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Easy Wood Tools

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Scott Brandstetter, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. Scott Brandstetter

    Scott Brandstetter

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    Being a beginner I'm wondering what the thoughts are from the experienced turners. I bought a finisher from them and it seems like that's all I go to. Now, understand, I am a beginner and realize for a lot of the detail work it won't be the tool but it just seems so much easier, almost like cheating. I don't want to get hooked on a tool and let it limit my abilities down the road. Let me know your thoughts.
     
  2. Bill Blasic

    Bill Blasic

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    I think your last sentence hit the nail on the head. My suggestion to you would be to buy one V shaped bowl gouge (like the Thompson 1/2 V) and learn how to sharpen it and how use it. There is not much that you can't do with a bowl gouge and once proficient it will make all parts of turning easier.
    Bill
     
  3. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Ditto what Bill said.
    With a bowl gouge, spindle gouge, and parting tool I can turn any outside shape and most bowl shapes.
    Consider taking a class, club mentoring or private lessons

    Be safe, al
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    At last year's Tampa wood working show, The EASY WOOD salesman was turning a cut rim bowl in a booth next to our "center Stage" demo area Where Don Geiger was turning a 12" natural edge bowl.

    I tried to watch both to get a comparative picture.

    The easy wood guy used at least 4 different easy wood tools.

    Don used just the bowl gouge.
    In the roughing stage Don was removing wood faster, was standing in a safer place, and shooting the shavings away form himself.

    In the end, Don's surface was a bit better and it sure looked like Don was working less hard and having more fun.

    The easy wood tools have their use. There is a learning curve to the gouge.

    Anyone proficient with the gouge might use an easy wood on the inside of box.
    I've been using a hunter carbide on the inside of goblets and I hardly need to sand them.


    Al
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  5. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    No doubt about it, the Easy Wood tools are beautiful and very well made and very easy to use. I have a couple that I bought specifically for hollowing one project. The post oak wood in that hollow form was so hard and contained so much silica that regular HSS wasn't able to work for more than a few seconds. The carbide tipped tools did the job, however, replacement carbide tips are quite expensive and don't last nearly as long as I had hoped they would -- I wore out two carbide tips on that one hollow form. There are better carbide cutter available that slice the wood (Rolly Munro and Hunter) while the Easy Tools are actually scrapers that don't have the same razor sharp edge of the other tools.

    My opinion is that they are useful tools, but only using them because of the challenge of learning to use other tools is a bit like not taking the training wheels off a bicycle for fear of falling.
     
  6. Breck Whitworth

    Breck Whitworth Sharp Dressed Woodturner

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    I would say this about using them. If they help you to get started and gain a love of wood turning then wonderful. It is important to be able to actually feel good about making something in the beginning. BUT please don't limit yourself to these tools because you will miss the best part of woodturning to me. The learning process is an on going adventure that is always going to challenge you to try new tools and to master their use. I feel almost every tool has a niche. When you learn how to use a gouge it will make you feel good to know you have taken one more step toward being a better wood turner. Best of Luck "Just keep turning"
     
  7. Keith Barrett

    Keith Barrett

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    I first learned using mostly scrapers as a teenager, then when I picked it up again a few years ago I had a starter set of spindle gouges that I got with the lathe. I found that I had trouble with the gouges and turned to easy wood tools. They made my experience MUCH better and gave me confidence to keep at it. In retrospect I think I was more comfortable with them because of my earlier scraper experience. As I learned I found out WHY I'd had trouble with my gouges (the ones I had weren't great tools to begin with, and more importantly I was not good at sharpening them). As I got got experience, I turned to (better) gouges and haven't looked back for most things (the turning point was the first time I used a good well sharpened bowl gouge). I still use the easy tools for some things that I can't do as well with the gouges (hollowing end grain for example and some deeper inside curves), as well as anytime I'd use a scraper.

    In short, I like them, and I'm glad I have them, but they're no longer my preferred tool.
     
