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What size bowl gouges do you have/use

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I have Thompson 5/8”, 1/2”, and Robust 3/8” bowl gouges. My favorite is my 5/8” Thompson. I use the 1/2” when the 5/8” gets dull. The 3/8” is a U flute I thought I would try, but don’t use it very much. I’ve been thinking about getting a 3/4” V groove, but wonder how many use that size. Is it a good to have gouge?
 

john lucas

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I was given a 3/4" bowl.gouge. I did not like it. It was heavy and didnt take any bigger cut than my 5/8". I use a 1/2" 90 percent of the time.
 
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3/4” is a big gouge that I’d probably enjoy rough turning green wood but don’t think I would use a lot, most of my turnings are <12”.

My favorite is a 5/8” (Taylor); my previous 5/8” (Sorby) was getting short so I ground it into a bottom feeder. If I’m turning ~6” bowls there are times I find my 1/2” (Sorby) to be a better size to help remind me that light cuts are cleaner.

My first gouges 20+ years ago were all Sorby’s. I’ve replaced some of my spindle gouges with Thompson’s. Think my next bowl gouge purchase will be a 1/2” Robust.

I also have a 3/8” Sorby U shaped that I use a lot cleaning up the foot, but I have a hard time getting that sharpened well - it seems to want to dip on both sides between the nose and the wings. Would like to replace but it has a lot of steel left.
 
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I use a 1/2" bowl gouge almost exclusively (95%) when I use a bowl gouge, whatever the size of the project. I have a 5/8" bowl gouge that I rarely use -- 12 years old and less than 2" shorter than when bought. I bought a 3/4" bowl gouge for almost nothing and have almost never used it. The only thing it *might* be useful for would be as a spindle roughing gouge, but it is too long and heavy to be much use for that. I have true 1" spindle roughing gouges which I do use and work better.
 

hockenbery

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I use a 1/2” with the Ellsworth grind(5/8” dia) most of the time.
I use a 1/4” (3/8 dia) with a Michelson grind for some finish cuts and turning tight diameters.
I use a 3/8” spindle gouge on just about every piece I do

I used a 5/8 with the Ellsworth grind (3/4” dia) for roughing bowl a long time ago.
Was a little faster than the 1/2” gouge.
When I got more into hollow form I quit using it.

my favorite is the Lyle Jamieson gouge made by Thompson
My 1/4” is a Thompson.
My second favorite is the Robust gouge.
 
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I have a 5/8 thompson, 5/8 sheffield Leyland, 2 1/2 inch sorbys and no name 5/8 bottom feeder. I use swept back wings with a 50 degree nose. I use the 5/8 sheffield Leyland the most, it's kind of a deep v shaped gouge, for some reason its cuts nicer and stays sharp longer than my thompson 5/8 V with the same grind. I assume thats something to do with me and my grind. I usually use the 1/2 inch sorbys for returning roughed out bowls and finishing cuts/shear scraping. The sorbys are u flutes and work very well for me.
 
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When you guys measure your gouges, are you using shaft diameter, or distance across the flute?

That has always been a source of confusion for me, because CSUSA lists their gouges (or did) by the size of the flute, and not the shaft diameter. I've actually purchased a larger gouge from them than I thought I was getting in the past. :(

Anyway, I think of gouges by the shaft diameter. :D

My most used gouge is the 5/8" shaft, but have, and use all the more common sizes.

I have a large inventory of 30-40 new gouges, and haven't bought one for a few years.

-----odie-----
 
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The Thompson 3/4 V will take off a lot of stock quickly but you need the lathe to have the power to do it. My go to tool is the Thompson 5/8 V I use it for at least 85% of my turning. I do not use the U shaped tools as I find that I do not have the control with the U that I have with the V. The only U I use on occasion is a 3/8" U ground to about 80 degrees to use on the transition between the side and bottom of a bowl when I have an extremely difficult piece that other tool will not get rid of the tearout, when that piece appears that's when I go get that 3/8 U. There is no steel that can hold an edge better than the 10V steel Thompson uses. The closest would be the M42 steel. All the rest of high speed steel coated or not coated brings up the rear. Now I don't know about the PM steel from England as I quit using any other steel when Thompson tools started. I work in the Thompson Tool booth at the AAW Symposiums so I get to talk to a lot of people about tools and believe it or not there are folks who think the U is more controllable than the V, how about that :D
 

Roger Wiegand

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I have three 5/8" shaft (1/2" flute) gouges, one with an Ellsworth grind, one 40/40, and one bottom feeder. I also have a smaller one (1/2" shaft?) that I thought would be useful, but I haven't found much reason to pick it up. The 40/40 and bottom feeders are recent experiments, I went for a very long time with only the Ellsworth. I find myself using the 40/40 a lot for roughing now. I don't think there is any significant difference among the top manufacturers-- I'm not good enough for the subtle distinctions of flute geometry and metallurgy to matter.
 
