I did a lot of research and still spent quite a while staring at the tools at Woodcraft trying to decide what I needed to get started. I settled on an Easy Wood Tools carbide-tipped rougher (the mid-size Ci-2), which was expensive but looks like it has an extremely short learning curve, and should last a long time. I also picked up a Sorby 1/8" parting tool and a Sorby 3/8" spindle gouge - without a handle. The gouge was a lot cheaper without the handle, and I figure that will give me something to do right off the bat.
So I made a 7" x 1" blank from a piece of old fir framing scrap. I started with the lathe on it's very slowest setting (like for a 12" log) and took a few hesitant chips with the parting tool. That didn't really work well on the square corners, so I got out the carbide rougher and started making a mess. I attached the dust collector hose to the tool rest post to keep things clean, and slowly turned up the speed as I gained confidence. I managed to make a passable handle for the spindle gouge, using calipers and the parting tool to make a tight fit for a ferrule (a threaded piece of 1/2" brass pipe) and I even got out a 1" bench chisel and used it bevel down and at an angle to give a shearing cut like a skew, which definitely cut very smoothly.
|Fir Handle for 3/8" Gouge|
Update: A few days later, and I've made several items. A couple of oak file handles, a much nicer beech handle for the 3/8" spindle gouge, and a handle and knob for a bowsaw that I made. The Easy Wood Tools rougher is quite capable, and I'm glad I bought it, as a total beginner.
|I tried to replicate the Sorby handle shape as an exercise, but I need some calipers. My very first sad attempt is at the bottom.|