Woodturning tools

Types by Functionality

When working on a lathe, it is necessary to have several types of cutters, because these tools, depending on their sharpening and shape, perform various functions, from rough roughing to finishing of the finished product.

woodturning, tools

Rough Roughing

The tool designed for this kind of work has a pair of working edges that mate with each other at an acute angle. Such a tool is safer than its radial counterparts.

Finishing turning

Chisels of this functionality are used to remove small layers of chips. With the help of this tool it is not possible to give a shape to the finished product, only the outer surface can be made smooth. Finishing tools have a right or left angle tip.


The shaped pick type has a semi-circular tip. It is designed for work with irregular surfaces. Depending on the surface being milled and its shape, the configuration of the profiled cutters varies greatly.

Cutting off

Used for one single process only. cutting off the finished product from the remainder of the workpiece.


These cutters are designed to remove excess material during machining. There is a special shoulder in the cutting area for such operations.

Round pick

Needed for radiused workpieces. The working part of such a tool can have a small pick or be radiused.

For internal turning

If the cutter is designed for internal turning, it is necessarily equipped with a depth stop to regulate the turning depth.

Cutter types

All wood cutters needed for handcrafting have the same design and consist of a metal blade with a shank that has a wooden handle attached to it.

To cut simple geometric ornaments on a flat surface, you can do with a pair of simple cutters, but to create complex volumetric and openwork works from wood will require the use of a large number of special cutters.

The following types of these tools are most commonly used:

  • Shoal knife. a tool similar to a shoal knife with a short triangular blade, the bevel angle of which can be different, which makes it versatile and suitable for a large spectrum of works;
  • A chisel is the most common type of wood cutter. It performs the bulk of the work in creating most carvings, it has a flat blade with a cutting edge on the end, which can be straight, oblique, semicircular or angular in the shape of the letter V;
  • klucarza. a tool similar to a chisel, with a blade that has two bends of one hundred and twenty degrees (so that the handle when working does not cling to the machined plane). With a variety of cutting parts. semicircular, stapled, straight and others;
  • Spoon-cutter. cutter for cutting out spoons and other utensils, made in the form of a ring or semicircle with a sharpened side edge;
  • axe cutter. a knife that looks like a slightly beveled axe blade, which is a fairly versatile tool, the corners of which you can make cuts both on themselves and from themselves, and the middle of the blade to cut convexities.

For those who are just beginning to learn woodcarving technique, at the beginning it will be enough to buy 5-6 cutters. a jamb knife, a flat chisel, and two semicircular and angular with different radiuses and angles of bend. But it is necessary to take high-quality, professional tools, despite their considerable price. Cheap kits for beginners are made of bad steel, blunt very quickly and the work they do not give pleasure to the carver.

Experienced craftsmen prefer to make their own wood cutters. Their production is not very complicated and under the power of anyone, even at home.

The main difference between a wood lathe and its metal counterpart is that instead of a mechanical device for the blade approach to the workpiece it has a handrail. a device for jigsaw support.

Wood lathe for woodworking is arranged simply. The base of the device accommodates the headstock and tailstock. In the front headstock there is a spindle, into which various devices are inserted, with which the left end of the wooden workpiece is fastened. Rear headstock is used to hold the right end of a long workpiece. Between the left and right headstock is installed undercarriage, which serves to support the tool to be workpiece.

See also  Tools for cutting metal in hard-to-reach places

Spindle is driven by electric motor. Rotation speed can be adjusted. By the way, some turning operations can be performed on milling machines, but this story should be told in a separate article.

The workpiece is clamped in the chuck, which is installed on the spindle. Then it is pressed by the tailstock. If the tailstock support device is stationary, it must be lubricated with machine oil before inserting the workpiece. Before you begin to install the workpiece, it is necessary to accurately calculate and mark the center. It is easiest to find if you use an angular centering device. If the workpiece is not clamped in the center, when the spindle rotates, it will cause it to “run out” and the part will not be machined properly.

  • Availability of a sharpening machine. Suitable and compact options for home workshops with quality abrasive wheel. To sharpen the various types of cutters, you may need abrasives with different configurations.
  • The availability of blanks for cutters. For these tasks, steel blanks of hard grades should be used. P6M5 is considered the most common. Among home crafters, it is often practiced adaptation of old files, taps and other improvised items (bearing shells, etc.).д.).
  • The presence of wooden handles. For more convenient work with tools, you should equip them with a handle. It can also be made by yourself using a lathe or can be purchased in a store.

