Bowl Gouge Advice Sought

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Hallelujahal

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As an ignorant newbie to wood turning I would appreciate any help and advice I can get on bowl gouges. Am new to the sport so forgive my ignorance 😁
I have a small Clarke mini lathe Clarke CWL325V 13inch Mini Wood Lathe With Electronic Variable Speed SORRY OUT OF STOCK | Clarke Tools

And a standard set of cheapo turning tools given to me by my beloved 🤨 which does not contain a bowl gouge. Have managed so far on a few very small pieces with a small spindle gouge.

Just wondering what bowl gouges you recommend? Bevel angles, size of gouge etc? Fingernail profile or standard?
Kind regards
Al
 
I only started turning during lockdown so not that experienced but the gouges that came with the lathe were crown and are good. I did buy another crown cryogenic bowl gouge and it does seem to keep it‘s edge longer, also good value (toolman.co.uk) compared to some others. It also has a slightly more parabolic flute shape which I think I prefer. As for size I always start with a 1/2 to rough out and then go down to a 3/8 for most of the work but I’m sure you could manage with just the 3/8 if you were careful and only doing smaller bowls. I’ve never used the 1/4 inch that came with the lathe. Should have mentioned that they’re all HSS but for learning I get the impression that carbon steel is fine you just have to sharpen more often.

The books I read all recommended the finger nail grind for beginners so that’s what I have followed.
 
A 1/4" gouge is probably perfectly adequate for anything you can turn on that lathe, a 3/8th being second. You certainly do not need a 1/2". Crown Cryo is superb stuff, and Ashley Isles comes a close second. Henry Taylor and Sorby are fine. IMO, of course.
 
As with Richard, I am a lockdown woodturner, having only started around Christmas, and I too had a cheap (but satisfactory) set of tools, missing a bowl gouge. So, I offer no expertise, just a new-comers opinion...
I a moment of Internet over-excitement I clicked Buy on a 3/8 Robert Sorby Excelsior bowl gouge.
It was expensive, but it has been brilliant, and does seem to stay sharp for far longer than the standard Sorby spindle gouge. I haven't used the Crown tools, but I guess the cryo range is their equivalent (but friendlier on the pocket).

I was cautious about regrinding a new expensive bowl gouge, so have stuck with the standard grind profile, and have been happy with the results.
However, I have just acquired some cheap used bowl gouges that I intend to try and re-grind to a fingernail or Irish profile. I'll keep you posted with results.
Matt
 
However, I have just acquired some cheap used bowl gouges that I intend to try and re-grind to a fingernail or Irish profile. I'll keep you posted with results.
Matt

I‘ve been scouring eBay and the like for some used gouges but not much joy, or is it because I’m too tight to spend 80% of the cost of a new gouge on an old one that I haven’t seen? Do keep us posted though or how you get on.
 
Don't both bother with a 1/2". I'd recommend a 3/8" first, I've got 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" and the 3/8" is easily my favourite/most used.

I've maxed out the capacity of my lathe (14") and only used the 3/8" and it was fine. As for brands, my gouges are Sorby, Axminster premium (iirc made by Crown) and Crown Cryo. All are excellent, but I'd say the cryo is the best but its the most expensive.

As for grinds, I'd just try the standard 45 degree grind first and see how you get on. If its any use, all mine are fingernail with a 55 degree bevel.
 
I‘ve been scouring eBay and the like for some used gouges but not much joy, or is it because I’m too tight to spend 80% of the cost of a new gouge on an old one that I haven’t seen? Do keep us posted though or how you get on.

