Bowl Gouges

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Forum topic by Wildwood posted 06-23-2015 08:39 PM 1291 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Wildwood's profile


2450 posts in 2312 days

06-23-2015 08:39 PM

When looking at bowl gouges in a catalog or online will see deep/super fluted, U & V shapes. Something new is the word parabolic but looking around the internet both U & V shapes qualify. Other than one catalog and folks talking about the merits of parabolic shape bowl gouges have no clue. Freely admit not the sharpest tool in the shed but after going to tool manufacturer web sites and not seeing any one of them mentioning parabolic almost feel handsome.

Bevel angles range 40 through 75 degrees and some folks like double bevels on their bowl gouge. Grinds run from traditional, fingernail, and side ground also know as Celtic, Ellsworth, Irish, & Texas.

Before Woodturning Design stopped publishing could link the Ask Dale articles. In one of his articles he married up bevel angles and bowl designs and talked about compromised bevel angles.

Today they sell traditional, fingernail and side ground gouges. Americans afraid of catching top of the flutes and catching turning inside of bowls have been grinding back the top of flutes to resemble a fingernail before I ever got into turning. That is true of spindle gouges too!

So if cost is a concern buy a gouge with factory traditional ground tool and grind tips of the flutes back and make your own fingernail ground tool verus buying one. Same can be said for a side ground tool to except instead of just knocking of the corners of flutes going to grind sides back ¾” to 7/8”.

This old tool grinds page shows mostly side ground tools but most turners have both fingernail & side grind bowl gouges. Many Europeans still prefer the traditional ground tools.

Have always recommended having both U and V style gouges with different grinds and bevel angles on them. While prefer not to recommend bevel angles because design, deep or shallow all have a bearing on how a tool handles the task. So yes pays to own more than one bowl gouge with different bevel angles and grinds on them to handle whatever you want to tackle!

-- Bill

3 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2184 days

#1 posted 06-23-2015 09:31 PM

Thanks for that link. It will be a useful reference for a newbie like me !

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View TheDane's profile


5535 posts in 3840 days

#2 posted 06-23-2015 10:03 PM

If you are turning green/wet wood, you probably should go with a U-shaped deep flute.

The U allows the stream of wet shavings to get out much easier.

Gouges with V-shaped flutes tend to clog in the middle of the cut.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Wildwood's profile


2450 posts in 2312 days

#3 posted 06-25-2015 08:14 PM

Turn a lot of wet wood using U or V bowl gouges and have no problem with shavings clogging the flutes. Have had shavings and chip inside of the bowl due to design, have to stop clear, so can perform damage assessment.

Will get clogging using my U shape roughing from time to time due to how hold the tool and heavy hogging away bark & wood really no big deal.

Don’t normally use my roughing gouges on bowls per-say but there are times do mount a whole log section between centers to remove the bark checking for imperfections that did not cut away during processing wood. Just trying to see what I have to work with might end up a bowl or hollow form or spindle.

Nice read;

-- Bill

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