bowl gouge handle length

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Dave Fritz, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    I'm curious what size handles you use on a 5/8th and 1/2 inch bowl gouge. Both while roughing bowls and finish cuts. Maybe there's a difference?
     
  2. Douglas Ladendorf

    Douglas Ladendorf

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    I have Doug Thompson's 16" handles on both. So far that's been a good size for me.
     
  3. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Bowl gouge handle length, weight, and material is personal preference.
    When you turn your own handle you can make it any length. Commercial handles can be sawn shorter.
    For my bowl gouges 5/8 diameter bar, I like an 18" wood handle. The 17" handles that come with the Henry Taylor artisan I use and they are ok. Most metal handles are too heavy for me. And I don't care for their feel. The lighter the handle the easier it is to move the tool. Less resistance on the tool rest. Also less tiring.

    I rarely hold a tool at the end of the handle but the end of the handle rests against my side, thigh, or hip.

    With the Ellsworth grind (or the Michelson and others) the same tool is used for roughing to final finish. same tool same handles held in different places. When I shear scrape I hold the handle at the ferell.
    Initial roughing I hold it close to the end on the top of my thigh.

    Spindle tool handles I want short so that the tool can easily be past in front of my body as it works.

    Al
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
  4. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    The main problem with long handles is that you want to hang out more off the tool rest rather than moving the tool rest. I know Stuart Batty has a formula for determining how long they need to be. I checked mine, and they are 14 to 18 inch long for my scrapers and 5/8 inch gouges. For me length is determined by the pieces of wood I can find more than anything else. I do like bigger diameter also, in the 1 1/2 inch range plus. Just fits my hand better. I also prefer wood to metal as most of them are too heavy for my taste. The shot filled handles baffle me, that is too much weight to push around for any production turner. Gimmick thing to me.

    robo hippy
     
  5. Jamie Straw

    Jamie Straw

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    I use Dave's handles on my D-way gouges -- 16" on the 5/8" gouge, 12" on the 3/8". The gouge can be extended more than that, of course. I have had a problem with the long one on my Jet 1236 when doing hollowing cuts inside a bowl where, when starting the handle way away from me and bringing it back, the end of the handle doesn't quite clear the lathe ways unless I set the tool rest a little higher than I prefer. Am considering cutting ~1" off the butt-end of the handle.
     
  6. Hy Tran

    Hy Tran

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    I have a 1/2 (shank diam) and a 5/8 shank diam bowl gouge. I've been using the Oneway 16" handle. The length is fine, but the Oneway handle is way too heavy for my taste. I thought about turning my own handle, but decided to support Trent Bosch's family, and bought Trent's blue 16". I think that's a good length for me and my style--I'm not comfortable hogging heavily. I'm 5'7", about 30" inseam on the pants. You can see me doing a 16" diameter platter on my avatar, tool handle on my hips. That's a nice comfortable length for me.
     
  7. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    Jamie, do you use Dave's knob screws or plain thumb screws on his handles? I've used both and sometimes find the knob screw gets in the way. Interested in what your thoughts are.
     
  8. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I use the knob screws. While it is large, I make sure to point it straight up which keeps it out of the way for me. I don't roll the tool as I turn though, I generally keep the flutes at the same angle through the entire cut. I still prefer wood though.

    robo hippy
     
  9. Jamie Straw

    Jamie Straw

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    I haven't tried the knobs yet, but now that the CBN wheel is bought and paid for, I might get one of the knobs this month. I've wondered about them interfering, and it seems it would be odd to see one on a spindle gouge with a 12" handle:p but they are a time-saver for sure -- I think about them most when I'm turning a dry bowl and have to sharpen often.. Dave mentioned sometime last year that when he's using the regular set screws, he'll only tighten one if it's not a high-stress activity. And I know one turner who doesn't use a handle at all on the D-Way beading tools.

    Hmm, I just saw your reference to "thumb screws" -- not tried that, just using the stock set-screws.
     
  10. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    Thumb screw was my mistake, I meant set screw. Sorry, but then it might work.
     
  11. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Jamie, I am not sure what the configuration of your handle is. I have a Don Pencil Scorpion rig and the set screws on the arm brace were constantly loosening so I had a large (about 1 1/2 inch wide paddle) thumb screw that fit and I tried it , I have not had to tighten since then. Try a hardware store for the large size thumb screw.
     
  12. Jamie Straw

    Jamie Straw

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    The D-way handles have set-screws (see pic below) same hex-wrench size as the screws in the two chucks I have. Dave's post and my response are more about quick-change capability. Dave sells large knobs that can replace one set screw, much quicker to change out handles, or remove them for sharpening the gouge. I might try a thumbscrew just for giggles, especially for the smaller handles, see how well it holds.

    D-way HandleRx.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  13. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Set screws is what the Scorpion came with . It has one on top and one on bottom which may have been the problem with the screws loosening, but much better with the thumb screw.
     
  14. Justin Stephen

    Justin Stephen

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    I have this same handle on my 1/2" Thompson and have for a couple of years now. I love this handle. I have a Bosch 20" on my 5/8" and wish I had a 16" for that as well but he didn't make a 16" 5/8" handle when I bought them. I see that he does now.
     
  15. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    A length of about sixteen inches is just the right length for me. It gives a nice feel of balance and weight. I prefer wooden handles, but sometimes the other types are more convenient for traveling or even for sharpening. The length of the handle is for ergonomics and not for mechanical advantage. I have used bowl gouges without a handle, but that makes it necessary to use your arms rather than your body to guide the tool.
     
  16. Breck Whitworth

    Breck Whitworth

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    Dave since I am primarily a bowl man I will add my two cents about handle length. From my experience the length of handle you need will depend on the depth and size of bowls you turn. Personal preferences aside when you turn large bowls say 14-18" diameter bowls that have a depth of say 5-6" deep a long handle is a great help to make that smooth long deep cut through the transition across the bottom and keep the handle secured to your hip or body. Also if you don't have an inside curved tool rest for hollowing the deep bowls the chatter is not as much of a problem when you have more leverage with a long handle. To me personally you can turn a small bowl with a long handle but it is not as easy to turn a large bowl with a short handle. I said all that to say this you can turn a bowl using almost any bowl gouge regardless of the handle length but the length of the handle can make life easier in certain situations.
     
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