John K Jordan
>>>If I am having really bad tear out, like on a Koa bowl blank that was shop dried for 20 years, I do spritz some water on it. It does lubricate the fiber so bad tear out is more easily tamed...
Yes, water can work well on some woods. If it doesn't, I might try something else like a coat of thinned sanding sealer, perhaps reapplied between finish cuts. On punky wood I sometimes apply CA glue to tame tearout. But for dry wood tearout can still be frustrating without sharp tools, razor sharp, arm-hair shaving sharp!
Also, higher speeds, lighter touch, and as Reed points out moving the tool slower and using smaller tools. The tighter radius of the cutting edge of smaller diameter gouge presents less of the tool at a time and can tearout less then the big bite of a large gouge.