Turning Tools

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This page is meant to remind my students of the main tools used during their course here at The Turning Tree.

The photos and description are of tools which I prefer but are not a definitive representation of all tool manufacturers. My preferences are Robert Sorby and Hamlet Craft Tools I generally buy my tools from Axminster Power Tool Centre or The Tool Post

Roughing gouge

This tool is used to take square or nonuniform material down to a rough cylinder it can be used to complete large project with little detail like baseball bats and tool handles and achieve a good finish.

Spindle Gouge

This is for putting the detail in to project turned between centers like chair legs and finials. My first choice would be 3/8 gouge this will allow turners to fine detail on small project as well as beads and coves on larger work, additional sizes can be purchased as you become more skilled.

 Skew Chisel

This tool will allow the user to achieve an excellent quality finish on long planed surfaces, beads and v-grooves as well as parting work of the lathe leaving little need for sanding. My first choice would be 1′ inch oval chisel in preference to flat chisels which I find degrade the tool  rest of the lathe during use.

Parting Tool

This is a very useful tool and can be used for much more than simply parting work of the lathe as the mane implies. My first choice would be a 1′ inch diamond section parting tool in preference to the flat section parting tools, some turners find it had to get the point on center which crucial to for the diamond shape tool. if your not good at sharpening buy the flat section parting tool.

Bowl Gouge

This tool as the name suggests is for turning bowls and the outside of hollow forms. This is a very versatile tool but the sharpening of the toll can prove to be challenging to beginners. My first choice would be to buy two 3/8 inch gouges and grind each one with the different grinds demonstrated during your course.


These are of limited use and once good tool techniques are developed they become redundant or at least little used. My first choice would be to by one flat and one round end heavy scraper, this pair will last a lifetime once you master the honing techniques shown on the course.