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I need only read the description of a spindle gouge in any catalog to know they shouldn't be used for bowl work, but is it equally undesirable to use a bowl gouge for spindle work?
 

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I need only read the description of a spindle gouge in any catalog to know they shouldn't be used for bowl work, but is it equally undesirable to use a bowl gouge for spindle work?
Nope -- a bowl gouge is excellent for most spindle work (but obviously you won't be able to cut a fine V notch with a fat-nosed tool).
 

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Yes you can use a bowl gouge for spindle work but as mentioned above you will be somewhat limited in the cuts you can make. turning beads is kind of challenging and you can't cut V's. Fortunately spindle gouges are less expensive than bowl gouges usually. Look around and you might find one you can afford.
 

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A spindle gouge is not unacceptable. It depends on the grind and how you use it. Typically a bowl gouge has a nose angle of about 55 to 60 degrees. This lets you reach down into a bowl and still rub the bevel. Ideally you should always be doing a bevel rubbing cut for safety, better control and cleaner cuts.
A spindle gouge typically has a nose grind of about 35 to 45 degrees so it will still work for shallow bowls but not so good for steep sided bowls because you can't rub the bevel when going down to the bottom.
A typically from the factory grind spindle gouge will also be really easy to get one of the corners into the wood and you get a catch. This won't happen with a properly ground gouge or a typical bowl gouge.
Some bowl gouges come from the factory with a grind that looks closer to a spindle roughing gouge grind. This is not good for beginners although serious turners do use it. It's just too easy to get a catch.
I use a spindle gouge frequently on bowls for certain cuts. My spindle gouges are ground to 35 degree angle and will cut torn grain better than my bowl gouge so I reach for it as long as it will allow me to rub the bevel for the cut.
 

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This short article (1 page) explains visually what John is referring to on angles.
http://www.woodturningdesign.com/askdale/14/14.shtml

The spindle roughing gouge should never be used for bowl work, partically because of the grind but mostly because it has a tang (weak) compared to the shaft of a bowl gouge.
 
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