Turning Archive 2007

Thompson spindle gouges

john lucas
>I spent the day turning some projects and just turning wood into scrap using my new Thompson spindle gouges. I think I'm going to really like these. The big one is 1/2" thick and the other is 3/8". Since I have both a 3/8" and a 1/2" spindle gouges in other brands this was a good comparison.

First off the hollow ground portion is shallower than my gouges. This makes them very thick. To test this I hollowed out a 3" deep ash box. The lack of vibration in the 1/2" tool was really nice. To test the difference I made several cuts with both of the 3/8" gouges. As expected the Thompson gouge had much less vibration even though both were struggling with 3" of tool hanging over the tool rest.

I'm still having trouble determining if the edge stays sharp longer. It seems like it does but like I said before I tend to sharpen often and haven't really done a fair test to determine how long an edge lasts.

I did find something a bit unusual. I sharpened all the gouges on a 100 grit white wheel. The Thompson gouge just didn't seem to cut as well even though they were sharpened at the exact same angle. Then I decided to hone the edge using a fine diamond hone. Now it cut just as good. I turned several items with the gouge without sharpening or honing any more and it seemed to cut fine. I'm assuming the difference is in the toughness of the edge and what happens at the microscopic level while grinding.

I've heard before that powdered metal doesn't get as sharp. I think this is because we tend to sharpen them the same as other tools. This metal is different and apparently requires a different sharpening technique. Once honed this tool cuts exactly like my other tools when I honed them. The other tools seem to be sharper straight off the grinder but once honed all of them cut the same. I'm going to try the same thing with the bowl gouge when I work with it on sunday. More experimentation is needed to prove this one way or the other. I'll be intersted if anyone else who has a powdered metal gouge has noticed this.

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