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Fighting the fight.....
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Discussion Starter #1
If you were to purchase your first bowl gouge, would it be a 3/8" or 1/2"? What are the advantages of each size?

Also, I plan to get a fingernail grind. Is this a good idea? Do they come without a fingernail grind?

Fred
 

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What size bowl gouge

You will get all kinds of opinions on whether or not to use the fingernail grind.Most gouges do come without it.Some folks like em an some don't and some have one of ea for different operations.I am thinking you are a new turner and what I would suggest before you go spening a bunch of bucks on tools,I would try an find a club near you and get with an experienced turner that will help you choose the right tool for your needs.If you want to go ahead a get one,then I would start with the 3/8 first.
 

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Splinter Cushion
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Hey Fred. I confess. I still don't have a bowl gouge. I initially ordered one from Woodcraft with a bunch of other stuff. When I opened the box, I realized that I had accidentally ordered a spindle gouge. :thumbdown:

So, I did what any other tool oriented man would do. I kept it and ordered the right one. :icon_smile: (can't have too many gouges, right!?) Even though when I ordered the bowl gouge, it said they were in stock, I got backordered. So I waited. Then the backorder date got pushed back. :furious: So I cancelled it and ordered one from Rockler.

I ordered a 3/8" with a fingernail grind. I can tell you from my limited experience that the fingernail grind seems to catch less (presumably because those pesky corners aren't there), but they are a pita to sharpen. I'm getting the hang of it, but it sure gets frustrating when you end up with a point on the middle.

I think 3/8" is a good "middle of the road" gouge to start with. The 1/2" will be too small to get at places like the corner at the bottom of a smaller bowl. I guess an advantage to a 1/2" would be taking out more material at once, but I'm still trying to learn how to be careful and cut slowly. :smile:
 

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There are two standards in measuring the size of bowl gouges. The British uses the width of the flute, the US measures the diameter of the tool steel. A 3/8" British bowl gouge is equivalent to a 1/2" US size. Make sure you are comparing the same thing.
A larger size bowl gouge allows the tool to overhang further over the tool rest further without chattering. A smaller diameter gouge has a smaller cutter edge, takes slightly less effort to slice the wood.
You didn't mention what lathe you have nor what size turning you would like to do most, I think those information would help.
A fingernail grind is more versatile than a traditional grind.
You can use the bowl gouge for many kinds of cut. I would suggest you find a local chapter of AAW, and attend their meetings. That would shorten your learning curve. "Turned Bowl Made Easy" DVD by Bill Grumbine would show different ways of using a bowl gouge.
 

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I just wrote an article for American Woodturner on choosing your first bowl gouge. I made a sort of informal survey on a bunch of the forum's. 3/8" british and 1/2" american sizes were the most popular. As was stated above these two are almost exactly the same size. Next came 5/8 but in my opinion that is kind of difficult for beginners to control on smaller bowls.
 

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Fighting the fight.....
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Discussion Starter #6
Gordon,

I have the Nova 1624. It is a full sized lathe.

I am turning right now segmented bowls. I am trying to find some green wood but I haven't really come across anyone that is cutting any trees right now. So, the short answer is both green and dry wood with decent sized interiors. The last one I made was about 11.5" in diameter on the top.

I am just trying to look at all my options. Right now I am using a 1/2" scraper to finish the inside of the bowls that I have been cutting. I think it should be easier than what I am experiencing (In my opinion).

Fred
 

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For me, I would get the 1/2" diameter if I am only to get one.
There is a learning curve in mastering different cuts with a side grind bowl gouge, the reward is worth it.
 

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Ok, so you say that a 3/8 British gouge is the same as a 1/2 American. Is a British gouge one made by an English company? So any 3/8 Sorby or Crown, etc. would be the same as a 1/2 American. Just trying to make sure I am correct in my understanding. Thanks.

John
 

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Splinter Cushion
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Ok, so you say that a 3/8 British gouge is the same as a 1/2 American. Is a British gouge one made by an English company? So any 3/8 Sorby or Crown, etc. would be the same as a 1/2 American. Just trying to make sure I am correct in my understanding. Thanks.

John

Zomg, I hope not. :eek: I ordered a Sorby 3/8" thinkin that it was 3/8". Don't English people use the metric system anyhow?
 

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Zomg, I hope not. :eek: I ordered a Sorby 3/8" thinkin that it was 3/8". Don't English people use the metric system anyhow?
The 3/8" Sorby bowl gouge have both metric 10 mm and imperial 3/8" marking on it. The diameter measurement on mine is 0.497"; I would say it is close enough for 1/2" nominal diameter.
 
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