  8. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    As others have said easywoodtools are very easy to use and get people started. However if you. Ever learn to use cutting tools you will have a lot more du and get to spend less time sanding and have cleaner details
     
  9. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Must have tried to answer this on my phone. Can't type on the darn thing. What I was trying to say is basically Easywoodtools and the other copies on the market are scraping tools. Nothing wrong with that, they are easy to use for the most part. However a scraping tool will never give you the finish that a cutting tool will. This is especially true for really fine details such as sharp corners or extended V shapes. I'm working on an article right now on inside-out turning and I'm going to try to do one using a scraper just to see. On inside out turning you create a silhouette shape so when you turn the outside of the piece you are turning air about half the time. I can almost guarantee that a scraper will tear out the trailing edge of the silhouette. I cutting tool won't do that if used properly.
    Probably the biggest advantage for me is being able to start sanding with finer grits when using cutting tools. This not only saves time and sandpaper but you don't round over any fine details like you do when you start with course grits.
    On Natural edge bowls you often get tearout on the cambium layer between the bark and wood. This can be limited or eliminated with a cutting tools. It's very difficult with a scraper.
    So I'm not saying don't buy one. They definitely have their place. However it should be your goal to learn to sharpen an use a cutting tool. It will pay you back many times over.
     
  10. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    As has been said, they are scrapers. I don't use them because there is nothing that can be done with them that can't be done with standard scrapers, which can be easily resharpened. Sharpening is a skill that you have to learn if you want to enjoy turning. I think the main reason they are popular is that they have a smaller cutting edge than most standard scrapers, so are easier for most to use. On bowls, a scraping cut leaves a rougher surface than a shear cut. You can do shear cuts with a scraper on edge, but that is mostly a clean up cut for removing tool marks and minimal tear out. A gouge can make a deeper finish cut than a scraper can. I show both if you go to You Tube and type in robo hippy.

    robo hippy
     
  11. odie

    odie

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    Consider this: Those who learned to use, and properly sharpen traditional gouges and scrapers, seldom (if there is anyone at all) give it all up for the Easy Wood tools. There is a reason for this, and I don't think I need to buy all the Easy Wood tools to find out why that is. All that is necessary is to realize who isn't using them, and they all seem to be the experienced turners.

    Many turners on this forum learned to use traditional turning tools long before the Easy Wood tool were invented......and, I'm going to say they first appeared about 5 or 7 years ago. As others have mentioned, the Easy Wood tools are scrapers, and the physics of the cut are entirely different than that of gouges and skews. They will not produce the same quality of cut, and I suspect the carbide insert that holds an edge longer than all the steels used for traditional turning tools, is what gives the novice confusion as to the value of the Easy Wood tools.....because they have yet to learn to sharpen properly yet....and keep it sharp.

    As mentioned, there is some value to producing something that gives some amount of satisfaction to the novice, early on.......but, it's a losing game, in my opinion. This is because if anyone really wants to do the best work they can, it involves using the tools that are capable of producing the best work. If a novice is wasting their time with tools that don't have that capability, then they are losing valuable time they could have been using to learn how to use the best tools in the first place.

    Learn to sharpen, and learn to use the tools that are capable of producing the best work.......

    Forget about videos that show new-fangled tools working on easy wood! Get the most difficult seasoned dry dense roughed bowl, and try that out to see the difference between a scraping cut, and a slicing cut.:D You'll probably be thinking entirely differently, if you put some "real world" perspective into the thought process.

    ooc
     
  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I agree with what you said Odie except that a beginner without any real world experience is hardly able to use something that he doesn't have yet. But, otherwise, if he will just trust you on this one, there are limitations on advancing by not learning to actually turn with traditional tools.
     
  13. odie

    odie

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    Yeah, I think that's true, Bill....... I suppose I'm looking at this from my own perspective, and not understanding how a "newbie" will see it. I know it's a powerful draw to complete a turning, giving some self satisfaction. As with most of us, who have been turning for awhile, my first efforts were with traditional tools. It was a rocky road, but once learned how to sharpen them, and use them, the possibilities are much greater. The real point of all this, is that sanding is a necessary evil, and the less of it that is required, the less overall distortion caused by sanding there will be. The less distortion there is, the better things like detail grooves, crisp intersecting edges, good transition between cross grain and end grain, etc., will be.

