Tools 'catching' and gouging

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Forum topic by Walt Sepic posted 12-30-2014 02:48 AM 1269 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Walt Sepic

2 posts in 1266 days

12-30-2014 02:48 AM

I’m making an urn out of very hard wood and am having a hell of a time as I’ve gotten a few inches in. More and more frequently, my tools are ‘catching’ and gouging the end grain. I’ve tried different tools including my V point scraping chisel, but still catches; even If I take the smallest bite. I’m having to reset my work so frequently after every ‘catch’, it’s becoming a real pain. I’ve tried my 3 bowl gouges and round nosed scraper, but all do the same. The tool rest is only an inch from the surface. I thought the wood was cherry, but now it feels like ironwood and the deeper i go, the worse it gets. Been turning for 30m years, never had this much trouble. Also, never made a deep urn out of hard wood. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

-- Walt Sepic

8 replies so far

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

208 posts in 1754 days

#1 posted 12-30-2014 03:50 AM

The first thing that comes to my mind is to ask if your tools are sharp enough? With wood as hard as you are describing, you really need a razor edge on everything. Maybe also move the tool rest a bit closer to the work – even an inch may be too far away. Something else I have found works well for me is to do a lot of the rough-out using carbide-tipped tools, then switch to HSS tools for the finer finishing. And, always remember the anchor-bevel- cut approach.

Hope my answers don’t come off as offensive, I’m just thinking out loud on what may be causing you the problems you are having.


-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

View jeff's profile


1081 posts in 3487 days

#2 posted 12-30-2014 05:13 AM

Maybe watching some You-Tube videos on end grain hollowing techniques,angle grind on your tools ect. would be of some help.I have watched many You-Tube videos myself :)

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2156 days

#3 posted 12-30-2014 12:14 PM

Wish you could post a picture of what you are trying to do. Obviously losing control of your tool. Urns can be small or large but when turning into end or side grain helps if drill to depth and then remove remaining wood with gouge or scraper.

Size of gouges and scrapers also important for extending over the tool rest. Beyond 2” to 3” ¼” scrapers hard to control, same with ½” bowl or spindle gouge.

This bowl is 5” deep with wide mouth done with 5/8” bowl gouge and 3/8” thick scraper. If the opening on you urn is narrow hard to keep bevel support thus getting catches.

This little hollow form six or seven inches deep done with ¾” hollowing tools with 3/6” cutters.

So if design & size of the project to much for tools you own might need to try something else. Change the design, or buy tools that will make it easier.

-- Bill

View gwilki's profile


202 posts in 1495 days

#4 posted 12-30-2014 05:56 PM

Are you hollowing into end grain, meaning the grain of the urn is parallel to the ways of the lathe? If so, you should be hollowing from the center outwards to the walls, the opposite of what you would do for a “normal” bowl. On end grain forms, your best bet is to drill down into the center to just short of your desired depth. Then you can use a gouge to remove material from the hole outwards to the walls.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2715 days

#5 posted 12-30-2014 07:58 PM

You may need to have a tool rest like this made. I had the same catching problem when I was making this mortar and pestal set the tools were too far out over the tool rest and this solved it. A good fabricator can make whatever shape you might need. Since I have all kinds of tool I whipped up my own.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View Walt Sepic's profile

Walt Sepic

2 posts in 1266 days

#6 posted 12-30-2014 09:25 PM

Thanks to all for the feedback. I’ll start with the easiest solutions and work my way along. Changing the bevel is first.

-- Walt Sepic

View Troy Cleckler 's profile

Troy Cleckler

385 posts in 1393 days

#7 posted 12-30-2014 10:17 PM

Have you tried using a SHARP bowl gouge rolled up on edge and used as a scraper? It would need to be vertical with centerline or a little below, never above centerline. I know this doesn’t help on this project but my whole hollowing turning experience changed once I built and used an articulated hollowing tooling. I now can have the tool fully extended over the rest and only have to use light presure to pull the tool for hollowing end grain using scrapping cuts. The tool stays on centerline so there’s no catches.
As others have suggested, for hand tools, make sure they are sharp, drill out the center and keep tool overhang to the shortest possible length.

-- Troy. - Measure twice, cut once and fill the gaps....

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2029 days

#8 posted 12-30-2014 10:30 PM

Hmmm, I like that long-reach rest. Might hafta see if I have any steel that’s heavy enough to make one for myself. Thanks for showing us that.

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

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