TOOL HELP!!!!

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ChrisD123

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Joined
Jun 11, 2012
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167
Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Hello! For Christmas i got a General International 25-200M1 Maxi VS lathe. The purpose of this lathe was to start making bowls... and well i know this is a pen turning forum I'm sure you guys have all tried a bowl before! Anyways i have been watching a lot of videos on tools, sharpening and sharpening jigs and to be honest I'm SOOOO OVERWHELMED, i have no idea what tools to get how to sharpen them, what stones to buy, where to buy them, how much money its gonna cost, which is the best tool profile and i honestly just don't know where to begin... i would love if someone could kind of give me an idea on what i need to get as i am on a budget and i have a feel this is going to be expensive... anyways any help is appreciated thanks!
 
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Tieflyer

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Jan 3, 2013
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171
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St. Louis
Answers are going to be vast and varied. A good starting point is sharpening. You can get cheap tools to cut nice if you know how to sharpen. I suggest a slow speed bench grinder, 8 inch and upgrade at least one wheel to an 80 grit. I use the 3x brand from CSUSA. I use a wolverine sharpening rig and a vari grind jig to sharpen with. There is no "best" grind, it's all in how you like to turn. Consider getting Kirk DeHeers video on sharpening, he's a great teacher but lousy actor. The techniques are rock solid though. You need a bowl gouge or two, mine happen to be "V" fluted but honestly I like the round flute better. Do NOT EVER use a spindle roughing gouge on a bowl. Ever. Wrong tool, wrong application.

Honestly, I turn my bowls with only two gouges as a rule. I may use a big spindle gouge to sheer scrape the final cut surface before sanding but not always. Ask questions, we'll try and answer.
 

TimS124

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Joined
Apr 11, 2012
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735
Location
Asheville, NC
After attending the AAW's symposium a couple years ago (it was only a few miles from home), I decided there are so many different techniques for turning bowls because each "celebrity" turner is hawking their own brand/style/sponsor. :)

All of them seem to produce reasonable bowls with reasonable effort. Some do a better job of explaining it than others.

Many of the videos are useless for teaching because the camera angles don't show what matters…they're busy showing the celeb's face or simply pulled too far out, etc. A live demo is better if it's in an environment where you can ask the demonstrator to clarify what/how/why they're doing whatever it is they're doing….many really don't explain well.

Richard Raffan has done a decent job of simplifying the process and has plenty of videos and books (his books have some decent drawings that show his planned cuts to get from full blank to final bowl so you understand his process at the lathe better).

I love the Wolverine and varigrind - makes it pretty easy to create and maintain fingernail grinds. That grind allows a single tool to have several different behaviors depending on which part of the grind you have in contact with your bowl…

Many of the AAW presenters are turning green wood so they can complete their demonstration quickly and still have time for Q&A. Green wood rocks though it can be a tad messy.

If you're turning dried wood, expect to have to work slower and take lighter cuts (though it's amazing how big of a cut a good bowl gouge can take even in dry wood!).

Please, do NOT use a roughing gouge on your bowl blanks!!! The AAW is trying to get turners to refer to it as a "Spindle Roughing Gouge" instead of just "roughing gouge"…that's to highlight the need to ONLY use them on spindles.

If you look at one, it looks like a really beefy tool so what's the problem? Look closely where the spindle roughing gouge meets the handle and you'll see it suddenly things down to a comparatively small tang…which can snap if you have a catch while working with much of the business end handing out past the end of the tool rest (which is common when turning bowls).

Some nasty accidents have happened when a spindle roughing gouge and a bowl blank got into a disagreement…

Bowl gouges have a lot more meat where they enter the handle and they work much better for roughing in bowls (even in dry wood).
 

edstreet

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Joined
Aug 12, 2007
Messages
3,683
Location
No longer confused....
Hello! For Christmas i got a General International 25-200M1 Maxi VS lathe. The purpose of this lathe was to start making bowls... and well i know this is a pen turning forum I'm sure you guys have all tried a bowl before! Anyways i have been watching a lot of videos on tools, sharpening and sharpening jigs and to be honest I'm SOOOO OVERWHELMED, i have no idea what tools to get how to sharpen them, what stones to buy, where to buy them, how much money its gonna cost, which is the best tool profile and i honestly just don't know where to begin... i would love if someone could kind of give me an idea on what i need to get as i am on a budget and i have a feel this is going to be expensive... anyways any help is appreciated thanks!

Ok I have to say here there are several red flags in your posting and to do any good this should be broken down into several and each flag you could find volumes about.

First the lathe design is better than several simply due to motor location. Having outboard turning is a good thing. You just need a very heavy HEAVY HEAVY stand to go along with that.

Tools, sharpening and jig. That is a very large arena with lots of options. Tooling type aside there is no excuse for not being able to sharpen to some degree. Some may tell you that having carbide tools will exempt you from sharpening but that's a major flame war in and of it self. There are several types of steel used but keep this in mind; I can sharpen any type of chisel to something you could shave with in the morning. Where the differences comes into play is how each steel type reacts when it's on the lathe, not only how it feels but how long it will last, how they tend to dull with different type cuts and so forth. To throw in some curve balls you can take the same type and grade of steel let 10 people use that until it's dull then analyze the cutting edge and see exactly how the turner was using it. Some steels will hold up better for your usage because of this. What most turners seem to get wrapped up in is how long they stay sharp and the group think rule is to go higher grade steel to combat that, which is quite incorrect.

Sharpening is also vast and many pitfalls to be seen. Being on a budget I am going out on a limb and say you don't want some expensive. In my tag line I linked to the article I did on water stones :) While this is somewhat over kill for many applications it does yield the apex of sharpness. Also more accidents occur with DULL chisels than with uber sharp chisels. You have to use more pressure and your frustration level climbs. A simple bench grinder, a wet grinder, a stone may be the common types but each has disadvantages going on. A bench grinder will yield you gobs of heat when grinding which is very bad for your heat treatment. A wet grinder removes heat but also means longer time and water involved. A stone means price, availability and a higher know-how.

Things need not be expensive, you could build your own jig and use something like a bench grinder with a special wheel on it to get by. I would suggest however the proper jig on a wet grinder is the best avenue you could start with as it is going to be the best avenue to sharpen all types of chisels you could throw at it and be cheaper overall and faster than many other methods.
 
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lorbay

Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Messages
3,288
Location
BC. Canada
Go visit these guys they will help you out.
Black Forest Wood Company Ltd.
Location Map
Bay 7, 603-77th Ave. S.E.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2H 2B9
Phone: (403) 255-6044 Fax: (403) 255-6502
Toll free in Canada and USA 1- 877-686-6061
info@blackforestwood.com

Lin
 

kovalcik

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
891
Location
Barrington, NH
This is my recommendation:
To get started, order a Benjamin's Best bowl gouge from PSI (I suggest the 1/2" or 5/8"). Why BB instead of a "good" brand? Because you will end up grinding most of it away as you learn to sharpen and turn. Once you get your sharpening feet on the ground then spend the money on good steel. Then buy one of the Wolverine style sharpening jigs and a slow speed 8" grinder. I use the Blackhawk jig from Captain Eddie (costs about 2/3 to 1/2 the Wolverine jig) and a $99 grinder from Woodcraft.

The jigs make gouge sharpening nearly idiot proof. If you have access to green wood, try that first. It is amazing how the ribbons fly off. Rough turn it to be around 3/4" thick, then take it off the lathe and let it dry in a paper bag fill with the shavings. While turning, do not be afraid to touch up your gouge. With the jig already set up it takes less than a minute.

I would also add an inboard bowl scraper to you tool collection or a round carbide cutter tool. They help a lot with cleanup on the interior.

Watch videos. A couple of my favorites on Youtube are Captain Eddie Castelin and Hayden Penn. If you are a Fine Woodworking online subscriber, Richard Raffan has a good 2 part bowl turning video.

Good luck and don't be afraid to ask questions. If I can help, you can PM me or email me from from profile page.
 

ChrisD123

Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
167
Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
wow! thanks for all the responses! ive been reading through some of the articles and although its helping there is still so many different things i appear to need! could anyone go on lee valleys website and maybe give me a good starting point on what i need because they have so many different brands or tools...
 

Curly

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Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Messages
3,995
Location
Saskatoon SK., Canada.
You have a nice little lathe to start with. Take your time before buying too much and do more research.

There are KMS Tools and a Busy Bee Tools stores in Calgary that you can look at. Between them, Lee Valley and Black Forest you have 4 places to browse and save shipping / exchange / tax costs from the US and you can get your hands on the stuff quicker too.

Lee Valley have in store seminars on turning and sharpening that would be beneficial too. I just looked and on February 27th they have a seminar on Sharpening Turning Tools in the Calgary store.

Have fun. :)
 

kovalcik

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
891
Location
Barrington, NH
The trouble with those sites is they are trying to convince you to buy stuff. It is stuff that is fun to have, but not really necessary to start. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the number of tools, different grinds, and philosophies. What you have to remember is a lot of turners turn out really nice work using homemade scapers made from old files and screwdrivers. There are many ways to get the job done. Some are easier than others, but they all work. Start simple and basic and build up from there. I turn a lot of bowls and end up using only 2 tools for most of them. A bowl gouge, and a round nose scraper.

You do not need to spend hours getting a perfect edge on your bowl gouge. After the main bevel is established (maybe 10 minutes of work with the jig) the jigs make touch up sharpening very quick. The trick is not so much getting it hair splitting sharp. It is getting it sharp enough and touching it up often. That is the benefit that a Wolverine style jig gives you.
Here is my startup shopping list (just noticed you are in Canada, so you may have to find equivalent items that are available to you):

Chuck, a must have. Nova's are nice. The Barracuda II from PSI also works. Make sure you get the screw drive with it.

Bowl Gouge: A good starter one is Ben Best from PSI. I would go 1/2" or 5/8"

Scraper: Ben Best 1" Round nose scraper or a round carbide tool.

8" Slow speed Grinder: Woodcraft has a Rikon. Lowes and Home Depot have a Porter Cable variable speed one that some like.

Sharpening jig: Wolverine, Blackhawk (www.eddiecastelin.com), or something like it. These will put an Ellsworth fingernail grind on your gouge. That is a good basic profile to start with.

Thats it. That will get you turning bowls with sharp tools. The most important thing is to jump in. Every turner has their favorite tools, sharpening methods, and techniques, but there is no "best way". Start up with the basics, try different things. Keep what works for you. In a little while you will be writing posts as to what the "best way" to do things is.

Have fun!
 
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kovalcik

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
891
Location
Barrington, NH
I do not have a Wolverine so hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong, but from looking at the website you will need to add the vari grind to get the Ellsworth profile.

That piece comes standard with the Blackhawk setup.
 

Curly

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Messages
3,995
Location
Saskatoon SK., Canada.
Should i get the basic wolverine jig or the basic and the vary-grind?

I have the basic with skew and vari-grind (sp?) stuff. I haven't used the Vari yet as it isn't needed for pens. I use a piece of big diamond saw blade or rock drilling bit for wheel dressing the stone. Buying direct from Oneway may be cheaper for the Wolverine stuff. If you go to the seminar I mentioned you can try them out and see how you like it before spending.
 
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