    At one time, I looked at some of the Easy Wood tool videos, and it was easy to see the limitations, considering how the carbide tip was applied to the wood. For lack of better descriptive wording, the EW tools are using a "plowing" cut using a flat shaft for stability, and pushing directly into the wood. This is the same kind of cut some turners will use for a roughing cut using traditional scrapers, where speed is the object, and not quality of the cut.

    I have a couple Hunter tools, and for a very specialized application in a tipped up shearing mode, the round carbide tip is very effective. The straight and swan neck Hunter tool doesn't replace traditional tools, but does provide additional options for areas where access is very difficult. Because the Hunter tools have round shafts, their purpose and application is entirely different than EW tools.

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  14. Hu Lowery

    Hu Lowery

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    carbide is evil unless you have paid your dues!

    Not going to talk about the easy wood tools but carbide in general. Coming from a metal turning background where carbide has largely taken over, starting with carbide made sense to me turning since that was where I was likely to end up anyway.

    "Great Jumping Jehosephat!!! You can't be a wood turner unless you work the steps! Carbide is an evil crutch that lets you turn without knowing how!"

    I was ostracized in some circles for even thinking it might be OK for a beginner to use carbide. Once you have learned how to use conventional tooling and sharpen it, then it is wonderful for an advanced turner to take advantage of carbide though!

    I became a draftsman and designer during the great board/computer crossover. Worked with some fantastic draftsmen and draftsladies who were artists on a board. They spent all their time struggling with drawing on computers where they had little training or experience. Being the contractor and bottom of the totem pole I did almost all of the board drafting, something I was barely adequate at. As things evolved I moved into a position where I drew on a computer and the software I was trained and experienced on. My output per week often surpassed the other four to six people in the department, combined! I think this conflict parallels the insert vs traditional tooling debate.(Inserts don't have to be carbide.)

    Another twenty or thirty years and the idea that everyone has to start with a piece of high speed steel to ever be a turner will probably be largely extinct. Right now it is sacrilege to suggest anything different.

    All carbide isn't created equal however. Aside from sometimes subtle differences in shape that make a world of difference, there are different alloys and different methods of manufacturing carbide, just like the seemingly endless variety of steels. Different tools present the carbide to the wood differently too, a matter of huge importance.

    I like tool making. When turning metal I kept HSS blanks on hand and made things I needed on the spot and sometimes made things that couldn't be purchased with a carbide insert even if I wanted to. I like shaping my tools for metal or wood. That is a different skill than metal or wood turning however and it may not be everyone's cup of tea. I find I like using the traditional style tools because traditional wood turning is what I was seeking when I started with the lathe. Not going to stop me from building a hollowing tool though!

    There is some plausible argument that carbide doesn't get as sharp initially and we spend more time working with a dull tool using carbide. I doubt the later is true, we simple go through one sharp to dull cycle with carbide where we go through many with steel, total time at each stage of sharpness is about the same if we are using both in a reasonable manner. Another weakness is many are using a somewhat dulled carbide tool for a finish pass. The cure is the same as stopping to sharpen a conventional tool before the final pass, stop and change to a fresh carbide insert for the final pass.

    One reason for using every easy tool made in a demo is because they are trying to sell every tool made. I know little about them and because of my lack of interest in scraping I don't care to learn. Other carbide tools are angled to shear. Easier on the carbide and should do a nicer job. Harder to learn to use. We never do get a free ride!

    I may use carbide with the hollowing tool. Pretty much all of them use a carbide or high speed steel insert and at the end of the day an insert is an insert is an insert. Some advantages to every insert sold, that is why there are so many choices and so many advocates. Somewhere along the line you have to make a choice which pony to ride. My advice is don't jump around too much. Decide what you want to try to use and stick with it awhile before moving on.

    I'll use conventional tooling whenever possible. I like having skills and it forces several skill sets that might not be absolutely necessary using some carbide tools. I'd bet the farm that any of the top turners on this forum could turn two pieces, one using nothing but carbide and another using no carbide, and nobody could tell which was made how unless they deliberately put features in favoring one or the other.

    New steels and new designs are extending the life span of using conventional tooling but the day will come when traditional tools are looked on about the same as the soldering iron I have in the barn, a big chunk of copper on the end of a steel bar in a wooden handle. It still does an excellent job soldering but few know how to use it and fewer would.

