​About Wood Turning Tool Operating: Beginners Sets Or Individual Selections?
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​About Wood Turning Tool Operating: Beginners Sets Or Individual Selections?

About Wood Turning Tool Operating: Beginners Sets Or Individual Selections?
The beginning woodturner typically realizes that the wood lathe needs lathe tools. It comes to many as a surprise that wood lathes do not come with all the cutting tools required in the same manner that a table saw tends to come with at least a starter blade. Faced with the morass of bewildering selections in the tool catalogues, the question of what to get can be overwhelming. Thankfully the solution can be quickly found and the difficulty resolved.
First of all, note that the tools in the catalogues are mostly for the experienced turner and are highly specialized or are basic tools in a whole lot of sizes. Some are merely the same tool from a variety of manufacturers. Like most crafts, individual turners have individual tastes in tools, handles, and suppliers. The beginner needs to get started in order to develop those tastes over time.
Secondly, realize that many woodturners get into a rut in their turning and thus have specialized needs or wants in tools. Some they will never use and others they use every day. Beginners need a reasonable variety of tools to build up preferences over time. Do not let other turners move you away from basic tools that some use all the time.
This brings up the argument for buying a basic or beginner's set as opposed to individual tools. Often a set can be obtained for the price of a single tool. While your woodturning buddy may use that expensive tool all the time, your turning will likely be different and the expense unjustified. Besides which, one of the purposes of a basic set is to use it to gain the experience to understand what tools your woodturning will require most.
Most beginner's sets will have a roughing gouge, a couple of spindle gouges, a couple of skews, a couple of scrapers, a parting tool and a diamond point tool. These are spindle tools and a bowl gouge or an Oland tool will be needed for faceplate work. These can be gotten later. Make sure the tools are high speed steel, usually marketed as M2 HSS. House brand will generally give a great value over speciality manufacturers for the same steel but may not have as nice a finish.
These tools will give you a start at the lathe and will likely be in use for many years. Once you get used to turning the catalogues become a lot less confusing and many of the tools become recognized as old familiars from the beginner's set. By that time, a lot of enjoyment will have come from what will then be familiar friends.


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  • A&S Carbide Cutting Co., Ltd.
  • Address:469 Xinsheng Road, Gaoxin District, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
  • Tel:+86-28-66707530
  • Fax:+86-28-86129221
  • Email:cuttingtool@attachment8.com
  • Contact Person:Leo Zhang
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