Videos, the Lathe, the Carbide Tips, the Holders and the Handles... What a Team !

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Forum topic by David Grimes posted 11-05-2011 05:59 AM 3239 views 3 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Grimes

2080 posts in 3717 days

11-05-2011 05:59 AM

I began turning on the lathe very recently. I started with a decent beginner 8 pc. set of traditional lathe tools. I picked up on it fairly quickly, but felt from the beginning that the tools size and shapes were “cumbersome” (for want of a better word) and I did not like having to freshen the edges so often.

Like many of us do for new skills, I watched many Youtube videos and videos from websites selling things. I got a lot of answers there, even before I knew what questions to ask. I came across the videos of the guy from the Galbert Caliper turning spindles (he is really good IMO) before I even knew about his product. Yes, I bought one and love it.

I also came across Cap’n Eddie’s videos and found much information and demonstrations of technique that appealed to me personally. I really like his Shine Juice recipe (except I use de-waxed shellac so I canpoly or lacquer a final finish).

One or more of Cap’n Eddie’s videos introduced me to the carbide tipped lathe tools. Looking for them, I found that the Easy Wood Tools were exactly what I wanted, but beginning at over $90 to $125 or more EACH, they were not anything I was interested in since a full complement would push $1000 fairly quickly. In the interim, I bought a few tips off eBay, got a 1/2” square piece of steel at the BORG, and was making plans to fabricate my own (which I still plan to do since I have more cutter shapes than holders and handles).

Then, a few weeks later I actually went to Cap’n Eddie’s site (Big Guy Productions, I believe) and found that he makes and sells the holders and sells the cutters as well. His prices are better than anything I can find without going to bulk orders. I ordered four holders and a dozen tips from him. I am very pleased with that purchase. I believe I have years of cutters supply at this time.

Now, as to the actual use of these things? In one word: Eureka ! Better than I thought possible. I used the holders with tips to make the last two handles from square blanks into sanded and ready-to-finish handles in MINUTES. With the four handles made, stain/shellac/poly, a little drill press work, some epoxy, and still-to-come final finishing I have the tools that I will most certainly use most of the time instead of the traditional tools that I started with only weeks ago.

I am SO glad I did not order the much more expensive Crown or Sorby sets that I initially wanted. Not that they aren’t good or useful, but just because these carbide tips work so well into my plans and developing skills.

Some of you may want to know the cost to cobble together the collection of holders (4), handles (4), and tips (20 total in 6 shapes/types) that I have assembled. Less than $180.

Not really a gloat, but I am glad I got turned (no pun intended) on to these.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

9 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4075 days

#1 posted 11-05-2011 06:57 AM

They look great. I have no idea why they get away with charging so much for them.

Pick up a stick of HUT wax or something for finishing. It leaves a nice finish and you will be done when you take it off the lathe. Then you are in the real fun of it.

If you have plenty of the tips, you might pick up some round stock for holders to make some that you can adjust the angle more while turning.

You can also make a little jig to hold the cutters and you can resharpen them on some diamond stones pretty easily.

I guess I am just stuck in my old ways. I learned on regular turning tools and am more comfortable even though I use insert tooling on my metal stuff.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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David Grimes

2080 posts in 3717 days

#2 posted 11-05-2011 07:36 AM

@Katdaddy, The lathe is a lot of fun, but I must admit that faster and sharper is better for me.

@David Kirtley, Thanks for the tip on the HUT wax. Never heard of it, but it sounds really good. I see Amazon has a few versions, too. The round stock is an affirmative. These next ones I make need to be round and for the larger bolt size (for the triangle, the diamond and the radiused square ones). I had already thought about the diamond stone sharpening (which I have four DMT’s), but I believe I’ll be tossing the round ones after they’ve been used up all the way around.

It’s my understanding that the radiused square ones are really handy for turning inside larger bowls (which I have not attempted yet).

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4075 days

#3 posted 11-05-2011 08:34 AM

Also when you have the tools like that where you can attach inserts, you can also make custom shapes (Like if you were going to make a chess set and needed a bunch of identical parts.)

I suggest putting a ferrule around the handle when you mount the holders to the handle. I just go down the plumbing aisle and pick up nuts for brass compression fittings. They just thread right onto the wood and then you can get fancy and turn them round if you like. You can also use copper pipe fittings. You can do it with ferrous fittings but it introduces side effects you don’t want to deal with until you get more experience (think long spinning razor blades)

Another nice addition is a chuck or collet holder that threads onto the headstock. Then you can do things like put the tool holder into a piece of wood, stick it through the spindle and turn the handle with it attached to the holder already. A tap that matches your spindle is another great addition. Then you can just screw things onto the spindle directly to turn them and doesn’t have the spinny bits that go whack when you hit them with the tools like chucks do. :)

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View hairy's profile


3275 posts in 4609 days

#4 posted 11-05-2011 02:41 PM

Capn Eddie’s videos are among the best on the net. He’s a lumberjock.

-- You can lead a horse to water, but you can't tie his shoes. Blaze Foley

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5295 days

#5 posted 11-05-2011 03:14 PM

Good info, David. I have a couple of the Easy Wood tool and I love them, but they are a bit pricey. Good to know the make-your-own solution is workable.

And best of all, thanks to Hairy posting the link, I just found out Cap’n Eddie lives about 15 minutes from me!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 4064 days

#6 posted 11-05-2011 07:54 PM

Looks like you’re all set to turn for several years.
I made my own carbide tipped turning tools.
All the projects I have posted to LJs were made with DIY turning tools.
I started with cheaper inserts and recently ordered some easywood carbide inserts and they are far superior to the generic ones I started with.
Good luck with your adventures in turning.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View GerryMurray's profile


22 posts in 3769 days

#7 posted 11-06-2011 02:29 PM

David, good stuff! I have gone the homemade tool route myself, with a little direction from david ellsworth and taking it from there.I too, like the idea of the EWT, however to cost is prohibitive!
If you could supply the web site for the tools and the cutting heads it would be great! Big guy productions not right. you should try the unhandled chisels from Doug Thompson, great tools, stay sharp a lond while!!!
Inexpensive, make your own handles.
Any questions give me a shout! thanks gerry

View StumpyNubs's profile


7851 posts in 3877 days

#8 posted 11-06-2011 03:49 PM

MAN- You beat me to that! I’ve been planning on making my own ever since those tools came out a couple years ago! GREAT WORK!

By the way, EVERYONE please do me and Charles a favor: click over to the Charles Niel vs Stumpy Nubs contest thread and help judge the boxes! Then come back here and continue your discussion with the warm inner feeling of having done another good deed…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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David Grimes

2080 posts in 3717 days

#9 posted 01-04-2012 12:14 AM

@cr1, you still start slightly high and lower until the edge is peeling the curls at the sweet spot. The main difference is the speed and smoothness of the cutting (to me, anyway). I believe if I had a race with myself, the new tool would be twice as fast and a smoother finish (before sanding).

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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