5 Best Carbide Woodturning Tools And Cutters (July 2020)

best carbide woodturning tool

Image credit: Rockler

Recently carbide woodturning tools have become a rage.

And rightly so.

Because with carbide cutters, you will always have a sharper tip just by rotating the cutter to an area where it’s sharper. 

Therefore:

You can focus more on your crafts rather than wasting the time on sharpening the tools. 

Here we have put together a list of five best carbide woodturning tools for you check them out -

  1. 1
  2. 2
    Best for the money - Savannah Carbide Turning Tool
  3. 3
    Best full-size carbide turning tools - Simple Woodturning Tools
  4. 4
    Best carbide bowl gouge - Hurricane Turning bowl gouge set
  5. 5
    Best carbide pen turner set - Savannah Pen Turning Set
EDITORS CHOICE
1. Easy Wood Tools 
Why it's our top pick:
  • Beginner-friendly design 
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Easy to use

Carbide Turning Tools

Cutters

Price

2. Savannah Carbide Turning Tool 

Diamond Shape, Round, and Square Turning Tools

3. Simple Woodturning Tools

Full set

4. Hurricane Turning Bowl Gouge Set

3 Piece Bowl Gouge Set (5/8", 1/2" and 3/8")

5. Savannah Pen Turning Set

Mini size Rougher, Finisher, and Detailer

Tip


The Five Best Carbide Woodturning Tools and Cutters

1. Easy Wood Tools 3 piece set - The Best 

Our Thoughts

This three-piece set is by far the best design available for the beginner woodturner. It has a sleek design that makes it user and learner friendly


How user-friendly or “un-friendly” a woodturning tool is, makes a huge difference in the quality of work you are going to be able to produce. 


Multi-use Tools 

Not every project you work on is going to call for the same type of detailing as the last one. 

This set of carbide tools comes with square, round and fine detailing tools. 

The manufacturer calls the square tool the roughing tool but we found that the square and round tools are both efficient for roughing and finishing. 

Affordable Replacement Parts

Self-sharpening tools mean that you simply have to use alternating sides as the bit becomes dull. 

Eventually, you will wind up wearing down your tool bit and will need to replace the carbide bit. Replacement parts are priced very reasonably. The replacement parts are also very easy to change out. 

Maple Handles

Who doesn’t appreciate beautiful detailing and aesthetics? 

The 16” stained and coated maple wood handles make this set not only extremely functional but aesthetically pleasing as well. 

These red, orange and yellow handles make this set unique and stand out amongst the other tools in your shop.

  • Beginner friendly design.
  • Quality manufacturing.
  • Easy to use.
  • The fine detail tool requires a bit of practice to avoid gouging the project

2. Best for the money - ​Savannah Carbide Turning Tool 

Our Thoughts

Nobody wants to compromise on quality when it comes to saving money.

This is what we loved about this set of carbide cutters. Not only are they affordable, they perform like a top of the line product as well.

Works on all kinds of materials

Your tool needs to work.

And these woodturning tools will work on all kinds of materials. They were tested on hardwoods, softwoods, ply, acrylic and inlace acrylester. All of which they stood up to the test. 

Square Radius, Round & Diamond

Every self respecting woodturner knows that they need all the right tools for the job. 

These bits are well designed and easy to avoid gouging on your project.

Rubber Handles

Comfort and usability. 

Rubber handles are a nice feature. No slip grip and ergonomically pleasing. These handles are like an added bonus on an already great product.

  • Affordable
  • Versatile medium tested
  • User friendly design makes these easy to learn to use
  • The bits are made of wood-steel, not carbide. This is why they are less expensive. Ultimately, there is a higher risk of the bit breaking.

3. Best full-size carbide turning tools - Simple Woodturning Tools

Our Thoughts

This set is for the experienced and versatile craftsman. 


With a selection of six different tool bits, this set stands out from the rest.  


There is a wider variety of projects that these tools will allow for and freedom to create. Sometimes it is nice to make sure that you have all of the right tools on hand...you know, just in case.

Swan Neck 

This tool bit is necessary to have in your toolbox if you want to hollow out a project.

This is not a necessary tool for the beginner, but if you know what you are doing with a swan neck tool bit and you know you are going to need it for your projects, then this might just be the exact set you are looking for. 

Two Simple Detailers

More options means more outcomes. 

One detailer is cut at a 55 degree angle while the other one is at 90 degrees. 

It is always nice to have the right tool for the job, and this set offers more tools for more types of jobs. 

Aluminum Handles

The aluminum handles are interchangeable. 

It is nice because aluminum is quite light and extremely sturdy in this design. Each bit is fastened with a screw which also offers a trustworthy and easy method of changing bits. 

  • Has all the cutters.
  • Classy stainless steel design
  • Interchangeable handles allows for choice in the grip.
  • Not for a hobbyist.

4. Best Carbide Bowl Gouge - Hurricane Turning Bowl Gouge Set

Our Thoughts

Do you often turn wood bowls?


Then these are the tools you need. 


This set features two flute bits and a bowl gouge, making it useful for projects beyond just fine detailing and roughing.


M2 Cryo Steel

The cryogenic treatment of the steel makes the durability and long lasting sharpness hard to compete with. 

These tool bits will outlast their competitors. 

This is a great feature on tool bits of this shape and design. 

A sharp tool head can be the difference between gouges and smooth polished final products. 

Stylish Design

Sleek and sophisticated. 

