Woodpeckers have recently introduced a range of three sets of carbide-tipped turning tools called Ultra-Shear. The sets are either small, medium or full size. The ones I am testing here comprise the full-size set, 600mm overall length. The blade shaft is 16mm in diameter and projects 200mm from the ferrule of the handle. The handles are made from a close-grained hardwood and sport a coloured ferrule and an end-cap on the lower end of the handle. I must admit to liking the look of the tools – they appear solid and ready for work.
The tool shaft is machined from square stock but the corner of one of the edges is vertical. The underside is machined to have a flat section on it. About two thirds of the way up the shaft from the ferrule the shaft tapers towards the cutting tip and on each side of that taper there is another machined flat area which tapers down to nothing as it meets the corner of the tool shaft further down. It is a solid-looking shaft that allows a stable horizontal/square on cutter position to do the work. Because of the tool shaft geometry, one can tilt the blade on to the side bevel, which is fixed at 45° for cleaning up shear cuts.
The cutting tips are flat-topped and held in place with a Torx-head machine screw and the cutters are supported on the rear section. Effectively, the tool shaft is machined to hold and support the cutters to ensure they are seated correctly and there is no movement when the cutter is used. The cutters easily take a shaving of a thumbnail when gently dragged across the cutting edge.
These are well-made tools. The handles fit into my hand nicely and the tools are well balanced – no sharp edges, nothing feels rough or out of place.
The tool shafts are heavy, stay put on the rest and minimise vibration well during even the most heavy of cuts. That said they are not so heavy as to prevent easy movement of them along the toolrest as required. Their mass means that they can be projected a long way over the toolset if one absolutely has to, and the tool handle is long enough to counter the downward pressure on the tool tips.
The cutters are certainly sharp and when an edge dulls – which took a long while with the timbers I was using – the blade can be rotated to present a new edge. The tips are classed as disposable, so when you have rotated a cutter all the way around you buy a new one. They certainly last a long while and do not cost much to replace.
The tools did everything I asked of them well and, as I have commented before, such tools are not as nuanced in use as ‘traditional’ tools, but the tips and tools are capable of a lot of work. The ability to shear cut makes these a lot more versatile than if they could not and some exceptionally clean cuts are possible with the cutters, requiring only a very light sanding.
They are worthy additions in what is a growing market of such tools and I recommend that you take a look and try them for yourself.
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