Best Lathe Chisels – 2020 Round-up Review

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Chisels are the most important tool for woodturning, aside from the lathe itself, of course. Without a good set of chisels, woodworking is impossible.

Of course, chisels come in various shapes, sizes, types, and designs. Making the right choice can be a challenge, regardless of your woodworking experience.

​Snapshot​! Best ​Lathe Chisels

​In a hurry? Here are our top picks​:

Best Overall
Runner-up
Best for the Money

Comparison Chart of the ​Best Lathe Chisels

Product

Our Rating

​Price

Stone Mountain SM7084 Set

​Best Overall

Imotechom HSS Wood Turning Tools

​Runner-up

Yellowhammer Turning Tools Essentials

​Best for the Money

Werks Lathe Set

Best Lathe Chisel Set

Toauto Wood Turning Set

Best Beginner Turning Tools

Asieg Carbide Chisel Set

Best Carbide Lathe Chisels

What Size Chisels Do I Need?

If you’re serious about your woodworking hobby, you won’t be able to get away with just one chisel.

First, you’ll need a roughing gouge of at least 3/4". Then, you’ll need a spindle gouge and a skew chisel, both about 3/4” or 1” in size. These sizes and tools should get you started.

Of course, as you gain more experience with woodturning, you’re going to find the exact sizes that fit your style and needs.

What Should I Look for When Buying Lathe Chisels?

If you’ve found a lathe that works for you, you’re almost there. Still, if you don’t pay enough attention to finding a good set of chisels, you’re going to regret it. Here’s what to look for in lathe chisels.

The Handle

The handle is the part of the chisel that you’re actually going to hold. So, a comfortable handle can go a long way in enhancing the entire woodturning experience. Get an uncomfortable handle, and you’ll hate it. If it doesn’t have a good grip, it can cause slips, which can mean ruined woodwork at best and a serious injury at worst. In short, pay attention to the handle.

Durability

Woodturning is based on friction, and although it’s your project that’s getting chiseled, over time the damage is going to show on your chisels as well. It’s in your interest to prolong this moment for as much as possible. That’s unless if you don’t mind paying for new chisels all of the time.

Cost

No one wants to hear this, but do not go with the budget option. Even if you’re just getting into the hobby, you’d just be wasting money on the cheap stuff. Use that old screwdriver instead, if you want to see whether woodturning is your thing. And then go ahead and buy a quality set that has the proper construction and materials.

Quick Take: Best​ Lathe Chisels

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best lathe chisels:

  1. ​Best Overall: Stone Mountain SM7084 Set
  2. ​Runner-up: Imotechom HSS Wood Turning Tools​​​
  3. Best for the Money: Yellowhammer Turning Tools Essentials

Review of the Best Lathe Chisels

Finding a perfect set of lathe chisels isn’t easy, even if you have experience with woodworking. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned woodworker, here are some of the best lathe chisels available on the market.

​Best Overall:
​Stone Mountain SM7084 Set

PROS

  • Comfortable hardwood handles
  • Cool wooden case for storage and travel
  • Perfect for seasoned or beginner woodturner
  • Hardened steel blades that can endure fast speeds and a range of materials

CONS

  • The edges may need some refinement before you put them to work

Our Review

The first thing that you’ll notice when you purchase this Stone Mountain set of chisels is the beautiful and sleek wooden case. Once you’ve opened the case, you’ll see eight perfectly aligned chisels. Each chisel, although of different types, is about 16-1/4” long. 10 of these inches are the hardwood handles, and the rest the M2 steel blades.

This set can take on a variety of projects – from bowls to pepper mills and pens. It’s one of the best overall choices on the market regardless of your level of expertise. The Stone Mountain SM7084 set does not disappoint.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

As soon as you lay eye on the wooden case, you’ll feel how much attention is paid to the design and manufacture. It’s evident that the same attention carries over to the beautiful hardwood handles. They are extremely comfortable, grippy, and, quite frankly, they look gorgeous. A lot of chisels get the blades right but fail short in the handles. That’s not a problem with the Stone Mountain.

