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Carbide turning tools

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Lawrence Tarnoff, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. Lawrence Tarnoff

    Lawrence Tarnoff

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    Anyone have any experience with the carbide tools with replaceable tips? I'm a new turner and am intrigued by the E-Z gouges.
     
  2. Christopher Martin

    Christopher Martin

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    Yup I have made my own C10 and the square cutter by easy wood tools.

    all you need is 1/2 bar stock and mill out a slot for your cutter and drill and tap out the screw easy as pie. How ever I did my with M 2 high speed steel
    when grinding it tool longer I would just get cold roll steel or something little softer and cheaper too. :eek:

    my bars i used where 15" or 16 "long and recesed in 4 inches .... they work great for doing bowls that the tool needs to hang over 4 + inches....
     
  3. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Well I prefer the Hunter tools especially the new Hercules and Osprey tools. They still have the ease of use of the EZ wood style tools but they have the advantage of using them as shear scrapers or as bevel rubbing tools. In those modes they leave a much cleaner cut.
    Go to www.youtube.com and type in john60lucas and you can see all of the videos that I've done on the Hunter tools as well as other videos. I started making the videos when I got the first Hunter #4 and realized that people had been using them wrong. If you used them as a bevel rubbing tool you could get a superior finish to most other tools on the market.
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I have seen the Hunter tools and I agree with John about their advantages. I have a couple of the EZ Wood tools. They are beautifully made with a matching price tag. Buying one of these tools is sort of like buying a printer. The ink is where they make the money and the same goes for these tools.

    I think that EZ Wood tools probably overstates how long their carbide cutters last before needing to be replaced. With green wood or wood that is not too hard, they last a long time, but if cutting especially hard wood, you might wear out one cutter on a project. The other side of that coin is that other tools are not up to the task of cutting some of the extremely hard woods.

    Other than the carbide tip, they'll never wear out, but on the other hand, unlike conventional turning tools, they will eventually become obsolete.

    The thing to keep in mind about these new carbide tipped tools is that the initial purchase is really just the down payment.
     
  5. gary rock

    gary rock

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    Have learned that when the cutting edge gets dull (all four sides). Pull the cutter off and work it on a fine diamond stone- flat side only. It takes about a minute, then remount it on the tool then back to turning.

    Gary:cool2:
     
  6. Lawrence Tarnoff

    Lawrence Tarnoff

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    Easy vs Hunter

    Thanks for the quick responses. Am I correct in my read that one would require two Easy tools for inside and outside bowl work, but one Hunter would handle both? And, John, I found your youtube videos very informative.
     
  7. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Hunter tools are great for cleaning up the insides of goblets and end grain boxes.

    If you plan on turning a lot, I suggest you find someone to teach you how to use a gouge.

    Using gouges for Turning bowls, the outside of a goblet, finials, outside of hollow forms ....
    Yields better results in a shorter time while being a more pleasing experience than using carbide tools.
    Sort of a win,win, win
    Granted the "pleasing experience" is relative and a function of how well you learn to use the gouge.

    That said if the easy tools get you hooked on turning, Great!

    Work safe
    Al
     
  8. Lawrence Tarnoff

    Lawrence Tarnoff

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    Carbide tools

    One more on this: Anyone have any experience with the Harrison tools?
     
  9. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    The Harrison tool seems to be more or less a copy of the Hunter #4 but I could be wrong because I can't really see the cutter well enough. The #4 was what I used when I started making the videos. It is a good tool but the Hunter Hercules and Osprey tools are much better. They are easier to use as scrapers because the cutter is tilted forward at 30 degrees. If the cutter is flat like the Harrison tool it can be very grabby if used flat. In my video I show how to use it as a bevel rubbing tool which is much better for that tool. The Hercules has a square shank that really makes it easy to use as a scraper. It is a very forgiving tool.
     
  10. odie

    odie

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    I tend to think similar to Al.....learn to use a gouge.

    Matter of fact, I can conceive of how a new turner is doing himself a disservice by starting with the carbide tools first, because it might tend to limit "growth potential" for a new turner. Traditional turning tools are harder to master, but are capable of much better results on a variety of applications. Carbide insert tools are the "training wheels" of turning......a trainee can get immediate results with them, but there is no comparison to the versatility of being able to grind your cutting edge to an individual application, while taking advantage of the full spectrum of flute shapes and shaft sizes.