In doing so, it is also important to use protective equipment: gloves and goggles.

How to make a homemade wood lathe with your own hands

Every chisel has two main parts.

Metal part. Conventionally, it can be divided into three sections:

  • The blade (cutting part) is the part of the tooling that sharpens or processes the wood workpiece.
  • The body is the basic tooling section. This is the part the turner presses against the armrest of the machine.
  • The shank is the narrow part that transitions into the body. The handle is attached to the shank.

The wooden part or the handle. It consists of a base and a neck. The first is designed for gripping by the hand of the master, the second. fixes the handle on the shank of the tool.

To make a chisel at home you need a piece of metal and a piece of wood. As a metal dummy can be used:

To make a wooden handle you can take an ordinary shovel handle, cut to your desired length. This variant is suitable for those who do not yet have a lathe cutter.

That is, you can’t make a good, comfortable handle by yourself. When making the metal part, it is important to observe the blade sharpening angles.

Full characteristics and purpose of hand wood cutters for lathe

To process round wooden parts or giving the workpiece round (cylindrical) shape wood lathes are used. Depending on the shape of the product to be obtained on the machine, wood turners are used, having a variety of types according to the shape of the cutting part and the method of sharpening.

Mostly, when working with wood on the lathe, manual cutters are used, but there are variants of the machines, when the tool is rigidly fixed, and there is no need to hold it in your hands.

Types of turning tools

The wide range of tasks that arise in the creation of structures made of wood requires a large number of turning tools for various purposes. Modern manufacturers offer a great variety of such products. Certain practical tasks are entrusted to every turning tool. Each lathe consists of two parts: the working part, which performs machining or cutting, and the fastening elements. For the working part, about 20 cm of the whole length of the metal workpiece. This size gives freedom of maneuver with the tool, which guarantees the accuracy of the required operations. The extra length allows for multiple machining of the cutting part. The length of the tail part is determined by the length of the future handle. It must ensure safe working.

Despite the great variety of such tools, all types of lathe cutters can be classified according to the following characteristics:

This classification of turning tools determines their exact field of application. they can be either cutting or machining, depending on the nature of the task at hand. As the material for their manufacture choose steel grades with high hardness. This permits a well-cutting leading edge.

See also  What kind of oil is poured into the engine of the walk-behind tractor

Turning tools, are subdivided into the following types:

Chisels are divided into two groups. The first is designed for roughing or cutting. The second group is used for finishing or finishing work.

They generally have four cutting edge shapes:

Chisel width is chosen according to the size of the workpiece. It varies from four to thirty millimeters. The basic group of turning chisels has a blade which permits milling out required shapes on a flat surface. Special chisels are made to give a certain corrugation. These include:

  • semi-circular raker (its name derives from the shape of its blade). With its help the pretreatment of the prepared workpiece is made);
  • maisel has a double-edged cutting edge, the angle of convergence of edges reaches 25 degrees. It is ideal for turning out recesses of different sizes, recessing, cutting out figures and patterns. With its help carry out the finishing of the surface;
  • Hook chisel (designed to make various recesses in the surface, Their size depends on the diameter of the hook);
  • Chisel comb. allows you to cut a thread on the outer and inner side of the wooden product (it is used to produce wooden hardware, for subsequent attachment of individual parts);
  • scraping chisel. used for finishing parts that have a cylindrical surface.
  • huckleberry chisels (these include angular chisels). They are used to cut complex and volumetric drawings, ornaments, bas-reliefs or various decorative ornaments on the surface of the product);
  • clepiks (used for fine finishing of the relief surface. It is especially useful for making complex images, wood sampling in hard to reach places).

Hence, chisels can be flat or shaped. The main characteristics on the basis of which the classification of cutters is made is the shape of the future product and its artistic design. Work with chisels is done manually. The quality of the resulting product depends largely on the quality of the turning tool, the density of the wood and the skill of the craftsman.

Finishing is done with right- or left-angle lathes. Experience of the works performed has shown, that the most acceptable is the angle equal to 70-75 degrees. For finish cleaning, turning products, sharpened at an angle of 20-25 degrees, are used.

A separate type is the cut-off chisel. Their blades are made of the most unusual shapes. It may have the form of a spoon, cup or other semicircular shape. It is rather difficult to list all kinds of cutters. This is connected with permanent perfection of forms and methods of woodwork processing. In addition, in modern carpentry products wood of different varieties and textures is used.

For more complicated (non-standard) tasks shaped cutters are used. They include turning products having a cutting part in the form of a semicircle.

The variety of lathe cutters on sale and the possibility of self-made allows you to choose such a tool that will solve the most complex tasks and create unique parts with the most bizarre patterns from any type of wood.

Cutters for wood lathes

Making of original wooden products on the machines requires a variety of high-quality auxiliary tools. In most cases, wood lathe cutters are used for this purpose. Thanks to them it is possible to bring the workpiece to the required geometric parameters.

Manufacturers offer all kinds of sets that include products with cutting edge of all possible configurations. You can also make your own wood cutting tools with your own hands.

Main types of cutters

In order to do woodworking at home, several basic tool configurations are needed. Wood lathe cutters are made in different ways depending on their type (see “Electric woodturning jigsaws: construction, operation, and selection criteria”).see also the article “Electric wood jigsaw: design and principle of operation, selection criteria”).

Flat, straight

This type of device is designed for surface treatment and creation of any notches and grooves in products, the main features can be considered the following factors:

  • Rectangular recesses are made very quickly and easily with this variant.
  • Blade width can vary widely, with a standard range of 4 to 40 millimeters.
  • Angle of sharpening is from 25 to 45 degrees, it depends on the workpiece used and on your preference. If you work with the tool for a while, you will know which option suits you best.
  • Below is a standard variant, you can take it as a base, and you can make your own configuration.

This option among the masters is called a scraper

See also  Stihl 180 Is Not Reaching Causes

Manufacturing is as follows:

  • Take a flat file of the right width, if its end is chipped or damaged, it must be smoothed.
  • Then the cutting part is carefully sharpened, making sure that the angle is uniform across the entire width of the edge.
  • Lastly, the handle is placed, in the case of the file it may already be present, but even if it is not, it is not difficult to install this element.

Tip! We recommend to make 2-3 variants of different widths, this will allow you to perform a variety of tasks in the process of making this or that product.

Straight oblique

Sharpening of wood lathe cutters of the considered type is carried out from both sides

Such wood turning cutters with their own hands are also made very quickly and easily, the instructions are as follows:

  • First, you should decide on the width of the future fixture, it, as in the above-described version, can range from 4 to 40 millimeters, the thickness should be sufficient to ensure the reliability of the tool in the process of work.
  • First of all, the angle of the end face is cut, it should be 70-75 degrees, it is this option provides the best convenience in the work and maximum productivity.
  • Sharpening cutters for the wood lathe is made at an angle of 25 degrees on each side, it is important to monitor that the edge of the blade was straight, without any flaws, as the quality of the work depends on it directly.

It is worth noting that this is the most widely used option, characterized by its versatility:

  • Meissel, as this variant is also called, is used for surface finishing.
  • With the help of this tool it is very easy to process convex elements.
  • The blunt-angled side can be used for rounding.
  • Also, the bevel cutter is excellent for facing workpieces and cutting off.


This variant is an angle cutter, the edges of which are sharpened on one side

  • As its name implies, it is used to cut workpieces.
  • It is also possible to carry out initial machining of elements and their roughing.

It is made in the following way:

  • The working part of the face is cut at an angle of 40-45 degrees.
  • The sharpening angle should be between 30 and 40 degrees.
  • Length is chosen according to your preference.

Semicircular flat

With this option, it is possible to make semicircular notches on the workpiece

Beginners Guide to Woodturning Tools

This option is used for a better surface finish and also to create notches on the workpiece.

  • First of all, it is necessary to grind the face on an emery wheel until the desired shape is obtained.
  • Next, you need to sharpen the edge at an angle of 25 to 40 degrees.
  • If you will be milling products with various decorative elements and recesses, you should make several such cutters.


This option has a number of features:

  • The shape of the blade is a groove, the width can be different, but usually ranges from 20 to 30 mm.
  • The main purpose of this variant is roughing wood, but the surface after treatment will not be very smooth.
  • This variant is also used for creating concave shapes as well as for indenting in the production of frontal turning.

The tool with a circular cutter is called a reaper

Due to the rather complex configuration, it is not as easy to make this variant as all the above-mentioned. Many people just buy it in a store, and the rest make their own.

But if you decide to do by yourself, this chapter will help you to understand this type of work:

This is how the working part should look like in the finished version

Angles of sharpening wood lathe cutters in the home conditions is difficult to determine, so it is not necessary to strive for accuracy, it is better to refine the surface afterwards, than to spoil it initially. The work requires a minimum of skill to work with metal, and a little practice will allow you to achieve an excellent result.