I've received a few new things for the turning setup lately, so I though I'd share...
A few days ago my Don Pencil buffing set arrived. It's Don's answer to the Beall Buffing System. I got three 8" wheels (supposedly in the same "soft, softer, and softest" configuration as the Beall) and three of the 4" goblet buffs. I say "supposedly" because I wonder if the buffs were mis-labeled. The one marked "Wax" sure looks like it has a rougher fabric than the "Trip" or "WD" buffs. It does have a pretty feathery edge though, and I've never seen a Beall system in person to form a real comparison.
I got the 8" adaptor to stand the wheel away from the lathe headstock for better clearance. It's well made, and has no perceptible runout. The buffing wheels change in a matter of seconds. This is a nice step up from the 6" Home Depot wheels I've been running on my Wilton mini lathe. (Although the mini rig will still be my go-to setup for smaller items...the variable speed is handy.) So far the Pencil buffing stuff has worked real well, although I may shop around for a bit firmer (more aggressive) wheel for the tripoli buff.
Then Wednesday, the mailman delivered my first high-end bowl gouge. I bought a 5/8" V-shaped gouge from Thompson Lathe Tools. (You might know Doug Thompson from his cool turned wooden hats.) It's powdered metal, cryogenically treated, and man, is it a step up from my Benjamin's Best bowl gouges. (It also cost more for a single gouge than the 4-piece Benjamin's Best bowl-turning set. Still, the BB set is good bang for the bucks, IMHO.)
As a bonus, the shank is turned down to fit nicely into the Monster Indexer (handle), so it makes for a beefy, heavy tool. And I didn't have to make a handle before using it. Instant gratification.
The gouge is shipped already sharpened, so I had a chance to use it before I mess up the grind. (Doug uses and highly recommends using the Wolverine jig with the Vari-Grind...I'll get by with my PSI knock-off). He even includes a life-size picture showing how he recommends setting the Vari-Grind. I'll be trying his suggestions with not only this gouge, but my other bowl gouges, which by now I have ground several different ways.
I used the gouge tonight to finish turn a dried alder bowl that I roughed out a few weeks ago. Even with dry punky spalted alder, I was getting nice curlies. And there was no tangible dulling of the edge after using it. I think I'll be owning more of these tools.