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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 12-07-2021 05:58 PM 450 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1351 posts in 3268 days

12-07-2021 05:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe

Hey everyone,

I’m in the middle of rehabbing an old 930 delta lathe and looking to be done around Christmastime. I have no lathe tools or accessories, so I’m wanting to ask for some for Christmas. I’ll be doing mostly spindle turning, so no bowl tools or chucks necessary yet. Just need a good drive center, live or dead center and maybe a spindle roughing gouge, skew, and parting tool. I’m leaning toward HSS, not carbide tools – mainly because I hate sanding. I’m looking for some tools that could be affordable, but give me some good long term value. I know this is a big ask, but I’d rather support domestic that foreign made products. Any suggestions?

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

13 replies so far

View drsurfrat's profile


1220 posts in 519 days

#1 posted 12-07-2021 07:30 PM

I’ll start the first of a million opinions. Don’t discount carbide, you will trade sanding for sharpening. I have had good results with Sorby HSS tools if you want new. I have had very little luck finding used lathe tools on the auction sites.

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9309 posts in 1915 days

#2 posted 12-07-2021 09:39 PM

I’ve found that I’m using a simple bedan more and more for turning, and sharpening it is about as easy as they come. A Sorby 3/8” bedan for under $60 is a good value, and I use it in place of a roughing gouge, parting tool, and skew (though I still use a skew for a few things). I’ve also made my own bedans in 1/4” and 1/2”, buying HSS blanks on eBay, turning handles for them, and epoxying everything together. Cost in parts was about $30 for the two.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1351 posts in 3268 days

#3 posted 12-08-2021 01:46 AM

Mike – Yeah one thing that I do like about carbide is it’d be real easy to make myself tools, which I really like doing. I guess every time I see someone using carbide it just looks like a total sandstorm of dust. Whereas hss tools make more shavings. Maybe I should just make one to see how I like it. I’m sure it’d be useful over the long haul for certain things even it it wasn’t my favorite.

Dave- I’ll have to check out the bedan. I don’t even know what it is and you’re the first person to even mention it, but I read a few of your other posts about it and it looks like it could be really nice. Like I said above, I’m a big fan of any tool simple enough to make myself, and bedpans fit that bill. Are they really sufficient for roughing out square stock? Seems like they’d catch a lot?

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9309 posts in 1915 days

#4 posted 12-08-2021 02:46 AM

For spindle turning, a bedan is fine for roughing out. I tend to angle it so I’m using it like a skew, with the bevel riding about halfway between horizontal and vertical, so it’s a paring cut of sorts. The bevel rides on the piece (and a lot of air) and the chips fly everywhere.

I’m not brave enough to try roughing a bowl with a bedan yet, but I might go there at some point.

And yeah, simple enough to make myself, and simple enough to sharpen that I’ll keep it sharp are two major pluses in my book.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View MrUnix's profile


8850 posts in 3532 days

#5 posted 12-08-2021 03:41 AM

My first lathe, a slightly newer 1949 Delta 10”, came with a 4-flute spur center, dead (cup) center and a really small faceplate. It set me back $50, and I used it like that for years without spending another dime on it… so it can be done without breaking the bank ;)

First thing I’d do is get a thread tap. With it, you can make an endless amount of accessories (jam chucks, sanding discs, mandrels, threaded glue blocks, etc….). See this thread for more info: Woodturning on the Cheap

That thread also has a few references to making your own turning tools. Now that I know what a Bedan is – I was surprised to find out that I made one out of an old screwdriver years ago, and didn’t even know it! I admit, it is one of my favorite tools and can be used for many different purposes.

Also, you will need to sharpen things, and a belt sander makes a good low cost sharpening station; and you can easily make a home made jig or two to aid in the task. Cap’n Eddie has a couple of good videos you might like:
Belt Sander Sharpening
Two Dollar Sharpening Jig


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View bigJohninvegas's profile


1139 posts in 2795 days

#6 posted 12-08-2021 03:56 AM

For most my lathe accessories I buy form Craft supplies USA. They are located in Provo, Utah
And Robust tools are USA made.

