wood turning a bowl

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Forum topic by Cathy Krumrei posted 09-27-2007 05:55 PM 1352 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Cathy Krumrei

364 posts in 4421 days

09-27-2007 05:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bowl turning

Well my niece got me started on doing some wood kitchen utensils. So we decided to make some sets for Christmas gifts. Now I decided to try making my own bowl to hold them. I have the basic wood turning tools…my wood waiting to be something. I know that basice set up on the lathe etc. The ? I would like to know is can I get the inside down without buying anymore lathe tools? I am not familar with all the tool names. I know one is a parting tool and I have 2 sizes I guess you would call a gouge. Then I have a flat one. This is just from one of the sets I have. I can add a pic of the tools if that would help.

6 replies so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4395 days

#1 posted 09-27-2007 06:03 PM

Tom’s “Cyber Skill Share” Video is most helpful.

and where are the pictures of your wooden kitchen utensils? :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View mot's profile


4922 posts in 4271 days

#2 posted 09-27-2007 06:48 PM

Hey Krum, a pic would be great. There are some real no no’s with bowl turning. One of them is using a roughing gouge. Most basic turning sets have a roughing gouge and a spindle detail gouge. These are not really adequate for turning bowls as the forces that are generated with bowl turning can make their use less than safe. If you post a picture, then many on this site can provide more counsel. The Cyber Skill Share that Debbie noted should get you started and then further discussion can take place in this thread.


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

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Cathy Krumrei

364 posts in 4421 days

#3 posted 09-27-2007 07:15 PM

I had to put up pics of the lathe tools under my projects. I have to work soon.The first 2 pics are one set the last is another set I have. I did watch the neat video and have bookmarked it. Really looks like fun! (oh..boy!LOL) I only had done one spoon. I was letting my neice work on hers first while I did the blanks. I’ll post asap.

View Woodminer's profile


69 posts in 4171 days

#4 posted 09-27-2007 08:07 PM

Caveat: These are forums for discussions. Discussions imply OPINIONS. Here are some of mine. Lord knows I have a lot of ‘em. 8^)

I took some time and commented with names for the tools that Krum posted in his projects file. All of the tools are carbon steel, all of the gouges are forged from flat steel; thus the gouges are not ground from rods like higher price, higher quality modern tools are. Turning can obviously still be done with forged tools, it’s just that there are some limitations.

Tom, I want to talk a bit about terminology. Most lathe tool sets do NOT include a “detail gouge”, especially inexpensive sets and especially carbon steel sets. Spindle gouge? Yes, but not a detail gouge. What most manufacturers list as detail gouges are very shallow fluted gouges with a very long bevel. Some of them are somewhat pointy, but from what I know, it’s the length of the bevel that really defines “detail” gouge. And the sharpness of the ground flute edges provides another cutting edge that is simply not possible with round-edged forged tools. Totally agreed about not using roughing gouges on bowls and that most sets, especially inexpensive sets, do not have tools that are great for bowl turning. Can be done, but it’s a pain.

Krum, the Europeans used forged gouges for a lot of years. And scrapers, too, obviously. And out of carbon steel. The key is to play with sharpening angles to get an angle that will cut the bottom of your bowls efficiently without dulling instantly. Too long a bevel and your edge will dull quickly. Too steep a bevel and the edge will not be sharp enough to actually cut the wood.

Without purchasing a “modern” bowl gouge, the other thing that might help you with your bowl project is to consider the shape of your grind. Swept back wings are helpful if you have a ground, sharp-edged flute to utilize as a cutting edge. Because you’ve got forged tools, I’d consider keeping the grind across the front pretty close to straight up and down. If you look at the silhouette of the tool, maybe a 70ยบ angle with the bottom of the tool sticking out a bit and the “ears” of the grind holding back. Pictures being worth many words, check out this link for some typical shapes including traditional straight up and down grinds as well as swept back. You can also see some variations on flutes. Trace backward to the turning tool page and you can sheck out their other tools as well to see what traditional grinds look like. Cheaper tool sets do NOT show you traditional grinds. At least I’ve never seen a set of carbon steel tools with good grinds on ‘em.

And again, this is all IN MY OPINION. That’s an important thing. If you ask two turners their thoughts on grind angles, you’re going to get at least 3 opinions, and that’s for each type of tool! 8^)

-- Dean, Missouri

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Cathy Krumrei

364 posts in 4421 days

#5 posted 09-28-2007 05:11 PM

The information sent was a very well worth reading for me. I appriciate it all too. I’ll see what I can do.
Very interesting indeed! Thanks

View snowdog's profile


1166 posts in 4217 days

#6 posted 10-16-2007 02:39 PM

Learning the names of the tools and which one to use when seems to be a bit of a challenge :) but I like a challenge.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

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