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?
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 -
ccurrency=1&SID=>) but for roughing and bowl work I have full size
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!
On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 11:44:20 -0600, Dave Balderstone
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
* 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,
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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.
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
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.
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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