Woodcut Hollowing System

Report by Isaac Curran




Ike (Isaac Curran) is now displaying work in The Coastal Design Gallery in Campbeltown Jane & Grant Logan have a well appointed gallery, Grant designs and makes stunning jewellery . www.coastal-deesign.co.uk I have now created a photo page on "photobucket" its a lot easier for me to upload pictures directly to the albums and that way folk can see what we are making.  You can visit my page click here: IKE CURRAN PICTURES


Craft Fair News


I am very sorry to announce that due to ongoing ill health Isaac cannot organise and run the botanic Gardens Craft fair, all dates are cancelled.  Isaac had a procedure on his spine early in February and has just been discharged from hospital with ongoing heart decease problems (29 February 2016).  Isaac and myself are truly sad that this has had to be cancelled.


















OK OK, I know I get carried away sometimes at the woodshows but with a price tag of £176 for this set of tools do I need my head testing, only time will tell.

The Pro Kit

So! My initial first impression is one of a quality made item, the feel of the Tool gives you the impression right away that it is well thought out.  I then looked around and discovered  piece of yew that I had been saving for a couple of years, not quite sure what for but this seemed a good time to chop a 12 inch length off and shape the outside in a conventional, well in my opinion anyway, hollow form kind of shape, you will see that I am using the “irons toolgate toolrest, report coming shortly”





I widened the hole and started the job of hollowing!, what followed was a bit of a disaster as I found it almost impossible to control the cut, my initial reaction was to think “Oh poo I made a mistake buying this ” then I thought maybe, just maybe it might be a good idea to check the instructions!, although they were on a tat bit of paper, printed in black and white (a colour version is available from their website), I flattened them out and had a read.  You may or maybe may not be surprised that this was VERY helpful and my opinion has since been changed.  So if all else fails read the instructions!!! Hummmmmm might have been a better idea to start there in the first place!!!

Okay so after a bumpy start I read the instructions.  The best way to begin to learn to control this tool is to use it in place of a bowl gouge, I suggest you use it for clearing large areas of wood.  This way you can adjust the cutter and learn to use the 2 main cutting methods, push cut and dragging cut

Here you can see I am practising on a very dry piece of ash which I later made into a salad bowl, the shavings just fly off as you can see by the shavings directly in front of the lens (I had the camera resting on a grinder and used the timer).  It takes a fair bit of getting used to or maybe I'm just slow!

I found it impossible to make it clog up, the shavings even in dry wood just fly out of the open back of the cutting head.






The Cutting Head

Okay, to the  business end of the operation the cutting head, this is a well engineered piece of work with quality construction.









Pictures Above Shows a Drawing and an actual picture I took of the head


I have used many types of hollowing tool including the hamlet ones, this I believe represents a refinement of those principles.  The HSS Blade keeps a good edge, even when cutting rock hard elm and it is simply a case of using a fine diamond file to re-sharpen.  

To adjust the depth of cut you loosen the 14 mm Set Screw, don’t over loosen.  Then using a small Allen key you can Adjust the Brass blade cover by turning the Eccentric Adjuster, this shifts the Brass Blade cover, it only requires small movement to cover the blade or expose it.  This allows a fine adjustment of the cutting depth.


The Shafts

 These come in three shapes, straight, slightly bent and bent, each one with the set I purchased came with its own cutting head.  The shafts have a flat section at the base, this is for securing the hex bolts in the handle.  I have to say that all of my shafts were a bit tight in the handle and I would have preferred to be able to slide a fair bit of the shaft into the handle as opposed to just the first couple of inches.  The set I purchased also fit into the Kelton Handles and the Hamlet ones, so good news there.

This is the only area of these tools that I found to be “Not up to standard”  This whole tool is for “DEEP” hollowing, yet the moment you hang these shafts out past about halfway, they tend to start vibrating.  This problem might be caused by my inexperience but I have tried to negate that by working them on different woods and different amounts of the shaft overhanging the rest.  It made very little difference between the “Irons Toolgate” and a conventional toolrest, I will keep on trying but these shafts just vibrate like hell past the half way length and that just isn’t deep enough to be called deep hollowing in my book.



The Handle

This is made of a lightweight material and the cushioning does not seem to be that robust.  However it is well made and well thought out.  The protrusion at the right I assume (not a good idea I know) is for attaching another handle to extend your reach.  I did find it a bit too light and have to admit I have developed a preference for using the Kelton handle or the Hamlet little or big, brother handles.

Conclusions and Summary

I am still very much on a learning curve with these tools, so I may very well do an update some time in the near future.  However as a “NON professional Woodturner”, which is the main target for these tools, I will give my over all opinion.


The cutting head is superb and will clear wood at a fast rate without clogging, the tool takes an edge and stays sharp.  The deep hollowing however, for me, leaves a lot to be desired, the vibration when you hang the tool more than 6 inches over the rest, is such that it just seems to judder and as a consequence cuts very unpredictably.


Bottom line for me is would I recommend this to you guys out there, the answer is a reserved yes, if you have the Hamlet or Kelton handle then only buy the straight shaft to start, moving on to the others as your competence grows.

I will keep trying with this tool as I feel it has more potential and maybe I am missing that.



WOODCUT Promo Video: The blokes in this video (in my opinion) are about as boring as it gets but the info is good!


You can obtain this tool from Phil Irons by clicking here http://www.philironswoodturning.co.uk