Custom-handled Bowl Gouge

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Project by TimberMagic posted 03-20-2015 09:26 PM 1118 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m primarily a spindle turner. I started out making pens about 5 years ago, and then all kinds of other “spindles”—tool handles, pizza cutter handles, lathe tool handles, peppermills. This year I hope to start turning bowls, at least small ones. I have a Rikon midi that can turn up to 12”, although with the bed extension I can pretty much turn any spindle I need.

I seem to have a hard time just turning a single chunk of wood. Seems like from my days of making cutting boards, I just want to add different species together. I bought an unhandled bowl gouge, and made this handle for it. It is maple, with several green-dyed pieces of maple veneer sandwiched inside it. The tip has a walnut addition, and the ferrule is one of those heavy, hex-sided brass compression nuts for plumbing. Brass and copper are pretty easy to turn with HSS tools.

I used a HSS skew for finish cuts. I use carbide tools for pen turning, but prefer traditional tools for most of my turning. I’m not sure if anyone ever masters the skew, but I found a good video on YouTube that helped me get over my “skew anxiety”.

-- Lee

5 comments so far

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 599 days

#1 posted 03-20-2015 09:47 PM

Good looking Handle.

The main picture makes it look like the veneer is curving through the handle. Did you glue the green veneer in as straight pieces or is the maple curved?

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View farmerdude's profile


606 posts in 1461 days

#2 posted 03-20-2015 09:49 PM

You say you have a hard time turning a single chunk of wood? I don’t see a problem with that, what a beautiful handle! I turned a handle for a home made scraper a while back, from a single hunk of wood, it pales in comparison to your handle. Great job!

-- Jeff in central Me.

View TimberMagic's profile


114 posts in 601 days

#3 posted 03-20-2015 10:01 PM

Thanks for the comments!

The green veneer is actually two separate cuts. The curved one (kind of an olive green) was basically a freehand “S” curve thru the square block. I actually have several pieces of differently colored green veneer, so after I had re-glued the first lamination, I did a straight cut and put in a piece of the “darky green” veneer. I decided I wanted a longer handle, and hence the idea to add a walnut extension on the front. The overall handle shape is mildly tapered, but the curve veneer sectionss definitely stand out. If you look at where the green veneers end against the walnut, it is at about the 90 degree point (slightly closer due to one being curved). Looks similar on the side not shown, but they are slightly farther apart.

-- Lee

View peteg's profile


3806 posts in 2245 days

#4 posted 03-20-2015 10:09 PM

Nice job Lee, I like to make all my handles that way you get exactly what you want for each particular tool, I use a lot of Kwilla it’s nice & heavy & has a very firm feel in hand

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View TimberMagic's profile


114 posts in 601 days

#5 posted 03-20-2015 11:39 PM

Hey Pete,

Thanks, and I’ll have to look for kwilla, just not sure it has made its way up north yet!

-- Lee

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