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Roughing gouge for bowls

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El Barto

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Hi folks,

I’ve been turning chair legs, spindles and tool handles and whatever else I need for a couple of years and have used a one inch roughing gouge almost exclusively.

Today I mounted a bowl blank for the first time and started trying to true it up/remove the bandsaw marks using my trusty roughing gouge. It it doesn’t work! I am getting terrible catches and tear out. Can anyone explain why? Surely roughing out a larger diameter bowl is not much different to roughing out a smaller diameter chair leg. I’m assuming the fact that the grain direction on a leg remains constant while on a bowl it is changing constantly has something to do with it.

Do I need to be using a bowl gouge to rough out?
 

Chris152

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Never tried it but my understanding is yes, you need a gowl gouge. In fact, I think it's dangerous to use a roughing gouge for bowls?! Someone will correct if I'm wrong, meantime I'd stop!
 

Dalboy

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The true name for the roughing gouge you have is "Spindle Roughing gouge" it is not designed for cross-grain applications or bowl turning. It only has a tang to hold the handle on. which can snap if you get a major catch which is more likely the way you are using it.
Never under any circumstance use one on bowls the wings are likely to catch and can cause some major injuries to you.
Always use a bowl gouge for that purpose.
 

El Barto

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Ok good to know! Thanks.

Can a spindle roughing gouge be reground to have a fingernail grind? When I say can, I mean should it and would it cause any problems?
 

Dalboy

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El Barto":31rfatyq said:
Ok good to know! Thanks.

Can a spindle roughing gouge be reground to have a fingernail grind? When I say can, I mean should it and would it cause any problems?
No need to regrind it leave it how it is it is designed to be used on spindle work to bring it into round for any other work like beads and cover on spindle work use skew chisel, spindle gouges( different from the spindle roughing gouge)

And as I stated bowl gouge for bowls.

Bowl gouges can have a fingernail grind and also spindle gouges sometimes.
 

El Barto

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Maybe I'm getting my terminology confused.

I was wondering if I could put this grind (what I've leant to call a fingernail grind on a bowl gouge)



Onto my 1" roughing gouge:

 

CHJ

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Dalboy":3ab4535x said:
In a simple word "No" I did say that in my last post. Please keep it as ground from the supplier.
Risk Factor displayed:-



When turning a Bowl in cross grain the loads imparted on the tool every time the End Grain passes the cutting edge is likely to be several factors higher than those from spindle turning. (compare with trying to cut end grain with a hand plane)

You need a stiff solid shank Bowl Gouge that continues well into the handle support for initial shaping at least, the amount of sweep on the wings is determined by personal preference and method of approach.
 

El Barto

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CHJ":2hcbyajf said:
Dalboy":2hcbyajf said:
In a simple word "No" I did say that in my last post. Please keep it as ground from the supplier.
Risk Factor displayed:-



When turning a Bowl in cross grain the loads imparted on the tool every time the End Grain passes the cutting edge is likely to be several factors higher than those from spindle turning. (compare with trying to cut end grain with a hand plane)

You need a stiff solid shank Bowl Gouge that continues well into the handle support for initial shaping at least, the amount of sweep on the wings is determined by personal preference and method of approach.
Thanks for the reply. If there was sufficient sweep ground into the edge is there any reason it wouldn't work?
 

GarF

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From my limited turning experience I would imagine that grinding the corners off your spindle roughing gouge might reduce the tendency to catch slightly, but because the tool is so much bendier than a bowl gouge the vibration would still be problematic, making it hard to control and hence still highly likely to catch as already discussed.

The real problem for me is that it also means mutilating your spindle roughing gouge so that it is less effective for its intended purpose. You'd end up needing a new one. So logically, if you have to buy another tool, why not get a bowl gouge and be done with it? There's hundreds going used second hand that just need a clean and sharpen to put them back to work.

