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WHAT KIND OF STEEL ARE YOU USING?
The tools are made from the best steel on the market, CPM10V (A-11) a powder metal manufactured by Crucible Materials Corporations with 10% vanadium content to hold an edge longer and has a proven history in woodturning. The steel is hardened to 62-64 Rockwell, triple tempered with a cryogenic treatment between the first and second temper. The cryogenic treatment at this stage transforms the bulk of the retained austenite to martensite and form very fine “eta” carbides much finer than tempering alone, this increases the durability and toughness of the steel. Nothing else can be done to this steel!
All tools come sharpened with a basic grind done on a Oneway Wolverine jig. What this means is a useable grind that is a good starting point and can be modified after you receive the tool. Many grind the wings back on the bowl gouges to create a longer cutting edge or change the nose angle slightly.
V SHAPE OR U SHAPE THAT IS THE QUESTION!
If you ask 100 people the same question you’ll get 101 different answers. I prefer a V shape because the V shape flute can be very aggressive when roughing especially on green wood. When you need to remove a lot of stock when roughing a bowl or turning a hat where 99% of the blank ends up as shavings the V shape is the only way to go. The small nose radius is not grabby when entering a cut and can be used to create details. Because the wings tend to be longer on a V shape tool scraping is easily done on the outside of a bowl. In the past a V shape flute was known to clog with shavings, the design of this flute was changed so it doesn’t happen. The U shape flute is a traditional push cut style and has some strong points especially when turning dry wood. The large nose radius allows the tool to shear the wood which is good to prevent tear out, the finish cut inside a bowl, platters and some spindle turning are a few examples where this tool excels.
AMERICAN OR EUROPEAN STANDARD TO MEASURE THE TOOL?
We use the American standard to measure the tools, that is by the diameter of the steel. The European standard measures across the flute. In a world where we use both it does get confusing at times. Here’s a simple chart to show both. American —– European 3/8 ————– ¼ ½ ————— 3/8 5/8 ————– ½ ¾ ————— 5/8 7/8 ————– ¾ 1 —————–7/8
THE PRICE OF SCRAPERS AND SKEWS?
Scrapers and skews are priced higher because of the flat stock they are made from or lack of flat stock available. M2 for example can be purchased as bar stock, if you need a piece ¼ inch thick by 1 inch wide it’s available. Matter of fact most common steels can be purchased in almost any size you could imagine. This steel is not common and only sold in round bars, flat sheets and large blocks. It’s simple buy a sheet and cut it up! If you buy the entire sheet the cost is only 70% higher because the manufacture has to take extra time to roll this to size let alone the number of times it has to be annealed during this process. When you buy the sheet it needs to be cut to size, it can’t be done with a band saw so it has to be sent out. While it’s out the surface needs to be ground smooth. A block of steel would be the same as if you went to the local store bought an 8X8 and cut it up into scrapers and skews. Bottom line is it takes a lot of time and money to produce. I will try one more time to produce a batch. if it goes well I’ll continue to make them. If you want a scraper or skew this is the best I could do.
SHANKS AND TANGS?
First of all a shank is round like on a bowl gouge and a tang is flat on scrapers and skews. Why is the shank on all bowl and spindle gouges are turned down to a common fractional size? This is because high quality tool steel is sold .015 oversize so the shank needs to be turned down to a common size to fit all the aftermarket handles and so a common drill bit can be used to bore a wood handle. Example; a 1/2 diameter tool will have a shank that measures .500 What is the shank length? On the 3/8 and ½ diameter tools the shank is 2 inches long. The 5/8 and ¾ diameter tools are 2-1/2 inches in length. The 1-1/4 inch SRG have a ¾ inch diameter shank that is 2-1/2 inches long. All tangs are 2 inches long. On the 1/2 and 3/4 inch scrapers and skews the tang will fit in a 1/2 inch nose. The larger scrapers and skews will fit in a 5/8 nose.
Tell us about the company!
Thompson lathe tools started a couple years ago when I decided to make my own turning tools, as a machine repairman by trade and a good machinist it was fun thing to do. What started as a simple project turned into something very involved, many one of a kind flute shapes were tested , the surprise discovery was the flute didn’t have to be real deep like the other tools on the market to work well. This went on until I found one that was a balance between the flute shape and depth of the flute that handled well and didn’t clog, with more steel under the flute it was a stronger tool. As I passed these tools out to my friends they started to ask for different shape flutes and diameters until the line of V and U shape bowl gouges was created.
I sent one tool to Mark Kauder to evaluate because he has compared the different steels in the past, It did well and his club placed a order… this changed everything and was the deciding factor to take it from a hobby to a business. Then it hit the internet! With only a few tools to sell and nothing else, one person after another took a chance on a unknown toolmaker and I thank each and everyone who did. Woodturners all across the nation helped created the company from the name to the products and made it what it is today… a corporation.
We haven’t changed much in the past year with only one employee (me) I handcraft each and every tool one at a time. It’s a long process to go through, each piece of steel is handled 13 times on it’s journey from a length of rough stock to a turning tool that’s ready to use on your lathe.