Saturday, May 26, 2012

Handles for Woodturning Tools

I recently seriously violated my turning tool bugdet (an everyday occurrence for most woodturners, by the way) and bought an Easywood tool for the express purpose of doing a hollow form.  True to it's name, the tool is easy to use.  But I still wince when I think about the price ($125).

But then I ran across some Youtube videos by "Captain Eddie", or Big Guy Productions.  His instructional woodturning videos were funny and educational.  Lo and behold, he sells the steel and cutter portions, unhandled, of tools that are pretty similar to the Easywood tools.  For 25 bucks apiece, including cutters.  Add your handle and you are good to go.  It was to cheap not to try, so I ordered his international package and added my own handles.

Here are the three I made, laid out beside the Easywood and a Crown scraper for perspective.  I like the Easywood handle type, so I stuck with that in Maple.  I apologize for the pic quality; these were done with an old Canon Powershot S80, not my usual Nikon, so the quality suffers.

A pic of the business end.  From left to right is a round 3/8" bar with round 3/8" cutter, a square 3/8" bar with round 3/8" cutter, a square 1/2" bar with square 1/2" cutter, the Easywood full-size finisher which has 1/2" square bar and 5/8" round cutter, and the Crown 1" scraper.

 And a close-up of the handles for comparison.  The bar lengths from Eddie were quite long; the 1/2" was a good 15" and the other two were about 12".  They are all planted in the handles a good 4" - 5", sealed with West Systems epoxy.  The ferrules are copper plumbing fittings from the borg, 1" ID.

How do I like 'em?  I do!  They are basically fancy scrapers with replaceable tips and never have to be sharpened.  I have only used the big one, and it works great.  I had to work on it a little before using it; the screw hole for the cutter needed to be countersunk (just a little oversight, no big deal).  The steel is soft, it only took a few minutes to do.  Eddie responded very quickly to my questions.  The square cutter tends to move as you tighten it, so you have to take care to get in on straight. The round ones fit perfectly, no problems.  Other than that, these things are great. Ok, they don't look as nice as the Easywoods, but for $100 per tool less, I am NOT complaining.  These tools will last a lifetime.


  1. So can you compare the Easywood and Captain Eddie's carbide tips now you have had a chance to use them both? I made some similar tools myself, but it's hard to get information about carbide grades. Are they equivalent in your opinion?

    I use mine to turn mdf and they soon blunt so I'm looking for a source of better carbide.

    For my bowls I use gouges. I actually have a tungsten carbide gouge but it won't take an edge.

    My wooden bowls

  2. Hi Terry
    I have not done a rigorous review, but I can tell you that I commonly reach for the Easywood full size finisher and the Captain Eddie 1/2" square rougher. The two smaller 3/8" Captain Eddie ones don't do as well, but I have not used them much and need to look at them closer. I don't know if it's the cutter or the geometry of the bar tip. Sometimes the Captain Eddie ones need a little touch up on the grinder, or other TLC. I also have some cutters from Lee Valley that I want to try out. Nice bowls on your website, by the way.

  3. Thanks Kevin. You would have thought the smaller tips would be more free-cutting. I have some very small ones that cut well for a while before blunting but aren't very handy for bigger cuts.