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Over the weekend, I found myself wanting to make a long taper for a pepper mill. Once shaped, it would be 9" long, 2-3/4" at the fat end and 2" at the opposite end. I tried making it with my roughing gouge, but I couldn't get anything close to a smooth cut. I ultimately did it with an EZ Finisher, but on this particular piece of wood, that created a lot of tear out, because it's scraping, not shearing. The only detail gouge I have is 3/8". What should I have used?
 

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I think lots of options, a lot of the tools which have a bevel.

My roughing gouge can produce a decent cut by using the bevel.

For this taper perhaps the best result would be with a skew. Not the easiest to use, since you need to be careful to avoid a catch.

I have been practicing with my bowl gouges recently. A bowl gouge with fingernail grind in shear scrape mode on the wings can also leave a nice smooth finish. A lot of bevel to contact with this grind and cut. The angle of the wing in this cut helps to get the nice smooth finish.
 

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I would have used a 1" or wider skew. I have never been good with a spindle or detail gouge for long runs. With any you should be moving your body not your arms.
 

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I would have used a 1" or wider skew. I have never been good with a spindle or detail gouge for long runs. With any you should be moving your body not your arms.
Me too -- even a 3/4" skew should have enough flat bevel to give a lot of help in making a straight taper.

Another thing about "moving your body" -- try starting out standing where you're going to finish the cut comfortably, and swing backwards to get into position to start the cut. That way you don't run out of steam as you approach the end of the cut.

(Similar to starting to turn a bead by holding the gouge in the "finish" position and cocking your wrist back to begin the cut.)
 

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Well I'm a skew fan so I would use a skew. However if you grind the spindle roughing gouge to about 45 degrees instead of the usual blunter grind you can use the wings as sort of mini skews.
About 3 minutes into this video I show how I use that part of the roughing gouge. I do sharpen mine even sharper at 35 degrees but 45 would do a pretty good job.
 

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john lucas said:
Well I'm a skew fan so I would use a skew. However if you grind the spindle roughing gouge to about 45 degrees instead of the usual blunter grind you can use the wings as sort of mini skews. About 3 minutes into this video I show how I use that part of the roughing gouge. I do sharpen mine even sharper at 35 degrees but 45 would do a pretty good job. Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8YYYYA-6jQ
Leave it to Mr Lucas. He's like some sort of lathe god....
 

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John, Great Video - thanks. Quick question - at around 5:47 you run the bottom of the gouge horizontally across the top of the spindle and mention something about out of square - can you explain what you were doing / why you did it?

Thanks
 

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John, Great Video - thanks. Quick question - at around 5:47 you run the bottom of the gouge horizontally across the top of the spindle and mention something about out of square - can you explain what you were doing / why you did it?

Thanks
I think I know the answer to this one, Justin ... it's a simple test to see that all of the corners have been removed and the piece has been turned round.

Try it on something you've half-way turned -- any place you've not completely rounded the blank, it'll make the gouge bounce :yes:
 
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