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I only have the Termite and I like it for end-grain hollowing. There are lots of people who like the Hunter tool and it seems to have the advantage perhaps that it can be used to take very fine delicate cuts on various pieces that might not work as well with the Termite.
Here is a thread that is a couple of years old that contains comments from a lot of well-respected turners.
Xmas gift idea pre-order from my daughter. What tool is the better gouge; the termite vs the hunter carbide tool. Has anyone tried them both. Appreciate any comments.
Errol this is comparing apples and orange in a way.
The Termite is a cutting tool like your bowl gouge, for end grain turning hollowing where you can't get the bevel of a gouge positioned so it can cut the wood like your gouge will, it works very well, I have the termite and have used quite a bit over the years, if it isn't end grain cutting, forget trying to use it, it just will not work a darn, that's IMO .
I/we tried the carbide cutter, (an aggressive minnie scraper really) with different size cutters on it, tried it on a couple occasions and were never able to get a good surface, at least not as good as I/we are able to get with the conventional gouges.
As it happens a fellow turner lives here right behind my place, (he was a very capable locksmith before retiring) and he has been making and selling these tools and some other things like captured systems and metal gouge handles at out turners club here, and he does very nice/professional work, and so it is not some shoddy made tool that you can blame.
It is just that a scraper like tool is not capable to make the same surface as a conventional gouge.
So I say learning to use the Termite (yes you have to learn how to use it) is worthwhile.
The Carbide bit tools are easier to start with, after all it works a lot like a scraper, just hold them almost vertical and start to twist the tool till it starts cutting wood .
Suit up with the helmet, shoulder pads and face shield with the termite....or Go slow!!!!!
The termite has a wicked bite, if you lose focus just for a milli second!!!
Jsut beware.... I learned the hard way, again and again, and again..
Kevin T..in T bay
I would like to add my $.02 with respect to the Hunter Tool. I bought a #2 or #3 cutter in the fall of 2007 at Woodcraft in Rochester while returning from the Totally turning Conference in Albany. I made a tapered bar holder from 1/2" cold rolled st.eel. Hunter now makes a similar configuration as well as bent tapered shafts. The tapered shaft idea was borrowed from the other tool - The Eliminator. It is an awesome tool for endgrain work on boxes or hollowing small vessels. Very grabby on side grain. Cutting angle is very similar to the Termite or a hook tool for that matter. I also have a #1 mounted in Lyle Jamieson's 3/16" angled holder. Lyle uses it as a start to finish hollowing tool in the captured system. I also use that one mounted in a 3/8 bar. The Hunter will produce a surface equivalent to about 220 sanding. The design of the Hunter Carbide Insert is considerably different than the flat carbide cutters currently loved by novices and does not function as a scraper. It is a shearing cut. We did a comparison one night at Hands-On with a Termite and some people liked one and some liked the other. I would buy another Hunter before buying a Termite. We have lots of machinists types at the GHWG and a number of locally sourced inserts that looked similar have been tried, but none equal the performance of the ultra fine carbide that Mike Hunter discovered. Most difficult part of making a tool is getting the correct mounting screw. There was extensive discussion of the screws over at WC three years ago.
Last edited by Mike Brazeau; 11-27-2010, 12:14 AM.
Reason: Added photo
I had a discussion with a machinist who makes turning tools about using relatively cheap metal working carbide cutters from BB. He also said that they are not in the same league as the Hunter carbides and would not produce the same results.
I have a hunter tool and have tried a termite tool (once, and watched others more skilled using it). I feel they are both excellent finishing cut tools and leave a very nice ,almost a -go to the poly- end-grain surface.
However for faster wood removal, when hollowing end-grain projects, I prefer my modified 1/4 in common drill bit. It's easy to use and CHEAP
Just take an old steel drill bit - I wouldn't go larger than 1/4 in - and grind it like a bowl gouge. I got the idea off of You tube.
The drill bit cutter and also the ball end mill cutters have been around for quite a while and will remove a lot of wood in a hurry.
I don't know why they never became in common use, until recently I only read some discussions online probably 15 years ago, then never heard of them again for years, then just fairly recently Jeff Nicol came with the drillbit cutter and has been making a few, I think he uses 1/2" bits