Bowl Gouge Question - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-09-2010, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Bowl Gouge Question

I'm trying to rough out the inside of a ca 6" dia. bowl on a 14" lathe. I've got the rest lined up across the width of the bowl 1/4"-1/2" below the centerline and a 1/2" depth hole bored in the center. I'm obviously not using the 3/8" bowl gouge properly, because I'm getting a lot of catches. I'm working from outside toward the center. I have the handle pointing ca 30 deg downward so I've got the tool point up. I'm trying to cut with the surface on the left side of the point of the tool because it seems natural this way. But I'm not having much success. A book I have shows using the surface on the right side of the point to do the cutting. But to do this the handle would have to be held across the bed on the backside of the lathe. Seems like you'd be reaching too much if done this way. What am I doing wrong? I realize this is a vague question but any advice would be appreciated. I'm apparently greener than the piece of wood I'm working on!
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-09-2010, 06:19 PM
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Can't say for sure it would help but personally, I find I get better control and a smoother cut when I work from the center of the bowl outward. Also, I don't hold the handle down any to speak of, just more or less level and let the side of the gouge to the left of the point slide across the surface from the center of the bowl outward. Now that I think about it, I think I tend to hold the handle up a little if I take it off level, never move it below level.

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post #3 of 12 Old 02-09-2010, 08:20 PM
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Dj,
Below is what you need to be doing, like the book says. It might seem awkward at first. You have to have the tool oriented in such a way that the bevel is supporting the cut. In fact, start your tool in and just contact the bevel without doing any cutting. Then slowly rotate the tool to bring the cutting edge in contact with the wood and take a small cut. Practice getting the feel of the tool until you feel comfortable with it. Then you can take larger cuts. Don't be in a hurry.
Mike Hawkins

A book I have shows using the surface on the right side of the point to do the cutting. But to do this the handle would have to be held across the bed on the backside of the lathe. Seems like you'd be reaching too much if done this way. What am I doing wrong? I realize this is a vague question but any advice would be appreciated. I'm apparently greener than the piece of wood I'm working on![/quote]
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-09-2010, 11:56 PM
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I've gotta agree with Mike and add just try to take light cuts for now. You may be using too much pressure also. Practice is the best teacher here it's a lot of feel. After you get this down you can start learning to cut with the left side of the gouge.

Tim
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-10-2010, 12:16 AM
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djg,
thought i would weigh in on this one.
i started turning a couple years ago, and nearly gave it up right off the bat for a couple reasons. first because im an idiot and the very piece i tried was a segmented hickory and purpleheart- dont ask.
.
and secondly because i couldnt use a gouge to save my life. one day at rockler i was lamenting on my problems and the clerk sent me home with a round nose scraper- VOILA!. it was great! in the beginning i felt like maybe i was riding the woodturning short bus or something, but the reality is it probably prevented me from giving it up all together. now with a little more experience i am going back to using more tools including gouges, but still mostly use scrapers. probably a little more sanding in the end, but as far as im concerned well worth doing without the catches.
so bottom line, get yourself a scraper and get hooked on turning, then start teaching yourself the more complex techniques. just my .02 cents.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-10-2010, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Guys, I'll keep trying.
Kingcotrader
That's beautiful! That's what I want to do, take a chunk of wood and release its inner beauty. And yes, I too almost said the H*** with it all yesterday when I broke the foot off the piece I had held in a chuck when I had a catch. If you've seen any of my other posts you'll see I using scrap firewood, so nothing was lost.
About scrapers, I have a couple of rounded scrapers. I was reserving their use to smoothing the surface of the inside a bowl when nearly finished. I thought using it to rough out the inside was considered "cheating". I'll give it a try though.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-10-2010, 08:40 AM
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You may want to watch Nick Cook on this multi-part YouTube video.
If it is a side grain bowl, hollowing from outside towards the center, the wood fiber would get proper support from underneath. If it is a long grain bowl, then hollowing from the center out.
I find it very difficult to learn from a book. Catches happen so fast in the experiments. You hardly know what you were doing wrong. There are a lot of variables in presenting the edge to wood. The part of the edge used, tool rest height, swinging in and out, lifting up and down and the axial rotation of the tool all play a part.
A bowl gouge is very versatile. On some wood, a bevel supported cut would have less tear out. You can save time on sanding. You may want to join your local turning club. A little hands on would shorten your learning curve. The next best thing is "Turned Bowl Made Easy" DVD by Bill Grummbine.
Be careful on what you see in YouTube. Some are exactly what not to do but disguised as how to videos.
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-10-2010, 06:26 PM
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Watch a few videos on You tube about using a bowl gouge and that will help.What part of the country are you from?There might be a Woodcraft store near you and they can help guide you in the right direction.We will help all we can.I'm new myself.I've made 4 bowls so far and some of them are drying now.I had someone teach me and I thought I would never get the hang of it but I was wrong.It's fun once you get the hang of it.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-10-2010, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Gordon. Those videos cleared up a lot of things I was doing wrong. Maybe you should posts those links in the "Reference" section of this forum.
And Don, maybe I'll look into Woodcraft in the near future.

Thanks All
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-11-2010, 08:49 PM
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Dj,
Keep in mind, a bowl may look very simple, but is one of the more difficult pieces to turn. Think about what the wood grain is doing as compared to a spindle turning project. With a bowl, the grain is changing direction numerous times each revolution. Every bowl is a little different in that respect. Keeping a uniform wall thickness takes practice. Just getting a good shape isn't always easy. That's what makes them fun. Use your cheaper wood at first till you get the idea, then bring out the fancy stuff.
Mike Hawkins
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post #11 of 12 Old 02-11-2010, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Mike
I'm only using pieces (green) cut from my firewood pile right now so I don't waste any good stuff. Plenty of practice material. Think I switch to a softer? wood that I have - Box Elder. No color in it (no I won't go there again) so it's considered firewood. Maybe the tighter grain will be easier to turn than the red oak I first started on.
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post #12 of 12 Old 02-12-2010, 10:37 PM
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bowl gouge question

You have gotten some great advice,one thing I would like to add is PLEASE get a full face shield if you don't already have one and always wear it.If you can hook up with someone who is a turner that would be a great help to you good luck.



Almost forgot,that is one BEAUTIFULL NE Bowl

God Bless all
Ken Ward

Last edited by The woodsman; 02-12-2010 at 10:40 PM.
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