From 'spindle' to 'bowl' grind...

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by ScrubPlane posted 02-21-2014 03:21 PM 1223 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ScrubPlane's profile


190 posts in 1619 days

02-21-2014 03:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question lathe turning sharpening

Is it possible to ‘re-grind’ a spindle gouge into a bowl gouge?

I have an opportunity to purchase a used but better than average and highly affordable ‘starter’ set of traditional turning tools, several of which are identified as ‘spindle gouges’.

I want to use these as ‘practice’ tools…both for turning and sharpening purposes.

Appreciate that I cannot change the width, shape, or depth of the flute itself.

Just seems like the value is there if I can re-grind them.


7 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


4939 posts in 3086 days

#1 posted 02-21-2014 05:50 PM

No … bowl gouges have a deeper flute than spindle gouges.

Dale Nish explained it sometime ago in Woodturning Design magazine … see:

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

View DIYaholic's profile


19140 posts in 2098 days

#2 posted 02-21-2014 05:55 PM

I’m new to turning…..
So a grain of salt should be taken!!!

With spindle turning, you are cutting the face grain, relatively easier on the tool. Whereas with bowl turning, you are cutting both face & end grain. The end grain cuts are harder on the tool, so bowl gouges are thicker/beefier so as to take the abuse. You can put any grind on a chisel, but a spindle gouge is for spindles only. At least this is my understanding.

There was someone I know that used a spindle roughing gouge to rough out the outside of a bowl, sure enough that spindle gouge bent. It could have been much worse had it broken and went flying across the shop!!!

Again, I’m new so this is the perspective of a neophyte!!!
I’m sure smarter minds than mine will chime in….

Looks like Gerry was responding while I was typing. Know I need to know if I got it right….

So, I’m not 100% right….
Or I was right for the wrong reasons!
Greater Mass = Greater Vibration Dampening.
Thicker = strength for extended reach (over the tool rest).
Bevel angle = Depth Vs. Diameter.

I think I got it….

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Wildwood's profile


1854 posts in 1558 days

#3 posted 02-21-2014 07:44 PM

Can you use a spindle gouge as a bowl gouge? The answer is yes! Given what Gerry posted why would you want too?

While believe in buying only tools really need as you need them could see you buying this inexpensive set of bowl gouges. Or go to that site and buy just two 3/8” or1/2” bowl gouges and learn to use and sharpen them. I can turn a bowl with just one 1/2” bowl gouge, but have more than one with different bevel angles and grinds on them.

-- Bill

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3008 days

#4 posted 02-21-2014 07:56 PM

my answer is definitely no they are both designed for different jobs .If you interchange them you will likely get dig ins.I know that as I have tried to use a bowl gouge for spindle and a spindle gouge for bowls both resulted in dramatic dig ins,I.E. continuous dig ins. As apart from the flute designs they are sharpenned differently at the tip.Sorry for the bad news, that has been my experience.
potentially without actually trying it I suspect/guess that if you read below.

Now if you were to take say a bowl gouge and sharpen it like a spindle gouge well that might work though as said probably pretty poorly. However then you would need to change it back before turning bowls so that’s why people er ,wood turning people buy two different is a recipe often repeated in woodworking i.E.that a tool of a different design will either not work properly at it’s un- intended job or not at all.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Mike67's profile


97 posts in 2759 days

#5 posted 02-26-2014 02:22 PM

I don’t know about using a spindle gouge on the inside of a bowl but you can use one for roughing and finish cuts on the outside. Richard Raffan does this in his videos. For roughing, the flute is pointed toward the work – you’re not riding the bevel but kind of scraping with the wing of the tool on a pull cut. For finish cuts on the outside, you do ride the bevel and the flute must be pointed away from the work (tool on its side). If you try to use it flute up like you can with a bowl gouge you’ll get a wicked catch.

View Wildwood's profile


1854 posts in 1558 days

#6 posted 02-26-2014 04:53 PM

Woodturners use spindle gouges on bowls and boxes all the time. Same is true of tuners using bowl gouges on spindle work. Have seen turners use scrapers for spindle work too.

Yes there are some no-no’s, do not really want to use a conventional roughing gouge on inside of bowls.

If know what you are doing can use a skew as a shear scraper on outside of a bowl. All about bevel ground on the skew. I stopped trying that years ago. Anyone ever watch Del Stubbs bowl turning video or DVD?

I use a modified 3/8” spindle gouge when reverse turning a bowl cleaning up the base. Use that same tool for turning finials.

Know several turners that use their detail gouges on bowls inside & out.

People use a pull cut on bowls and spindles gouges to clean up wood surfaces on bowls & spindles.

I thought about joining a turning club many years ago until attended a symposium and found all the members of that club used side ground (Ellsworth or Irish grind) on both spindle & bowl gouges. Not sure that is still true today but still do not see me driving an hour & and half each way to be a member.

Buying a complete set of spindle tools to modify some of those tools into bowl gouges is false economy given the price of inexpensive bowl gouges on the market already.

Using an inexpensive bowl gouge or two will learn which grind and bevel angle works best for you most of the time. Do you like fingernail grind with forty five degree bevel angle or side ground with bevel angle between fifty to sixty degree angle? If inclined to use double bevel much better on a bowl gouge than spindle gouge.

-- Bill

View ScrubPlane's profile


190 posts in 1619 days

#7 posted 02-26-2014 10:13 PM

Thank you all…obviously my ‘deal’ wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics