Woodturning Tools

Tools are made of different steels:

Turning tools are generally made from three different types of steel, Carbon steel, High speed steel (HSS), and more recently Powdered Metal. Comparing the three types, high speed steel tools maintain their edge longer, requiring less frequent sharpening than carbon steel, but not as long as powdered metal tools. The harder the type of high speed steel used, the longer the edge will maintain sharpness. Powdered steel is even harder than HSS, but does not take an edge that is as sharp as HSS. Unlike other edged woodworking tools, woodturning tools require more frequent sharpening, because the wood passes at a great speed. To maintain a clean cut, the sharpness of the tools edge must be maintained. The sharpening process requires either skill of the craftsman, or one of the many available sharpening jigs, which facilitate maintaining a specific bevel on the tool.

Roughing gouge

woodturning toolsA wide fluted gouge used to initially round a wooden spindle, and to roughly shape it. Generally not intended for cutting end grain due to the large cut it takes and the relatively weak tang connecting the blade to the handle. Unsafe for making bowls or any faceplate work.

Spindle gouge or detail gouge

woodturning toolsA shallow fluted gouge used to create details on spindles, including beads (raised portions of the turning typically semi-circular in cross section) and coves (relieved portions of the turning).

Bowl gouge

schalenroehre_bigA deep fluted gouge used to turn the outside and inside of bowls and vessels. Often has a thicker shaft and longer handle than a spindle gouge because it has to cut farther away from the handrest.

Skew chisel

meissel_bigA wide, steeply pointed chisel with the edge running at an angle to the length of the tool. Used to smooth flat spindles, cut beads, and add details. Skew chisels are only used on spindle work (never on faceplate work) and are honed after sharpening to create a razor edge.


woodturning toolsWide parting tools also called bedans are used to create evenly sized spindle sections, which are not reachable with the skew chisel

Parting tool

woodturning toolsA pointed tool used to separate (part off) work from the lathe, and to create a straight edge separating large and small diameter sections – wide parting tools also called bedans are used to create evenly sized spindle sections.