The first question that comes to our mind right after adding a professional wood lathe to the workshop is, “what woodturning tools/chisels should we use”? In this case, the best practice would be to start with tools that allow you to do most of the general tasks and then go for the premium tools for more intensive projects.
High priced tools made from quality materials will always help improve your accuracy to create impressive and eye-catching designs. But at the same time, it is still tempting to search for cheap tools for a headstart, and that’s where most of us waste our time buying low-quality materials.
So, as the title goes, I am here to help you choose from some of the best woodturning tools available online that will fix the dilemma out at a fair price.
Disclaimer: As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases. This means no extra cost to you. I will only promote products that give the best values.
Top 7 Bowl and Spindle Turning Tools in a Quick Chart
I am starting with a quick chart to give you a glimpse of what we will be discussing today. So here are my top picks.
|Image||Brand||Values and Feature||Amazon Price|
|Robert Sorby H6542||The Overall Best |
Blade: High Speed Steel
For Bowls: ⅜” bowl gouge, inch diamond side cut scraper, 1″ square scraper, ½” round scraper,
For Spindle: ¾” spindle roughing gouge, 2 spindles gouges of ½” and ¼”, ¾” skew chisel
|Robert Sorby 67HS||The Runner-Up |
Blade: High Speed Steel
Bowl tools: 3/8″ Bowl Gouge, 1/2″ Round Nose Scraper
Spindle Tools: 3/4″ Roughing Gouge, 3/8″ Spindle Gouge, , 3/4″ Standard Skew Chisel, 1/8″ Parting Tool,
|PSI Woodworking LCHSS8||Most Popular and Best Selling |
Blade: M2 High Speed Steel
For Bowls: 1/2″ Bowl Gouge, 5/8″ Round Nose Scraper, 5/8″ Spear Scraper
For Spindle: 1 each of 7/8″ Roughing Gouge, 3/4″ Spindle Gouge, 3/16″ Parting Tool, 1″ and 5/8″ Skew Chisels
|Yellowhammer Essentials 8 Piece Set||Best Under $100 |
Blade: High Speed Steel
For Bowls: ½” bowl gouge, ⅝” shear scraper, ⅝” round nose scraper,
For Spindle: 3/16″ parting tool, 2 skew chisels of ⅝” and 1″, 2 roughing gouges of ⅞” and 1″ sizes
|Yellowhammer Tools 5 Piece Set||Ideal For Spindle Work |
Blade: High Speed Steel
For Spindle: ⅛” spindle gouge, ¼” roughing gouge, ¼” parting tool, ¼” skew chisel, ¼” round nose scraper
|Lehom HSS Lathe Chisel Set||Great Option For Low Budget |
Blade: High Speed Steel
For Spindle: 3 roughing gouges of 3/4″, 1/2″ and 1/4″ sizes, 1″ skew chisel, 1/2” skew chisel, 1/2″ shear scraper, 1/8″ parting tool, 1/2″ round nose scraper
|Savannah HSS Lathe Chisel Set||Worthy Option For Beginners |
Blade: M2 High Speed Steel
For Bowls: ½” bowl gouge, ⅝” scraper, ⅝” round nose scraper, ⅝” spear scraper
For Spindle: ¾” spindle gouge, ⅞” roughing gouge, 3/16″ parting tool, 1″ skew chisel
Types of Woodturning Tools and Their Uses
To clear any confusion that comes to mind, you must understand the basic tools and their operations. As there are two turning methods- Spindle (e.g., table legs, baseball bats) and Faceplate (e.g., salad bowls, Platters), it’s evident that they will require different shapes and edges of turning tools.
Spindle Turning Tools:
1. Spindle Roughing Gouges
The first tool you need to give the off-center or square piece of wood a round shape is this spindle Roughing gouge. We use this to take down the square corners, remove the unwanted parts to cut the initial weights, and give the workpiece the primary round form. Rouging gouge comes with a wide “U” shaped fluted blade only to remove woods from spindles. They are not for turning bowls.
