2. Diamond Parting Tool
My vintage diamond parting tool is 1/8-inch thick, which I prefer for removing as little wood as possible, when I’m doing detail work. Modern diamond parting tools usually come in a 3/16-inch thickness, which isn’t too bad, but I find 1/8-inch diamond parting tools vibrate less than 3/16-inch diamond parting tools. And you will find parting tools that aren’t diamond shaped (flat on the sides), will bind easier in the cut than the diamond shaped tool.
Unfortunately it’s a little difficult to find new 1/8-inch diamond parting tools made by reputable companies. Crown (in Sheffield, England) has been known to make good wood turning tools in the past, and they make a new 1/8-inch diamond shaped parting tool. However, the reviews of their 1/8-inch diamond parting tool (see here) makes me think that Crown may have dropped the ball on the quality control of this tool, and maybe other wood turning tools. So I’d recommend that you either go with a new 3/16-inch diamond parting tool (made by Robert Sorby or Henry Taylor) or find a vintage 1/8-inch diamond parting tool. Below I’ll also list a new 1/8-inch parting tool that looks good, though I haven’t heard of the brand before (Stone Mountain).
Because a parting tool doesn’t do as much work for me as a gouge or skew chisel, I’ve found that I haven’t needed to upgrade to HSS from my old carbon steel diamond parting tools. I have also even seen some woodworkers use 1/8-inch mortise chisels in place of a parting tool to set the depths of their spindle transitions. Again, this may not be ideal, due to the possibility of binding, but it shows that sometimes you can improvise. Here are some options for diamond parting tools:
If you decide to get into Windsor chair making or other furniture making that requires turning tenons on your spindles, then a “Bedan” style parting tool (found here) can be added to your tool kit, along with with an attachable sizing gauge (found here), sometimes called a “Turner’s Gate” which will help you cut very accurate tenons. I’m not a Windsor chair maker, so I haven’t added a Bedan tool to my kit yet. These tools are pictured above and below.