27 October 2009

11 Types of Woodturning Tools Used to Create Great Workpieces

Woodturning tools are used to shape wood into different workpieces, such as plates, bowls, pens, and furniture. The most common types of woodturning tools include roughing gouge, spindle gouge, bowl gouge, skew chisel, parting tool, hollowing tool, scraper, bowl saver, auger, chatter tool, and wire.

Different tools are used for different woodturning needs and produce various results. The following are the most commonly available and most widely used woodturning tools available:

Roughing gouge

The roughing gouge is a wide gouge that is used for roughing square to round shape wood. It is ideally used to partially round and shape a wooden spindle. It is, however not advisable for faceplate work like bowls, because of the tool’s small tang at the handle and the great amount of cutting edge.

Spindle gouge

Otherwise known as detail gouge, this gouge is used to form the details on spindles, such as beads, coves, balusters, and chair legs. This gouge is shallow and may be sharpened using a fingernail cutting edge.

Bowl gouge

The bowl gouge has a deeper flute compared to a spindle gouge. It also has a longer blade and handle and a thicker shaft, since it needs to cut far from the hand rest, allowing you full control of the cut. It is used to hollow and shape the inside and outside of bowls.

Skew chisel

Characterized as being wide and with an angled cutting edge, a skew chisel is used to make surfaces smooth. It takes fine cuts and can be used for trimming end grain, cutting beads, and adding details. You need to master the use of this tool because a skew chisel is prone to catching or going out of control leaving a rough surface on your wood.

Parting tool

A parting tool is a narrow, pointed chisel that is used to cut a piece of wood into two. Otherwise known as a V-tool, it creates a straight edge that separates different sections of wood at different diameters.

Hollowing tool

Hollowing tools are used to cut the deep portions of items, like bowls and vases. There are actually many types of hollowing tools. They usually have long handles that enable you to have enough control when working in deep areas that are far from the hand rest.


Compared to other tools that require bevel rubbing, the scraper makes use of the tip of its edge to smooth workpieces such as bowls. This tool scrapes and refines your work instead of cutting it. It is usually used to internally shape bowls when other gauges can't.

Bowl saver

The word itself describes how this tool can help you save parts of the wood for future projects. The bowl saver can help you accurately core out the inner part of the bowl, with the exact depth and entry point. You may use the removed piece to make another bowl and reduces chips and waste created by using other hollowing tools.


An auger is a bit or tool used to drill a hole either partway or all the way through your wood. It resembles a corkscrew and is used with a carpenter’s brace to make clean holes for when you need to cut a hole for something like a lamp’s chord. It cleanly drills the wood so you do not have to remove and clean the shavings inside the wood after drilling. There are augers with adjustable blades that can be radially extended to fit the hole size you need to make in your wood.

Chatter tool

To give your work a decorative pattern, you are going to need a chatter tool. It is a flexible scraper that creates different patterns and textures, depending on the length of blade you expose to your workpiece and the chatter you want to create. It is commonly used for jewelry boxes, lids, and decorative bowls.


Finally, you can use a wire to use friction to burn lines into your workpiece. It is used to enhance the look of your workpiece, especially a bowl.

To make sure you come up with your expected end result, be sure to properly maintain your tools. You need to undergo spindle sharpening regularly and spindle repair when necessary. Beautiful work does not only come with great skills, but also with great tools that are well cared for.

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