2. Spindle Gouges
After the rough cut, you need to start shaping the log and creating more details like coves or beads with a spindle gouge. So, you don’t need the roughing gouge after that. If you watch closely, you will see the difference between the flute size of the the spindle gouge and roughing gouge. The flute of the roughing gouge is wider than the regular spindle gouges.
After making the primary form, it’s time to plan the wood. So, skew chisels are optimal for planning the woods and making the surface flat and as smooth as possible. The use of chisels is the difficult part that needs practice and patience to master.
4. Parting Tools
This is also very important. Parting tools allow you to separate any unwanted materials from your workpiece with intense detail. They will help with making a thin line on the workpiece. People often called them final cut tools. The types of parting tools are- Rectangular, Diamond, Fluted, Square. Each of them is unique, and it depends on what you are planning to design.
Faceplate/bowl Turning Tools:
1. Bowl Gouges
First of all, don’t mix it with a spindle roughing gouge, you will only get catches, and that could lead to a severe accident. Not every tool sets include a bowl gouge. Bowl gouge edges are specially made for turning bowls only. It’s a hefty “U” shaped flute to remove initial materials from large blanks. The flute on the spindle gouge is much wider than a bowl gouge.
Like the parting tool, scrapers are the surface finishing tools for bowls. There are many types of scrapers for different projects but the two most common forms are- Round nose and Square nose. Round nose scraper is to work the inside, whereas the square nose handles outside of our bowl blanks. Scrapers are very useful as they can reach the parts that sometimes our gouges and chisels can’t go.
So, for the spindle projects, all you need to start is the Gouges, Chisels, and Parting tools. Then comes the Faceplate, where you can do it with Gouges and Scrapers. These are the essential tools and their kinds you are going to see on the journey.
You can now buy them separately as per your turning project’s needs, or you can buy them as a set too. Either way is good. But I suggest you move with the set to have almost all the essential tools.
7 Best Woodturning Chisel and Gouge Sets For Bowls and Spindle Projects
This is time to talk briefly about the selection of the 7 sets of woodturning chisels for bowls and spindle projects. I will try to address every detail possible to make your decision easier. So here are my reviews.
- The Overall Best: Robert Sorby H6542 (8 Pieces)
- The Runner-Up: Robert Sorby 67HS (6 pieces)
- Most Popular: PSI Woodworking LCHSS8 Chisel Set
- Best Under $100: Yellowhammer Essentials (8 Piece)
- Best For Turning Pens: Yellowhammer 5 Piece Chisel Set
- Great Option For Low Budget: Lehom HSS Woodworking Lathe Chisel Set
- Worthy For Beginners: Savannah HSS Woodworking Lathe Chisel Set
1. Robert Sorby H6542 Eight Pieces Set: The Overall Best
So starting with the overall best woodturning chisel set- The Robert Sorby H6542. It contains a selection of deluxe woodturning tools to help taking your skills to the next level. This set of 8 turning tools has everything you need to create a variety of spindle and bowl projects.
This premium set includes a ⅜-inch bowl gouge, a 3/16 inch diamond side cut scraper, a 1-inch square scraper, and a ½-inch round scraper. These are the essential tools you need for turning bowls.
To create more intricate designs, the Robert Sorby H6542 Turning Tool Set also comes with a ¾-inch spindle roughing gouge, 2 spindles gouges of ½ and ¼-inch sizes, and a ¾-inch skew chisel. All these tools will surely help you complete your spindle projects.
These tools have a high-speed steel blade that can efficiently work its way through hardwoods. Robert Sorby blades are known to be molded according to the high standards set by the brand, so you know you’re investing your money in a premium set of chisels. The blades also hold their edges so well that you don’t need to resharpen them so frequently like any other HSS.