    There is one single very limited application I've found the carbide insert tool to actually outperform a gouge. This is on the inside lip of an inwardly slanted bowl wall right up near the lip of the bowl on the underside. Here I've found my Hunter tools to do a (pulling towards you) shear scrape with the grain, that produces a better cut surface than does a gouge doing a push cut against the grain.

    If I were an instructor teaching newbie turning students, I think I might not allow carbide insert tools to be used until AFTER a thorough knowledge of gouge applications be acquired FIRST. If the newbie student insists on using carbide insert tools, then he would have to find another instructor. :eek:

    (I am not an instructor, and have no desire to be one, so that isn't in the cards, anyway! ;))

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  11. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I agree and it would be simple enough for an instructor to make it clear that the purpose of the course is to learn how to use certain tools to make whatever is being made (such as bowls).

    When I first started, the 60-grit gouge was my go-to tool although I really didn't like that technique or the end results. I have some carbide tools and they do fill a niche, but otherwise they are only a few steps better than my 60-grit gouge.

    To a newbie, I would ask, "do you want to turn or just barely scrape by?"
     
  12. odie

    odie

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    Good morning, all.........

    I've been out in the shop since about 9pm last evening organizing my sanding storage area. Didn't intend to, but you know how these things seem to "snowball" sometimes! I'll fall asleep in about two seconds after turning out the light......but, Bill's post reminded me of something I thought I might relay to the readers of the newbie forum.

    Bill, I know about that 60 grit gouge, but in my case, it was a 60 grit scraper! I can distinctly remember being intimidated by the gouge in my very early turning efforts. As a result, I did everything with a scraper for months before I finally picked up a gouge. I suspect a few new turners here might have similar apprehensions about the gouge. Anyway, right from the start, I was producing a few bowls that inspired me to stick with it......and, continue to learn. Contrary to the way most people find local mentors, I never did. I never did have anyone show me how to use the gouge in a one-on-one setting......because I didn't know anyone who knew anything about the lathe. No mentors, no AAW club, no videos, no computer, no nothing, but a couple of old books and a little determination.

    It's a wonder that I held an interest in lathe turning, since I probably spent an hour sanding for every ten minutes of attempting to cut the wood! (Not to mention sending a few wooden missiles into orbit! :D) I wore an old Napa rubber respirator for hours, and hours, and hours at a time sanding, and sanding......sweating in that darn thing! (Now, it's just the other way around......it's the tool work that's time consuming, and sanding doesn't take long at all!) I know that some of the newbies reading this are probably going through the same things, but just hang tough.......It'll all make sense with time and resolve. ;)

    I don't know why I do these things, but I'm sure there are many of you out there who have the same affliction........ just get so involved with your shop......that you just can't tear yourself away from it.......This must be some kind of obsession! Maybe I need to see a shrink! :eek:

    Good night!

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  13. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Odie You stated exactly why the carbide tools have take off. Most people who take up turning don't have someone to teach them and if they actually purchased a bowl gouge they probably scraped with it anyway and of course had some good catches.
    The Carbide scraping tools are quite simply easy to use. The downside of course is that you don't learn the joys of using a cutting tool, and you don't learn how to sharpen. However usually if they get hooked on turning they will make an effort to pick up on these skills later.
     
  14. odie

    odie

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    Hi John.......

    Ya......I think there is a lot of truth in your words.

    If I'm not mistaken, it appears as if you are stating the carbide tools do as good a job as traditional tools......and, the only reason one would have for taking up traditional tools is to have some "joy" in their use, and sharpening them. This isn't the way I see it, but I do realize my opinions are not universally shared by everyone, on just about anything related to woodturning........

    I guess it would be strictly theory to know if an individual would actually benefit from using carbide tools......over the same individual who learned traditional turning from the git-go. I think not, because I see it as a second best solution that limits the results to a second rate tool finish......a tool finish that requires additional sanding. For these people, realization that minimal sanding is key to perfection in the details will come, but ONLY by knowing better results are possible. I assume many of these people will never comprehend what it is that becomes limiting for them........until they learn some proficiency in using traditional tools. (For bowl turning, this aspect is compounded in degree of difficulty, simply because of the wood grain alternates as the bowl turns on the lathe......)

