The Best Woodturning Tool Kits In 2019 – Reviews

We’ve all been there.

When you finally decide that woodturning is your thing but, you have no idea where to begin. While you don’t have to learn all the fuzzy woodturning jargon out there, you need a decent starter kit to get you off the ground.

Whether woodturning is your next hobby or hustle, there are some decent and beginner-friendly options for everyone.

In this post, we’ll give you tips on how to find the best woodturning tool kit for beginners and list some of the best options to choose from.

So here we go...

  1. 1
    Simple Woodturning Beginners Set - The Best
  2. 2
    Simple Woodturning Tools Full Size - The Premium Tools
  3. 3
    PSI-Woodworking-LCHSS8 - Best for the money
  4. 4
    Hurricane Turning Tools - The Complete Set
  5. 5
    Easy Wood Tools - Best For Smaller Projects
TOP PICK
best woodturning tool kit
Why it's our top pick:
  • Very sharp cut through the hardest of wood
  • Have minimal to no catch
  • Easy to handle
  • Don’t need resharpening

Simple Woodturning Beginners Set  

Editors Rating:
TOP PICK
​Simple Woodturning Beginners Set
best woodturning tool kit
Why it's our top pick:
  • Very sharp cut through the hardest of wood
  • Have minimal to no catch
  • Easy to handle
  • Don’t need resharpening
TOP PICK
Simple Woodturning Beginners Set
best woodturning tool kit
Why it's our top pick:
  • Very sharp cut through the hardest of wood
  • Have minimal to no catch
  • Easy to handle
  • Don’t need resharpening

Woodtruning Tool KIt 

Length (Overall)

The Set Includes

Price

Simple Woodturning Tools Full Size

17"

Hollower, Neck Hollower, Rougher, Finisher, Detailer 

PSI-Woodworking-LCHSS8

Skew Chisel (1, 5/8"),

Bowl Gouge (1/2"), Spindle Gouge (3/4"), Roughing Gouge (7/8"), Scraper & Parting Tool

Hurricane Turning Tools

16"

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

Spindle Gouge

(1/2",1/4",3/8"),

Round Nose Scraper

(1",1/2",1-1/2"),

Spindle Roughing Gouge (1",2"),

Parting & Skew Chisel

Easy Wood Tools

12.5"

Start Rougher, Finisher & Deatiler

Demystifying the woodturning tools

Five Must-Have Woodturning Tools In A Basic Tool Kit:

Before you start turning wood or bowls on a lathe, you need to understand some essential woodturning tools and the specific purpose of each tool. 

As a beginner, a good rule of thumb is to get a basic tool kit and then add more tools as you work your way up.

A typical woodturning tool kit should have the following tools:

Bowl gouge:

If you’re interested in turning bowls, a bowl-gouge is your go-to tool.​

They come in different sizes, shapes, grinds, and flute shapes, but they all essentially cut and shape wood bowls as they rotate on a lathe. 

Depending on the desired shape and smoothness of the end product, you may need to use different bowl gouges. 

A bowl gouge is often touted as the single most crucial woodturning tool.

And for a good reason. You can turn a bowl from scratch using only a bowl gouge. Here you can find the best bowl gouges for the money.

Spindle gouge:

Also known as the shallow fluted gouge, the spindle gouge is used to shape spindle work and detailing beads and coves.

Spindle roughing gouge:

This handy tool shifts the weight during woodturning, leaving behind a ruff shape but still giving your pieces a decent finish. The spindle roughing gouge also makes smooth cylinders and cuts round wood from square planks.

Skew Chisel:

This is a slightly complicated tool and not the most attractive tool you’ll see. It’s associated with minor cuts during woodturning, and most beginner turners stay away from it. 

Yet, it’s one of the most useful woodturning tools once you get the hang of it. The skew chisel is used to cut planes and create very fine details, giving you a great finish you can smile about. 

This tool needs some pretty delicate handling since it’s notorious for giving “catches” that may ruin your woodturning experience.

Whenever you’re using it, remember always to cut using the middle of the blade and put in 100% concentration.

This way, your fingers will be safe, and your project will turn out just fine.

Parting tool:

As the name suggests, this tool parts wood during woodturning. It is used to make grooves through a piece of wood and slicing through the wood to achieve smaller parts that are easier to work with.