​Runner-up:
​Imotechom HSS Wood Turning Tools

PROS

  • Ships pre-sharpened
  • The high-speed steel will ensure years of use
  • Beautiful engraved wooden case, plus EPE protection
  • The 10-inch-long walnut handles are hard, sure, and comfy

CONS

  • Seasoned woodworkers may find these subpar but they are great for the money

Our Review

Inside the beautiful wooden box, you’ll get eight chisels that make up everything that you need for your small-to-mid-sized turning project. Each tool is about the same length of about 16.3”. The blade is 10-inch-long, which is more than enough for comfort when using the tools. You also get a lot of grip and the shape feels nice and hard while in action.

The blade is 6.3” in length, which is compact but enough for most projects. High-speed steel is the material of choice for the blades, which are resilient and will last you a long time.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

It’s not often that you get a set of pre-sharpened chisels these days. In addition to feeling like a bonus and perhaps newfound respect for the company, this has some practical benefits. For one, you can take the product out of the box and put it to use immediately. Second, you won’t have to shorten the blades after sharpening them. Finally, you already know the ideal angles for sharpening.

​Best for the Money:
​Yellowhammer Turning Tools Essentials

PROS

  • This set is good for all skill levels
  • This is a very budget-friendly set
  • The chisels are pretty light and easy to wield
  • The beech handles offer sure grip and control

CONS

  • None

Our Review

If you’re looking for a budget set of lathe chisels that are actually functional, this Yellowhammer set can be an ideal choice. You get 8 essential chisels that are fairly light, which is very important in terms of comfort.

Speaking of comfort, the 10-inch handle feels just about right. The 6-inch blade isn’t the longest available, but it does the job surprisingly well. They’re all about 16” long, which is once again average and ideal for beginner woodturners.

While you don’t get a gimmicky wooden box with this set, this is why the Yellowhammer chisels are so affordable. Maybe you’re one of those who disagree with those marketing materials that claim presentation sells products?

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Quite frankly, it’s the low price point that sets these Yellowstone chisels apart. The blades are made of high-speed steel, the handles are European beech and very comfortable, the whole thing isn’t too heavy, and they are fairly standard in length. To top it all off, the set is surprisingly affordable.

​Best Lathe Chisel Set:
Werks Woodworking Tools

PROS

  • These are fantastic for carving, as well
  • One of the best sets around for chiseling
  • The eight pieces are neatly packed inside a wooden box
  • Great for small pens, bowls, spindles, and also bigger projects

CONS

  •  Probably not as great for advanced users

Our Review

If you are someone who’s looking to get into carving and chiseling projects, there aren’t too many tools as awesome as this set for this purpose. Especially for a beginner getting into woodturning, these lathe chisels are going to do the trick. You get eight essential blade types that are a bit unusual in size. The blades are 5-1/4” long while the handles are 11 to 12”.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

What stands out with the Werks tools is the relatively longer handle. This might not sound like much, but this can increase handling and control. This is what makes this chisel set ideal for carving and chiseling in particular.

​Best Beginner Turning Tools:
Toauto Wood Turning Set

PROS

  • You get a case with it
  • The set isn’t too pricey
  • The blades are surprisingly long
  • ​One of the best choices for beginners
  • The ergonomic design allows maximum comfort

CONS

  • The handle material is imitation mahogany, which doesn’t sound the most prestigious. Just remember that this is a beginner set

Our Review

As someone who doesn’t have a lot of (or any) woodwork experience, you are probably on a lookout for a beginner chisel set. Your instincts might tell you to go with the cheapest, but this usually isn’t the right way to go. The Toauto Wood Turning set isn’t the cheapest or anywhere close to expensive either.

The blades are about 7 inches long, which is above average. And of course, you’re going to need the handles to be of a good length too, which at 10 inches they are. While the handles are made of imitation mahogany, the blades are legitimate high-speed steel reinforced with tungsten 8 (as opposed to the usual tungsten 4).

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

What makes these an outstanding budget option for beginners is the ergonomic handles. Essentially, you get a high-performance set of chisels at a good price. Oh, and the longer 7-inch blades are definitely an added bonus.

