harrison also sells some tools with traditional flat cutters and I like their 55 degree diamond and especially their 90 cutter that is turned 45 degrees so that one of the corners is pointed forward. I can see some uses for that when working with tail stock support. They also have a square with radius cutter that looks interesting. Harrison tools look like they are cheaper than the hunter tools but you need to buy or make a handle. They sell an interchangeable handle that puts the net cost (assuming you buy one for each tool) about the same but you can get by with one handle for multiple tools, but that might get annoying if switching between tools often.

Harrison’s tools appear to be nickel plated while the Hunter tools have a black mat finish (not sure what that type of finish is called). Not sure if that makes any difference but if any of you have an opinion about that I would like to hear it.

Opinions?

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


26 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1534 posts in 2089 days


#1 posted 05-02-2019 01:34 PM

Nathan, put in your search engine “Aircraft Counterbores Short length”. All you have to do is get the diameters of the carbides you’re gonna use, and purchase a counterbore to match. Then tap the hole to match the screw, and it’s all centered like a professional did it. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

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Lazyman

3324 posts in 1746 days


#2 posted 05-02-2019 01:54 PM

Thanks for the tip Jerry. I will look into that. In the round carbide tools I’ve seen the round recess is milled to match the taper of the blade. Any concerns about cutting the recess with straight sides? I can grind the front profile to match the cutter’s taper easily enough but not sure it is possible to mill the taper against the handles side without a milling machine or something.

EDIT: And any thoughts about the kind of steel to use? Can I just use mild steel or do I need an alloy that is a little stiffer?

-- 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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Nubsnstubs

1534 posts in 2089 days


#3 posted 05-02-2019 11:10 PM

Nathan, as long as the diameter of the recess is over the size of the cutter, who cares if there is a taper to match the carbide.
A little history. I broke my neck back in 2009-2010. After it healed, when hollowing any item in normal forward rotation, my neck always hurt afterwards because of the way I had to do it. After getting a reversible lathe, all my hollowing is in reverse.
If you know anything about the older Sorby Swan neck tools, the bar is half round until it goes into the handle.. The steel cutter was a pain to sharpen, so I started using carbide. Then I got my reversible lathe. When I want to turn reverse using that tool, I remove the carbide cutter from the normal position, flip it over, and now can cut in reverse. The base of the carbide is sitting on the flat of the bar and the cutting edge is up whatever the carbide thickness is from the flat. Just adjust the tool rest height.

As far as steel goes for make at tool, I’ve been using 1018 CR or 4140 Chrome Molly. Diameter or size should be smaller that the cutting surface. If you use a 1/2” diameter or square, the area that you set the cutter should be smaller than the cutter in order to be able to cut. Below is set up for forward turning. The bar is 1/2” and the carbide is 5/8 OD. The second picture is a side view.
Forward

Forward

Next is set up for reverse turning. Also notice the grinding I did on the end of the tool. I had to do that to clear the edge of the inside surface for some pretty small hollowforms I was turning.
Reverse

Reverse

Reverse

Whatever tool shaft you choose to make, if it is a swan neck, you can either counterbore one face, and use the pilot hole to complete the other side. Tap to fit the screw you use, and now you can forward or reverse turn just by swapping the position of the cutter rather than having a right hand tool or left hand tool. This last picture below shows what I did. The larger tool has a 5/8” bar. I had to grind the end to get clearance for the cutter. The smaller one at the bottom of the picture hasn’t been tapped yet. When I have a desperate need for it, all I have to do is tap it and put a cutter on it. I made it for my Scruples, but found a temporary way around not needing it. One day. Hope this helps.

....... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

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Lazyman

3324 posts in 1746 days


#4 posted 05-03-2019 04:08 AM

That’s a clever trick for turning in reverse with the swan necked tool. I’ll definitely remember that one for future reference. Thanks for the info.

I will have to go price some appropriate steel to see how much it will really save me to try to make my own tools. When I was looking for some tools steel for a plane iron I was making a few months back, the prices were crazy high, presumably because of the steel tariffs. I do like to make tools but the full sized Harrison specialties tools are about $55 each for the straight shafted tools , including the carbide and screw, so the steel will have to be significantly cheaper than that to justify making them myself.