    I have no doubts that some turners will not stick with turning without the immediate gratification, carbide tools seem to give them..........My concern for them is they will have to start from square one, when they finally determine these tools aren't giving them the best tool finish that can be had........the only way to cross that bridge, is to use what does! ;)

    One thing I believe will be helpful to someone who learns woodturning today, and without a mentor......is the wealth of videos from experienced turners that are available. I'm not speaking of the turning videos on YouTube. Some of those are going to give the newbie some really bad advice. Generally, the commercial videos are what I'm speaking of. If I had some of these excellent commercially produced videos in the beginning, it would have saved a lot of trouble in my quest for the basics.

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  15. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I keep a number of my early turnings for several reasons, but none of those include being good examples of woodturning. Perhaps the first reason that I keep them is because of all the hours that I put into making them along with the amount of dust from those early efforts that went into my lungs. They also serve as mileposts to remind me that my [lack of] skill and ignorance of eye appeal both assured my firm standing at the bottom of the woodturning food chain. The good news when I began to realize that there were better examples of woodturning was that the only way for me to go was up.

    Most of my early experience very closely mirrors the learning experience that Odie described although I am not sure if any of my bowls actually made it to orbital velocity before burning up in the atmosphere. I'm eternally grateful that the folks at the local Rockler's store kept urging me to visit the local turning club (Woodturners of North Texas). Maybe they were trying to tell me something. :D I guess that I finally had enough of dealing with shot nerves caused by catastrophic catches that I decided to visit the WNT. I wanted to find out if anything beyond my current self taught skill set existed. And, if not, find the answer to why in the world would anybody actually on purpose subject themselves to such abuse.

    The first meeting that I attended really wowed me. The featured demonstrator was Jean François Escoulen doing his multi axis stuff and I believe that his only tool was the bedan. One member brought a hat for show and tell. There were other show and tell items that were equally as impressive to me. That was when I went from being merely interested in woodturning to becoming "fully involved" as a fireman would probably describe it.
     
  16. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Anything that gets folks into to turning is good!

    Most people have a wealth of learning opportunities, they just have to find them.
    Local AAW chapters are the place to start.
    Many local clubs have mentors, formal classes, help sessions, and lending libraries with how to videos and Books.
    The are the not for profit craft schools and an number of other schools that offer beginning classes.

    Check for clubs in your area. Money spent on a class will do more to increase your turning pleasure than new lathes and tools.

    Al
     
  17. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Don't tell me that Al, I won't get to buy anymore lathe tools. :)
     
  18. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    John,

    Perhaps the funniest line I have ever heard in a demo was delivered by Don Geiger.

    ... "I bought this tool when I was one tool away from greatness"


    As long as we are one or more tools away from greatness........

    have fun!
    Al
     
  19. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Al, you're not supposed to say things like that. :D (even though it is true)
     
  20. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Darn with all the tools I have I should be a God by now. :)
     
  21. DOCworks

    DOCworks

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    I teach basic bowl turning at the local WoodCraft and this is a subject that I've had discussed with new turners and WoodCraft owners and sales personal. Since I teach for WoodCraft I can't "bad mouth" the tools and quite frankly wouldn't anyway. They have their place and use. But I have always stressed basic bowl turning should be about learning to turn to get the best results. This last Saturday one of the turners brought their 3 "Easy" turning tools, well it was "now what" time. I went over the basic pro's and con's of these tools and that fact that I did use them for some projects and was not anti their use. I also let them know that we would be using bowl gouges for the class, but if the student wanted to use her tools that would be fine. We were using Dry Popular and what saved me was having them use the Easy tools and feel the finish and then I used my Doug Thompson bowl gouge on the same surface and let them feel the surface. Everyone was happy to try the bowl gouges. For instructors this is going to be more and more of an issue. Cost of ownership for the Carbide tools is really lower at least at first, as you have no grinder, wheels, jigs and jig for the jigs to worry about. At some point I'm going to have to put something together to compare the two options for new turners and try to be objective. Should be fun.
     
  22. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Bill, something that you could include in the comparison is that after buying four carbide tips, you will have spent more than the cost of a basic bench grinder.
     
  23. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Of course you still need a grinder. I haven't seen a carbide tool that looks like a parting tool. They also won't reach into some places so you would still need a detail gouge or a skew. I sharpened for years on disc sander attached to the lathe and then on a hand held belt sander turned upside down so the there are ways to sharpen without the high expense.
     