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I have three 5/8" shaft (1/2" flute) gouges, one with an Ellsworth grind, one 40/40, and one bottom feeder. I also have a smaller one (1/2" shaft?) that I thought would be useful, but I haven't found much reason to pick it up. The 40/40 and bottom feeders are recent experiments, I went for a very long time with only the Ellsworth. I find myself using the 40/40 a lot for roughing now. I don't think there is any significant difference among the top manufacturers-- I'm not good enough for the subtle distinctions of flute geometry and metallurgy to matter.

That is an interesting "Diamond Jubilee" you have there. Funny how I never clicked on your link before......glad I did! The video was great.

-----odie-----
 
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My gouges are by Ashley Iles, bought from Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn. They all have parabolic flutes.

1/2" (5/8" shaft) Ellsworth grind: I use this 80-90% of the time
3/8" (1/2" shaft) 45°, swept-back: I use for finishing cuts, etc
1/2" (5/8" shaft) ~70° "bottom feeder"
1/4" (3/8" shaft) ~40°: mostly use around tenons and for little details

I haven't used a bowl gouge larger than the 5/8" shaft, and I don't feel a need for one at this point, especially with my midi lathe!
 
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I have several of the 5/8 gouges, Thompson and D Way. All have the 40/40 grind. I do have one 3/4 D Way, and didn't like it. Yes, you do need the horse power to run them for heavy roughing, but I do all of my heavy bowl roughing with a 1 inch wide Big Ugly tool, which is a scraper. Since I started using the 40/40, I never use a swept back grind at all any more, and it has been years. I have some smaller ones, and may use them for dainty work, but the larger gouges just seem to feel more comfortable to me. I do have a number of BOB tools of various sizes, so ) shape nose, and 70 degree bevels. One is a spindle detail gouge, another is a half circle flute shape, and a couple of the fluteless gouges from Doug. I am using the NRSs a lot more, but mostly on boxes. I do like them for sweeping across the bottom of a bowl, but not so much for the bowl sides. I do use them to finish cut my recesses as well.

robo hippy
 
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I’m far too embarrassed to list them all.
The largest is a 1 1/16 u shaped bowl gouge from serious tools. Didn’t work very well on large logs so it is currently a wip bottom feeder which is working fairly well. I had to grind away the wings and create a secondary bevel.
Use mostly the 5/8 Ellsworth like gouges and 40/40.
Shown below is a 5/8 Robert sorbet with the wings at 90 degrees to the flute. This is handy for vases and other between center projects as a skew and gouge.
For me I don’t have that many clamps but I feel you can never have enough gouges.image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg
 

Dennis J Gooding

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I have a dozen or so ranging from 3/8 inch to ¾ inch. Most are ground with a fairly long side grind. The exceptions are a 5/8 inch bottom feeder and a ½ inch gouge with a 40/40 grind currently under evaluation. All have parabolic flutes.

BTW, I find the 3/8 inch long side grind gouge to be very useful in detail work on small end grain pieces. I find many situations in where pull cuts and shear scrapes and the blunter nose angle (55 degrees) are useful.
 
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When you guys measure your gouges, are you using shaft diameter, or distance across the flute?

That has always been a source of confusion for me, because CSUSA lists their gouges (or did) by the size of the flute, and not the shaft diameter. I've actually purchased a larger gouge from them than I thought I was getting in the past. :(

Anyway, I think of gouges by the shaft diameter. :D

My most used gouge is the 5/8" shaft, but have, and use all the more common sizes.

I have a large inventory of 30-40 new gouges, and haven't bought one for a few years.

-----odie-----

Odie,

I'm sure you have seen this too, but I just noticed yesterday that in the opening pages to their catalog they say they list by the size of the flute, EXCEPT for "Oneway Mastercut, Carter & Son, and Glenn Lucas". So it's not even the consistent within the same catalog! They should at least list the convention used in each manufacturer's section.

30-40 new gouges...Just... wow. :D
 
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Odie,

I'm sure you have seen this too, but I just noticed yesterday that in the opening pages to their catalog they say they list by the size of the flute, EXCEPT for "Oneway Mastercut, Carter & Son, and Glenn Lucas". So it's not even the consistent within the same catalog! They should at least list the convention used in each manufacturer's section.