-- 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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Woodknack

12772 posts in 2739 days


#5 posted 05-03-2019 04:12 PM

I agree with Jerry, carbide tools are easy to make and I don’t know if you even need that little cut out around the blade. Joe in Tennessee made some and has a blog on it, he used aluminum bar.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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bandit571

22748 posts in 3042 days


#6 posted 05-03-2019 06:41 PM

EWT? Easy Wood Tool may have what you are looking for, as well…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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Jack Lewis

436 posts in 1437 days


#7 posted 05-03-2019 11:13 PM

As one example Speedy metal has 1/2” x 36” square 1018 CR for $13.64. That is enough to make 3 tools, you mentiond AZ Carbide for the cutters and making your own handles is a fun project. I have yet to counter bore to set the cutter, I leave it rest on the bar and have NO problem with it turning, etc. A copper 1” fitting for a ferrule and you are all set. You can make 6 tools your self for what the big boys sell theirs for.
Go man go!

-- "PLUMBER'S BUTT! Get over it, everybody has one"

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Lazyman

3324 posts in 1746 days


#8 posted 05-04-2019 10:27 AM


I agree with Jerry, carbide tools are easy to make and I don t know if you even need that little cut out around the blade. Joe in Tennessee made some and has a blog on it, he used aluminum bar.

- Woodknack

For a regular round cutter, that makes sense. Based upon the videos I have seen for the shear cut finisher, you actually roll the tool towards the direction of the cut to sort of ride the bevel (see links in the OP) so it is best to use a round bar. At a minimum it will require me to grind a flat on the end to attach the cutter and it would probably be best to also round the tip of the bar at the 7 degree angle to match the profile of the cutter to get maximum support of the cutter as well.

I also want a 55 degree detail tool and while I am at it, perhaps a 90 degree detail tool like this. I can see that it probably does not matter that much if a round cutter has a round recess but it would seem to me that the detailers would best best to have the recess index the cutter so it cannot turn while cutting.

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

View moke's profile

moke

1367 posts in 3135 days


#9 posted 05-04-2019 02:33 PM

I have made many carbide tools and one, I bought the bar and insert, ie: I have the 55 degree tool you have shown. Then of course I made the handle and used copper tubing for the ring.

I suppose it does not make a difference if the cutter sat on top, but it looks and I would think would perform better, in terms of being protected, nestled into the bar. It is easy to find steel, whether it be the bar stock mentioned by Jack or just robbing other tools….ie pry bars from Harbor Freight. Just work it slowly with files. I would work it, then when I got close I would check it with a small machinist square.

I have had a metal lathe for a while, and recently got a milling table for it, so I won’t have to file anymore. But I made a bunch of tools for some friends and relatives without it…..it is great, as you can make yourself tools for next to nothing to fit a variety of different cutters. I have a variety of the Easy Wood and then some of the larger inserts, like the much larger 18mm round, that Captain Eddie sold. Most recently I made a selection of tools that are fixed to use the negative rake cutters. I also made some that are longer and beefy for being aggressive with bowls. While I am not sold that they are the only tools for turning, ( I still prefer a skew and bowl gouge) they work well and are another weapon in your arsenal for better work, and you can make them cheap and have some fun doing it.

-- Mike

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Woodknack

12772 posts in 2739 days


#10 posted 05-04-2019 04:12 PM

I haven’t used a shear cut carbide but I dislike the round bar carbides I made, they roll too easy and cause nasty catches. I planned on remaking them in square bar, Joe even sent me one, but I’ve been using gouges except for roughing.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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bigJohninvegas

