Turning Archive 2007

Gouge flute (long)

Gordon Seto
>A detail gouge is not a spindle gouge that is sharpened to a steeper angle. The shape of the flute is different.
Having Doug Thompson (Thompson A-11 gouge) in the back yard, I got some gouge lesson 101.
He is the few if not the only gouge maker who makes 2 shapes of bowl gouges (U & V). That is where I want the collective wisdom of this forum.
As shown in the diagram (not to scale):


Spindle Gouge: about of the steel is milled away. Therefore the gouge is not as strong as other gouges of the same bar size. The width of the flute is almost as wide as the diameter of the bar; it is easier to control.
Detail Gouge: only a small fraction of the gouge is milled away. Therefore there is still a lot of steel left underneath the flute. It is more rigid than spindle gouge of same bar size. It can be extended far beyond the toolrest without chattering. Usually they are sharpened to a steep angle; therefore they can reach into tight details. The width of the gouge is narrower, not as easy to control on long curve.
U shape Bowl Gouge: Obvious the bottom of the flute has wider radius, more open. They are supposed to be less likely to clog on wet wood.
V shape Bowl Gouge: Tighter radius on the bottom of the flute. Because of the smaller radius, when using the bottom of the gouge, the contact area is smaller. I find them cutting through dry wood easier.

The area I dont quite understand is the difference between the 2 bowl gouges.
I have been to Dougs workshop. He turns cowboy hats. His hat blanks were kept under water outside his garage. He said he uses the V shape bowl gouges exclusively; the U shape gouges are made upon the request of other turners. There is no doubt in my mind that he turns soaking wet wood. The gouges next to his lathe were all V flute bowl gouges. Several feet long shavings were everywhere. There was no sign of clogging.
I didnt buy his bowl gouges because I already have Sorby, Crown, P&N, Oneway and Glasser gouges of various sizes. I am curious to find out the pros & cons of both gouge shape designs.

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