Turning Archive 2006

Preliminary Comments on Cryosteel Gouge - Long

Mkauder, Phenix City, AL
>As most of you know from a previous thread, I bought a Cryosteel bowl gouge at Louisville and received one about month later. For the last several weeks I have been comparing it against a couple of other gouges I have. These are my IMPRESSIONS Your mileage may vary.

I have been turning 3 segmented bowls - all made with Yellowheart, and Bloodwood (Bloodwood has a high silica contant and is vary abrasive). One of the bowls also has some Ebony in it. Each bowl is identical in size and basic shape. Each had a test gouge associated with it 1) Sweezey 1/2", 2) Red Handled (newer flute)
Glaser 1/2", and 3) a Cryo 3/8" with a black coating on it.

Black Coating? When I contacted Cryosteel about the status of my order they were still working on the AAW Anniversary gouges and they asked if I would like to try a 3/8" bowl prototype gouge that was ready. Then when my 1/2" was ready they would send it, and I could send the 3/8" back or buy it, my choice. This gouge has a black coating on it, similar to the gold coating you see on some drill bits. They wanted to know how it held up to sharpening (if the coating is rubbed off and looked ugly, etc, under normal usage). I said sure, why not.

So straight up, the test was not equal, draw what conclusion you want with a 3/8" against 1/2" gouges.

As we used to say in the Army - Bottomline up front: It is my experience/impression that the Cryo's edge lasted about 30% longer than the Glaser, which was about 10-20% better than Sweazey. How did I gauge it? Since I am doing segments, I could count the number of layers I could put on and turn round inside and out, and down to thickness before each gouge "just had to be sharpened". In my cutting I use the tip, the side, shear scrape, ...whatever is needed, but they were all treated the same. All had the same grind. Exact figures - I don't have any - just what I felt.

I had to learn to firmly hand tighten the gouge into the handle, or it could start to rotate - with bad consequences, but a firm hand tightening was all that was needed. The blackcoating is holding up to the sharpening jig, dulled a little but still cool looking. Without being able to test it against another 3/8" regular Cryo, I have no idea how the coating is effecting the longevity of the edge. I love the look of it though. Think of Black Chrome.

How did it feel with the different tool shaft shape - not much difference that I could tell, though I did feel that I was able to hang it a little longer off the rest. It is also marginally deader against the rest.

Feel of the handle - same as the red Glaser, which was new to me as well. Believe it or not, the Glaser/Cryosteel are lighter than my regular bowl gouges w/ Oneway or lead filled Bosch handles, but they are fine, and like others, I do like the fact that they are less likely to roll off the lathe.

A recent conversation (email) w/ the CEO of Cryosteel revealed that they are finishing up the 1000 gouges ordered by the AAW (a thousand of any gouge by anybody, I would think is a pretty big job). He told me that Packard, Highland Hardware, and Cutting Edge will be carrying them. He said that Cutting Edge just got some, though I do not know if those are the new Blue Cryos or Red Glasers. I am no reporter, so I did not confirm with those companies.

Please Folks, I am just telling fellow turners my experience. I have no commercial connection with CET. I paid for every tool I have. I am not commenting on any of their business dealings nor pricing.

Since I do not know the final pricing, I cannot tell you whether the new gouges will be worth the price. I like mine, but is certainly will not the only gouge in my arsenal. I love playing with different tools.


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