Easy Wood Tools
Turning can be one of the most rewarding activities in a woodshop. There are many reasons for this but I will offer these for a start: You can quickly go from rough stock to finished project in under an hour. It is simple to learn to turn and it can easily be picked up on a video or from a book. The work can be quite beautiful and can sell for a large amount with a small investment. There are many other reasons turning can be your favorite task in your shop, and in fact there are many woodworkers who only turn.
One of the least favorite things about turning is the constant sharpening and I am fortunate to have a Tormek T7 in the shop so the task is bearable but it can be a large expense for a new woodworker and there is a great alternative. The new Easy Wood Tools lathe chisels have revolutionized turning. There are three tools in the basic set a rougher (Easy Rougher) a smoother (Easy Finisher) and a parting tool (Easy Detailer). All three are sharp and ready to use when they arrive. The cutters are carbide and last for weeks without sharpening them. The manufacturer says you can use them till dull on all the cutting surfaces and then swap out the cutter for a new one, although as I have told you in my blog we have found the tools can be sharpened quite easily on a flat plate diamond hone. We use the Trend flat plate to restore the edge in just a few seconds and they last for weeks after sharpening. Once the cutter is too thin replace it with a new one and you will be a happy camper.
The Easy Wood Tools are a thing of beauty, designed with square shafts that are made of stainless steel. They have nice long handles offering you great control over the cutter. The finishes on the handles are color coded allowing you to remember the cutter by the color of the handle. Turning has changed with these tools. Using the Easy Rougher you can rough out a cylinder in only a fraction of the time it would require with a traditional roughing gouge and then move to the Easy Finisher to smooth the surface. You can also use the rougher as you would a skew chisel to smooth the face but be careful as the rougher can be quite aggressive and requires a delicate touch. I turned a dozen bowls, a vessel, a few spindles and a couple of knives for a friend with these tools. Wonderful as they are I still used a couple of my traditional tools on some of the bowls for special tasks, but if I were a new turner I would be less inclined to reach for old faithful and would learn to do everything with these tools. If you are a new turner and you want to spend most of your time turning and much less time sharpening if any at all, then Easy Wood Tools is really the way to go.
Here is what we found. Turning a spindle or a bowl took less than half as long as when using a conventional tool. The sharpening time on the traditional tools ate up more time even with a Tormek than the time it took to finish a project with the Easy Wood Tools. The finish was wonderful on both green wood turning and on seasoned wood. There were fewer grabs than with traditional tools and you don’t need to worry about gouge geometry.
I found that turning was even more fun and with a little practice I didn’t need to reach for my old faithful tools. Easy Wood Tools quickly became a vital part of my time on the lathe and they are now and will always be a first choice for me.
I recommend these attractively priced tools as a great value. I also recommend the two sets we tested (the new Mini 12” handle set and the Mid sized 14” handle) which proved to be outstanding for every project we turned. Between these two sets you will not want for much and I think they are the best thing to happen to turning since the electric motor was added to the lathe. I give them 5 out of 5 stars on my star scale. Keep your eyes peeled for some upcoming turning videos featuring Easy Wood Tools.
Lance The Dude Granum