carbide tool shafts

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sorcerertd

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Sep 30, 2019
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I have been using carbide tools with round shafts. I find that I can adjust the cutter angle a little when I want to. Does anyone feel there is an advantage to using a square shaft? Is it better to always keep the cutter edge parallel with the workpiece?

FWIW, I feel pretty much the same about HSS skews. I don't typically hold them flat on the tool rest and that opens the door for those little dings in the tool rest surface.
 
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KenB259

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Dec 24, 2017
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After the blank becomes round, I very rarely hold the carbide tool parallel, so I much prefer a round shaft.
 

bsshog40

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Oct 2, 2018
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Omaha, Tx
I have square shafts on my carbides and I've never had an issue with rotating them if I need to. But I like the square shafts so I can keep my carbides straight for cutting.
 

jjjaworski

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Feb 22, 2012
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Las Cruces, NM
I made a couple with hex stock so I can get a shear cut- for what it is worth.

I admit, I hardly ever use them since i prefer HSS-- my preference is all.
 

howsitwork

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Jul 9, 2016
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Thirsk
I made my own round skews in 1/4 and 1/2" HSS . i also have a wonderful rolled edge skew by crown tools ( I think ) . I grind to round off the skew edges at both sides makes it easier to roll beads and control as well as minimising " dings" in the rest surface
 

Edgar

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My carbide shafts are all square. I have no problem canting the blade to an angle for smooth finishing work. A hex shaft would make the angle more consistent, but I don't see a real need for that.
 

egnald

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Jun 9, 2017
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I make mine using either 3/8-inch square steel or hex steel so that I can either lay them flat for regular scraping or at a constant angle for shear scraping. With my skill set consistency is really important. Here are a couple of thumbnails showing some of the tools I have made. - Dave

(Click on Thumbnails to Zoom-In)
IMG_2761 (Cropped).jpg IMG_2768 Cropped.jpg
 

leehljp

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Tunica, Mississippi,
I have trouble with round shafts in that they allow a catch to twist or rotate the shaft. I often use carbide inserts to get the blanks to near round, and then go to my HSS. I often mention in posts to others the word "feel" or fine "touch" as getting the feel and feedback of the cutting edge and blank. I have become so used to this that my grip is not hard or strong enough to prevent catches such as can occur with round shafts. When I get down to the end, I rarely sand much, if any, and rely on very sharp tool and then finesse the last little bit. That requires a delicate feel/touch. I do grip hard enough to hold the tool to keep it from flying if I get a chatch, but not so hard that I can't feel any cutting edge feedback.

In using a round shaft, my delicate feedback "feel" doesn't grip tight enough and I do get catches. I gave up using round shafts on pens. I do use round on bowls but I grip differently on those.
 
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Round vs square shafts boils down to "potato" vs "pototo" honestly. Both will do most everything you need to do. The square shafts tend to be stronger and heavier due to being more steel than round ones. For small turning projects neither shaft type is "better" for turning. You can angle square shafts for turning, round is obviously easy to do this with.
 

monophoto

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Mar 13, 2010
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Saratoga Springs, NY
I'm with Markus - I've done it both ways and don't see any difference.

The theory is that a square shaft sits flat on the tool rest and is easier to use. because it has less tendency to rotate. But the tool needs to be presented at an angle which means that the shaft must be rotated. One UK manufacturer of carbide tools solved this problem by using square shafts, and then introducing a twist in the shaft so that the tool would be angled when the shaft was flat against the rest. But that forces everything to be done at that one angle - not an ideal solution, to my mind.

I have three carbide tools - two with round cutters and round shafts, and one with a rounded-square cutter and a square shaft with arised edges.
 
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