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Tool: Beginner Set of Tools Shop Now 

Manufacturer: Jimmy Clewes

MSRP: $743

A recent weekend of turning with Jimmy Clewes in Las Vegas led me to a new, favorite set of turning tools—Jimmy’s signature set of turning tools. Made for Jimmy by Doug Thompson, the tools are some of the nicest I’ve used. I mainly turn bowls, and I found that the beginners set Jimmy’s put together had everything I needed. The tools are made from CPM10V steel. It’s a powdered metal that’s hardened to a 62 Rockwell hardness with a cryogenic treatment between the tempering cycles. This all means that the tools get sharp quickly and stay sharp.

In addition to the standard gouges, scrapers, and parting tools, I picked up a mate tool. The mate tool is a hollowing tool with a small cutting head on it. The cutting action is controlled by the angle and protrusion of the head. It’s easy to use and perfect for hollowing small vessels.

Setting the tools aside, I mainly fell in love with the quick-release collet. The machined aluminum collet is available in three sizes, and you can either purchase a handle or turn one (check out his website for how-to videos). The collet works via a cam system. A quarter-turn of the collet releases the tool, and another quarter of a turn locks the new tool in place. Gone are the days of having long-handled tools resting on my lathe bed, waiting to get knocked off.

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