Right then, all you skew chisel purists need to look away now...


We have taken delivery of the large format version of the Jimmy Clewes designed Mate tool range - the MegaMate.

Yes, I have heard it all before...."carbide tools aren't real tools" etc etc but the simple fact is that they do a job and they seem, to me at least, to be here to stay so get over it and get on with it. The standard Mate tools and other carbide tools are used regularly here, they perform a function and have gotten me out of some quite sticky situations....though admittedly most of them have been of my own making!

Like the standard mate tools these things DO NOT scrape, due to the angles involved they actually cut and produce shavings so you can actually get a finish from the tool which is comparable to that from more "traditional" tools....provided you know how to use the mate that is.

The tools are used with the cutting edge on centre and I have found that raising the tool rest and ensuring that the tool is angled down is also essential...in fact if if is angled up you will be in for a very unpleasant experience...don't ask how I know that. All of the tools have a cutter set at the correct angle and a small piece of steel which partly shields the cutter to prevent "self feeding", for beginners making bowls they allow very safe removal of the centre of the bowl and for more advanced turners they offer speed and ease of use.

The two important things here are rotational speed of the work and the feed rate of the cutter across the work....altering these two will radically change the quality of the finish on the piece. So you need as much rotational speed as you can and a slow feed rate across the piece....though I still don't have the nerve to turn at the same speeds that Jimmy does!

The megamate takes things further than the original by giving a tool suitable for larger format work and is ideal for the larger bowls/platters we routinely produce.

If you take a little time and practice you can, on decent timber, produce a clean finish that is ready to sand and the tool has become a firm favourite in a very short space of time.

It isn't cheap but it is worth it and it does work...in fact it works very well.

Photos are below: