Are these basic Delta chisels worth owning?

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Forum topic by mnguy posted 12-29-2013 11:36 PM 4839 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View mnguy's profile


264 posts in 3816 days

12-29-2013 11:36 PM

I have never turned before, but am definitely moving toward buying a lathe in the next 12-18 months. I will probably play with both spindle turning and bowls, on a lathe in the ‘midi’ class. With the expense of the lathe, tools and a sharpening setup, I am looking for opportunities to start out investing a little less money and then upgrading as I learn. I would love your opinions on this Delta set;

Not so much this specific deal, but the quality of the set in general. I find conflicting information online as to whether they are carbon steel or HSS; I won’t even consider them if they are not HSS.

Your thoughts are appreciated :)

17 replies so far

View ScrubPlane's profile


190 posts in 2613 days

#1 posted 12-30-2013 12:47 AM

I’d suggest finding out what they cost new and offer no more than half of new…typical CL exchange rate.

If you can acquire them cheap enough they may be just the thing to learn on.

View TheDane's profile


5653 posts in 4081 days

#2 posted 12-30-2013 12:53 AM

Hmmm … I wonder how long ago his father bought these? Are these even HSS (high speed steel)? If they are high carbon steel, they will dull quickly meaning more frequent sharpening.

$95 is way too much. IMHO, you’d be doing him a favor if you’d take them off his hands for a $20 bill.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Ross's profile


142 posts in 2390 days

#3 posted 12-30-2013 01:15 AM

They look like decent chisel’s. I think the price is a bit high for a used set of middle of the road chisel’s though.
You may also want to consider purchasing a good wet grinding wheel to keep your chisels nice and sharp. I own a 10” Grizzly wet grinder with a leather wheel for polishing. Does a nice job on my lathe chisels.

-- "Man Plans and God Laughs"

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4066 days

#4 posted 12-30-2013 01:44 AM

Probably not, though the handles are long, which I consider
a good thing.

Prices for turning tools in HSS have plunged. I have some
decent (really nice actually) long handled chisels but they
probably aren’t HSS because they are older.

I’m sure there are some instances where carbon steel
is preferred to HSS, but HSS is definitely the new standard
and the basic tools are way less costly than they were
when I was getting started.

View waho6o9's profile


8672 posts in 2995 days

#5 posted 12-30-2013 02:18 AM

I don’t know about those, shouldn’t they say Delta on them somewhere

besides the box?

Here’s a pic of one of my Delta turning tools.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2445 days

#6 posted 12-30-2013 03:18 AM

I looked into getting a set of lathe chisels to start learning on and in my research found that one of the sets sold by Harbor Freight was well reviewed for its price. HF has 2 sets they sell, one is typically about $40 and is very light in the hand, the other costs about half again as much and feels very substantial. These actually appear to be well made tools. This is considered to be a good starter set to learn what tools you will need and than upgrade later as you need to. The $60 set is definitely labeled as high speed steel, not sure about the cheaper one.

View TheDane's profile


5653 posts in 4081 days

#7 posted 12-30-2013 03:25 AM

FWIW … Home Depot had these (Delta 46-730) on clearance for $67 almost ten years ago.

The later version of Delta tools (like the one waho6o9 shows) are a decent tool, but I don’t know if they are available.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Woodknack's profile


12842 posts in 2798 days

#8 posted 12-30-2013 08:46 AM

View b2rtch's profile


4880 posts in 3466 days

#9 posted 12-30-2013 11:00 AM

You can buy a brand new nice set at HF for about $50.00

About $40.00 after coupun. I have them they are pretty good , I belive that someone reviewed them

-- Bert

View Wildwood's profile


2672 posts in 2552 days

#10 posted 12-30-2013 11:49 AM

If just thinking about getting into turning recommend getting couple of turning catalogs and seeing names and prices of things.

Catalogs little easier to understand because broken into sections you can flip thru and see what interest you. Yes, can do same thing at web sites with few clicks.

There are several good vendors that do not offer anything but sale notices too like WoodCraft.
Not a big fan of that Delta basic spindle turning set. Bert already posted a less expensive set from HF.

Looking thru a catalog will soon learn buying individual tools eventually saves you money depending upon what you plan to turn.

-- Bill

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 2349 days

#11 posted 12-30-2013 12:12 PM

Craft supply usa way cheaper then penn state. Great customer service and huge inventory

-- Coach Mancuso

View mnguy's profile


264 posts in 3816 days

#12 posted 12-30-2013 01:36 PM

Thank you all for the excellent feedback. I will take a pass on these and look at some of your suggestions for new chisels. Thanks!

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2730 days

#13 posted 12-30-2013 02:20 PM

Those are overpriced. Skip them. and a thumbs up for Penn State catalog, the number and variety of pen kits is overwhelming! But I just did three pepper mill kits, they were very responsive answering a beginners questions.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View Wildwood's profile


2672 posts in 2552 days

#14 posted 12-30-2013 03:31 PM

Coach, just getting a catalog and thumbing thru it and figuring out what kind of turning might like to try only goal. Many of the kit supplies offered by all three catalogs mentioned come from the same factories.

We already posting a link attesting to quality of tool steel of Penn State & Harbor Freight HSS tools. Starting out with inexpensive tools not a bad choice if buy individual tools vice a set. While do not own any Benjamin’s Best or Harbor Freight tools many beginners, and experienced turners do.

I did buy a few Artisan tools from Craft Supplies just starting out. Back then HF sold flee market quality tools and never heard of PSI.

Would be nice if people thinking about getting into turning had some idea of what they like to turn and knew what they needed to have to get started and be successful?

Just walking thru a turning friendly Woodcraft franchise might provide everything those catalogs show but awful lot to take in at one time. Feel same way about web sites, but like everyone else shop for bargains on them these days.

-- Bill

View TheDane's profile


5653 posts in 4081 days

#15 posted 12-30-2013 05:39 PM

mnguy—Just a thought … I see you are in St. Paul, which is the home of the American Association of Woodturners (222 Landmark Center—651-484-9094). AAW is always looking for ways to expand the universe of woodturners and may be of help.

Or just go to the website of the Minnesota Woodturners Association ( )and check out their meeting schedule. They meet at the Salvation Army in Roseville and would welcome you as a visitor and prospective member. The Minnesota Woodturners Association is a terrific organization and you could very likely find a mentor that could help you sort through the things you need to learn and do to get into turning.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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