Like the Woodsman said.....
On kiln dried lumber I sometimes have to sharpen every few minutes.
One way to tell how sharp your gouge is, is to turn off your lathe and place the gouge on the tool rest and against your work as if your were actually cutting. Then slowly rotate the by using the handwheel with your left hand and see if you are making curls.
On a scraper, its much easier, just move your finger across the top of the tool toward and over the cutting edge. If you cant feel the burr real easy, then you need to sharpen.
Cutting tools cut with a sharp edge, scrapers cut with a burr.
I learned this at one of the wood turning symposiums almost 20 years ago during one of the demo's. Yeah, I got my money's worth.
Tony B Retired woodworker, among other things.
"Strive for excellence and settle for completion" Tony B
Last edited by Tony B; 10-23-2008 at 10:33 AM.