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wood carving gouge

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marcros

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I have bought from fleabay a Herring bros no 40- a 45 degree 1/4" v gouge (with a slight curve) for doing some lettering with. The seller had sharpened it with an angle grinder, giving more facets on than a well cut diamond. I have improved this the best that I can working down my diamond stones, and am awaiting a slip stone coming in the post to remove the burr from inside. I have sort of done so to date using the side of my bench stone, perhaps not getting right down to the base of the v. It feels reasonably sharp- my finest diamond is 9 micron DMT.

How easily should this tool cut. I have only seen clips on youtube but people seem to get an almost effortless cut using the tool. I have only tried it on oak but it was almost impossible to get any cut at all let alone a controlled cut in a place where I want it.
 

Cheshirechappie

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That's the downside of Ebay chisels - it's a lottery! I've had some superb ones, and some that needed so much work to correct the horrors inflicted on them by previous owners that I wished I'd just bought a new one.

One old trick for honing the inside of V-gouges was to dress a leather bootlace with honing compound. As leather bootlaces are not so easy to come by these days, another trick that might be worth a try is to plane a sharpish edge on a slip of hardwood, dress it with diamond paste or similar abrasive (valve grinding paste?), and work the inside with that.

To get the effortless cutting, the edge has to be quite thin (lowish effective cutting angle) and honed absolutely razor sharp. I suspect the slipstones will get things close, but not quite there. Home-made hones and strops (as above) would probably be necessary to really refine the edge. The downside of the thin edge is the requirement to resharpen more often; I gather that carvers often have hones and strops on the bench, and touch up edges frequently during work.
 

marcros

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Thank you.

I should probably have sad that it was my expectation to need to get onto leather + rouge or similar and after the slip stone to have a shaped strop for the internal. I have seen that on a youtube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y4Cfsfhobs I hadnt thought of a bootlace. I have plenty of pigskin offcuts, but this may be a bit soft.

I dont think that the tool is a writeoff- I have probably been a bit conservative with the thinness that I was trying to achieve, That is one of the problems with not knowing how it should be when finished, and maybe justification for purchasing a new Ashley Iles one in the first place.
 

AndyT

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Sharpening v-tools is complicated. You must have an inner bevel to allow the two sharp edges to intersect properly and for the chip to clear. Chris Pye wrote a very detailed guide to sharpening v-tools (102 pages!) which you should be able to find on-line.

I suspect the demo videos are on milder wood than oak - nobody would want to show their skill on something that made it look as if they were struggling.
 

marcros

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Thanks Andy. I have just found that article so will have a read.

I will have a look at what offcuts i have to have a play with instead of oak. there must be something softer in there!
 

johnwc812

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Hi
I have found 320 grit wet and dry abrasive paper stuck to a strip of wood (planed to the correct shape of the inside of the "V" gouge) ideal for final sharpening.
Double sided selotape is useful for the sticking.
Various size dowels with wet and dry attached is also useful for round gouges.
Cheers John
 

marcros

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thanks John.

I have had a read through of the 102 page Chris Pye document. I think that I can see where I was going wrong, part of which was to tinker with the ebay grind, rather than squaring it off and starting again- obviously not trimming half an inch off the end but you know what I mean.

I have probably started with the most difficult of the gouges. I have a number 5 sweep on the way whick should be a bit easier.
 

Noggsy

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Have you got access to a Tormek? That should make it easy to set it up with the angle you want and then perhaps your stones/hones will keep it there. You're welcome to nip along the M62 and borrow mine if you want. I'd have to check I've got the right jig first (if not, I probably know a man who will have).
 

marcros

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Thanks Noggsy. I dont have one. The long Chris Pye document looks good and I will give that a go first by hand. If not, I may well be giving you a shout!
 

Lons

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Hi Marcros

There are as many ways of sharpening carving chisels as there are carvers. I haven't read Cris Pyes methods but will make the effort as I'm always interested.

I have about 6 or 7 Vee gouges of varying sweeps and sizes and haven't really had a problem keeping them sharp. When I first started years ago A good friend who was a very accomplished carver showed me to treat each side of the blade as a seperate edge being careful to keep them the same and "balanced". The danger with V gouges is that you end up with a nib at the bottom of the V then the temptation to round off the bottom which is a mistake. Just have to be careful.

As far as bevelling the inside face. I personally would never do that but different strokes for different folks and I'm not saying it's wrong. Sometimes you create a tiny bevel at the bottom of the V in removing the nib. The secret is not to produce a nib in the first place.

You'll find that most carvers are a bit like turners in that they are continually sharpening the tools whilst busy. Turners on a wheel , carvers with just a couple of strokes on a strop treated with compound or metal polish. Plenty of sources of scrap leather such as old belts, shoes etc and for a very nominal sum get a leather sole and some offcuts from a shoe repairer.
My chisels are like razors and cutting most woods should be easy, The bevel should be as smooth and polished as possible and will leave a polished surface where the bevel presses down during the cut. Bevels really should be adjusted to suit the wood you are carving. e.g. steep for say oak and shallow for lime etc. but your chisels would soon be ground away so I rarely bother as I feel as long as razor sharp they will work. You do risk chipping the edges on hard woods if using a shallow angle so have to be more careful.
My mate had 2 sets of his favourite tools for just that reason but only numbered 6 or so in each set.

Once you start buying carving gouges you're on the slippery slope btw so be warned :lol: Wife says I'm a magpie - likes shiny things (though not always shiny when I aquire them). I just say who me? :wink:

Bob
 
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