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Bowl Gouge Flute Profiles

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by bonsaipeter, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. bonsaipeter

    bonsaipeter

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    Here is another one of those questions if asked of three turners you will get at least five different answers...based mostly on conjecture rather than facts. Let's give it a go anyhow.

    The three most popular flute profiles for bowl gouges that are talked about are: 1) "V" shaped, 2) "U" shaped, and 3) "Parabolic" shaped. My question is as follows, what are the performance characteristics of each shape and under what conditions and situations, and more importantly why? What are the "pros" and "cons" of each shape? Yes, I understand there are other shapes also available, so if anyone has any information on them, please let's hear from you too.

    Thanks Peter Toch
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The Differences in the flute determines how well they work with different grinds.
    The U works well with the traditional straight across grind I use in a spindle roughing gouge.
    This grind on the U has the same bevel angle on the whole edge which works really for roughing spindles.

    For my bowl gouge I like the Parbolic flute with the Ellsworth grind.
    This produces a slightly round nose and a nice curve on the top of the wing so that the leading edge of the wing has a nice high angle slicing curve. Same grind on a U is too wide on the nose. Same grind on the V is too pointy on the nose and the leading edge of wing has a low slicing angle.
    The Ellsworth grind on the parabolic has a 60 degree bevel angle on the nose, 45 degree bevel angle on the leading edge of the wing, and a 30-25 degree angle on the wing.

    These angles allow different cuts to work well.
    Wing for pull cuts, nose for easy entry into the wood and roughing cuts, leading edge of the wing for slicing in the push cut and flute up shear cut. The curve of the wing works really well in the back cut. I like the curves wing for shear scraping.

    The V works well with a long almost flat top wing type of side grind.

    Different turners like different grinds and different flute designs.
    Any flute ground so that the cutting edge is flat or convex is going to cut wood.
    For many turners, especially those not doing any advanced cuts, flute design is less important than riding the bevel with the grind and gouge they have.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
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  3. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Bare in mind that this is just my opinion and I haven't owned a lot of different gouges. I have an off brand U shaped gouge. When I grind it with swept back wings the wings get a very acute edge. This is fantastic for pull cuts. It cuts very clean because of the handle down sheer cutting angle and the acute sharp edge on the wings. for push cuts when roughing it's not so good. Well it is at first becasue the lower wing will take huge cuts but it dull quickly because of the thin edge. The long acute edge wing is also very good for shear scraping.
    Then I have a U shaped Henry Taylor gouge that I grind in the 40/40 grind. For push cuts this tool cuts very clean but because the wings don't fall back as far it's not as good for really hogging off wood. The nose is also very round and because it's ground 40/40 the edge remains same all the way up the wing so you have a much larger sweet spot for that sheer angle push cut. There is also a short edge for shear scraping but not nearly as long as my other tool and you have to be careful where you cut on the edge because it's fairly short. A good all around tool especially if you want clean cuts.
    My go to gouge is a Thompson V shaped bowl gouge. I put an Ellsworth or Iris grind on it pretty much the same as Doug Thompson shows in his instructions on how to sharpen bowl gouges. It has a moderately long wing. The V shape gives it a fairly narrow nose so for push cuts you have to keep the flute at roughly the same angle. you can rotate the 40/40 grind open or close quite a bit and still do the same push cut. The Advantage of the V is the wings are thicker giving you a less acute edge but a very strong long lasting sharp edge. Great for roughing bowls because you can cut the full length of the wing and it holds that edge for a long time.
    I have another short gouge tip that I made for experimentation. It is a U shaped gouge and I've ground it kind of like a spindle roughing gouge with the wings almost straight up. I use that with the flute almost straight up. Being U shaped the wings have a more acute edge than the nose and used straight up the wood crosses the wing at a very sheer angle. Couple that with thin sharp edge and you get a very clean cut. Using the gouge this way also puts very light pressure on the bevel which reduces chatter on thin bowls.
    Here is a photo of those 4 tools. Ignore the spindle gouges on the right. Top tool is the homemade U. Next is the Thompson V, then the no name U, bottom is the Henry taylor.
     

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  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Like @john lucas I have favorite gouges

    For the Ellsworth grind - I like in order
    The Jamison parabolic flute made by Thompson
    Crown Ellsworth signature parabolic
    Henry taylor super flute which is parabolic.

    I have a Thompson v. It is too pointy for me.
    Works well for the pull cuts and roughing. If I didn’t have the other gouges I could use it for the other cuts.
    It just does not work as good for me as the other tools.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
  5. Fadi Zeidan

    Fadi Zeidan

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    How does the flute shape and grind affect the handle position? I’ve seen some turners keep the handle parallel to the tool rest while others drop it 45 degrees. I started experimenting with both but haven’t turned enough to form a preference.
     
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  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I usually turn with the handle low on the exterior of bowls and horizontal on the interior, but ihandle position isn't what you should be concerned about. The main thing that you should pay attention to is the bevel and how it meets the wood. The handle is just there so that you can get the bevel right for the type of cut that you are making ... push cut, pull cut, shear cut, scrape, shear scrape, etc. Get the bevel right and the handle will take care of itself.
     