A good rule of thumb when parting is not to go all the way to the edge of the wood. Just cut off most of the way with a parting tool and let a saw do the rest to avoid ruining your project.

Scraper:

Sometimes when you’re done turning your bowls on a lathe, the end product may not look appealing. 

This is where a scraper comes in.

This tool refines the surface by cleaning up wood left by other tools or making some delicate cuts to achieve the desired shape. Whichever way you will use a scraper, remember not to use it to remove heavy wood.


Choosing Your Woodturning Tools Size -

You’re probably wondering:

Does size really matter?

The truth is, it does.

In woodturning, you need to get the size of your tools right if you want to take pride in your final work. When it comes to sizes, most woodturning tools fall into three broad categories: mini tools, mid-sized tools, and full-size tools.

Let’s see what each tool size means to your woodturning project:

The mini tools are your best bet for shallower projects that go up to 2” over the bowl rest.

The mid-sized tools are an excellent fit for projects that go up to 3” over the bowl rest and are ideal for medium-sized bowls.

The full-sized tools, on the other hand, can go up to 4’” over the bowl rest. Full-size tools have extra strength and longer handles to give you enough leverage when turning. These tools are mostly used for large bowls and bigger spindles.

Sometimes, full-sized tools may get in the way of effective turning, so you may need to resort to mid-size or smaller ones.

Bottom line?

Test and optimize the right size of tools for your project size.


Carbide Turning Tools or HSS Tools: Which Is Better?

As a beginner woodturner, I bet you’ve already heard about carbide tools and high-speed steel tools.

And you’re in a dilemma of sorts on which material to go for.

So, which is the best choice for a beginner?

Fret not, because, in this section, we will tell you precisely what each material is good for, which one is better for whom, and for what purposes.

While there are plenty of mixed opinions out there on whether HSS or carbide is the way to go, it all boils down to two vital things:

Ease of use and sharpening.

Ease of use:

Can we be honest here?

Okay, here we go:

HSS tools require a bit of expertise to operate. You don’t just grab them off the package and head straight to the lathe. You will need some skills to hold these tools such that the wood and the bevel meet at the correct angle. These skills take time to learn.

Carbide tools, on the other hand, can be used with ease. You don’t have to worry about the bevel angle. All you have to do is bring the tool to the rotating wood on a lathe, hold it parallel to the floor, and get turning.

What makes them this easy to use?

The carbide tools have a scraper for a cutting blade, so all they do is scrape away.

There’s more:

With carbide tools, you can turn wood while the wood is held at a fixed position, as opposed to HSS tools.

With HSS tools, the learning curve is steep and may ruin your woodturning experience.

While carbide tools are easy to use for beginner turners, there’s a downside.

The finished product will have a rougher surface compared to that turned using HSS tools and may require some extra sanding.

So, what’s the point? 

Experienced turners prefer HSS tools since they have developed the expertise to handle them, and the extra sanding after turning is eliminated.

Sharpening

You’ll be surprised that even veteran turners swear by carbide tools because you never have to sharpen them. 

Traditional HSS tools demand a lot of sharpening and resharpening.

Sharpening not only eats into your turning time but also requires skills that take time to acquire.

Not to mention that the sharpening tools and jigs will be an extra financial investment for a beginner learning to turn wood.

Carbide tools can last up to 100 times longer than HSS tools depending on the quality of the carbide and the intensity of the turning work.

The catch?

The carbide cutters will need to be replaced at an additional cost, but for those turning wood as a hobby, these replacements are only done twice a year.

While it’s true that you can’t get carbide tools as sharp as HSS tools, carbide woodturning tools are actually sharp enough to get the job done efficiently.

In a nutshell, carbide tools are the best for a beginner turner as you can get to work with them right out of the box with little to minimal sharpening required.

5 BEST WOOD TURNING TOOL KIT FOR BEGINNERS

1. Simple Woodturning Beginners Set - The Best 

Simple Woodturning Tools Carbide Wood Lathe Tools Hollower, Rougher, Detailer

The Verdict: The BOSS that calls the shots in the workshop...

Two things that we love about this toolkit are its simplicity and ease of use. It’ll always be in your hand bossing wood around.

