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Bowl gouge flute profile

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Tim Thor, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. Tim Thor

    Tim Thor

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    I am in the market to buy a new bowl gouge, either 1/2 or 5/8. I am looking for some guidance on which flute profile to go with. I am interested in opinions about the pros and cons of each. It just seems confusing to me at this point. Thanks for any advice you can provide.

    Tim
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  3. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  4. Dave Bunge

    Dave Bunge

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    I use V profile gouges from Thompson with a fingernail grind for most of my turning. I've used parabolic profile gouges from Ellsworth and from Jamieson too; they are easier to grind to a profile with long wings which are good for shear scraping. U profile gouges work well as "bottom feeders", gouges ground almost straight across, perpendicular to the shaft and used to cut the bottom of the bowl. In my experience, the U profile is hard to grind to a fingernail profile.

    As far as size, I use 5/8" V profile gouge for roughing and 1/2" gouge for finish cuts. If you have a 12" lathe, I think a 1/2" gouge would be big enough for anything you wanted to do, and would recommend getting a V or or parabolic profile.
     
  5. Bill Blasic

    Bill Blasic

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    95% of my tools are Thompson's, my favorite being the 5/8 V which I use for at least 85% of what I do. Doug passes out a sheet with his tools showing the vari-grind setup he uses to sharpen his tools. I use the exact setup but I go further left and right getting a longer cutting edge. I also use the Vector Grind Fixture for the hat makers grind. I got a couple of the Robust Turner's Edge gouges from Brent English for a review in More Woodturning Magazine but the magazine closed before it came up in the queue. These tools have a parabolic flute and I lend them out for those to make their own decisions. For myself I kike a tool for its ability to stay sharp and the Thompsons do that. I have taken classes with a lot of the best turners in the world and some have their tools and there flute shapes they espouse but one thing about them all is that no matter what tool (shape, size or flute) they can make it cut like the best tool in the world. The tools all have edges and that edge presented to the wood is how it cuts. That presentation to the wood and the tools sharpness is what is important not the shape of the flute for me. That said everybody has their favorite tools like everything else in woodturning. Use what makes you happy as that is what turning is all about.
     
  6. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    I don't have the skill level to make sufficiently fine distinctions to add much to your question, my observation is that different grinds make a huge difference in what you can and can't do well with a tool, I'm guessing swamping subtle differences in flute shape. I got by for decades with a Henry Taylor Superflute and an Ellsworth-style grind as my only bowl gouge. More recently I've added a Thompson with a 40/40 grind and one from D-way with a very steep bottom-feeder grind. Each of them seems to allow me to do a couple parts of the bowl better and more easily.

    I've never had (or taken) the opportunity to put the same grind on a U, a V, and a parabolic gouge (if that's even possible) to compare and contrast. I wouldn't be surprised if different grinds were optimal with different flute shapes. I also wouldn't be surprised if you'd need to be a very skilled turner to tell the difference.
     
  7. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    It is worth noting that the Thompson "V" profile is not actually a "V". There is a bit of a transition circle at the bottom that gives it a bit of the desirable sharpening characteristics of a parabolic profile.
     
  8. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    I started using D-Way about ten years ago - I turn a lot of mesquite and the ability to hold an edge is paramount. D-Way uses M42 which is the same stuff used in end-mills. My experience is that the edge lasts four or five times longer than the cryo-tools. I guess the channel is a parabolic "U".
    Being a hollow-form guy that only uses gouges for outside shaping, I've used one grind (sorta Ellsworth) for the last ten years - after bulk removal, my go-to is a 3/8. Can't speak to the requirements of bowl turning - bowl hollowing with a gouge requires a talent-set I don't have.
    Whatever gouge you get, stick with one grind and get good with it. And I think most on this forum would agree, CBN wheels are a must.
     
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  9. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I have a lot of Thompson and D Way gouges. I prefer the V10 and the M42. They do hold an edge much longer than the M2, which to me means that I can do a lot more roughing with them before going back to the grinder, but I still prefer a fresh edge for finish cuts.

    Both Doug's and D Way gouges have a similar 'open' V shaped flute, which means that rather than coming to a point, they have a rounded bottom in the flute. The Glaser tools had too steep of a V for my tastes. The Jamieson gouge from Doug seems to be a more open V than Doug's normal gouges. I think Jimmy Clewes also has a signature gouge from Doug.

