I have recently bought a Simon Hope hollowing tool. I know that these tools are viewed with mixed feelings amongst woodturners. For those who are not familiar with these tools they comprise a mounting handle and a carbide cutting tip of the type normally associated with engineers. The mounting handles vary enormously between a simple pole and complex articulated type for deep hollowing. The prices reflect (in my opinion) their complexity rather than their effectiveness or indeed their usefulness.

Now I will get to my point. Is there a need, or even a place for these tools in the woodturners armoury? Do we dismiss these tools as a passing fancy or a clever marketing ploy designed to part us from our hard earned cash? 

My point of view is that they are a progression of tool development. We should try these tools before we dismiss them and perhaps we will be surprised by how effective they can be. If tool development had stopped with the basic skew chisel we wouldn’t have fluted gouges. Was there a reluctance to use fluted gouges as there is to using carbide tips? Do we need the plethora of tools we use? Probably not. We could do everything with a couple of gouges but, some tools enable us to do things either better or quicker. Deep hollowing can be a long soul destroying process, what’s wrong with having a tool which speeds up the process? Traditional gouges are still required for finishing cuts but, in my experience (which admittedly is limited) the new type hollowing tools make it much easier and quicker to open up a hollow vessel.

There, you have my view, let’s have yours.