Turning Archive 2004

Roughing gouge questions

Ken Platt (Granby, CT)
>Folks -

My current roughing gouge was getting bounced around pretty badly today as I tried to round a chunk of birch trunk about 7" in diameter (but oval in cross section), so I was thinking I could use a larger one. My questions: First, how are these tools sized? I have no recollection what size mine is supposed to be, and don't know how the sizes listed in the catalogs compare. Mine is made by Crown, the flute is 3/4 inch diameter at it's widest, and the outside diameter is a bit over 1" (1 3/64th to be exact).

Second, what do folks like in tool handle size for a larger gouge such as this? I felt part of my difficulty today was that the handle is only about 8" long. Perhaps it's my technique or lack thereof, but I find the 16" handles on my bigger tools very helpful when the going gets, well, rough.

Lastly, any recommendations? I'm only an occasional turner with a Jet 1236 so I'm wondering if I'd really benefit much from one of the newer alloys that are supposed to hold an edge better. Still, it sure seemed like I was making a lot of trips to the grinder today, so perhaps it would be dollars well spent. Thoughts?


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