Each chisel has an ergonomic wooden handle that’s durable and comfortable. The ergonomic handles offer an excellent grip, so your hands wouldn’t feel strained and tired after working for hours. It also helps to reduce the vibrations you feel while using to guarantee maximum comfort.
And while we’re still talking about the handles, I love how nice it feels to the touch. They’re not rough, but they’re not slippery, either. So it guarantees a firm grip throughout working on your project. Also, I have to add that each tool in this set looks incredibly classic.
So, without a doubt, the Robert Sorby H6542 set deserves to be the overall best woodturning tools for any project. With its premium construction and unmatched aesthetics, it’s hard to compete with this set of chisels. It contains the best selection of tools only adds credibility to why it deserves the top spot.
2. Robert Sorby 67HS Six Pieces Set: The Runner-Up
Again, another Robert Sorby on the list and as the runner-up. Price is lower than the H6542 as it contains six tools but won’t compromise with the premium quality.
The Turning Set comes with spindle turning basics such as a ¾-inch spindle roughing gouge, a ⅜-inch spindle gouge, a ¾-inch skew chisel, and a ⅛-inch parting tool. As a bonus, you also get a ⅜-inch bowl gouge and a ½-inch nose scraper. All of these allow you to create crafty pieces that are sure to make heads turn.
We all know that high-speed steel is the most durable material. They are hardened and tempered to perfection, all by the high standards set by Robert Sorby. This assures the longevity of the steels.
Aside from the tool heads, I must also pay attention to the handles. The shape on these handles offers a firm grip to help you work with accuracy as it comes with hand-finished handles with excellent details. All the handles are non-slippery.
The Robert Sorby 67HS have varying lengths, ranging from 14 to 19 inches. These are carefully designed according to each tool’s thickness to ensure that you get a balanced feel for each one. This dramatically helps with how well you hold them, allowing you to have excellent control over your work.
And finally, I love how great they look. This woodturning tool set exudes a classic appeal that’s easy on the eyes.
Overall, the Robert Sorby 67HS is a high-quality set of chisels. With its durable construction and extremely balanced feel, you can create any design you can think of. There is no doubt in my mind that this deserves the top spot for the best woodturning toolsets for spindle turning.
3. PSI Woodworking LCHSS8 Chisel Set: Most Popular and Best Selling
The PSI Woodworking LCHSS8 is undoubtedly the most popular and best-selling woodturning tools among the turners. It offers a set of 8 chisels that will surely help you hone your skills and perfect your craft.
The notable woodturning tools in this set include a ½-inch bowl gouge, a ⅝-inch spear scraper, a ⅝-inch round nose scraper, a 3/16-inch parting tool, two skew chisels of different sizes, a ¾-inch spindle gouge, and a ⅞-inch roughing gouge. These provide you with the versatility you need to accomplish any woodturning task.
While it contains essential tools for bowl turning, it also includes a spindle gouge and a roughing gouge. This can certainly help you practice the different woodturning operations for a great price, which is why I believe it’s one of the best selling woodturning toolsets of all time.
Each blade is made from M2 material, a high-speed steel alloy. You can work through both soft and hardwoods, so you know that it’s tough and reliable. This also assures you that it’s not something that easily breaks, even if you have to work with a high-pressure technique.
The handle is also of premium quality. PSI uses durable hardwood for its handles to make sure that it can withstand the demanding woodturning projects. The attractive curved shape will provide you an excellent grip to prevent injuries or accidents.
Each tool in this set comes with a 6-inch blade placed on top of a 10-inch handle. This is the perfect ratio that will help beginners learn how to control their tools. And as a result, it will help them produce the best pieces.
I love the fact that they are providing the chisels inside a beautiful handy case. This makes it convenient for you to travel, primarily if your woodshop is far from home. This assures you that your tools don’t damage, even if you have to travel through a bumpy road. And since the case is also compact, storage won’t be a problem.
Thanks to its beginner-friendly selection and ergonomic design, the PSI Woodworking LCHSS8 Wood Lathe Chisel Set deserves a spot on this list. If you’re new to woodturning, I guarantee that you won’t regret buying this toolset.
4. Yellowhammer Essentials 8 Piece Chisel Set: Best Under $100
If you already spent too much after buying a wood lathe and searching for some quality HSS chisels within 100 dollars budget, this can surely do the job. The Yellowhammer Essentials Lathe Chisel Set is another top contender for the best woodturning tools for both spindle and bowl projects. It contains a pack of 8-piece, elegant-looking chisels that delivers a performance to meet your expectations.
The tools included in this set are a ½-inch bowl gouge, a ⅝-inch shear scraper, a ⅝-inch round nose scraper, a 3/16-inch parting tool, two skew chisels of ⅝ and 1-inch sizes, and two roughing gouges of ⅞ and 1-inch lengths.
These tools are a testament to how well Yellowhammer curates its tools to make it the most convenient for turners. The set comes with a durable wood case for more accessible storage and transportation. You can easily carry it with one hand as the box even has a handle.
The Yellowhammer Turning Tools Essentials Lathe Chisel Set has blades made from high-speed steel material. This material is known for its durability and longevity, and this assures you that it’s not something that easily bends or breaks. Each tool is strong enough to work on the toughest of hardwoods, so you can virtually work on anything you desire.
The handles are made of European beechwood. Beechwood offers excellent shock-absorption, so you could barely feel the vibrations from the lathe as you turn. It is ergonomically designed to improve your grip, thereby giving you the proper control.
I must also note that these handles have a unique texture that makes it easy on the hands. The texture prevents it from slipping through your hands to avoid accidents and avoid damaging the tool itself.
Each tool in the Chisel Set is designed with the perfect blade-to-handle ratio to keep it balanced. Additionally, the weight gives you the best handy feel possible.
Overall, the Yellowhammer Essentials Chisel Set is one of the finest woodturning toolsets under a $100 budget. It has everything you need to finish a project like a pro, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced professional. It also has an unbeatable price tag, so it’s a winner in the budget category as well.
5. Yellowhammer Turning Tools 5 Piece chisel Set: Ideal For Professional Pen Turners
Another Yellowhammer set in my recommended woodturning chisel list, but this time for turning pens and miniatures. They didn’t include any bowl gouge inside as you don’t need them to make pens or small Christmas ornaments and things like that. You will find a ⅛-inch spindle gouge, ¼-inch roughing gouge, ¼-inch parting tool, ¼-inch skew chisel, and a ¼-inch round nose scraper inside the box.
The brass ferrules on each tool also provide a solid hold on the blades to keep it from damaging the handles in unexpected intense pressures exerted.
As for the handles, each woodturning tool from this set comes with European Beechwood handles that are 1 inch in diameter. I have mentioned previously what the Beechwood is great for. This provides you with an excellent grip to keep you from feeling fatigued while working.
Also, the handles on these Yellowhammer turning tools have details that provide extra texture. This keeps your hand from slipping as you work. And that helps reduce the occurrence of injuries and similar accidents.
Each tool on the set is 10 inches long and has got perfect weight to give you that balanced feel. These features help improve your control and accuracy, so you can focus on creating beautifully intricate detail.
While some users may not like the shorter lengths on these tools, this set is perfect for the professional who is always on the go. Because of its modest sizes, you can work on any project wherever you may be without carrying a bulky box of tools. And since it contains the essential woodturning tools, we’re sure that there’s no project you can’t finish.
Overall, the Yellowhammer Mini Lathe Chisel Set is affordable for anyone who loves to create detailed miniatures. It’s made from premium materials and put together through top-notch craftsmanship. The fact that it’s incredibly portable is a bonus.
6. Lehom HSS Woodworking Lathe Chisel Set: Great Option For Low Budget
If you are looking for something on a tight budget, then Lehom has a great option for you. This is kind of a “get what you paid” deal, but of course, they are good. It’s simple, convenient, and durable.
