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Expert knowledge - Woodturning tools

Woodturning - a handicraft of long-standing tradition newly interpreted

Basically, there are two distinct methods of turning wood: Spindle turning and faceplate turning.

Spindle turning

Here, the wood fibres run parallel to the spindle axis. You clamp the workpiece either with a spur driver and the revolving centre or with a chuck, which, in the case of long workpieces, can also be supported by the revolving centre.

Examples: chair legs, newels, tool handles, vases, tumblers...


  • Roughing-out gouges

    A roughing-out gouge is usually required to make edged workpieces round or to remove bulk material.

  • Spindle gouges

    The spindle gouge is an all-purpose tool for cutting profiles, recesses, fillets, V slots and curvatures, which can also give you a high surface quality.

  • Chisels

    For smoothing straight, curved, hollow and slightly profiled surfaces and for cutting narrow profiles and notches.

  • Parting tools

    As the name implies, parting tools are used for cutting off (parting) finished work. Primary uses also include working on or backcutting end grain in spindle turning, and cutting grooves.

  • Hook tools

    The hook is a versatile tool for hollowing out workpieces. Thanks to the complex blade geometry, it is equally suitable for bulk wood removal and finishing end grain.

  • Ring tool

    Like the hook, the ring tool is used for cutting end grain on tumblers and vases. If used correctly, you can achieve fine surfaces with it.

  • Hollowers

    Most hollowers are cranked and thus suitable for hollowing end grain in vessels with narrow openings.

Faceplate turning

The wood fibres run perpendicular to the spindle axis, which means you have to work on cross-grain twice per revolution. Workpieces that are turned across the grain can be clamped in chucks, on faceplates or screw chucks. They are rarely supported by the tailstock because it would be obstructive and the mostly short pieces do not require support. With heavy workpieces, however, tailstock support is recommended at the beginning.

Examples: bowls, boxes, plates...


Tools for faceplate turning are somewhat more solid than tools for spindle turning to accommodate the forces during cutting.

  • Bowl gouge

    Used in a similar way to the spindle gouge, you can use the bowl gouge to work on the inside and outside of bowls and hollow workpieces.

  • Scrapers

    Scrapers are preferred for finishing surfaces because they allow the best surface quality. But this is not their only use – they are also suitable for creating profile edges.

    Some faceplate turning tools can also be used for spindle turning and vice versa. However, this should be left to the experienced turner because it requires mastering the correct techniques. Some tools are only suitable for one purpose.

Quality requirements

Decisive for pleasure in turning is the quality of the blades. The steels must be heat-resistant in order to prevent the softening of the cutting edges. The HSS steels, which comprise most of our blades, are stable and extremely wear-resistant up to 570°C. Still harder and more abrasion-resistant is PM steel, manufactured by powder metallurgical methods. The vesilience behaviour is also very important: Strong handles of dense wood dampen vibrations and contribute to better results.

Sharpening and maintenance

Because of the hard steels, we recommend bulk material removal on a normal bench grinder using a sharpening jig, e.g. Tormek® BGM 100 or Wolverine Sharpening System.

For honing, you can use the Tormek® Wet Grinder, multiform stones, and for quick intermediate sharpening our products from DMT.