    I really do need to experiment more with parabolic flutes. Best guess on them is that they may be a bit better suited for the swept back grind, but that could be more of a personal preference thing. Since I don't use the swept back grind at all any more, I am not an expert on that. My bowl gouges are the 40/40 and the BOB (bottom of bowl) gouges, of which I have several variations, but all have a ) shaped nose profile.

    Bill, a question for you, how do the Robust gouges compare to the V10 and the M42 gouges for durability. I believe they have a coating on more standard M2. Do they hold an edge as long as the other fancy metals? Maybe post a link to your review? Or just a short comment. I will admit to being skeptical, mostly due to trying some other coated drill bits where the coating made no difference that I could notice. I think Sorby put out some gouges like that as well.

    robo hippy
     
  10. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    I don't understand what coating a gouge will accomplish, don't you grind or hone the coating off the first time you sharpen it? On a drill bit you don't sharpen it might make sense, but I can't say I've ever noticed a difference between TiN coated and uncoated bits. I can't really imagine the coating at the edge lasts more than a few seconds.
     
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  11. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    seems to be a misconception about the Robust gouges. This is from the Robust site.
    Turner’s Edge gouges are made using Nitrided M2 High Speed Steel. All flutes are polished to remove tool marks.

    What’s special about Nitriding? Nitriding is frequently used on carbide and high speed steel cutting tools to improve their performance when machining metals. Not a coating or plating, Nitriding describes a treatment wherein carbon and nitrogen are added to the base metal and form a diffused zone within the surface of the tool. This zone is up to .002″ deep. Nitriding reduces surface friction, improves wear resistance and significantly enhances edge holding.


    I’m not the best to ask about edge holding as I am Frequently sharpening tools while they still have a working edge.
    I have been using a robust gouge for the last year interchangeably with 2 Jamieson gouges ( Made by Thompson)
    The Robust gouge stays sharp at least as long as the Jamieson.
     
  12. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    A point for consideration: As you sharpen, you expose the uncoated and presumably softer metal on the outside of the gouge, while the coated metal in the flute extends right up to the cutting edge. If the uncoated metal wears away faster than the coated metal then one might reasonably expect that wear will tend to sharpen the edge. Possibly this is a factor in the performance. However, abrasion is only one factor in the wear of a gouge. There is also battering and crumbling.
     
  13. Bill Blasic

    Bill Blasic

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    Reed I myself have a different finding than Hockenbery. I find them to be just like M2 steel as far as edge holding ability as have the majority of those who have tried them. A few of those who tried them like them and said they were going to buy them which is good for Brent. I'm going to have to find out where they are as I haven't heard from the last person that I know had them. As far as parabolic and polished flutes go back to my posting I deal with edge sharpness and how long it stays sharp. Again a sharp edge presented to the wood at the proper lets say angle gives you the best cut regardless of flute design. That is just me.
     
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  14. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    For me and I have not owned a wide variety of tools the flute shape.on some tools tend to not throw the chips from green wood as well. Wish I could remember what tools those were. I've been using a Thompson V with more or less Doug's vrind and an older Henry Taylor U that has a 40/40 grind. I did borrow an Ellsworth gouge a while back but didnt think it offered me enough difference to justify buying it. I am like Al I love a really sharp tool so i seldom let it get dull.enough to judge edge wear. I did have to turn some aluminum for a glass artist and found out that 1 pass across the 1" wide disc would dull all.of my M2 blades to the point they would not cut. I could make enough passes to complete shape the edge with the Thompson gouge before it got dull.
     
  15. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Flute design becomes important when we do certain advanced cuts.
    The bevel angle formed changes with the Ellsworth grind as you move from tip to wing.
    The angle of the front edge of the wing changes with the flute design too.

    bevel angle
    Nose 60 degrees - used for the roughing cut
    A little off the nose sweet spot 45-40 degrees - used for the push cut
    The wing 25-30 degrees - used for the pull cut

    The parabolic flute design puts the leading edge of the wing more in line with the handle when the bevel is riding with the flute straight up, This cut gives the high shear angle to produce smooth surfaces. The geometry of the Ellsworth grind on a parabolic flute makes it easy to do the flute up shear cut on leading edge of wing. This cut puts the gouge close to the catch position and is much harder to do using vee fluted tool because of the angle to the handle.
     
  16. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    I have a Crown PM gouge and the v is narrow so it clogs with any oak I turn using ir.
     

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