The set contains 3 roughing gouges of 3/4″, 1/2″, and 1/4″ sizes, a 1/8″ parting tool, and 2 skew chisels of 1″ and 1/2” sizes. It also comes with a 1/2″ shear scraper and a 1/2″ round nose scraper. All of these tools can help you master the craft of woodturning.
Aside from its beginner-friendly selection of tools, the Lehom HSS Woodworking Lathe Chisel Set is also built to withstand ordinary wear and tear. The blades come with durable high-speed steel so you can practice your turning skills with this set for a long time if you don’t turn any hardwoods.
Speaking of durability, the woodturning tools in this set also have brass ferrules. These ferrules help keep the blades in place to prevent the handles from splitting in extreme pressure.
Each tool in the Set has a hardwood handle that’s both durable and comfortable to hold. It has an interesting texture that makes it easy to grip, so it won’t easily slip through your fingers while working.
I also love how balanced it feels whenever I hold it. It has a tremendous blade-to-handle ratio that makes it great to hold and grip, making it easier for us to control. As a result, I can create more accurate details to improve my design. This is one of the essential features when you’re looking for a beginner-friendly woodturning toolset.
The Lehom HSS Woodworking Lathe Chisel Set comes in a handy wooden toolbox that makes it highly portable. The box securely keeps all the tools in place, so you don’t have to worry about the tools moving around while you’re on the move. The box is slim and compact, so it can easily fit inside your bag – a convenient feature for students and those who are always on the go.
I also love how perfectly weighted it is to help beginners gain better control. In a nutshel, this is an ideal chisel set to start if you are out of budget.
7. Savannah HSS Woodworking Lathe Chisel Set: Another Worthy Option For Beginners
The Savannah HSS Woodworking Lathe Chisel Set comes with 8 great woodturning tools to help you with any project. Coming from a reputable brand like Savannah, I expected premium quality and performance from these tools. Fortunately, Savannah knows how to impress their customers with quality.
This set of woodturning tools include spindle turning essentials such as a ¾-inch spindle gouge, a ⅞-inch roughing gouge, a 3/16-inch parting tool, and a 1-inch skew chisel. These tools will help you make the details and designs you want to create.
And if you’re a professional who needs more tools, this set also comes with a ⅝-inch scraper, ⅝-inch round nose scraper, ⅝-inch spear scraper, and a ½-inch bowl gouge.
Aside from the impressive selection of tools, the Savannah HSS Lathe Chisel Set will also last longer. The blades are about 5 inches long. This assures you of the quality of each blade. You don’t have to worry about them breaking while you’re in the middle of work.
The brass ferrules protect the handle and add extra weight to the tool to make it feel more balanced to the touch. As a result, working with these tools will feel effortless.
As for the handles, each woodturning tool has hardwood handles known to be durable and shock-absorbent. This reduces the impact your hand feels from all the vibrations while working. And that allows you to work for more extended periods without feeling any fatigue.
While we’re on the subject of handles, I want to point out that the handles are around twice the blade’s size. This makes it easier to hold than other tools with seemingly uneven proportions. The control and accuracy made it one of the best for this category. You won’t regret getting this set.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know which toolsets made it to my top picks, I believe you might still have some questions. Here are answers to the common questions involving woodturning and its corresponding tools to clarify the confusion. If you have something else to ask, please let me know in the comment.
How often should you sharpen your woodturning tools?
I must address the most significant drawback of HSS woodturning tools is that they may not come to you adequately sharpened. That being said, you might need to buy an additional grinding tool to keep them sharp on a regular basis.
Now, how often? Well, that depends on how much you are using them. I mean, you can feel right after you pass a light cut on the wood to see it catches or not.
What are the benefits of buying woodturning tools as sets?