596 posts in 1821 days


#11 posted 05-04-2019 09:03 PM

I use Jimmy Clewes mate tools, and the Mike Jackofsky 5/8 hollow pro for large projects.
I have used a few brands of carbide while taking classes. And never really cared for them. Never really liked having to roll the tool to make it work. But when I took an interest in hollow forms, carbide became necessary.
I started with the hollow pro tool for working on hollow forms. And never really considered carbide for bowls and such. Then Jimmy Clewes came up with his mate tool. I was taking a class with him at the time the tool was being designed, and got to demo the prototype. It works totally different from the other tools I had used.
The bar is flat, and is kept flat on the tool rest. No need to roll the tool to make it cut. And the tip is designed to not self feed. Very friendly tool to use.
Like you, I prefer HSS tools for most work, and finish cuts. But carbide does have its uses.
Both tools use the same #1 or #2 carbide cutters that Mike Hunter uses. And are very easy to find.
I now have a regular Mate#1 tool, a Mate #1 undercut tool that I use for hollowing under a rim, or top of a hollow form.
And I recently picked up a mega mate#2 the takes over for most the hollowing work I did with the hollow pro tool.
The only catch I have ever had was with the mega mate tool. I simply got to far out over the tool rest with it, and it bit me. So I keep the Mike Jackofsky hollow pro tool around for when I really need to reach out over the tool rest.
I will grab the mate #1 tool when hollowing a bowl, or a small box, and finish it with HSS. Never a catch, or any issues.

http://www.mikejackofsky.com/Tools.html

https://jimmyclewes.com/product/jimmy-clewes-hollowing-tools-mate-1-mate-2/

-- John

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AndyJ1s

34 posts in 114 days


#12 posted 05-05-2019 05:47 PM

I have the Hunter #2 Osprey; the cutter seat is angled down toward the end. The Osprey shank is round, for rolling the tool to whatever angle to ride the bevel of the cutter against the wood. The Osprey is available with a #1 or #2 cutter, and a 3/8” or 1/2” shank, respectively.

The Hunter Hercules has a square shank with 45 degree bevel to help present the bevel to the work, with apparently the same downward angle on the cutter seat. It is available with a #1 or #3 cutter, and a 3/8” or 5/8” shank, respectively.

The other Hunter tools, including the Badger line, and I believe the Harrison Simple Sheer tools that use the same style cutter style, have the cutter seat parallel to the tool shaft axis. I have no experience with them.

Andy

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3324 posts in 1746 days


#13 posted 05-06-2019 01:11 PM


I haven t used a shear cut carbide but I dislike the round bar carbides I made, they roll too easy and cause nasty catches. I planned on remaking them in square bar, Joe even sent me one, but I ve been using gouges except for roughing.

- Woodknack

That made me look at how they are made a little more closely. Was the cutter wider than the bar? After looking at several sheer cut tools which are on round shafts and their demos, I realized that one thing that they have in common is that the cutter is narrower than the round shaft. It looks like they taper the shaft a little so where the cutter is mounted, the shaft it is about the same width or slightly narrower than the cutter. If you are cutting with the sides of the cutter outside the width of the shaft, I can see that it would tend to try to turn it in your grip. Rolling it over may reduce the tendency to catch but in my experience the flat cutters do not work as well tipped over. Perhaps getting a sheer cut cutter from AZcarbide or just mounting a narrower flat cutter and tapering the end a little to match the cutter will make it so you don’t have to make a completely new tool? Just a thought.

-- 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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Lazyman

3324 posts in 1746 days


#14 posted 05-06-2019 01:39 PM

Some good info above. Thanks. I looked at the Jimmy Clews tools but they seem to be at the high end pricewise. The Mike Jackofsky tools look competitively priced but availability seems to be a problem. They seem to be currently out of stock and from their website it looks like they don’t sell direct. Following the link from their website to Woodturners catalog shows they are out of stock until June 11.

I am still on the fence about make vs buy. For the 55 and 90 degree detailers at least I will probably just buy the Harrison tools for those and make my own handles for them since cutting the angled index accurately with the tools on hand will be pretty tough. I may order one of the Harrison sheer cut tools and then order some cutters of difference sizes from AZ Carbide and try to make some larger or smaller sheer cut tools after I get my hands on one to emulate.

One question for making my own… If I buy some 4140 round bar for example. Will I need to heat treat it (harden and temper) or is it just naturally hard enough compared to mild steel that I don’t need to do that?

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

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1534 posts in 2089 days


#15 posted 05-06-2019 09:29 PM

4140 is hard enough without cooking it. I have several tool rests I made from it. One is my primary tool rest and gets more use than any individual tool. It’s still pretty smooth after 9 years…....... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

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