This also has the benefit of satisfying the n+1 rule, which for non cyclists, applies to turning as "the ideal number of tools"=n+1
(where n = the current tool count)
 

Dave Brookes

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I must echo Dalboy’s response DON’T DO IT. A spindle roughing gouge is exactly that, it is NOT a bowl gouge!
Safety should be your number one priority.
Dave
 

Simon_M

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Spindle roughing gouge can be used with tool pointing left when moving the tool to the left and right going right. It can also cut when rotated at anywhere between the two extremes.

So having a constant (traditional) shape grind allows the cutting point to be varied just by rotating the handle, so as the tool looses it’s sharpness, another part can be used. Finally the whole tool can be quickly sharpened e.g. with a tool holder set at 45 degrees.

Changing the grind to be like a fingernail grind would not make sense because these cut just of the centre at one point so the advantage of a long cutting surface would be removed and they are harder to sharpen e.g. using a fingernail grind jig.
 

Lons

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Simon_M":3pg30evx said:
Spindle roughing gouge can be used with tool pointing left when moving the tool to the left and right going right. It can also cut when rotated at anywhere between the two extremes.

So having a constant (traditional) shape grind allows the cutting point to be varied just by rotating the handle, so as the tool looses it’s sharpness, another part can be used. Finally the whole tool can be quickly sharpened e.g. with a tool holder set at 45 degrees.

Changing the grind to be like a fingernail grind would not make sense because these cut just of the centre at one point so the advantage of a long cutting surface would be removed and they are harder to sharpen e.g. using a fingernail grind jig.
Yebbut Simon that ignores the point already made that a spindle gouge is not made to do that and there is a real danger it can snap at the tang end.
The only bowl gouges I've ever used or bought have been made from bar to get over that problem though it's possible that's not correct of course.

I started turning when I was 12 and have been on and off ever since, now retired so reasonably experienced and I certainly wouldn't take the risk.
 

leisurefix

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Part of the problem of using a roughing gouge on a bowl is that the length of cutting edge in contact with the wood on a bowl is really long which means a high chance of uncontrolled bevel support, and then a dig in. A bowl gouge is almost always made from round stock, of about 1/2 to 3/4inch diameter, much smaller diameter than the roughing gouge, and the flute is not round, but U or V shaped, to help with bevel support. The bevel on a bowl gouge is much longer, again to help with bevel support. Working on a bowl at high speed with a tool that does not allow proper bevel support is dangerous, some woods can shatter (Apple being on example) causing sharp projectiles.
I do have a very old bowl gouge that is not made from round stock, but a bit like a shallow flattened U. It is a pig to use, and only 3/8" I think.
Some old school wood turning books may have more details.
Andy
 

Robbo3

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There's a reason why we now call it a spindle roughing gouge rather than just a roughing gouge.
This chap demonstrates what happens when you use a spindle roughing gouge on cross grain work.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOhHeyoZLaY

An Australian turner, Brendan Stemp used to grind back the wings of his spindle roughing gouge. Note, it's still a spindle roughing gouge, used only on spindles, even though it is ground like a bowl gouge.
Unfortunately he seems to have removed all his Youtube videos.

A lot of turners use a bowl gouge for roughing out because they don't need to change tools.
 

Lons

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Good video and of course that example could also have broken the gouge at the tang and possibly been driven into his wrist.

Enough firm advice and evidence has been offered hopefully to persuade the OP not to try it but only he can make that choice. We can only hope common sense prevails.

If nothing else, blood can be a pig to remove from an almost finished bowl. :wink: :)
 

That would work

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A half inch bowl gouge with a long handle of about 16" (I turn my own) is pretty much all you need. incidentally I tend to use mine ground straight across. BUT as has been said a spindle rougher ground to a fingernail wont become a bowl gouge.
 

El Barto

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Thanks all. In one of my boxes of stuff I have found a 10mm bowl gouge and having no issues so far. Turning bowls is really nice.
 
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