  24. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    It still baffles me. The carbide tipped tools are scrapers. Nothing more. Most of the 'bowl' scrapers sold are way to wide, and perhaps the bad reputation for self feeding and heavy catches, and the smaller ones are way too thin. 3/8 thick, and 1 inch wide is just right for a bigger lathe.

    robo hippy
     
  25. KellyDunn

    KellyDunn

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    I am with the others that say learn how to use a bowl gouge.
    Bill your thing of having folks feel the finish from a scraper vs. a gouge is a good one.
    Alan Carter uses the Easy Wood tools. Some woods really dislike being scraped. When he was here we gave him Koa to turn. Those tools were absolute garbage for turning Koa. He said thats why God invented sandpaper. I dont think so but that may just be my opinion.
     
  26. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    Robo, I would agree the Easy Wood are scrapers but the edge justs last longer. The Hunters , and others that use an insert with a gullet , don't scrape, they definitely cut. The down side is they don't work like a gouge. In a gouge, you can take a cut as deep as the lathe and the gouge will allow, on a carbide, it has more to do with the size of the insert and the depth/width of the gullet. Maybe my terminology is off, but in shallow and finish cuts, and end grain for sure, the carbide is fantastic. But in sheer stock removal, the gouge still rules. Now mastering a carbide scraper over a gouge is a different learning curve.

    But Eazy wood tools are bringing a lot of people into the hobby who then want to progress to a gouge and learn more.
     
  27. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Well Steve, I need to show you some tricks with a scraper. How much you can take off depends on how much steel you can put into the wood, how hard you push, and how much horse power your lathe has. It really isn't the tool. I will be in Phoenix in 2014, with a lathe, maybe I can get you in my booth and we can make some shavings fly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKdqiAc0jx4

    robo hippy
     
  28. odie

    odie

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    I just received a Penn State Industries catalogue the other day.......and, on the back page, I notice there's yet another carbide tool being introduced. These carbide tools must be selling like hotcakes!

    Personally, my take on this is it's really a shame that, apparently, many of the newer turners are using these carbide tools, instead of going through the process of learning how to sharpen properly. The shame in this is carbide insert tools automatically incorporate limitations on their horizons. To expand those horizons, a turner positively needs to master tool techniques required by traditional gouge shapes, as well as the versatility of multiple grinding options and shapes for each gouge.

    While I can understand the reasoning behind Al's comment, I'm not so sure starting out with carbide insert tools is going to lead to the best end result for new turners as they progress over time......mainly because they will be relying on a "crutch", rather than learning how to run. Carbide insert tools can provide instant results (And, I'm sure that is a thrill for the newbie), but they lack the potential traditional gouges provide.

    I remember some comments by John Lucas about how he used the Hunter tool to shear scrape an excellent tool finish. Although I agree, that it's possible to get a good cut with an angled carbide tip used for limited applications (I've done it with my own Hunter tools), they just lack the versatility of various shapes possible with a gouge. If someone were to concentrate on very basic simple shapes, they could get by very comfortably using the carbide tools. When these same turners wish to tackle shapes that require more skill, they will find their carbide tools just don't have what it takes........and, now they will have to start all over again......learn sharpening, and traditional gouges......or, forever be limited to the carbide tools they have chosen.

    Kelly......It may be your opinion, but it's also my opinion, and the opinion of most all turners who have hung in there long enough to learn how to use traditional gouges.......and learned how to sharpen a keen edge. I am familiar with Alan Carter's very excellent work, but he isn't a very traditional turner. His work relies on results obtained off the lathe. This is perfectly ok, but I can understand why sanding isn't an issue for him, as applied to the artwork he produces.

    For me, sanding is a very huge issue. I just could not arrive at the quality I desire any other way, than to have a tool finish that requires the bare minimum of sanding. Sanding destroys the crispness of the intersection of two surfaces. Sanding also prevents the possibility of very shallow, and finely executed detail grooves. For me, sanding very minimally is not something that is just nice......it's an absolute necessity.