    Hu
     
  15. odie

    odie

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    Good post Hu.......

    Looks to me like you are missing some pretty important points, though.

    First.....There is nobody saying you can't use carbide to whatever degree you wish......I do. There is nothing that says a new turner can't use carbide exclusively, if that's what they wish to do. I've given an opinion of why carbide, when used the way EW tools are intended to be used, is giving a misconception that it's as good as traditional tools. I've explained why I disagree with that notion, and you and anyone else are free to believe whatever you wish........all is an opinion, and we are all free to have our own beliefs and conclusions about what information is relevant to our own turning efforts.

    There is one very major difference between carbide and HSS.......available shapes. Unless, there is a carbide tool that is shaped like a traditional gouge, then no carbide tool can do what a gouge can do. About the best that can be done is a well executed sheer scrape. If there were a carbide gouge that could be sharpened without much problem, I'd be one who might be interested in a little more information on that......

    Hu, I wonder if you wouldn't mind expanding on your comment that initially a carbide edge isn't as sharp as it could be. We use carbide cutting tools and inserts where I work, and I don't believe I've ever heard this before.

    Since you mentioned "sharp to dull cycle (s2d)", consider that this cycle may not be the same from individual to individual. Some turners, such as myself, don't wait to resharpen HSS tools before there are signs that it needs sharpening. This means the S2D cycle is even further abbreviated, and as long as resharpening is a refined skill that it may only take seconds to true up an edge......then the results are that the extremely sharp edge of a freshly sharpened tool (because of s2d cycle) is in existence for much longer than one single sharp edge that a carbide tool has. A new turner doesn't care to sharpen, because he doesn't know how.....yet......and, is basically the reason why carbide is so appealing. To someone who sharpens without thinking about it, the no-sharpen carbide appeal doesn't mean a thing to him.

    In response to your last comment: I'm in disagreement with your assertion.......I'd bet the farm you certainly could tell the difference, if we are talking about turning designs and shapes that result in not having as much visual appeal, because less sanding is key to their success.......:)

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  16. Scott Brandstetter

    Scott Brandstetter

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    Thanks for all of the responses. Since starting this thread I have put down the easy wood tool and focused on my others. I am obviously very new at this, did take a class before starting, and going to take a beginners bowl class in Feb. Sometimes, and I doubt I'm alone on this, it's hard to ask a question being new because I don't have the history to draw upon. I read everything I can, watch as many video's as possible, and try to apply to my lathe. I am also going to join the local turning group in my area. Again, thanks for the responses and I am sure I will be asking more "newbie" questions.
     
  17. Hu Lowery

    Hu Lowery

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    oops!




    A late breaking decision after typing a long reply, think I shouldn't post it in the original thread. I had excerpted Odie's post, going to copy it in it's entirety and my reply into a new thread on the main forum to not lead this one further astray.

    Apologies for my earlier post, one of my flaws is leading threads astray!

    Hu
     
  18. Terry Vaughan

    Terry Vaughan

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    I've owned a carbide gouge for a long time. It has a curved sheet of carbide fitted into the flute of a steel gouge. I bought it for use on abrasive materials but have never been able to get it sharp enough to cut. One made of a better grade of carbide would be worth a try though.
     
  19. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    How do you sharpen carbide?
     
  20. odie

    odie

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    Hu.....Nothing out of place that I saw. Your post outlining your thoughts fit well into the thread.....or, so I thought. We are all welcome to differences of opinion on these turning subjects. There is no right and wrong.......just personal thoughts and input.

    ooc

    Bill, at work, we use a 6" diamond disc turning very slow speed for carbide cutters. This disc is similar to the flat diamond hone commonly used for honing of turning tools. Although, I work in the same section, my machine is a precision grinder, capable of about +/- .0002" tolerance.......so, I am familiar with the sharpening of these carbide tools, by association......just a little over 16 years working in a machine shop environment.

    Inserts are tossed out when dull.

    ooc
     
  21. Terry Vaughan

    Terry Vaughan

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    With difficulty. I've tried diamond hones and a diamond coated Dremel disc but cannot use the gouge.
     