30-40 new gouges...Just... wow. :D


Yes, I remember that, Dan.......Seems to me there were no exceptions to the rule, the last time I ordered from the catalog.....but, it's been awhile. I usually know exactly what I want, and order online these days. CSUSA would be well served if they'd just go through their catalog and inter the information to include both flute and shaft dimensions. I have been getting their catalog since the days of Dale Nish around mid-80s, and I believe, since he was considered a "master", his methods are considered correct. The woodturning community has evolved some, since those days, though.....:D

That number 30-40 was off-the-cuff at the time I typed, and the real number may not be quite as much as I stated then. I'm in the house right now, but 25 would probably be closer to the truth, and that includes replacement scrapers, too. Sorry about that! :oops:

-----odie-----
 
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I have (by shaft size)
2 3/8” Benjamins Best
2 1/2” BB
2 5/8” BB
1 5/8” Jamieson/Thompson 60 deg Ellsworth/Michelson
1 5/8” Crown Razor M42 40/40
1 5/8” fluteless Thompson 70 deg bottom cleanup

All are parabolic, I havent tried a V or U, or a 3/4”. The BB’s are from when I started - they are so cheap and work just fine so I bought 2 of each size to try different sizes and different grinds. The 5/8” get 90% of the use, hence the Thompsons and a Crown. The 40/40 gets a lot of hogging work - works just like Stuart says. I’m not good enough to control it the way he can, so I keep the 60 deg for more controlled passes and transitions/deeper bottoms, and using it for Ellsworth’s “suicide cut” on ID’s.Very good for pull cuts with the wing as well. I list it as Ellsworth/Michelsen grind as its a 60 deg Ellsworth grind(long convex wings), with a 1/16-1/8” primary bevel. The Tormek jig I use gives a pretty good imitation of Hanne’s constant angle around the bevel, and I use secondary and tertiary bevels like his grind. I keep the primary bevels on all gouges small so resharpening on a wet grinder is very quick, and it gets the heel out of the way.

I use the 3/8” for some detail and small work, when the 5/8” is just too big. Doubt I ever get another 1/2”, just dont need it. Glad I dont have much $ in them. Use a 1/2” spindle gouge for some detail work, tenons, etc. Dont see a need for a 3/4”. I would like to try a U flute for bottoms just to see how it works.
 
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I also have a 3/8” Sorby U shaped that I use a lot cleaning up the foot, but I have a hard time getting that sharpened well - it seems to want to dip on both sides between the nose and the wings. Would like to replace but it has a lot of steel left.
I'm glad I'm not the only one that struggles with sharpening a U shaped flute.
 

Emiliano Achaval

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I'm sorry @William Rogers we were supposed to be answering your question about the 3/4 bowl gouge. As you can see, there is no easy answer, it all depends on a lot of factors. Bottom line is, life is too short not to buy the toys, I mean tools that you want, or think that you want or need. One solution would be to take one for a test ride, when things get back to normal, ask around your club members, I'm sure you will find one to borrow for a few days. If you come to Maui, you can turn a bowl in my shop and try mine. Happy new year!
 

Emiliano Achaval

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The Thompson 3/4 V will take off a lot of stock quickly but you need the lathe to have the power to do it. My go to tool is the Thompson 5/8 V I use it for at least 85% of my turning. I do not use the U shaped tools as I find that I do not have the control with the U that I have with the V. The only U I use on occasion is a 3/8" U ground to about 80 degrees to use on the transition between the side and bottom of a bowl when I have an extremely difficult piece that other tool will not get rid of the tearout, when that piece appears that's when I go get that 3/8 U. There is no steel that can hold an edge better than the 10V steel Thompson uses. The closest would be the M42 steel. All the rest of high speed steel coated or not coated brings up the rear. Now I don't know about the PM steel from England as I quit using any other steel when Thompson tools started. I work in the Thompson Tool booth at the AAW Symposiums so I get to talk to a lot of people about tools and believe it or not there are folks who think the U is more controllable than the V, how about that :D
Probably the number one question people ask me: should I get a V or a U bowl gouge from Doug? I believe you corrected me once, I was calling the bottom bowl gouge my traditional bowl gouge. I know of turners that bought the U by mistake, not knowing what to buy. I love my 3/4 bottom bowl gouge, it does magic on the bottom of calabashes! If I start sanding with 180 you can see scratches.
 
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I'm sorry @William Rogers we were supposed to be answering your question about the 3/4 bowl gouge. As you can see, there is no easy answer, it all depends on a lot of factors. Bottom line is, life is too short not to buy the toys, I mean tools that you want, or think that you want or need. One solution would be to take one for a test ride, when things get back to normal, ask around your club members, I'm sure you will find one to borrow for a few days. If you come to Maui, you can turn a bowl in my shop and try mine. Happy new year!

No Problem. The real problem is I haven’t been able to turn other than some small ornaments since my open heart surgery and my CPR incident the first of December. I’ll be off my weight limit the first of 2021 and dreaming of turning some of the wood on my rack. I leaning to getting a second 5/8” gouge instead of a 3/4”, but still undecided. Good idea about asking the club members. I just want a new toy in the interim.
 
