Turning Archive 2005

The Bowl Gouge....

Wally Dickerman at Green Valley, Az.
>The huge increas in the popularity of woodturning during the past 20 years is truly amazing. I had been turning for many years before that, and I can tell you that there very few clubs, no videos, certainly no websites, and very few books on turning. Those available were nearly all on spindle turning. Fact is, there were very few turners, and we were all on our own when it came to learning how to turn.

Probably most of you don't realize it, but before the early 80's there were no bowl gouges in the U.S. The bowl gouge was invented in England in the 70's, and didn't arrive in this country until around 1980. It wasn't in general use for at least 3 or 4 years after that. I acquired my first bowl gouge in either 1982 or 1983, and could find no instructions on it's use.

In my opinion, the arrival of the bowl gouge is the real reason for the huge number of woodturners we have today. Before the gouge arrived, turners who wanted to turn bowls had to modify existing spindle tools, or design and make their own tools for hollowing bowls. With the arrival of the bowl gouge, bowl turning suddenly became much easier, faster and more fun.

I would challenge any of you turners to turn a presentable, well turned bowl out of a dry, very hard and tough blank, let's say 14 x 7 inches, without using a bowl gouge.


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