Simple Woodturning Tools Carbide Wood Lathe Tools are our top pick as the best woodturning tool kit for beginners. Let’s see what has earned this toolkit this coveted position and other not-so-flattering things about it.

Here’s why:

  • Very sharp
  • Have minimal to no catch
  • Easy to handle
  • Don’t need resharpening
  • Cut through the hardest of wood

This wood turning tool kit set includes:

  • Simple Rougher (SR)
  • Simple Turner & Hollower
  • Simple 55° Detailer
  • T15 & T20 Torx star tip wrenches

The Good:

Cuts like a hot knife through butter:

Right off the box, these carbide tools are sharp and take to wood like a hot knife to butter.

This means that you can turn easier, faster, and better.

Beginner-friendly:

Remember when we said carbide woodturning tools are the way to go for beginners?

This particular set proves exactly that. As a novice turner, you can expect a smooth, hitch-free woodturning experience. 

Attractive and easy to handle

If aesthetics is something you want in your woodturning kit, then this one is right for you.

Easy on the eye, the Simple Woodturning Tools toolkit is packaged to resemble some shiny precision surgical tools. 

What’s more, these tools are easy to handle and work with.

Bevel angle: what’s that?

You know that woodturning rule where the bevel has to meet the wood at a certain angle?

Well, forget it if you’re using this toolkit.

The tools work well with no strange positions required, and there’s no catch in the process.

The Bad:

Could do better with more handles: 

One thing we didn’t like about this tool was the insufficient handles.

While this toolkit has three tools, there’s only one handle for all of them.

This means when changing blades, you have to stop mid-turning to change the handle. You may opt to purchase extra handles, but we wish each tool came with its handle.

  • Extraordinarily sharp and cuts through hardwood like a hot knife through butter
  • Simple to use and beginner-friendly
  • Attractive
  • Easy to handle and turn wood with
  • Takes a good edge
  • Comes with only one handle

2. Simple Woodturning Tools - The Premium Kit

Simple Woodturning Tools Full Size Set of 6 Carbide Tipped Wood Turning Lathe Tools

The Verdict: The big brother with a little extra…

This toolkit is also great for novice and veteran turners alike.

With the extra tools, it sure packs quite a punch.

This toolkit is actually a full-size improvement of Simple Woodturning’s first tool kit with some extra tools thrown in there. 

This wood turning tool kit set includes:

  • Swan Neck Hollower
  • Turner and Hollower
  • Rougher
  • Shear Cutting Finisher
  • Detailer (55 & 90 Degree)

The Good:

Here’s why it’s our premium pick:

Extremely Sharp:

Just like its top pick brother, the tool kit is really sharp and ready to use for turning right of the box. You won’t need to sharpen this carbide set.

More robust:

Unlike its brothers above, this tool kit adds three more tools to the collection making it more robust.

Easy to handle:

The tools are full-sized and come with a long enough handle. This gives you enough leverage when turning and makes turning smoother.

Can reach inaccessible hollow vessels:

You can trust the Simple Swan Neck Hollower that comes with this tool kit to reach those hollow parts where other straight shaft tools can’t reach.

The Bad:

Just like the tool kit above, this one also comes with only one handle.

You’ll have to change handles between turnings, make new ones, or buy other handles.

  • Simple easy to use
  • Sharp and easily cuts through even the hardest of woods
  • Can access hollow vessels
  • Could do with more handles

3. PSI-Woodworking-LCHSS8 - Best For The Money 

PSI Woodworking LCHSS8 Wood Lathe HSS Chisel Set, 8Piece

The Verdict: Decent but delicate:

For beginners who want to get through the steep learning curve affordably, this is a great fit. 


But:


If you’re an aggressive turner, or if you rotate your lathe really fast, some of the tools may snap after a few uses.

As a beginner woodturner, you’re probably looking for a decent toolkit that doesn’t hurt your wallet. This 8-piece set from PSI Woodworking is your best bet.

This wood turning tool kit set includes:

  • 3/16-Inch Parting Tool  
  • 5/8-Inch Spear Scraper  
  • 1-Inch Skew Chisel
  • 5/8-Inch Skew Chisel
  • 5/8-Inch Round nose scraper
  • 1/2-Inch Bowl Gouge
  • 3/4-Inch Spindle Gouge
  • 7/8-Inch Roughing Gouge

The Good:

This toolkit makes it to our list as the best starter pack for turning under a budget and here’s why:

Affordable:

Seriously:

You get eight decent woodturning tools at a great price.