It's not just you. I was just lucky - right place right time.
The cost of used tools seems absurd, as you say. Often, by the time they add postage, I could buy new from an online retailer with free P&P.
Just keep running the eBay and FB searches, and eventually something cheap and local will turn up. Hopefully 🤞
 
A 1/4" gouge is probably perfectly adequate for anything you can turn on that lathe, a 3/8th being second. You certainly do not need a 1/2". Crown Cryo is superb stuff, and Ashley Isles comes a close second. Henry Taylor and Sorby are fine. IMO, of course.
Thanks for this Phil, 1/4” crown cryo bowl gouge ordered this morning 👍
Al
 
As an ignorant newbie to wood turning I would appreciate any help and advice I can get on bowl gouges. Am new to the sport so forgive my ignorance 😁
I have a small Clarke mini lathe Clarke CWL325V 13inch Mini Wood Lathe With Electronic Variable Speed SORRY OUT OF STOCK | Clarke Tools

And a standard set of cheapo turning tools given to me by my beloved 🤨 which does not contain a bowl gouge. Have managed so far on a few very small pieces with a small spindle gouge.

Just wondering what bowl gouges you recommend? Bevel angles, size of gouge etc? Fingernail profile or standard?
Kind regards
Al
 
Thanks for this Phil, 1/4” crown cryo bowl gouge ordered this morning 👍
Al
I doubt very much you'll regret it. :)
I first used cryo as I found turning casein pen blanks a little hard on the edge of the 3/8th spindle gouge I was using - I was surprised how much better it held its edge, and now have two Crown cryo spindle gouges, a bowl gouge and a roughing gouge.
 
A 3/8" gouge is the best option to go for 90% of my turning with a bowl gouge is done with this size. I do own a 1/2" but gets used very little compared to the 3/8".
A 1/4" is OK for smaller details but a little small for bowl turning when hogging out the inside especially if the bowl is a little deep as it is not as ridged if you need to overhang the rest a little more than usual
 
Jumping in on this thread as I'm researching bowl gouges too.

Is the fingernail gouge considered to be more useful in general than a standard bowl gouge? If you were to get just one of these bowl gouges, which would it be?
 
Jumping in on this thread as I'm researching bowl gouges too.

Is the fingernail gouge considered to be more useful in general than a standard bowl gouge? If you were to get just one of these bowl gouges, which would it be?
Fingernail is more versatile than a traditional grind, but harder to sharpen without a guide. I sharpen freehand and so have to go for a bit of a compromise - wings slightly ground back, but not the full fingernail.

As with other posters I use the 3/8 for pretty much everything on bowls under 12", with the 1/2 only coming out for the bigger stuff. Never found any use for a smaller one.

Think it is worth paying for a decent 3/8 from somewhere like Sorby or record. Unhandled can make things a bit cheaper, but money spent of good steel is never wasted.
 
Fingernail is more versatile than a traditional grind, but harder to sharpen without a guide. I sharpen freehand and so have to go for a bit of a compromise - wings slightly ground back, but not the full fingernail.

As with other posters I use the 3/8 for pretty much everything on bowls under 12", with the 1/2 only coming out for the bigger stuff. Never found any use for a smaller one.

Think it is worth paying for a decent 3/8 from somewhere like Sorby or record. Unhandled can make things a bit cheaper, but money spent of good steel is never wasted.
Thank you. I'm looking at the Sorby gouges, the 3/8 excelsior which is hardened, or the fingernail which isn't. Not sure which one though 🤔
 
3/8" crown cryo here like many others. Or their Ellsworth signature model.
This will get a whole lot of use so you'll enjoy using a good one long after the price is forgotten.
I like Crown's wooden handles (and Sorby's too to be fair) but you can go the whole hog and get a double ended gouge which you can fit in one of Simon Hope's metal handles. Then you can have two ends sharp and ready for work or you can have a different grind on each end.
 
3/8" crown cryo here like many others. Or their Ellsworth signature model.
I'm not sure recommending an Ellsworth signature gouge to anyone as their first bowl gouge is very helpful. They're fantastic in knowledgeable hands, but potentially 'grabby' for beginners and need a good degree of experience to sharpen correctly.
Bog standard 3/8" bowl gouge from any of the decent makers would be a better starting point.
 
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