I would say it’s more convenient and saves money as well. You can also buy single tools like a carbide chisel and gouges for more accurate cuts if you want, but that could sometimes cost you more than a set. So, I think starting with a toolset for your initial projects, especially if you are a beginner, would be enough.
You can later buy individual carbide tools after getting used to handling them. I am well aware that carbide tools are best for beginners as you don’t need to sharpen the tips. But as they cost much more than the traditional HSS, I have reviewed only HSS here.
What are the types of Turning?
There are two types of turning methods using a wood lathe.
Initially, turning between the centers of the lathe is called spindle turning. As you can see in the picture, the wood blank usually stays attached between the drive center and the live center. The distance between the center will determine the length of the project you will be working on.
There are so many spindle projects you might see in woodturning, for instance- table legs, baseball bats, pens, chairs, lamps, cues, candlesticks, and so on.
And as there are four cutting patterns in spindle turning- (Straight, Vee, Cove, and Bead), you will need different cutting and pattern tools to make the cuts you want.
In faceplate turning, popularly known as bowl turning, the blank stays mounted on the headstock with either a jaw chuck or a faceplate. And that’s why you can easily hollow it out and create a bowl-shaped wooden piece out of it. Things such as bowls, cups, and vases are among the most common faceplate turning project.
The basic tools used for bowl turning are bowl gouge and a variety of scrapers. The bowl gouge helps create the inner and outer surfaces, while the scrapers help you carefully hollow out the stock once you’ve completed the outline.
Faceplate turning is considered a more advanced woodturning operation, so beginners may find it harder to perform. But with enough patience and practice, you can surely master this in a short time.
What woodturning tools should a beginner use?
It depends on what woodturning operation you wish to learn first. If you’re planning on learning spindle turning, the essential tools you need as a beginner include a spindle roughing gouge, a spindle gouge, parting tools, and skews.
These are the blades you need to create the shapes and designs to improve your project. You can use these tools in different ways to achieve your desired results.
On the other hand, if you plan to start turning bowls, you need a bowl gouge and a different scraper set. These will help hollow out the wood until you reach your desired result.
But regardless of the tools you need, the common factor is to look for premium materials used in its construction. This guarantees that you’ll get the best value for the money.
Why do woodturning tools have long handles?
The answer to this question lies mainly to provide better control. Long handles allow users to hold it comfortably for better control. This also provides them with a fair amount of stability that you can’t have with smaller handles. And when you have a stable hold over the tool, you can create more intricate designs with ease.
Is woodturning difficult?
Woodturning is tricky, but it’s not complicated or difficult. Any high school kid can do this after a few classes. Go to a club or join a guild near you. Nobody is a born woodturner.
The key is to learn all the basic techniques, and you can add your style as you improve. It’s possible to learn woodturning at any age, so don’t be afraid to try it.
Can you use regular woodworking chisels on a lathe?
The shorter handles on regular woodworking chisels make it harder to control, so you won’t be able to accurately work on your project. I don’t recommend doing that.
Also, the pressure exerted by the lathe may be too much for regular chisels to take. As a result, you run the risk of suffering from injuries, or the tool might break down in an instant.
How fast should your lathe turn?
The speed at which you should make the lathe turn depends on the stock you’re using. The rule of thumb is that you have to run the lathe slower if you’re working on a wider stock, like an unbalanced piece of wood.
Most wood lathes run between 250 to 4000 RPM. It depends on what you are turning. Spindle work needs faster rotation than the bowl. Besides, the larger and unbalanced the woods, the lower the speed goes.
It’s essential to be critical of how each tool is constructed so you won’t regret your purchase later on.
I hope I made it easier for you to find the right set of chisels for your upcoming projects. All you have to do is select your desired category from the list, and you’re good to go.
Whether you’re a beginner who’s taking the first steps to learn about woodturning, a hobbyist who wants to upgrade his toolset, or a professional looking for a new toolset, I’m hoping that this article will lead you to what you’re looking for.
Turn Big, turn Safe. Welcome to the turning World.