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@William Rogers
I indicated a 1 1/16 but I didn’t mention the Sorby 3/4 gouge which is 7/8” shaft size.. I purchased these with the intent of using them on Hugh stock. I found bigger isn’t necessarily better in roughing and hollowing bowls. I just didn’t find them as efficient as the 5/8 bowl gouge. They get very little use these days.
 
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Great discussion on bowl gouges! I need a second 5/8 inch gouge. Was thinking of getting a double-ended Oneway Mastercut. I don’t mean to change the subject, but does anyone use these double-ended gouges? Or do you prefer single ended wood-handled tools?
 
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One of the first gouges I bought was a 5/8 Mastercut. Don't know why but I felt a lot of vibration using it and did not care for it. Have a friend who loved Mastercuts so I gifted it to him. That was about the time That Doug Thompson brought his first gouges to the Cleveland club and I have been hooked on them since.
 
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Great discussion on bowl gouges! I need a second 5/8 inch gouge. Was thinking of getting a double-ended Oneway Mastercut. I don’t mean to change the subject, but does anyone use these double-ended gouges? Or do you prefer single ended wood-handled tools?

I still have the 5/8 double-ended Oneway. It has a nice flute profile that adapted well to the Ellsworth grind. Its disadvantage is that the tool is much shorter so the reach inside a bowl may be limiting. However, I will always grab it first starting a bowl blank. With the oneway handle, it's very solid and dampens those initial outside cuts which often have some bark. Also, saves a trip to the grinder if you sharpen both ends.
 
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Great discussion on bowl gouges! I need a second 5/8 inch gouge. Was thinking of getting a double-ended Oneway Mastercut. I don’t mean to change the subject, but does anyone use these double-ended gouges? Or do you prefer single ended wood-handled tools?

I have the Oneway Mastercut bowl and spindle gouges. I definitely prefer to remove the tool from the handle for sharpening, but the Mastercut lets me explore two different grinds on each tool. I don't have enogh experience with other tools to compare, but I have not been dissapointed with the Mastercut tools.

Be aware that a double ended tool needs a handle with a deep socket, so some handles won't accommodate the tool. Oneway, Hosaluk and Bosch I know will work.
 
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I ended up getting another 5/8” gouge. Most of my bowls are in the 20” or less, many 14” - 16” and from the input the 3/4” is better for turnings over 20”. Since I had Amazon gift cards my choice of brand was limited. I decided on the Carter and Son 5/8” gouge with the 16” handle. I see how I like this compared to the Thompson.
 
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Years ago, one of the "old salt mentors" I had asked a group of us turners he was instructing..."what is the first 2 lathe tools everyone should buy?" The group sort of settled on a 5/8" gouge and a 1" skew as a response. Jokingly he said, "Don't be silly. You go buy two 5/8s and don't ever own a skew unless someone just gives you one."
Back to the 3/4 gouge issue. I can stall my 3 hp lathe pretty readily with a 5/8...so I'm not sure that a 3/4 adds anything to the business of cutting.
 
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I considered the double ended gouges once. In theory, it does work and you can use 2 different grinds. This would make for a quick change if you have the cam lock type collets on your gouge handles. The Oneway handles I have use set screws. As a former production turner, I would rather have 2 different gouges than take the time to find an allen wrench and loosen 2 set screws... I do have a couple of the D Way handles that I use for some NRSs with different grinds. The large knob, instead of a set screw works well enough for a NRS, but not good enough for a gouge. I would have to use the allen wrench, if I could find it....

robo hippy
 
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With all that being said, I’m going to try the double-ended Mastercut 5/8 bowl gouge. Now which handle to get, the 12 inch or the 17 inch? Decisions, decisions!
 
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I would comment that handle length depends on how far you are going to try to hang off of the tool rest. Just checked to see how long my 5/8 gouge handles are. They seem to be in the 14 to 18 inch range. I do use the sliding headstock or pivot the headstock on my Vic 240. This enables me to keep my arms in close to my body. Stuart Batty uses longer handles. I think this is, in part because he turns long bed lathe style, and rather than leaning over, he extends his arms out farther away from his body. I never hang out more than about 4 inches with my gouges, and if I am getting out close to that far, I am taking small cuts. I don't think I have had a gouge yanked out of my hands, but we all tend to reach out too far some times, and if it is getting to be a struggle to keep the tool in control, then you need to move your tool rest closer.

robo hippy
 
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I have the D-Way 3/4" U shaped bowl gouge. I had to force myself to use it when I first got it. It was difficult to keep it from vibrating which I think is mainly due to the deepness of the U shape. After about 10-12 bowls, I finally got used to it and learned how to control it. I now use and love it for roughing any bowl larger than 10". You can really remove material fast on green wood. I only use it for roughing the outside of bowls. I don't like it at all for rough turning the inside. If I were to do it over, I would try to find a parabolic or V shaped 3/4" gouge.
 
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