​Best Carbide Lathe Chisels:
Asieg Carbide Chisel Set

PROS

  • Very simple to use
  • Coated for extra durability
  • Sharpening not required with these carbide chisels
  • ​They are replaceable tools with one handle, more often seen in screwdriver sets

CONS

  • You only get 6 pieces, which is less than in most sets

Our Review

This carbide set is generally a better alternative if you don’t want to deal with all the angles and details. Where regular high-speed steel set will warrant more attention and focus, with this Asieg Carbide Chisel set, you won’t have to worry about those complex angles. The high carbon steel used for these tools makes them stiffer and stronger, which prevents rolling that is typical with round shafts.

The single grip is made of aluminum, and the interchangeable carbide blades are much lighter than the steel alternatives. Although the aluminum handle may not be as comfortable as a wood handle, you can use your DIY skills and make a wooden sleeve for it. Perhaps for your first project.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The fact that the blades are interchangeable is definitely what makes this tool stand out from the rest. Additionally, the shaft is square-shaped, which makes leveling the tool with the floor significantly easier, or at least when compared to round-shaped tools.

Woodturning Tools Types

If you’re just getting into woodturning, you might be wondering what’s the fuss about all the tools. Perhaps not after you find out more the tools that are part of a basic chisel kit.

Spindle Roughing Gouge

This is typically the first woodturning tool used in a project. It shifts the weight and is great for creating a rough outline of a shape. It’s wide and has a straight grind. This enables the tool to cover a lot of ground quickly and you’d end up with just the basic outline.

Spindle Gouge

This is a more detail-oriented version of the spindle roughing gouge. It’s used for coves and beads and shaping.

Skew Chisel

This tool is used for wood planing. This tool is great for creating fine details on a workpiece. Sanding isn’t necessary after using this tool.

Parting Tool

This tool is used for parting wood for it’s particularly good at it. However, when using the parting tool on a lathe, make sure that you don’t part the wood all the way through. Stop near the end and use a saw to separate two pieces.

How to Sharpen Wood Lathe Tools

If you have a high-speed steel chisel set, you can expect to have to sharpen it after every 15 minutes of use. For sharpening lathe tools, you’re going to need sharpening stones at the minimum. These, however, take time so ideally, you’d use a belt sander or a bench grinder.

You should sharpen your lathe chisel tools to about 35-40 degrees in the beginner. After you get good at it, you can go a little more extreme with your tool sharpening.

Try to go to around 60-70 degrees for gouges. Scrapers are best kept at around 70 degrees. Skews can go as low as 25 degrees. Still, be careful when sharpening your tools, as you can easily ruin them for the purpose of woodturning.

Conclusion

Getting your hands on a great set of chisels is the most important part of woodturning, apart from getting a good lathe. Think about whether you prefer a high-speed steel or a carbide set. Consider what you’re looking for in a set of chisels and get the one that suits you the best.

People Also Ask

Getting into woodturning isn’t too straightforward, even if you’re comfortable with a lathe. Here are some key questions that you may still be wondering.

How Long Should Lathe Chisels Be?

For comfort, the handle should be around 10 inches long. Moving on up, the blade should be about 6 to 7 inches. Additionally, you might prefer every chisel that comes in a set to be about the same length.

What Are Woodturning Tools Made Out of?

As a rule, woodturning tool handles are made of hardwood and shaped for easy gripping. This ensures maximum comfort during use. The blades are usually high-speed steel or carbide. These two materials are different though, as the latter is usually used in sets that come with replaceable blades.

How Often Should I Sharpen My Lathe Chisels?

It depends. For instance, carbide tools don’t require any sharpening. However, once they’re worn out, they’re trash and you need to buy a replacement. High-speed steel chisels, in contrast, require constant sharpening, perhaps even in the middle of turning. Expect to have to sharpen a high-speed steel chisel every 5-15 minutes.

What Angle Should Lathe Chisels Be Sharpened to?

Although there are a few schools of thought here, the best angle for lathe chisels is 35-40 degrees. Some may prefer 25-30 degrees as their carving and cabinet chisels are sharpened to that range. However, this isn’t recommended, as lathe chisels take a harder pounding than handheld chisels. Aim for 35-40 degrees.

How Much Do Chisels Cost for a Lathe?

Chisel sets can cost as little as $60 or even less. However, they can also go past $300. In fact, some top-of-the line lathe chisels can set you back $300 a piece. For most users, however, $150 should get the job done.

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