    There is another issue I've found with carbide tools.....and, in my opinion, this is a big one. Whether we're using carbide, or M2 steel, the sharpness is the same for a fresh edge. Both will cut as well as the other. OK......now, listen to this: Both carbide and M2 will begin to dull the very instant they are used. Granted, the rate of dulling for carbide is much less than the M2. However, each and every time, I pick up one of my gouges for a different purpose, I hone......or sharpen and hone. EVERY SINGLE TIME I use my gouges, they are as sharp as a fresh carbide tool. If we were to add a fresh edge to the carbide insert the moment it wasn't quite as sharp as it left the factory, using them would get mighty expensive! It's just the natural aspect of using carbide, that a turner will use them until it's obviously not as sharp as it should be. The results are this....... Those who use carbide tools exclusively, and because of the costs involved in purchasing carbide inserts, are limiting the overall quality of their work because they are using a tool with less than the optimum degree of sharpness. (I hope that made some sense, because I feel this is a profound truth.)

    Learn how to sharpen, and hone. It' so darned easy to maintain the keenest edge ALL THE TIME, that the more experienced turner would just have to rely on twisted logic to think carbide tools are better than traditional tools. The downside to this, is one will just have to invest the time and effort to learn how to sharpen. It took me years to know how to sharpen.....and, to even know the difference between sharp, and sort of sharp! It's obvious to me that some "experienced" turners just don't have an understanding of "sharp", how to get it, and how to use it. (They think they do!)

    If he was willing to learn, I'd bet I could take a semi-newbie turner who has already gotten some mileage with carbide tools.......and, in one afternoon, make him a believer in how easy it is to sharpen traditional tools, and except for a very limited application, those carbide tools would be gathering dust! :D

    As I've said before, I have no desire to teach......but, if I did, I probably wouldn't have any interest in teaching anyone but a rank newbie. I just wouldn't have the patience for "un-learning" people who are already set in their ways of doing things. I suppose this is why there are those instructors who prefer to start with "clean slate" students......;)

    It's 3:30 am here, and I got about 6 hours of sleep before rambling on with this post........I'm not going back to bed.......I'm going back out to the shop! :eek:

    later

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
  29. Jeff Gilfor

    Jeff Gilfor

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    Had to weigh I in this one. As a new turner, I wanted to get going with minimal cost. Decided that, rather than purchasing tools and grinder and jigs, I'd be wiser with a couple of carbide tools. I did enjoy using them and turning out some projects but, the more I read and learned, I became increasingly dissatisfied with my tool finishes.

    Well, bought an inexpensive bowl gouge and parting tool. From the
    Moment I touched them to turning wood, I was hooked! Ran out, got some more, slow speed grinder, wolverine setup, and soothed my Wife's anger over the cost.

    I would never go back to using carbide tools only. I almost never new more than a touch up sending now. Also, I feel
    Much more "connected" to the wood.

    I still use those tools for roughing out and in places where my HSS tools would get beat up (found wood with rocks or nails). They serve a purpose, but not for the beginner.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  30. Ronald Campbell

    Ronald Campbell

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    Carbide

    I must agree with Odie. I think that there will be a day when you must revert to standard tools to do a job. I have a small collection of EZ Wood Tools but still spend much of my time with traditional tools. I use my bowl gouges more than any tool in the box.

    For schools I can see where they could benefit from carbide as they do not get reground by the students.

    Ron
     
  31. Richard Jones

    Richard Jones

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    I use a Hunter #4 for hollowing end grain boxes and it's really a great tool for that. I'll keep using it for that until I can get a bit better at that back hollowing technique. The finish off the Hunter is excellent, much better than I get get with a scraper, so it's lots less sanding. A couple of swipes with 180/220 and it's done. You have to run it at an angle, call it 45°, give or take........Will cause great damage to your work and ego if run flat.......
     
  32. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    it takes 15-30 minutes to teach someone to use a gouge properly.
    kids of all ages love making a long stream of shavings.

    We once had an eight year old who turned his gavel head down to the diameter of a pencil in A few minutes just having fun!
    Most schools have Wolverine systems so sharpening is somewhat consistent.

    Although students are often heavy handed in the grinding. More teachable moments.

    Al
     
  33. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Students will destroy carbide tips very quickly unless properly monitored. If you bang them against each other or any metal you can really quickly chip the edges and make them useless. Also when they do get dull which they will eventually you have to shell out more money for the cutters. Schools are typically hard up for money.
    A good bowl gouge can be resharpened many times. Granted they do have to learn to sharpen but it's necessary skill if you going to stay in any kind of woodworking.
     
