Carbide or Traditional Turning Tools: Which is Better?

Comments (0)

One of the most basic, and most often asked, questions I get about turning tools is which version do I recommend, traditional or carbide. A simple question that does not necessarily have a simple answer.

Carbide tools have replaceable cutters that come in different shapes and sizes. These tools are fairly new to the market, only a little more than a decade. Their simple design provides a fast learning curve which allows a woodturner to develop skills quicker than traditional tools. They are also very good at rapidly removing wood, for instance hogging out the center of a bowl. Since the cutters are replaceable and economical, there is no need to spend time building a second skill set for sharpening. The cutter can simply be rotated until it is no longer sharp and then replaced. The major manufacturers of carbide tools are Woodpeckers, Easy Wood Tools, and Rikon.


Robert Sorby Traditional Turning Tools

Traditional tools are made from a solid piece of high grade steel with a specific profile sharpened on the end. Many of these tool designs have been utilized for centuries. The type and style of the sharpening, or grind, can be adapted for many different applications using a single tool. This great versatility provides a woodturner with more choices for the design of the project, especially in regards to the amount of detail that can be used. Once a turner has developed the ability to properly utilize traditional tools, they will provide a cleaner finish on the workpiece, which will require

less sanding. The most common manufacturers of traditional tools are Robert Sorby and Pinnacle.


Woodpeckers Carbide Turning Tools

Any woodturner who truly wishes to expand his or her performance and abilities will not be limited to simply one type of tool. So my answer to the question of which type to use is always that a good woodturner will apply the advantages of both traditional and carbide tools when turning depending on the situation.


Write Comment

Write Comment

You must be logged in to write a comment. Log In

Top of Page