  22. Kevin Miller

    Kevin Miller

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    Maybe a slightly different perspective.

    I've only been turning about a year and I definitely consider myself a novice. Not quite a beginner maybe but definitely not an expert.

    Like many, most of my turnings have been small items and mainly pens at that. I've made probably about 100 or so deer antler bullet pens to be sold for a friend of mine

    So I've developed some turning skill, but I have a lot to learn - and I'm trying to do just that.


    I use a 5/8 bowl gouge for bowls and carbide tools for pens and smaller items. I have a couple of the full size EWT that came with the lathe that I bought and I have the smaller Rockler carbide set and several of the Captain Eddie cutters and bars with my own handles.

    I love the caribed tools for making pens. I've tried to take the "purist" approach and force myself to use a skew and small gouge and I could never get my pens straight like I can with a carbide cutter.

    I know they are scrapers but I find that I can get a great finish on my pens and I've never had a problem with torn grain or anything that my normal sanding didn't take care of.

    Like I said, for any bowls that I've done, I use my gouge. I took a class to start and that class taught the bowl gouge. I also have read just about every book I could find and have watched I think all of the DVDs in my local club library so I'm fairly comfortable with my bowl gouge for bowls.

    For other types of spindle work, I've tried to use the various spindle gouges and skews but I struggle with making nice uniform cuts. They always come out highs and lows where I come out of the cut or "steer" too deep. I need practice. I'm getting there, but it's not "second nature" to me yet.

    But in the meantime, I use my carbide tools for those smaller items. Especially for recent Christmas gifts as I needed some nice smooth coves and I simply couldn't produce what I wanted at this stage and at my current skill level without my trusty round carbide cutter.

    My goal is to use traditional gouges for all my spindle and faceplate (bowl) work as I develop my skills simply because of the quality of surface left on the material.

    But I will probably always use carbide for pens and small items. It's just too easy and gives me a much higher confidence working on those smaller items than trying to turn them to the right diameters perfectly straight with a bevel rubbing cut like a those that use a small gouge or skew.

    Like a lot of people, I'm a tool junkie so I have a bunch of them and all different sizes and brands, but so far, my "go to" tools are my 5/8 bowl gouge for bowls and my carbide tools for pens.

    I find that to be a happy medium and I don't feel like I'm "cheating" the hobby so much that way. :)

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  23. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Actually, I was interested to see what Terry was doing since I knew that you worked where industrial tools were used to sharpen carbide.

    Terry, there has been a lot of discussion on this forum about unsuccessful attempts at DIY carbide sharpening. Unless you have access to the type of equipment that Odie mentioned, it is a mostly futile exercise. I have tried using a fine diamond hone under running water with very marginal success -- not really worth the time and effort.
     
  24. odie

    odie

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    Yes, I think we've discussed this before.....my mistake, sorry......:eek:

    ooc
     
  25. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    I'm in the camp of Bill Boehme (I think it was him). Training wheels. I teach private one-on-one in my barn, and at a Woodcraft in Massachusets. When students ask me about the EWT, I say this: it shouldn't be the only tool in your tool rack. And if you're a beginner I suggest that they NOT start with the EWT. It's like when your parents put training wheels on your bike. You never wanted them to take them off because you knew you were going to fall and skin your knees. As adults, we're even more fearful of the unknown.

    There ARE some very good turners - Alan Carter, for example - who uses the EWT on his turnings. A few years ago we bartered one of his works for one of my HannesTool gouges. I don't know how much he uses that gouge. But he seems to do pretty well with the EWT.

    I'm wondering if using it when wood is in spindle orientation (like pen turning, or many of Alan Carter's pieces), the EWT cuts 'better' (and I mean if you have difficulty keeping the bevel straight and 'kissing' the wood to avoid the ridges, but NOT implying that Alan Carter has that issue) when compared to the standard bowl orientation, with both side grain and end grain. That may explain why so many pen turners like the carbide insert tools, like EWT. A scraper used as a scraper can tear the end grain, which is why bowl turners use 'scary sharp' bowl gouges.

    Robo Hippy is the exception to this standard, however. The guy can turn anything with scrapers--wood, vegetables, ice, fruit. You name it, he can do it and pretty darn good, too. :)
     

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