  7. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I use the Ellsworth grind on a parabolic flute
    I set my tool rest so the tool cuts at center when held parallel to the floor.
    I drop the handle on many cuts.

    One example of the different flutes is
    To make a bevel riding push cut I drop the handle some which present the leadin edge of the wing at a high shear angle. If the Ellsworth is done on a V gouge the handle has to be dropped more to get the same shear angle.
     
  8. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I do my gouge finish cuts with the tools pretty much level. This means that my main cutting surface is the nose rather than the wing. If you drop the handle, then you use the wing more than the nose. So, for my style, I prefer a more open flute design, like the U or parabolic because they have a bigger sweet spot. My preferred nose shape is more ) than U or V. I don't use the swept back design at all any more other than for demonstration purposes. The more V shapes have a smaller nose so don't work as well for my style. When you drop the handle, then you use the wing as the main cutting surface so you can get a higher shear angle.

    robo hippy
     
  9. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Are you talking inside our outside the bowl. Outside I use a lot of different handle positions depending on the cut I'm doing. Inside the handle is usually lower than the cutting edge but I'm cutting at or a little above center. Kind of depends on the cut I'm doing.
     
  10. Fadi Zeidan

    Fadi Zeidan

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    Usually on the outside of the bowl. I find the inside to mainly need parallel position unless it is too deep and may need to lower the handle as you get deeper to keep the bevel rubbing.

    For the outside, Jamieson appear to hold the tool close to parallel while Liam O’niel for 3xanple drops it 45 degrees. My initial thought was could be a grind preference and wanting the cutting tip to always have 45 degree slope if you will to slice the wood but that too depend on which edge as you guys said.

    I plan to take a class with David Ellsworth hopefully in February or March. I’m sure he will correct my form. I also want to try batty’s 45/45 grind to see how I like it.
     
  11. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Technically Stewarts grind is 40/40. I used it like that for a while but I grind many of my tools at 45 so I decided to regrind the gouge I put his grind on to 45/45. I don't really notice any difference.
     
  12. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    David’s is an excellent instructor. Hope you get to enjoy some time with him.
    A terrific opportunity
     
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  13. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    As I understood your question it was in reference to the gouge itself and not to the grind. However as you have read so far the grind determines what cut each gouge profile will cut best. Now My only observation is that not all V gouges are created equal. The Pinnacle by Crown has a deep narrow V shape and cuts well except on green wood the flutes do clog severely and you will have to stop and clear them. The Thompson V is wider and will not clog in this manner.
     
  14. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I resharpened a Pinnacle V gouge the other day for one of our members. It had a really steep narrow V and was hard to get much of a usable rounded nose. Had nice wings after I got done. My Thompson has a more rounded bottom to the V so it's easy to get a useable nose grind.
     
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  15. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    Yes! David is an excellent instructor. What I really appreciated about David is that he teaches techniques to build skills and he also conveys the heart of an artist. The art side of turning is often overlooked, but eventually it creeps up and becomes equally important to technical skills.

    For anyone visiting David, I also strongly recommend some time in Philly at the Center for Art in Wood. It will blow your mind! I also enjoyed the Wharton Escherick Museum. He was truly a master wood artist, even if he didn't use a lathe!
     
  16. Fadi Zeidan

    Fadi Zeidan

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    I’m waiting on confirmation from David, I’m signing up for his February class if he still has room. Super excited!
     
  17. Jamie Straw

    Jamie Straw

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    This has been a very informative thread, I've printed it out to put in our Turning Notebook at BARN. I'm curious -- does anyone out there use the GL series gouges from Glen Lucas. I'm waiting for the M42's to be easily available, want to get the double-ended version.
     
  18. odie

    odie

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    I'm in agreement with many turners that the "v" shaped flute isn't as applicable as any of the other flute shapes......but, they're still available, and people are still buying them....so, some turners must like them! When turning close to the nose of a "V" shape flute, it's just too difficult to use it well.....but, of course, it can be done.

    Other than that, virtually all of the other flute shapes can, and do work well. All of them have one thing in common, and that is a cutting edge. If that cutting edge is presented well, it will cut well. Sounds pretty simple......but, there's a boatload of other factors that enter the equation.....such as, the particular grind you're using, handle angle, tool rest height, the individual characteristics of the piece of wood you're working with, simple shapes, complicated shapes, interior vs exterior, how sharp the tool is, and on, and on.....

    The best way to learn is to depend on your own ability to sort things out, rather than to rely on someone else to guide you through a process that traditionally gains applicable experience through "hands on stick time". You must know when to limit the outside input, and respect your own inner abilities to take over the learning process.

    Buy those gouges......practice and experiment.....you will find your own ways of making them work for you.....and when you do, you will own them! :D

    -----odie-----
     
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  19. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    There is so much you can do with the side ground gouge.
    A weekend class or week long class will likely put you years ahead of where you get by experimenting.

    You have to put in the time to get good. Using and perfecting techiques that work will advance your skills so much faster than trial and error. trial and error is still good once you have the base established.

    A class with Ellsworth, Bosch, Michelson ...... will get you to a whole new skill level with the tools, design, shape, surface, innovation.....
    It opens the door wide for you own individuality to emerge.
    You won’t Have to copy what your teahers do because you have the skills to make what you envision.
     
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