Looking for opinions on mid-size woodturning tools

I bought a Jet Midi wood lathe for my son for the holiday. Nice looking tool and something he's been asking about for a while.
I want to buy a starter set of tools for him, but I'm not sure where to begin. I see a few companies offer "midi" size tools that are smaller than full size tools. Is this a big advantage? They are obviously less expensive, but is that the only advantage?
Any thoughts or recommendations?
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Smaller tools are more difficult to control and may put a beginner at more risk of injury. I have some smaller ones for spindle work (from Lee Valley - <http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page 262&category=1,330,43164& ccurrency=1&SID=>) but for roughing and bowl work I have full size tools.
You don't need to buy a huge set to get him started. A skew (not an oval skew if he's new to turning), couple of gouges (3/8 and 1/2 inch), a parting tool, and maybe a scraper would be my recommendation.
Don't forget to include some wood!
djb
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On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 11:44:20 -0600, Dave Balderstone
Agreed.

Why not an oval ?
I use a couple of skews (repeated for different sizes too). One is an oval - very much a near-round oval. The other is a flat skew, just with the corners rounded off to stop it catching. I use both differently, and I wouldn't be without either.
The oval skew is for general turning, and particularly for rolling beads. I'm no turner and I find rolling a narrow bead difficult with a square-cornered skew, or even most "oval" ovals.
The flat skew is for turning long cylindrical spindles. With a wide flat surface, I get better support from the toolrest and I avoid digs. Rounding the edges avoids catching on any roughness in the toolrest, when I slide it along.
I can understand recommending against an oval for cylindrical turning, but equally I wouldn't recommend a flat skew to a beginner who is trying to do their first beads.

Diamond parter is worth having. -- Klein bottle for rent. Apply within.
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Mostly based on some of the recommendations I've read on rec.crafts.woodturning, and some of my own experience. I bought an oval and have found it rather "ornery", lots of catches... My flat skew, OTOH, I've found much easier to get along with.
That said, I've been practicing a lot with the oval, and I'm almost starting to like the sumbitch. But it was a bear to get going with.

I have to add a diamond parter to my collection. BTW, what's your opinion of a bedan? I picked up a Sorby 3/8" a while back and have played with it, but it was an impulse buy and I don't really know where it's best used.
Spent a bit of time with my 13 yo daughter at the lathe today. She turned a Christmas tree out of a piece of elm I had kicking around, as a gift for SWMBO. I love the fact that she's so interested in turning.
djb
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Posting this on rec.crafts.woodturning will garner even more pertinent responses.
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Now before everyone jumps at me, I bought a 4 tool set of Buck Brothers tools at the BORG. I didn't want to spend $100+ without knowing if I would enjoy turning as much as I thought I would. It had a skew, a gouge and a couple different parting tools.
Well I guess I found out I like turning, SWMBO yells at me to "turn of that damn machine, dust yourself off and get in here for supper", never thought I would have to be called to eat.
Dave
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David Babcock wrote:

You've discovered the real secret to my recent weight loss. :)
Not the lathe per se, since I just got that, but my shop in general. Usually by the time I get around to dinner, it's stone cold, and not very appetizing.
I'm a total newbie turner with only one hour of experience (and a busted fingernail and a dent in my wall to show for my troubles) but here are my thoughts...
I have a JET mini. Similar to the Delta midi from what I hear. My immediate aim is to turn a chess set, which will require some fairly tight little curves.
Based on my initial experiments with some really crappy 8-piece turning set I bought off of eBay five years ago (took me awhile to get the lathe!) I can't see buying the mini tools anytime soon. Certainly not to start with.
* I was able to get pretty tight little curves in my spindles with full-sized tools
* I had enough trouble controlling full-sized tools, and I think small tools would be way more likely to turn into pointy missiles in my fumbly, uncertain hands.
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Tools turning into pointy missiles? Leads me to ask one question........ are you mounting the wood and shaping with the tools, or mounting the tools and dragging the wood over the tool. I myself have had some pieces of wood break when trying to get to thin, but they usually just fall to the bench, not go flying across the room.
Dave
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I have the midi set that was offered with the lathe at some point in the past. other than the parting tool I do not use them. there is too much flex and chatter. the results will not be as good as full size tools. I find that a roughing out gouge, a 3/8 spindle gouge, scraper and parting tool.
the skew is perhaps the most dangerous (at least for me!)as it catchs the wood very easily. I find the oval much easier to control and have used a fingernail ground skew with great success.
BRuce
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whoops, bowl gouge if you are going to do any bowls or containers, 3/8 or so.
BRuce
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wrote:

IMHO, there are no good off-the-shelf turning tools. Many are rubbish. Some are half-good; nice steel (HSS, if you don't want to be sharpening all day) and nice handles. But none of them have a decent grind ! Take a set, put a fingernail grind on the gouges and you'll do a _lot_ better.
If you're re-shaping gouges from scratch, use an angle grinder (especially for HSS). You'll put a lot of wear on your sharpening stones otherwise, and it doesn't bear thinking about doing it by hand.
Most sets have too many scrapers. Learn to use your two gouges and a skew and you can do most anything. Learn to _pare_ with the chisels, not to cut by scraping. Takes an afternoon when you first start, but then you can do it and your turning will be much better for it.
-- Klein bottle for rent. Apply within.
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