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HSS versus Carbide (Read 697 times)
 
Malcolm Randolph
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Old craftsman, single barrel bed.  It's a model 113228162 CRAFTSMAN WOOD LATHE.  Bought it for $50. and have spent 10 times that in chucks, chisels, etc.  Have made some  pretty nifty things on it.
HSS versus Carbide
Feb 26th, 2018 at 6:39am
 
Sooo....

While not necessarily green to turning, I am green to turning correctly and well.  I am self taught, and with the advent of the internet, YouTube and other WWW venues I have gleaned a lot of advice.  Some good, some not so good.  Such is life.

With retirement, and a new old lathe, and the original chisels that came with the purchase I began to turn.  This led to the purchase of a Work Sharp system (love it), then to the purchase of some new HSS chisels (love them), then to the purchase of a set of mini carbide tips (oh my!), and last (not least nor the end I'm sure) three full size carbides.

My question, if there is one, is what are thoughts out there with you seasoned turners about carbide tipped tool?  HSS?  Pros and cons?  Am I 'cheating' using carbide?  What am I losing by not using HSS?

I searched the forum for "carbide" and got no hits, and will be very surprised if this is the first broach to this topic!

All thoughts and comments welcome!
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Chris Neilan
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #1 - Feb 26th, 2018 at 7:24am
 
Carbide has it’s place right up there with high speed steel. Definately not cheating. The final piece is what counts, not what piece of metal you stabbed into it.  I personally use both. For some reason i prefer carbide for hollowing, and HSS for the outside of a vessel... go figure
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Ron Carrabotta
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #2 - Feb 26th, 2018 at 7:54am
 
Malcolm,

Welcome to the Forum!

I agree with Chris, I use my carbide tools for most of my rough out work, saves time sharpening, and use carbide almost exclusively for hollowing. Definitely not "cheating".

Whatever gets the job done efficiently and safely.
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Don Stephan
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #3 - Feb 26th, 2018 at 8:50am
 
Welcome to the forum.  Our video section has a wide selection of videos that have been previewed to make sure they do not show unsafe practices or poor tool use.

It can be difficult to "demonstrate" tool control and tool presentation via text - there is no substitute for seeing first hand and getting direct feedback from experienced turners.  Via the Internet you can look for a woodturning group in your neck of the woods - groups often bring in well regarded full time turners, offer classes, and may have a list of recommended mentors.

I'm strictly a HSS tool user, never tried a carbide tip and not hankering to either.  The one comment I see repeated regarding carbide tip tools is that the finish from them is often not as smooth as what can be obtained from a HSS tool.  No doubt this depends in part on whether the carbide tip is used as a scraping tool or a cutting tool, and some apparently can be used either way.
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Ed Weber
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #4 - Feb 26th, 2018 at 10:19am
 
Use what you like as long as you get the result you want.
I don't use them for a few reasons.
I'm not a fan of scraping, I prefer slicing/cutting the fibers.
I prefer tools I can sharpen and personalize
I prefer the utilitarian nature of gouges to that of a task specific tool.
Cost of the inserts.

Most of the carbide insert tools are designed to be used flat, level, along the center-line and then follow the profile you want. To me this isn't turning, this is more like operating a copying machine.
IMO using traditional tools give you a better knowledge and appreciation of the wood, the grain direction, the cutting forces, the cutting angles really everything.
Using carbide may be efficient but for me it's just removing material.

With HSS you need a sharpening system and method along with the knowledge and skill of how to achieve the cutting edges you want/need. This can be a challenge for some and many tools have been ground to dust chasing that elusive grind. Just like disposable tips there is a cost associated with grinding away gouges, although that's another discussion by itself.

What tools you use is just as personal as what you turn and how you turn.
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John Grace
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #5 - Feb 26th, 2018 at 10:24am
 
Tools are tools, each with their own pros and cons.  As a general rule, it's harder to get a super clean finish with a carbide unless you've put in a new cutter or turned it to a fresh edge.  The good or bad of that is relative to what grit of sandpaper you're willing to start with.
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #6 - Feb 26th, 2018 at 11:21am
 
I use my carbide cutters pretty much solely for hogging out the inners of a bowl till I get near to where I want to be..then I go to my regular tools and make the final shape.. nice and smooth. Smiley
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #7 - Feb 26th, 2018 at 12:18pm
 
Well, I don't use them at all. There seem to be two types, the flat ones which are scrapers, and the cupped ones which are used more like a gouge and presented at a shear angle to the wood so you get a cleaner cut than you do most of the time with scrapers. I use scrapers for all of my heavy bowl roughing and any shear scraping. I can do high angle bevel rubbing cuts with them as well, but no one that I know of really uses scrapers like I do. The carbide tipped tools, the flat ones anyway, are scrapers that you can touch up the edge on, but can never get back to 'brand new' edge. I don't like throw away tools. My favorite scraper is the Big Ugly tool, which uses tantung as a cutting metal. Tantung is cast like carbide, almost as hard, and you can sharpen it on standard grinding wheels. You can google Big Ugly, and it is in the video section here.

As for gouges and standard scrapers, I don't use anything other than M42 HSS, and the V10. The M42 are available from D Way tools and a few othere, and the V10 mostly from Doug Thompson. The edge holding abilities on these two metals far exceeds what standard M2 can do.

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Allan Miller
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #8 - Feb 27th, 2018 at 7:55am
 
As a new turner I found the learning curve on carbide to be much easier, but the finish on hss to be much superior. As of now I use carbide when I am roughing out and switch to hss for the finish work using either my fingernail bowl gouge or skew chisel
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Malcolm Randolph
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Old craftsman, single barrel bed.  It's a model 113228162 CRAFTSMAN WOOD LATHE.  Bought it for $50. and have spent 10 times that in chucks, chisels, etc.  Have made some  pretty nifty things on it.
Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #9 - Feb 27th, 2018 at 8:13am
 
Thanks to all for your thoughts and perspectives!

Honestly, not terribly surprised to hear what I heard.  This discussion could, no doubt, go on ad nauseam.

I hafta admit, it's quite nice to hear "What really works for you" as well as WHY what you use works for you in almost all responses!!

I think I'm gonna like it here...
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Ed Weber
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #10 - Feb 27th, 2018 at 9:25am
 
Malcolm Randolph wrote on Feb 27th, 2018 at 8:13am:
I hafta admit, it's quite nice to hear "What really works for you" as well as WHY what you use works for you in almost all responses!!

I think I'm gonna like it here...



Malcolm, a lot of us here have strong opinions about certain things but they're just that, our opinions. We never try to force them on anyone, it's always up to you to decide for yourself.  Smiley
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robert baccus
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #11 - Feb 27th, 2018 at 11:04pm
 
One advantage of HHS is that you can custom grind a shape that works for you--half of mine are that way.  Also for a finish or critical cut you can have a scary sharp tool(I power hone for these) tool right now!
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Don Stephan
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #12 - Feb 28th, 2018 at 8:54am
 
Great points that hadn't been mentioned!
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Ed Weber
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #13 - Feb 28th, 2018 at 9:49am
 
robert baccus wrote on Feb 27th, 2018 at 11:04pm:
ne advantage of HHS is that you can custom grind a shape that works for you--half of mine are that way.


This may be the most important point raised.
We've had may people ask about how to achieve a particular grind, usually that of some professional demonstrator or back to factory grind. 
My position has always been, once you buy the tool, grind it so it works for you, not someone else. My name isn't David Ellsworth so why would I want to grind my tool so it works for him?
Use the grinds the "pro's" use as a starting point only, then refine for yourself.
JMO
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JosephDaniel Smith
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Re: HSS versus Carbide
Reply #14 - Mar 10th, 2018 at 1:45pm
 
VERY good advice.
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