Easy Wood Tools

A few of the carbide tipped woodturning tools
made by Craig Jackson of Easy Wood Tools

Overview

One of the greatest things about woodturning for me is the numerous protocols and tools that you can use to accomplish any given task. I have been using some new carbide tipped tools in my studio of late made by Craig Jackson of Easy Wood Tools. Craig has a line of carbide tipped woodturning tools that feature stainless steel shafts and are available in different sizes for various turning needs.

The fit and finish of these tools out of the package is impressive. The dual position Maple handles feature two different handgrip areas that allow the tools to be used with a close up grip, or a slightly farther back grip that offers more leverage and control. The stainless steel shafts are highly polished and well fitted into the handles that sport polished copper ferrules, adding to the elegant look of these tools.

Easy Wood tools feature stainless steel
shafts with various carbide tipped cutters

The carbide tips do not require sharpening and offer multiple cutting areas that can be easily rotated to expose new cutting surfaces when necessary. Craig even includes a small Allen wrench to use when rotating or replacing the cutter head and a sheet of written instructions on best practices for using the tools. Several of the members of my local turning club, Lone Star Woodturners Association had purchased these tools and there was a lot of talk about them at our recent meetings and I was eager to give them a go in my studio.

For those of you who know me personally, you know that I’m a really big fan of the Irish ground bowl gouge. I love it so much in fact that I modified the traditional Irish grind into a special production version known as “Steve Russell’s Texas Irish Grind,” that significantly increases the versatility of this most impressive grind. A friend of mine once told me that I loved Irish ground bowl gouges so much that if I ever ran for political office, I would no doubt promise an “Irish Ground Bowl Gouge in Every Workshop,” to voters instead of a chicken in every pot!

For me, and Irish ground bowl gouge is one of the most versatile woodturning tools that I can put in my hands. Even one of my specially ground Texas Irish ground bowl or spindle gouges cannot be used for every single conceivable task, but then no tool can claim that distinction. Through the years, I have only found a few tools that came close to the overall versatility offered by an Irish ground bowl or spindle gouge.

After using these new carbide tools from Easy Wood Tools, I’m adding another entry to my list of “Must Have” woodturning tools, the new Easy Rougher and Easy Finisher carbide tipped tools from Craig Jackson.


Easy Wood Tools: Ci1 Easy Rougher

Easy Rougher (top) and Easy Finisher (bottom)

This is a large roughing tool (24.5” total length) that sports a ½” square stainless steel shaft, with a dual position Maple handle. Three different cutters are available for this tool, a 90-degree square sided cutter, a 4” (slight) radius cutter and a 2” (more pronounced curve) radius cutter. Each cutter has four sharpened sides that can be easily rotated when the edge eventually dulls. A Lexan chip deflector is also available as an optional accessory.

I used the Easy Rougher on several recent projects, including rounding over two Olivewood logs, several large turning squares of various timbers and for roughing out several bowls from Ash and Mesquite. The Easy Rougher was very easy to use and make quick work of the projects I was turning. Although most of these projects were green/wet when turned, several were turned from seasoned Sicilian Olivewood, Mesquite, Ash, Purpleheart, Texas Ebony, Slippery Elm, Maple Burr and Carob Burr.

The curved radius cutters made gross profiling of curves on bowls and spindles a snap! This tool is used flat on the tool rest, with the cutter directly on centerline. There is no bevel to rub and you can cut left, right or straight in with the tool held on centerline. The polished stainless steel shaft glides smoothly over the handrest, making smooth flowing cuts very easy to obtain. If you want to really HOG off wood, this bad boy will eat wood for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will also allow you to take very delicate cuts, producing tissue thin ribbons of wood. Although intended for roughing, this tool can also work very well for many finishing cuts. Very versatile indeed!


Easy Wood Tools: Mini-Easy Rougher

Mini Easy Finisher (top) and Mini Easy Rougher (bottom)

This is a small-scale version (15.75” total length) of the large Ci1 Easy Rougher. It is great for working on smaller projects, or for doing detail work on larger projects. I really love this tool for the initial blocking in of continuous bead sections. It is so fast and easy to use that it’s just plain fun to use!


Easy Wood Tools: Ci0 Easy Finisher

Close-up shot showing the cutters on the
Easy Rougher (top) and Easy Finisher (bottom)

This is a large scale finishing tool (24.5” total length) that sports a ½” square stainless steel shaft mounted with a round carbide cutter. The red dyed 16” Maple wood handle also features the dual position grip handle design of the Easy Rougher. The round cutter head on the Easy Finisher can be rotated ¼ turn to a fresh cutting edge when necessary and requires no sharpening.

This tool offers a great cutter head designing for working on the inside of bowls and for profiling work on spindles and faceplate projects. Large coves are very easy to create as well. The large handle offers excellent control and you can easily opt for the close grip position for even more control on delicate cuts.


Easy Wood Tools: David J. Marks Pro Series

The David J. Marks Pro Series Easy Finisher
features a Bubinga wood handle

Craig also offers a special Pro Series Ci1 and Ci0 Easy Rougher/Easy Finisher, the David J. Marks Edition (28.5” total length) with a beautiful 20” long Bubinga wood handle. This special edition tool offers even more leverage and control for more demanding cuts.


Easy Wood Tools: Mini-Easy Finisher

Close-up shot showing the cutting tips on the
Mini Easy Finisher (top) and Mini Easy Rougher (bottom)

This is a small-scale version (15.75” total length) of the Ci0 Easy Finisher. It is great for working on smaller projects and for things like pens, peppermills, boxes and similarly sized projects. It is also great for fine cuts and refining details on larger projects. I have also found it ideal for undercutting rims on smaller bowls, for adding ergonomic recesses to platter rims and for undercutting mushroom tops.


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a new and versatile tool to add to your toolbox, take a look at these tools from Easy Wood Tools. Very few tools receive my “Must Have” ranking, but these tools are very deserving of the title. Unlike many of my single use tools, these tools offer a multitude of uses and have performed superbly at every task I have thrown at them…

The only thing I wished for in using them was a tool with a fine, pointed type of tip (like a diamond for example) for getting in really tight quarters when turning fine details. I have heard that Craig has already developed one and it is now available as well. Bravo Craig, keep those new tools coming!


Safety Note: Always follow all manufacturers safety instructions before working with your lathe, or any of the tools or products you may use. If you are unsure about any operation, obtain competent professional instruction before proceeding. Use and wear all necessary safety devices during turning and observe safe woodturning practices to prevent accident or injury.


Steven D. Russell is a professional studio woodturner, teacher and writer. He has written numerous articles for international woodturning magazines, which have been published in more than 78 countries around the world. Steve has demonstrated in numerous cities across the United States. His studio, Eurowood Werks, specializes in bowls, platters and hollow forms with unique visual and tactile treatments.

Steve is also the current and founding President of the Lone Star Woodturners Association, Inc., an AAW member chapter. The LSWA is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization dedicated to teaching and demonstrating the art and craft of woodturning.

Steve is also a featured writer for the Guild of Master Craftsman's "Woodturning" magazine, published in London England. Woodturning magazine is the world's leading magazine for woodturners. Look for his articles covering technical topics, or project based articles in an upcoming issue.