These tools are silver with black handles and silver detailing. 

Nobody wants to have a tool that looks like garbage. That isn’t inspiring. This design is polished and professional.

  • Long lasting sharpness to the tool edges.
  • Affordable and high quality
  • Replacement tool heads are not readily available and difficult to locate.

5. Best Carbide Pen Turner Set - Savannah Pen Turning Set

Our Thoughts

Most beginner woodturners start the euphoric woodturning journey by turning a pen. And these carbide cutters from Savanh are ideal for beginner to get off to a flying start.


Classic Design

Round, square and diamond tool bits. This standard kit is perfect for getting started with woodturning. 

Made with carbide steel this classic design is self sharpening. Simply turn the tool over, revealing a new side, and continue working. 

Affordable

This is by far the most affordable three piece set on the market. 

Especially considering a carrying and storage kit is included in the price. 

Affordability is hardly worth mentioning if the quality of the product is impacted. Fortunately, when it comes to these tools you can get a great tool at a great price. 

Trustworthy Brand 

Savannah is a name that is well known. 

Carried by many brick and mortar tool and equipment stores, Savannah has a reputation that they have maintained and earned with their suppliers.

  • The set comes in a black and durable case for transport and storage
  • The molded grip allows for comfortable gripping.
  • Handle length can be a little bit awkward to use for extended periods of time.

What you need to know about carbide woodturning tools before you buy:

First things first, 

What is carbide?

The name gets used a lot in the woodworking world. Many people know that a tool made from carbide is a quality piece of equipment. 

But why?

There are two important qualities about carbide that make it a great abrasive tool:

  1. Carbide is stronger and therefore stays sharper longer.
  2. Carbide can withstand higher temperatures -- this means that carbide tool bits can also withstand faster machining without overheating and ultimately breaking. 

Hold on, 

What is an abrasive tool?  

An abrasive tool is different from a cutting tool. Carbide makes a great material for abrasive tools, but it will not perform well as a cutting tool. 

Abrasive tools include equipment such as carbide wood turning tools (surprise, surprise) and sanders, drills, and lathes. 

These tools rely on friction as opposed to a sharp blade cutting through the wood. 

A cutting tool is exactly what it sounds like. 

Machinery such as handsaws, circular saws, table saws and so on all classify as cutting tools. 

See the difference?

You want to ensure that you are purchasing a tool that is carbide because the friction of the machine is going to heat up your tool. Carbide is the material that will withstand the heat, stay strong and stay sharp. 

Now:

Before you purchase a carbide woodturning tool you need to ask yourself.

  1. What kind of projects are you building? 
  2. And how often will you be using your toolset?

These are two great questions to ask yourself because this is going to help you determine which is the right one for you.

For example,

If you have no intention of hollowing out a product, you most likely will not ever need a swan neck tool piece that is featured in the Simple woodturning tools.

However, if you have intentions of doing intricate, layering and textures on your project, you may want to consider having as much variety as possible in your toolset. In this case, it might be best that you do choose a product such as the Simple Woodturning Tools Full Size Set of 6, and take advantage of having all six tools on hand. 

Do you just want to play around with a toolset and learn how to use them?

In this kind of scenario, the best option might be the most affordable option, such as the Savannah Pen Turning Set

Alternatively, if you are a beginner woodturner, perhaps you’d be more interested in the extremely beginner-friendly Easy Wood Tools carbide woodturning set.

Of course, making your purchase is the first step in choosing a toolset for woodturning.

You need to buy the tools to have the tools. 

But don’t forget. 

Once you have purchased your carbide tools, you need to know how to care for carbide woodturning tools.

So please remember a few important things about owning and using carbide tools.

Can anything damage my carbide tools?

Most definitely. 

People often like to think of carbide as an invincible material. But this just isn’t the case. 

While it is true that carbide can withstand extremely high heat temperatures, it is important to note that this doesn’t mean it can’t be affected by temperature. 

What does that mean? 

It means that temperature changes are not something carbide can handle. 

It is an extremely hard substance, and as a result of this, it needs the opportunity to adjust to new temperatures. Any rushed temperature changes with carbide can result in internal fracturing of the tool bit. It simply cannot adapt quickly enough in extreme changes. 

Can I grind my carbide tool bit to sharpen it?

The short answer is no. 

But also, the short answer is yes. 

Yes, because you can do it. Carbide will withstand extreme heats. So this is not a problem. You can use a regular grinder but for best results, you will need a special grinding wheel made of silicon carbide abrasive.

The answer was also no, because I needed to get your attention to make sure that you understand carbide cannot be ground on a wet wheel. 

Some people will advise that this is possible to do, however, if you understand the physical composition of the element carbide, you will understand that this should not be your chosen method for sharpening your tools. 

The hardening of the materials will result in temperature changes. 

This kind of temperature change results in internal fractures within the carbide. Carbide is similar to glass in this way. A little fracture will eventually lead to a shatter. 

So What is the Verdict? 

We have looked at and reviewed multiple wood turning tools. We understand why carbide does make a difference, and we learned a little bit about proper care for a carbide wood turning tool. 

But what does this all mean?

Which product is the best tool for the job? 

This isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” kind of question, and we can’t answer that for you. 

You are going to have to answer this question for yourself. Take into consideration what it is that you need from your tool, how many types of projects you will be working on, whether or not you have the resources to sharpen -- or will you need new bit pieces? 

Only you know exactly what you need. But now, you should have all the information required to make the right decision for your project.

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