Great starter pack:

In woodturning circles, this tool kit is touted as the ultimate woodturning starter packs.

And for a good reason.

Not only do you get a good deal money-wise, but you also get to use all the chisels and take note of the ones you use the most. So, whenever you need an upgrade, you know which specific tools to go for.

The Bad:

Unlike the carbide tools we’ve above, the tools in this kit are not sharp out of the box. Tool sharpening is another skill beginners have to learn, so this may not give you the desired out-of-the-box turning experience.

We wish the handles were made of better material. The wooden handles are likely to snap during use.

  • Affordable
  • Good for beginner turners
  • Industry gold-standard
  • Does not hold a good
  • Not sharp and get blunt easily
  • May easily snap

4. Hurricane Turning Tools - The 16 Piece Complete Set 

Hurricane Turning Tools, Woodturning Complete 16 Piece Set

The Verdict: The blanket toolkit…

This toolkit is a decent one that holds a better edge and is durable.


However, you may not need all the tools as a beginner.

This set is a first:

Every Hurricane chisel under one umbrella.

This wood turning tool kit set includes:

  • Bowl Gouge from 3/8" Round Bar Stock
  • Bowl Gouge from 1/2" Round Bar Stock
  • Bowl Gouge from 5/8" Round Bar Stock
  • 1/4" Spindle Gouge from 1/4" Bar Stock
  • 3/8" Spindle Gouge from 3/8" Bar Stock
  • 1/2" Spindle Gouge from 1/2" Bar Stock
  • 1" Round Nose Scraper
  • 1/2" Round Nose Scraper
  • 1 1/2" Round Nose Scraper
  • 3/4" Round Nose Scraper
  • 3/4" Square Nose Scraper
  • 3/4" Diamond Parting Tool
  • 1" Skew Chisel
  • 3/4" Oval Skew Chisel
  • 1" Spindle Roughing Gouge
  • 2" Spindle Roughing Gouge

The Good:

Durable:

We’re talking HSS steel here. That’s eight times more durable than carbon steel.

Comfort and leverage:

The tools have long solid Ash handles of up to 16 inches. This gives you leverage when turning and enhances comfort.

Hold an edge better

You can expect to do significant turning with these tools as they take an edge better with minimal catches.

The Bad:

Does a beginner need all 16?

Turns out you don’t. Most veterans get by just fine with a handful of essential turning tools, and 16 may be a lot.

The tools are not ready to sharpen out of the package, and you may need to regrind them.

  • Durable
  • Holds edge better
  • A more robust set
  • Too many tools
  • May need to regrind

5. Easy Wood Tools - Best For Smaller Projects

Easy Wood Tools COMBO Wood Turning


The Verdict: Super trio

This combo is ideal for beginners as the learning curve is significantly reduced.


But we think they are a little bit on the pricey side for a 3-piece.

Easy Wood Tools’ carbide combo is also another great option for beginners.

This wood turning tool kit set includes:

Start Rougher, Finisher and Detailer

The Good:

Never sharpen:

Here’s the thing we love about carbide tools:

You don’t need to sharpen them to use them, and you may not need to sharpen them ever again.

Simplified learning curve:

With this toolkit, take the tools out of the box, and get to turning.

You don’t need to remember any complex angles, and the project turns out just fine.

The Bad:

Any skeletons?

We were not impressed by the length of the handles. 

The nine inches handles won’t really offer the comfort you need.

  • Doesn’t need sharpening or resharpening
  • Lasts long
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Little leverage to work with due to the short handles

Who’s your darling?

We believe the Simple Woodturning Tools Carbide Wood Lathe toolkit is a beginner’s best bet. 

The kit eliminates the woodturning learning curve and may offer a novice turner decent results at first attempt.

In this list, it is the easiest to handle, and the carbide doesn’t need resharpening. With the sharpest blades around, the tools in this tool kit take to wood as a hot knife takes to butter.

We hope this post does the heavy lifting for you and help you choose the right tool kit for you.

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