BCT Supercut
 & Versatool
 Craft Tools
 Tool Sets
Bowl Gouges
Spindle Gouges
Skew Chisels
Special Tools
Ring/Bead Tools
Hollowing Tools
Thread Cutting
Unhandled Tools

Parting & Beading Tools

Although normally considered together, there are significant differences in the conventional uses of these two types of tool.  The parting tool is specifically designed for parting, or cutting, off a spindle workpiece.  The beading tool is normally used for the external shaping of beads - decorative ridges often applied to spindles.  The parting tool is sometimes used to form small beads and the beading tool can be used as a broad parting tool, but the parting tool being narrow and deep is much more rigid than the broader, flatter beading tool, which is usually square in Parting & Beading Toolscross-section.

The photo, left, illustrates the whole family of these tools.  From left to right, it shows: a standard rectangular cross-section parting tool; a diamond section parting tool; a fluted parting tool and a square section beading tool.  Elsewhere on the page, this symbol Click for photo can be clicked to view a photograph.

Rectangular Section Parting Tools:  For many years these were the workhorse designs in parting tools but in recent years they have been somewRectangular Parting Tool: HS32, HS13, 830H18, 830H14hat over-shadowed by the diamond patterns.   These rectangular versions are very rigid and sit stably on the toolrest, making them easy for beginners to use.  The narrower versions of these tools conserve material if using exotic timbers and for box-making remove the least amount of material to preserve the grain match. (But also see narrow parting tools)


The Sorby 830H14 is suitable for use with the Sorby 970 Sizing Tool

Diamond Section Parting Tools:  For some years now this has been the Diamond section parting tool - HS32, HS13, 830H18, 830H14favourite form of parting tool for general use. These tools are rigid and easy to use.  There is a small downside in that they are wider than some of the rectangular section tools but this is a result of their diamond cross-section.  The benefit of the diamond cross-section is that the friction on the flanks of the tool is significantly reduced, making for both easier control and a reduction of the frictional heat build-up - which can be very important with some hardwoods which can crack if overheated.


*NB: Prices quoted in pounds sterling.
Value Added Tax will be added to invoices to EU residents unless
a valid VAT registration number is quoted when ordering.

Review Current Basket Contents 

Fluted Parting Tools: Click for photo An even more recent innovation is the fluted parting tool produced by Robert Sorby.  The advantages to this design is that the wood fibres
Fluted parting tool HS33, 831H316

Standard fluted parting tool.

bordering the cut line are severed cleanly before the main
Narrow fluted parting tool 832H2, HS2, 832H316

2mm parting tool by Robert Sorby

part of the blade clears out the bulk of the timber from the kerf.  This results in a very clean cut surface which normally does not need subsequent cleaning up.

The Sorby 832H-3/16 has a flute running the length of the bottom edge.  The tool is used with the flute down onto the toolrest (this can cause damage to the toolrest surface, which should occasionally be dressed with a file .)  These parting tools should be sharpened by grinding the bevel (front) face only.  The tapered profile serves, like the diamond-section tools, to reduce friction in the cut.

By contrast, the narrow Sorby 832H-2mm has the flute on the longer/lower of the two bevel faces.  This tool is sharpened by grinding the short top bevel face only.  The effect of this configuration is to give a very clean shearing cut as well as a very narrow kerf.


Beading Tools & Bedan: These beading tools, so useful and much more forgiving than the skew chisel when cutting beads, are of square cross-section.  They are Beading Tool: HS11, HS12, 833H38, 834H38easy to use and very effective for cutting external spigots, for instance when making chucking spigots. 

When used at a slight angle off square, the beading tool will function as a small skew chisel.  I even remember being taught how to use one of these for skimmingBedan - the French bead shaping tool of choice: HS11, HS12, 833H38, 834H38 ripples off the outside of a bowl.  If you've never owned one, you'll be amazed how frequently this apparently simple tool can get you out of trouble. 

The bedan looks like a beading tool that has been ground on one bevel only and is originally a French design.  Maybe a little less forgiving than the beading and parting tool but very effective for planing short spigots.


All of the above tools except HS11 are suitable for use with the Sorby 970 Sizing Tool

*NB: Prices quoted in pounds sterling.
Value Added Tax will be added to invoices to EU residents unless
a valid VAT registration number is quoted when ordering.

Review Current Basket Contents 

Narrow Parting Tools: Click for photo. HS167, HS168, HS169, HS170, 830SH In many areas of turning, such as box-making, a narrow parting kerf is very desirable.  This range of parting tools are all just 1/16" (1.6mm) wide.  The depths of the tools vary giving increasing stiffness in use.


Specialist Parting Tool: Click for photo HS167, HS168, HS169, HS170, 830SH We offer here a parting tool design which has originated as a direct result of the experience of a professional turner.  This is the Ray Key Tapered Parting Tool which Ray himself describes as "a fluted parting tool without the flutes"!  This tool is tapered in cross-section and is used with the broader edge down onto the toolrest against which it is pivoted into the workpiece.  Being only 2.4mm wide at its widest point, tapering from 1.6mm at its top edge, the tool leaves only a narrow kerf.  The absence of  a flute eliminates the risk of scoring the toolrest too. 


Sizing Tool: This is a very useful little gadget from Robert Sorby which fits a number of different tools on this page, identified by Sorby sizing too, type 970.  Also see HS107, HS76, 970footnotes to the product tables.  The purpose of the tool is to enable spigots of a set size to be turned quickly, repeatably and simply.  The gauge is slid onto the parting/beading tool or bedan, adjusted to size and locked in position using two wing screws.  The parting cut is made as normal, excepting that the nose of the gauge is allowed to 'ride' in the kerf.  As soon as the gauge drops over the spigot, you know that you are at exactly the pre-set size.  And it works!


*NB: Prices quoted in pounds sterling.
Value Added Tax will be added to invoices to EU residents unless
a valid VAT registration number is quoted when ordering.

Review Current Basket Contents 

1997-2009 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice