Woodturning Tool Recommendations for the Beginner

woodturning tools and equipment

Woodturning Tool Recommendations for
the Beginner

So you decided to get into woodturning.

You purchased a lathe, a good wood lathe like a Laguna Lathe ….you’re stoked and ready to turn.

Oh, Oh!

Need some woodturning tools!

Laguna Revo 13\36 wood lathe
This Laguna Revo Wood Lathe wreaks of quality, gonn be my next purchase!

I think that’s the scenario that many of us go through. Maybe we don’t buy the lathe yet but we do the research and figure out which one we are ready to get ….in other words, you are ready to pull the trigger on a woodlathe.

My friend, you’re just starting out and you are going to learn that there is a lot more to woodturning. There are a lot of wood turning tools and supplies you are going to need. And, you are going to have to learn how to use these new tools.

Each new wood turning project will require different techniques, differnt tools and different wood. It will require a different plan of attack. Even if you decide to turn a couple of wood bowls, chances are you will need some different tools and each one ….and maybe even a different finish on each one. It all depends on the type of wood and style of bowl.

I’m not going to talk about all the different accessories in this article, but I do want to talke about what is probably one of the most important considerations when entering into the world of wood turning. I want to talk about your woodturning tools.

First you are going to find out that the same type of tool from one vendor is 10 times the cost with another vender or manufacturer. In this case, you usually get what you pay for, but should you buy expensive turning tools to start off with?

Expensive WoodTurning Tools

If you have the cash, go for it!

beginning woodturing toolsIf you are like most wood turners, that is, always frugal and a good steward of your money you are going to want to purchase tools with the best value to start with.

After fighting through pages and pages, videos and videos about wood turning tools I have come to understand one of the most important things is the type of steel. A wood turning bowl gouge made with less expensive steel will not perform as good as the same woodturning tool made with the best steel. Not only that, it will not hold an edge and you will always be sharpening it.

This could be a double edge sword. It’s important to learn how to sharpen your wood turning gouges, skews and the like because ….number one, it will cost a fortune to pay someone to sharpen your tools and with a cheap tool you might have to sharpen it 2 or 3 times during the project …so you will have to learn how to use something like the Wolverine Oneway Sharpening Jig …you’ll need this regardless of the type of tool you have along with a decent 8″ grinder. So the lesson is, with a cheap tool you will learn sharpening faster and that’s a good thing because when you buy a good expensive Sorby Bowl gouge you don’t want to grind it away honing your sharpening skills with the grinder and oneway sharpening jig!

Don’t Buy A Set of Woodturning Tools

The other mistake most newbie wood turners make is that they buy a set of woodturning tools. A set might have 5 to 10 wood turning tools in it. You might find you only really use 2 or 3 of those tools and you really don’t need the rest at this point.

ellsworth woodturning gougeIt’s better to purchase 2 or 3 seperate wood turning tools of better quality and learn how to use those tools and how to maintain and/or sharpen them. And then as you do more research and your scope of woodturning expands you can grab another medium to high quality tool and learn how to use it.

If we consider the last paragraph, then the question would be….. what tool should I start with? A very good question. I would suggest a spindle gouge, a bowl gouge and a scraper. I don’t hear too many woodturners talk about scrapers, but a good scraper has saved my butt on many occaision and it’s a tool that can build your confidence. Spindle gouges and Bowl Gouges come in many shapes and sizes along with different grinds on each …..unless you are a natural they require some effort to learn but with these three wood turning tools you can do just about anything. The only other one I would suggest to begin with is a parting tool.

Here’s a good video that talks about what type of woodturing tools to begin with….good stuff, excellent photography since you can actually see how the tools cut. For instance a bowl gouge with a fingernail grind can make 3 or 4 different cuts and it could do your entire project if used correctly.

Check out Beginners Woodturning Tools