Hi all, we have just posted a review of the Ellsworth Signature bowl gouge
Quite a nice tool if you are a keen bowl turner!
Hope it helps!
A very good review on the Ellsworth gouge. I'll comment on a couple of
things. You said that prior to using the bowl gouge a roughing gouge
might be used. As was stated in a recent article in American
Wooturner, using a roughing gouge on a facegrain bowl is a dangerous
practice. The tang is very weak on the roughing gouge and I have seen
several that were broken in use. The PM roughing gouge is an
exception. The roughing gouge was designed for spindle turning.
When sharpening the Ellsworth gouge, to retain the original grind, it
is best to use the jig that Ellsworth designed.
You said that prior to using the bowl gouge a roughing gouge
Sorry, Wally, it's a case of knowing what you're doing. Until the advent of
cylindrical "bowl" gouges about 30 years ago, all work was done with gouges
similar to the "roughing" gouge. Obvious that it isn't inherently unsafe,
and equally obvious that some people don't take time to think or learn how
to use it safely before they write articles that we should have a hearty
Nice thing about the roughing gouge is that it has a very long and generous
sweet spot, ground, as it is, with the same bevel angle all the way around.
: Sorry, Wally, it's a case of knowing what you're doing.
Rest assured, he does.
Wally's a top drawer bowl turner, who's been turning since most of
us here were born.
And he's right about roughing gouges.
-- Andy barss
I agree with you george in that in the hands of an expert the roughing
gouge can be used safely in bowl turning. I know of at least two full
time turners who use one regularly. Problem is that in the hands of an
inexperienced turner, using the roughing gouge on a rough out-of-round
blank is looking for disaster. With the very wide flute a huge catch
is possible. I've seen roughing gouges that were bent almost double
and were broken clear out of the handle. The small tang just won't
handle it. The bowl gouge will do the job well and safely.
George, I was turning bowls 60 years ago and I know the tools that we
had to use then. I believe that appearance of the bowl gouge around
1980 has a lot to do with the huge increase in the popluarity of
woodturning. Turning became much easier and safer.
Ya gotta remember that George recommends new turners to use roughing gouges
to hollow out bowls, so take his comments with a huge grain of salt.
ndd1"at"prolog.net (remove "at")
Lehigh Valley Woodturners
I agree with Wally on the use of the roughing gouge for face grain
turning; however, I've known several very experienced turners who do
use the roughing gouge to turn bowls, one such is Soren Berger. I saw
Soren turn a bowl from start to finish with only a two inch roughing
gouge. However, because the tang is weak on the roughing gouge, I do
not recommend that people use it on bowls.
The Ellsworth Grind bowl gouge is an ideal tool to use for turning
bowls. And Wally is correct if you are using regular grinders, it is
best to use the Ellsworth jig to sharpen them. Tormek has come out
with settings for their wet grinding system to grind the Ellsworth
Grind on a bowl gouge. Therefore, I use the Tormek exclusively to
grind my bowl gouges. They are sharper and the edge seems to last
longer. I published an article in More Woodturning a couple of years
ago on how to do the Ellsworth Grind on the Tormek. If anyone is
interested, I can look up the specific issue containing the article.
I'm curious about this statement. I have a Wolverine system, and with the
Vari-grind jig I've been able to maintain the grind on my Ellsworth gouge
precisely enough to believe that I haven't changed it significantly.
Functionally it seems to work identically to that time when I first bought
the gouge and honed the edge by hand.
I'd be interested in your observations about this. Thanx.
I have the Wolverine system. I also had trouble getting the settings
on the Vari Grind to work properly. I found that it was difficult to
get the angle exact AND that the pivot rod on the Vari Grind was not
the right length. I took a class from David Ellsworth a few years ago
and brought my grinder and Wolverine along to see what he thought. We
ended up making a small block that fits in the Wolverine cradle and
lifts the jig so that we could get the proper dimension. And I
scrapped the Vari Grind and started using the jig made by Ellsworth.
Now the recommended dimensions are easy to achieve. This is an
address to a PDF document that tells exaclty how to set up your
grinder and jig to get the best results for anyone that is
interested. The closer you get to the exact dimensions the better the
When I first set up my Wolverine Vari-grind jig to sharpen my Ellsworth
gouge, I watched carefully for any multi-faceting of surfaces, which would
indicate that I wasn't putting the same angles on the tool as the original
Ellsworth. To my pleasant surprise, there was literally no variation from
the original. I haven't had the opportunity to compare my Vari-grind jig
with an Ellsworth jig, but I can't believe they could be much different,
considering the results I've obtained. At the very least I can't believe
there would be justification for spending another $45 for an Ellsworth jig.
My two cents worth.
I had a similar experience but not with a commercial jig.
When I first started turning I went to Darrell's site and made two or three
jigs for different size gouges. Right price, quick to make very effective
but the angle is fixed between the gouge holding block and the pivot rod.
After some time I decided that I would move up and make a metal jig so I
could vary this angle and try different grinds.
Eventual after some drilling, sawing, tapping, filing and cursing I had a
jig. Not pretty but functional.
First thing to do was to set it up to reproduce my existing grind (I had
made the pivot leg the same length as my existing jigs). A little bit of
adjustment to the length of the gouge protruding from the jig and I had the
same bevel angle and when I swung the gouge from side to side the grind
followed the existing grind. There is nothing like the feeling of success. I
pulled a muscle patting myself on the back.
Next I decided to change the angle on the jig and vary the grind on the
wings. I quite liked the bevel angle I had so I changed the length of gouge
sticking out of the jig to get the same bevel angle.
Ready to go. Ellsworth here I come.
Guess what. I had exactly the same grind as previously.
Hmmm. What's going on. Have I moved to a parallel universe. A quick look in
the waste bin convinced me I hadn't. None of the lamp shades had transformed
themselves into bowls and moved to the display shelf.
Back to the drawing board.
I come to this conclusion.
It doesn't matter at what angle you set the jig. Just adjust the length of
gouge to get the bevel angle you want. The wing angle is set once you have
decided the bevel angle. You can change the wing profile by grinding more or
Hey guys, thought I'd share an idea I saw recently. The grinding wheel
changes the angle as it wears down and the sliding arm (VariGrind) can be
different one grinder to another.
Simple answer was to do the initial grind and then take a piece of thin
plywood or whatever, cut it roughly into a crescent shape, put one end into
the sliding arm stop, place the other end alongside the grinding wheel, and
then trace the outline of the wheel. Cutout that shape. Then whenever
duplicating the grind put the one end into the arm and then slide it to
match the pattern to the wheel.
I use the following settings on my Wolverine to maintain my Ellsworth gouge:
(8" grinding wheels)
1) extend the V-arm 8.5" from the base to the inside surface of the endplate
2) extend the tip of the gouge 3.25" from the Vari-grind jig
3) set the Vari-grind jig's support arm at the third notch from the top.
Hope that's helpful.
Packard Woodworks sells a sample gouge ground to the same
angles as the Ellsworth. It's about 6 inches long and has no
handle. It works great with the wolverine system. Over time
as the wheels wear down the angles change alot. When I first
got my sample, I was surprised to see how far off my angles
Bruce Barnett wrote:
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