In our ongoing efforts to introduce and inform newcomers to woodturning we are going to discuss a few basic principles related to the different shaped carbide inserts for woodturning projects. Square carbide inserts have a specific use on the lathe and in your tool box. Basically, square inserts are great for roughing out work. They come in a variety sizes and cutting angles to fit many different tools. AZ carbide carries not only it’s own inserts but makes a square insert to fit the Carter , Rikon and other custom tool lines.
Carbide is a binary compound of carbon with an element of lower or comparable electronegativity. Solid carbide provides better rigidity than steel. Carbide is tough and extremely heat resistant and used for high speed applications on nonferrous materials, plastics and, other project material that is tough on machinery including the lathe. Carbide itself has enjoyed a long and popular reputation of being a longer lasting and stronger with most applications of carbide tools being for cutting. Everything from saw blades to ball point pens have a sharper longer lasting edge. Well, maybe the pens aren’t sharper than our inserts! Carbide tips do eventually dull. Sharpening uses the same techniques as tool steel, but because they are so hard, you use a different abrasive. Something coated in diamond or carbide abrasion wheel is commonplace. However, the beauty of carbide is that they are affordable, and can be thrown out when dull. An additional advantage to square inserts is that you can flip the sides 4 times before replacing. The alternative is to use and repeatedly sharpen old school steel tools/ handles. Many woodturners use a combination of both. Check out the blog where we weigh in on that here.
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Here is a video of our square insert in action: