Hook Tools for Pole Lathe Turning

Some of you may know that I’m in the process of writing a book on pole lathe turning. It will published by Lost Art Press next year sometime. After taking a few months hiatus from writing while traveling to Japan and the West Coast for teaching gigs and study, I’m back at it. I’ve got a lot of photos to go through for the book—many hundreds, a more photos to take, and a few of the how-to sections to tweak a bit. I’ve recently written an article for the fall issue of Mortise & Tenon Magazine on my explorations into the term ‘the new wood culture’. Writing this helped me to gather my thoughts about that subject (which is also slated to be in the book). I hope to finalize my end of the book writing process and hand the manuscript over to the publishers at the end of the summer.

Because my thoughts lately have been on design for both the pole lathe (technical drawings for the book) and the hook tools I’ve learned to use in Japan the past two trips, I thought I’d offer up some tools for sale. These hooks will be for those that are turning on the pole lathe. I’ve been working with my old friend Michael Jones who lives locally. Michael is an exceptional craftsman in both wood (luthier) and metal (blacksmith). He exposed me to blacksmithing 20 years ago which almost made me into a blacksmith. He is roughing out the rods that I will then forge into several types of hooks for sale.

I’ll make seven different designs.

The first two are the standard tapered and scrolled hooks in both large and small sizes. The large will be great for roughing out axe hewn bowls. The small will be good for finishing cuts and is also shaped for limited core cutting (side plunge to sever the bowl from the wooden core).

Reverse Grind, Nesting, and Core Diver Hooks  www.woodspirithandcraft.com

Reverse Grind, Nesting, and Core Diver Hooks


There will also be a medium hook that is untapered before scrolling. This makes a good hook for finishing cuts. The taper is almost a closed conical shape which turns it into what I call a “core diver” (again for cutting on the core).

I’ll also offer a bent shaft hook which will be for turning nests on bowls about 7-8” diameter. Nesting hooks are designed for specific bowl shapes. This will be for a more common open form bowl.

Then there’s the reverse grind bent shaft hook. These allow a push cut that cuts the core on a skew when shaping the core into a conical shape to make it easier to undercut.

Scrolling a hook

Scrolling a hook

Lastly I’ll be making sets for end grain turning. As one of the most experienced turners in end grain cutting on the pole lathe, I’ve spent many years of trial and error making and using these hooks for the production of end grain cups. The set will include a plunge hook and a smoothing hook. The plunge hook is for cutting along the core side inside the cup. It is a small hook with an ideal conical scroll for end grain cutting. The smoothing hook is used to make cuts from the bottom of the slot made by the plunging hook. It is drawn from the bottom of the groove to the rim of the cup. These make the smoothest cut on the typical flared shape of a cup.

Here is how it will work. We’ll open orders on Wednesday, July 3rd at 8am CT. We’ve set aside a limited quantity of roughed out hooks to work from, but an unlimited number of each type. This way I can manage the orders as they come in and folks can order what they would like. It’s likely they will be sold out in 4-5 days. But since this is the first time I’ve offered such a selection, we will see.

I do take orders if you miss this opportunity. But you’ll have to wait for the forging days which may be a month or two wait.

I know many of you are waiting for posts about the Japan trip…coming soon…

Jarrod DahlComment