  34. Richard Avram

    Richard Avram

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    Odie, I read this post and I realized how fortunate I am to have found a good club. I belong to the Northwest Michigan Woodturners and just a few months after I joined I was asked to do a demo on a piece that I had bought in. I tried my best to get out of it because I knew that my turning skills were ugly but the group insisted that they would help me with the turning skills, they just wanted to see the process that I used to achieve my results. I don't know if they learned anything from it but it was one of the best lessons I ever received. Standing there with the tool in your hand making mistakes and having other skilled turners help you correct them is priceless.
     
  35. KellyDunn

    KellyDunn

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    I am getting ready to toss the saw in the truck and head up the street to a friends for a few pieces of wood. This guy has been a full time turner for maybe 20 years. He tries pretty much every tool that comes out. Why I bring him up is that he does not care. Tool marks, crappy sanding. Terrible form on a lot of pieces. Horrible inconsistent wall thicknesses. I no longer mention any of this to him. And I try not to look at his work. He is a nice guy and we do lots of wood deals together. But no tool, carbide or state of the art steel can make up for I dont care attitude. He does not feel any turner can teach him anything. He says the general public has no idea what they are looking at. When asked about how our work compares I just say he is a nice guy and we have different philosophies.
    I would say 99% of the folks here care. They want to learn and improve.
    a few full time turners were really upset with the quality this guy was doing and tried talking to him. Me too when I 1st met him. And a couple really super turners had to convince themselves to continue the quality they were doing. I chimed in at that meeting and said we all have to come up with what we can live with. Thats all they needed. You have to strive for what works for you. These other turners still produce top notch work.
    This thread has its good points about newbies and learning curves. And great points that it does not take much one on one to teach or to learn how to sharpen and use a gouge.
    I got an email from a friend. He said he uses the easy wood tools for roughing sometimes. But he said they are no way any kind of finish tool. As has been said, your finish cuts decide just what grit of gouge you start with.
     
  36. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Your friend is not that unusual. Every local club has a few of the folks who just don't care to do anything better.
    It used to bother me a lot.
    Now I attribute it to vision. Each of us has a vision of what we want to achieve.
    Those of us who never quite make the perfect piece seem to get better and better chasing the dreams.

    Be safe
    Al
     
  37. odie

    odie

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    Hi Richard........

    Glad you found a good club, and are getting some instruction that is helping.

    For a new turner, I realize finding a club, and getting mentoring is the accepted thinking among the woodturning community......and it's certainly not bad advice. I've asked myself if I could change my own beginnings, would I trade the route I've taken for getting one-on-one instruction? Well, for me, the answer is no. :eek:

    It all depends on one's determination, willing to fail over and over again, the ability to solve problems, avoid getting himself killed (Ha!), and investing the time. There is advantage in discovery....rather than being taught!

    You see, I'm one who strongly believes that failure makes the whole learning process succeed in ways that someone who gets answers from someone else will never realize. Sometimes this process leads to discoveries that are unique to himself, and this is a very VERY powerful thing......especially when the realization hits you that if you had gotten the instruction, you would be just one of the "herd".

    Doing things like I did isn't for everyone....that's for sure.......but, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels very empowered by a certain self-confidence and sense of accomplishment......specifically because "I did it MY way". (Who was it that made that song famous?.....was it Dean Martin?)

    One thing about it.....as was mentioned by Al Hockenbery in the previous post......Don't ever lose that inner desire of reaching out and touching perfection. (Nobody will achieve absolute perfection, but as long as you keep trying for the brass ring, you will continue to make improvements.) Too many people feel like they have "arrived", and once that kind of thinking takes over, self improvement stops, or slows down considerably........:p

    Matter of fact, just today, I made a little discovery that is an improvement. I had been using an ebony pencil to mark specific trouble spots on the top of the tool rest.......and for some reason I picked up a sharpie and made the mark. Dang, I can visualize it much better, because it's blacker! I don't look at the mark when I'm turning, because I'm focused on the tool and the "furrow".....but I can sense where it is much better. The Ebony pencil comes off with a wipe of your finger, but I had to use a 3M dish washing pad to take the sharpie mark off quick. (The 3M pad was handy, because it's good for cleaning off the residue from gouges and tool rests.) I don't know why I never thought of this before!

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  38. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Odie, I agree with you that doing things the wrong way is one of the most powerful ways to understand the "why" of what works and what doesn't. However, I suspect that you might be making some assumptions that give too much credit to the instructor's teaching ability and the student's retention of knowledge when a beginner is fortunate enough to have a mentor guiding them through some of the learning process. I think that more than anything else, mentoring is about exchanging bad habits for good ones.

    My perspective is that the typical newbie has already encountered his share of doing things the wrong way -- both before and even after having some guidance from a mentor. As with any part of education, only a small part of what somebody else says or demonstrates actually sticks. Personal experience is the glue that hold everything together. Just as in your self learning process where you used various sources of information as well as self analysis, I think that the situation is not much different for someone who has received some mentoring other than he now has one more resource at his disposal when trying to determine "what did I do wrong" and "what was it that instructor said". The student still has to learn by experience. But, shared experience is a very useful part of learning. If it weren't then we would have no use for these forums. And, you must admit that you share this viewpoint since you are willing to share your learning experiences with new and experienced turners on these forums.

    FWIW, my learning experience was somewhere in between the two extremes. Lots of hardheaded determination, watching some videos, reading some books, and finally some instruction after I more or less knew what I was doing, but not always doing it well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  39. odie

    odie

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    Bill.....

    You have missed the point of why I wouldn't change my experiences. It's true that I could have benefited from some positive instruction, but if I hadn't taken the course I did, I would have evolved without my exclusive efforts being the determining factor of my journey .......and, the result would be a loss of individualism.

    It's true that I undoubtedly would have made progress much faster......my only concern is that I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am right now......and, the truth is, I'm enjoying this like no other thing I've ever done in my life. If I had instruction, I would be doing things by the same methods everyone else does. My artistic desires would be the same.......but, if you take away the individualism in my methods, the end result would not be the same.

    I don't mind getting input from others on this forum, and I don't mind giving my own thoughts to others......but, there is one big factor in where I am now, as opposed to where I was as a newbie in 1982. Back then, I could have been greatly influenced by others......and now, I can be influenced, but I have some basis for processing the input. Because I'm getting this input at this stage of my journey, I have a better outlook as to how and if I can apply that information to my own rudder.

    This is MY experience, and I'm not at all suggesting others take my philosophies to heart......only that they have been exposed to the information I have to offer, and process that as they will. Personally, I feel most new turners have the desire, but not the gut fortitude to follow through with the learning process......they will be satisfied with less than they are capable of, or lose interest. Of those who do have the "follow through", most of those will probably be best served by mentoring, and the accepted methodology of the day. I believe the smallest group of all will be those like myself.......those who understand how raw individualism, uninfluenced by "group think" is that which will yield the most benefits. (....to those who understand what I mean by the term "raw individualism") I venture to guess that 99 percent of those who have any interest in turning, will NOT be best advised....or suited to my philosophies and methods.

    I have mentioned "positive instruction", and it should be obvious to most of us that not everyone who is willing to mentor, is doing the student any good......and sometimes are contributing to their progress negatively. Some of those on Youtube, who think of themselves as instructors should be stark evidence of the overwhelming availability of poor, and sometimes outright bad and dangerous information. This is not to acknowledge the good information available from mentors, and amateur videos.....but, the overall effect is to steer new turners in directions they should not, orwould rather not take, IF there was a window of experience to view/get the instruction.

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  40. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Odie, I wasn't knocking anything about your learning experience nor was I suggesting that it would have been better for you to have had someone mentoring you along. In my mind, I was agreeing with you about the benefits of learning through experience (I would even go so far as to say that it is the only way that we truly learn). I was just adding my perspective on what it might mean for someone else to be able to have one additional resource of something gained during a mentoring session in addition to other sources including personal trial and error experience. Whether or not it stifles one's creative development is a matter of opinion and I doubt that there is any "proof" one way or the other.

    I like the saying, "good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement".

    You just had to go and mention You Tube videos. There are some other forums where folks think that they are wonderful and best of all they are free. The problem is that there are actually some very good videos, for example those that John Lucas has done. The poor newbie often can't discern between the good and the bad and from what little I have seen, the bad far outnumbers the good.

    And, I agree that not all mentoring is good. My first class at one of the local stores catering to woodworkers and turners was definitely in the bad category, but despite that, I did learn something form tht experience -- mostly how to spot bad instruction.
     

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