Got a new lathe from Griz, new HSS tools, and a recommended book on
lathes, and one on sharpening. Also have a slow speed grinder. So
now, I have the tools sharp.
Two questions: What is the difference between spindle gouges, and bowl
gouges??? And 2nd, does the bevel of the gouge ride tangent to the
work? Book seemed to imply this.
So, in a given set-up, is the tool rest at the centerline, then place
the tool bevel so it touches the wood, and then rotation of the wood
will have the tool cutting at the correct angle? I realize coves and
beads will require some hand gymnastics over a simple cylinder.
Thanks for any suggestions.....
Actually, it depends... sorry, but there are variables there
2) Keith Rowley's Woodturning: A Foundation Course (New Edition)
Woodturning: A Foundation Course (New Edition) is IMO, the best book
there is on turning
3) Join the AAW and find your local chapter
Personal e-mail is the n7bsn but at amsat.org
You are asking a lot of questions that have some times, and may be answers.
I am not an expert but can tell you to gently let the bevel on the tool
touch the spinning wood and then gently raise the tool handle so that the
cutting edge just starts to cut. Doing that in reverse order will often
result in big hunks being torn out of the wood.
I typically use a spindle gouge to rough in the work, "get it round", and to
shape the spindle. IIRC the bowl bouge is strictly for more intricate less
Try this link when Google starts working again.
Should be something of interest in the 350,000 hits. Also check out the posts in
rec.crafts.woodturning. Lot of good stuff (including help) there for turners.
Darrell Feltmate hangs out there, and has a terrific, helpful site. Bookmark
this and get ready to
spend a lot of time here. Very helpful, nice guy.
Darrell doesn't come by much anymore with maybe four posts in 2009.
Just a guess, but I think routine back biting and topped off with the
political screaming wasn't to his taste. He has always seemed to be a
very mellow, peaceful type to me.
But he IS a great guy and his website is just full of goodies,
especially how to turn on the cheap. He does wonderful work with
mostly homemade tools. His site is a must view for turners.
That could be the best advice yet. Particularly #3. You can have
someone show you something in a minute that takes a year to figure
out. When the clubs work right, they are a gold mine of knowledge and
experience and can be a lot of fun.
For example, at a workshop we had many years ago, I showed folks how
to free hand sharpen smaller (1/4, 3/8 and 1/2") gouges as my part of
my club duty teaching aspect. I can do it quickly and easily, and
don't think much about it. We had a lot of laughs, and I straightened
out a lot of gouges and advised folks to go to Darrell's website to
build his sharpening jig.
So when my session was over, I went over to face my personal nemesis,
the skew, with a friend of mine who laughs his butt off when he sees
how tense I get using it. I can do OK while he is there, lifting my
elbow, changing the angle, etc., and can do it myself for a couple of
days after a session with him.
But then, once the skew sees that he isn't around anymore, it's up to
its old tricks. (In other words, I need more coaching and a lot more
He is practically Richard Raffan with his skew. I might as well be
using a screwdriver.
The point is that someone can help you learn correctly before you
learn improperly on your own. One of the big guys in turning said
that it is a lot like golf, all about muscle memory. Once those
muscles learn how to hold and use a tool, it has been my experience
that it is very hard to undo.
On Sat, 20 Feb 2010 12:18:16 -0800 (PST), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
I agree. I went back to his site this evening and spent about an hour looking
at the tool making
section. I've been telling myself for a long time I need to make one of his
hook tools. I'll get
to that just as soon as I get caught up with my projects already in progress.
Spindle gouges are made for (gasp) spindles.. They're for roughing a square
piece to round and basic SPINDLE type work..
Used carefully and with the rest setup as close to the work as possible, as they
have a tang like a chisel and it can break under stress..
You DO NOT want to be in the area when one breaks..
A bowl gouge is very sturdy, usually the same diameter throughout the tool, and
is used mainly for interior hollowing and shaping of bowls..
It can be used safely with more of the tool overhanging the rest.. Craft
Supplies has a nice explanation of this in their catalog, you might request
Forget the tool rest being at center line, adjust the TOOL to be there..
The difference between tool rest height of a roughing gouge and a large bowl
gouge could be as much and 3/4"..
Set the tool on the rest and use it as a guide for rest height.. before turning
on the lathe, hold the gouge on the rest at the angle you're working with and
see where it hits the wood in relation to the center line.. adjust from there..
Please remove splinters before emailing
Thanks for the good ideas! Couple of good web sites.
Still have a few questions. Tool Rest: Should I adjust the rest
height so that the cutting point of the tool is near the centerline of
the work? IOW if you use a different tool with a different bevel, you
may need to change the rest height.
The tool set I got has a gouge with about a 60 degree bevel, and some
smaller ones with about a 35 degree and an 25 degree bevel. The 60
degree is an inch wide, I assume that is a roughing gouge. The
smaller ones... 35 degrees for face cuts, 25 degree for spindles?????
Now back to the shop for some practice.....
Roughing gouges are different. Always have been, likely to remain so.
Big U-shaped stiff things.
Spindle and bowl gouges though can be much more similar. As current
fashions have it, there's more overlap between both than there is
difference, and the indivual tweaks of different turners for different
tasks vary more widely than the spindle / bowl distinction.
Bowl and spindle gouges these days are all (i.e. ignore anything that
isn't) a cylindrical bar of HSS, with a groove ground into it. They
also, almost all, arrive with an utterly useless shape to the business
end. A bowl gouge needs a little work here, a spindle gouge needs a
lot. Unless you spend for the "famous turner signature line", the
factory product ships with an inexcusably bad shape to it. There's
really no excuse for this.
Bowl gouges are usually ground more or less square across, with the
corners cut back to stop them catching. Spindle gouges though use a
"fingernail" grind. Any decent turning book (Rowley, Raffan) of the
last decade will illustrate. I'm just reading Chapman's "Woodturning:
A Fresh Approach" and he has some bowl gouges in there with similar
grinds on them too, so that they can work on their sides for working
the sides of a bowl (but then he uses the back-hollowing technique, so
his main hollowing cut is from the centre of the gouge. Some,
especially those working deep bowls or using short bowl lathes, keep
the gouge handle closer to the bed axis, so want a squarer end so as
to cut on the sides of the gouge when hollowing).
You should certainly pay attention to your gouge shape, and you'll
likely want to re-grind both of them radically, following the guidance
of your favoured text. However there's no single right shape, and it
does depend on the technique you're using with it.
Everything works on either a tangent, or else a great big dig. You
have to always think about leverage - where are the axes of the forces
supporting the tool, and the forces from the cutting edge? if these
start to separate, there's leverage on the tool and it will either
chatter (bad) or twist and dig in (multo bad). As it's a bad thing to
cut with the corner of a tool (unless that's intentional), pretty much
the only safe contact possible with a wide tool is to be some
approximation of a tangent, and for this tangent's intersection with
the wood to be pretty much over the tool's contact with the rest.
Echoing what others have said, a good book is good, some hands-on with
other turners is even better. Certainly don't try to learn by picking
up the tools blind, that way just doesn't work.
Muchos Grassyass to all for the help. Now to find a local lathe
guru. I'll start with the HS Shop teacher. I sub for him, so might
get some help there. And maybe reading my Lathe Book will make more
Rich, if you're anywhere near a Woodcraft store they have turning classes
all the time. I can't speak for other stores, but ours has a really good
instructor. There's also a turners club that meets at the store but is
If you're really lucky, you live near Craft Supplies :-).
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
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