The amount of woodturning tools available today is astounding. I know that my grandfather would have been amazed to see the amount paid for some of the gouges, "rigs", scrapers, and most of all lathes. He turned with a couple of spindle gouges, a few scrapers and a parting tool. Many he made from old files or other hunks of steel. He was a little boy during the "Great Depression" and served in the pacific during WWII. While I was growing up, I saw him rebuild his lawn mower and garden tiller motors many times because, "It still has some good life in it" In my opinion he could build anything. He grew up on a farm, was an engineer in the army, a very skilled carpenter and started his own construction business. He lived a simple retired life doing what he loved, working with wood and golfing. He made many of his own putters and other clubs as well. I turn on the lathe he made from a clothing press and washing machine. (Frugal Generation #1)
I was raised to value what you have and get the most out of it. Also, I was taught that if you can make it yourself, do it. My dad showed me this while growing up as well and he still shows me this by making many of his own turning tools as well as a mini lathe. See more on his website. (Frugal generation #2) When we both first started getting into turning in late '06 he saw an article about the "Oland Tool" on Darrell Feltmate's Around the Woods website and made one. Mr. Feltmate also wrote this article on the advantages of making one.
I tried his and we made my first one together while I was visiting. To this day, the Oland tool is my go to tool on the lathe. I have tried bowl gouges, scrapers, spindle gouges and all the other stuff out there, but the Oland tool can do anything these do as well. In fact, most of the hollowing tools out there are based on the Oland tool's as far as the cutting tip goes. A 1/4" or 3/16" HSS bit is all Knud Oland used on most of his pieces. These include massive bowls. His wife, Lissi, still does the same today. To learn more about Knud and Lissi Oland and their work, please go to the Oland Craft Website.
My favorite aspect of the Oland tool is that you can make one for less than $10. (Frugal Generation #3)