Bowl Gouge Design & Use
The Serious bowl gouge features a deep and broad V shaped flute. The
tools do not ship with a finished profile or cutting edge on them. Every
woodturner should be equipped to produce the desired finished shape
and edge on his turning tool within about three minutes.
Bowl gouges are designed primarily for two types of woodturning.
1) The first is face grain turning (common bowl orientation), where
the wood grain direction is spinning perpendicular to the lathe bed
ways. A very sharp bowl gouge applied with good technique will result
in very minimal end grain tear out with this type of turning. A Serious
7/8" bowl gouge may seem massive and excessive, but this is an
amazingly stable and efficient tool to rough out something like a 12"
x 6" salad bowl!
2) The second type of application using a bowl gouge is moderate end
grain open form turning. A common item in this category is the goblet.
More frequent sharpening is necessary on end grain turning. Never use
a bowl gouge to attempt hollowing a deep closed form. There are many
hollowing tools for this job.
Spindle Gouge Design & Use
The Serious spindle gouge features a shallow open U shaped flute. These
tools also ship with a simple profile without a cutting edge. The most
common usage for this tool is spindle or long grain turning, where the
wood grain is spinning parallel to the lathe bed ways. A common spindle
turning would be a table leg. The second type of application is to grind
a long bevel on the spindle gouge and use it for detail work like beads
and coves on face grain turnings. The Serious 1/2" and 3/8"
spindle gouges are very versatile and useful lathe tools.
We recommend an 8" x 1" 1800 RPM grinder, with a quality
friable aluminum oxide wheel. I have turned more than 400 bowls and
I use an 80 grit wheel. I see the slight serrations as more of a benefit
than a problem in producing my west coast hardwood bowls.
Some turners sharpen free hand, some use the grinder tool rest, and
some use woodturning sharpening jigs to help reproduce the desired grinds.
A well designed, sharp, and consistent grind is what is important. Anytime
I can not produce small shavings off my thumbnail, I take one or two
passes on the grinding wheel. You can not have a lathe tool too sharp,
but it can quickly become not sharp enough.
Never grind so fast that you blue the edge of a tool steel or high
speed steel tool, this produces microfractures in the tool edge. If
the tool becomes warm, lay it on the bed ways for a few minutes. Never
water quench tool steel or high speed steel that is hot, as this also
creates fractures in the steel.