Parting tools are used in woodturning to separate or “part” finished work from base stock being held in a lathe chuck. Or, it might be used in other ways, such as to part a lid from a box.
Woodpeckers’ Ultra Shear parting tool uses a custom replaceable carbide insert to make narrow grooves that waste less material when “parting.”
The nano-grain carbide insert comes pre-ground with sharp edges and is replaceable by using a simple tool, so you can concentrate on turning rather than sharpening.
The insert is 0.0825″ wide and the tool itself is 1/16″ wide, slightly narrower than the insert, which means only the insert ever touches the wood.
The tool and insert use a special geometry to keep the insert seated in the tool. What this means is that the insert won’t come out unless you use the tool to remove it.
There are two different types of carbide inserts available: a fluted insert that cuts on the edges first for really clean entry cuts, or a square insert for creating flat bottoms.
The thin blade of the tool is taller to make it stiffer, preventing it from bending or twisting when you are making the cut.
The Ultra Shear parting tool comes with the fluted insert and the insert tool for $80. You can purchase a replacement fluted insert or a square insert for $20.
Price: $80 (tool) $20 (replacement insert)
In their promo video, Woodpeckers claims that:
There’s a dimple in the holder that grips the insert firmly. It won’t pop out in use like others on the market.
I wonder what “others” they are talking about
This Easy Wood Tool mid-size parting tool has been around for a while and it uses a grooves and pressure from the tool blade to keep the insert in place, but there is no “dimple” so the insert could theoretically side out the front.
It’s $108-120 for the tool and the inserts are $15-20 each depending on the retailer.
See Also(via Amazon)
I haven’t used this tool, but I’m honestly wondering how the insert could come out in use unless you accidentally twisted the tool. The more pressure you apply, the better the insert is held in place.
Still, Woodpeckers’ new parting tool looks like it might work as advertised, and it’s less expensive than other carbide insert parting tools already on the market (which isn’t usually how it goes with Woodpeckers).
I don’t understand how the tool removes the insert. They just show over and over how to lock in the insert.
Carbide cut off would be very useful and last a long time. I use a standard HSS Robert Sorby parting knife under $30. Works fine and easy to sharpen with a second touch to a sanding disc.
At least this is a very useful WP product, can’t say the same on 50% of what they design.
I’ve used the EWT parting tool extensively (one of the few EWTs I like), and I can say that I’ve never had one “pop out” before. Never.Not even when using metal machining inserts that I reshape and sharpen with a diamond stone (because you can source them online for dirt cheap and they fit in the EWT)
No matter how the insert is shaped for clean results, it’s still a scraping action, which tears grain, so most turners will still want to face off or sand the surface left by the parting tool. And if you get a bind or maybe nick a piece of stone or metal embedded in the wood, that pointed piece of brittle carbide just became a jagged face that leaves a nasty mess behind. At $20 per replacement insert, that’s an expensive “oops” to replace.
The thin kerf is certainly attractive in some situations, but most turners who care fabricate their own, or repurpose other items to make parting tools, or purchase HSS thin parting tools for considerably less cash. The rest who aren’t worried about it simply plan for and deal with the extra loss from parting.
I see this product as a solution in search of a problem. It’s a niche item, which would likely be relegated to specific uses, but otherwise not worth the cost.
Tell me more about these machining inserts?
I ordered a 10-pack of cheap imports from Banggood.com for like $15. They were listed as metalworking cutoff inserts. 3mm size is what you want (1/8″ = 3.175mm) – they’re slightly narrower than the EWT inserts (about .00688″ narrower), but I don’t have any problems with clearance or binding.
They fit the EWT parting tool just slightly tighter than the EWT inserts, but nothing a cheap set of diamond needle files (Amazon) and a 600/1000grit Trend diamond card couldn’t adjust properly (I use the Trend for re-honing the carbide inserts). They’re cupped for chip breaking, so the next step is to use the coarse side of the diamond card to flatten the cutting face, then use the fine side to hone it sharp. Once that’s done, you can re-hone the cutting face dozens of times (as long as it doesn’t have any chips taken out) with the 1000 grit card face before needing to replace it.
So, as far as life expectancy…probably about half of what an EWT branded parting insert will last, including re-honing for both. The EWT inserts are a better grade of carbide, with more cobalt in the binder matrix, so they stay sharp much longer, the BG inserts need a hone more frequently, but it only takes 30 seconds. Key is, I can buy the 10-pack of machining inserts for less than the price of one EWT insert, and to me that’s golden.
Cool to see more products in this arena, I can the Easy Wood Tools version, if I didn’t I’d probably consider this, although the longer handle is nice on the EWT.
I purchased the Woodpeckers “Ultra Shear” parting tool when they first hit the market. I’ve been very disappointed with the results using either the fluted or square carbide insert. I have given up trying to use it. Invariably it just about takes my arm off as it grabs every time. If anyone else can use it I wish they could tell me how. I had so hoped that I wouldn’t need to sharpen a parting tool again.