You will have to look for country of origin on most everything.
As far as Gouges and such. I started out with Sorby. But any of the Sheffield England steel tools are good.
Sorby, Crown, Henry Taylor.
Now I primarily use Thompson tools.
Your Spindle tool list is pretty accurate.
Roughing gouge, Parting tool, Skew, Bedan. Don’t forget a 3/8” spindle gouge.
It takes some serious skill to rely on a skew or bedan.
And sharpening? have you considered that yet?
Like any tool sharpening, no right or wrong way, and just mentioning it will open up a whole new discussion. lol.
But most it seems are using a wolverine jig, and a 8” grinder.

Here are a couple of tool starter sets. The Sorby set I started with also had a bowl gouge, where these two are focused on spindle work.

Good luck,

-- John

View RyanGi's profile


122 posts in 370 days

#7 posted 12-08-2021 07:29 AM

I’m a big fan of Thompson Tools. They’re reasonably priced since they’re just milled shafts. You make your own handles and finish your own grinds. He uses excellent steel and is passionate about the craft. Check out his story on this website!

-- Ryan/// I like chips...and sawdust...but mostly chips...with vinegar

View Underdog's profile


1802 posts in 3368 days

#8 posted 12-08-2021 12:21 PM

If you’re just starting out you can buy a set of HSS tools from Harbor Freight for a reasonable amount.
I think I actually bought a set of those once. But I started out with the cheapie carbon tools that came with a Big Lots cheapie lathe, and later bought a Jet mini and a set of Pinnacle tools that have served me fairly well. I’ve since graduated to full size lathes (Jet 1642 and now a Colt/Riss Sratos 18) and buy other tools as needed from Doug Thompson and a few other vendors.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1351 posts in 3268 days

#9 posted 12-08-2021 02:33 PM

Thanks for all the input guys, I’ll look into these sources.

One question regarding skews. I made a 1 1/2” O1 chisel for my pole lathe that works well. It’s a single bevel 30 edge, similar to a timber framing slick. Can I use that as a skew to start off with? Is there a reason most turning skews are double beveled?

Obviously I would have to sharpen it more, I am aware of that part.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View HokieKen's profile


20636 posts in 2471 days

#10 posted 12-08-2021 03:19 PM

Double bevel just provides more flexibility. A single bevel will work fine though for what it will do. In my experience, O1 just isn’t up to the job when it comes to turning. It dulls way too fast. But since you already have it, give it a go and draw your own conclusions :-)

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

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9309 posts in 1915 days

#11 posted 12-08-2021 03:23 PM

That’s wider than I like for a skew for a powered lathe, but it would work. Be tricky to maneuver and not get catches with something that wide until you get used to it.

The main reason I can think of for the double-bevel is so you can use the skew left to right or right to left. With a single bevel, the skew will have a preferred direction, which might make for some things you can’t get to.

But a bedan is basically a single-bevel skew. Or a mortise chisel. I grind mine at about 45 degrees, because I can hit that pretty accurately, and it’s a nice solid edge. I may go thinner over time, and I’ll probably keep at least one thicker, as it’s more like a scraper that way. Plus the blanks I work from have about a 75 degree bevel, so a thicker bevel is less grinding to do to prep the tool the first time.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Davevand's profile


313 posts in 2169 days

#12 posted 12-08-2021 03:43 PM

Don’t forget that you will need a sharpening system and jigs for it (unless you can freehand sharpen). I started with a cheap set of gouges and still learning how to sharpen even with the jigs. I would look on CL or FB to see if there are any for sale around you. Also by buying cheap/inexpensive gouges you will learn which ones you like and will use before you go and spend big dollars on something you will not use much.

View Kelly's profile


3899 posts in 4277 days

#13 posted 12-08-2021 08:02 PM

My little, used lathe came with a set of Benjamins Best. They served me very well and I still use them regularly, though I have several high end knives too.

Carbide becomes worth it’s weight IF you start turning plastic. When I switched to my carbide tips from my HSS tips, I didn’t have to sand anymore.

As to chucks, they can be handy for spindle turning too. I make a lot of tiny turnings. The pin jaws are excellent for that purpose.

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