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Bowl gouge for big bowls?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Scott Austin, May 17, 2012.

  1. Scott Austin

    Scott Austin

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    Hi everyone,

    I have been turning bowls for several months now and have been getting bigger and bigger. Everyone seems to enjoy the bigger bowls, so, I've been turning them quite a bit. So far I have been doing everything with a 3/8" Sorby Fingernail gouge, and a 1/2" Crown-Pro Ellsworth Bowl bouge. My biggest issue with the big bowls (16" or so) is roughing them out. It is difficult, and takes me forever. My process for roughing out is that I screw a round plywood pattern board to the bark side of the block, and cut all the way around the pattern. It actually works great, and gets the blank almost round with very few flat edges. I can get my faceplate centered pretty close. My bandsaw isn't big enough to cut these blanks round. That is why I use this method. Here is my question. Should I get a bigger bowl gouge? I have a couple of big spindle roughing gouges, but I hear over and over that you should never use a roughing gouge on a bowl. It would be nice to have a bigger gouge for hollowing also, as it seems like it takes forever to hollow out those big bowls. I have a Nova DVR 2024 lathe that is rated at 2.3 HP, so I shouldn't have any power issues there. I am just looking for ways to make things a little easier and more enjoyable, and any input or advice on gouges or technique would be much appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Why isn't your bandsaw "big" enough to cut the blanks round? You can round in stages if you have pieces too thick to pass under the guides, or you can undercut all but the last couple inches on the top with your chainsaw, then true up to your circle with the bandsaw. Makes for a more balanced startup if you get a decent rounding, especially at the outside diameter.

    As to gouges, it's how you use them. For the outside, I use a big roughing gouge all the time. But I slice, I don't stab. The workhorse inside is a 5/8 flute used to poke and roll. I also have a BIG deep flute gouge but he's heavy and not really suited to a task which brings more benefit from presentation than aggression. Whatever you use, you have to decide if you want to go wide or deep with your cuts, grinding your gouges to do either. If you slice, going wide can remove a prodigious amount of wood rapidly, inside or out. Additional advantage in that you are pushing the tool rather than pulling and filling your arms (or face!) with shavings.

    Quick look at my way, FWIW.
    http://s108.photobucket.com/albums/n28/MichaelMouse/?action=view&current=PicturesfromGregs022.flv

    Once it's a little less rough.
    http://s108.photobucket.com/albums/n28/MichaelMouse/?action=view&current=1012052.mp4

    Working inside, with fairly short "ears" in the grind. Pull for level, then poke and roll.
    http://s108.photobucket.com/albums/n28/MichaelMouse/?action=view&current=HollowOne001.mp4

    A speedup.
    http://s108.photobucket.com/albums/n28/MichaelMouse/?action=view&current=HollowTwo001.mp4

    Enter with a swing, catch the shaving, then push/pull to continue.
     
  3. Dale Miner

    Dale Miner

    Joined:
    May 13, 2007
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    201
    The European measurments and the North American measurements can be confusing, so lets go by the diameter of the steel in this post.

    I would suggest you get a 5/8" diameter V flute bowl gouge for doing cross grain (face grain) bowls.

    Keep your roughing gouges for spindle grain work. I won't get into the safety aspect of rouging gouges on face grain, but will say they are not very efficient for work in that orientation. They require getting quite a bit of cutting edge in the wood for any depth of cut. The more cutting edge in the wood, the more force is needed for the cut, especially when cutting the end grain portions of the blank. Also, when starting with the blank between centers, it is impossible to use a roughing gouge for the pull cut that is required for doing the bottom of the blank near the tailstock.

    Many folk use scrapers for doing rough out work, and are happy with them. I have never gotten used to that method though, and prefer larger bowl gouges for heavy stock removal. My go to gouge for larger rough outs is a 3/4" diameter bowl gouge.
     
  4. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    I use a 5/8" bowl gouge. I tried a 3/4" bowl gouge but it was too heavy and didn't seem to remove wood any faster.
    I have been playing with the Hunter Hercules tool and really like it removing the rough out or round areas. With a Thompson weighted handle it really makes roughing out much more pleasant. Here's a video I did on using the Hunter tool. I don't think I had the weighted handle for this video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzrLN8SQ8ms

    Here's a link to Doug's website with the handles I like. The Hercules takes a 5/8" insert on the handle.
    http://www.thompsonlathetools.com/handles.asp
     
  5. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    You could invest in a coring system. Coring does save some time, especially when you turn the core because the outside is already shaped. Other than that, having a 5/8 inch gouge works, or for me, I prefer scrapers. About a 3/8 by 1 inch more round nosed, or 'inside' nose profile works great. Turning up the speed a bit helps as well, depending on your comfort level. With higher speeds, the catches can be much more spectacular. Go to You Tube and type in robo hippy. I have a couple of clips up on turning bowls with just gouges and just scrapers.

    robo hippy
     
  6. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    I'm not the expert that others here are, but recently I've turned some blanks so green I needed wipers on my face shield. I've discovered turning green is a joy and turning dry, hard wood can be a chore, made tolerable by really sharp tools. (and probably really good technique, which I don't yet have)
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  7. Lloyd Butler

    Lloyd Butler

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    I use a 5/8" swept back bowl gouge on larger bowls for wood removal.

    There is lots more of it to remove than a small bowl, so remember to stop and sharpen your tool.

    With larger deeper bowls you also need to work at getting down around the transition from the side to the bottom. This may take a gouge with a steeper grind on the nose depending on the depth of your bowl. Your may also find it useful to grind off some of your tool heal to shorten the bevel and make it easier to get through that transition area without leaving compression rings to try and sand out.

    There is lots more of it to remove than a small bowl, so remember to stop and sharpen your tool.

    Coring will allow you to save some of the bowl center for another bowl rather than fill your composter with shavings.

    Lloyd
     
  8. Scott Austin

    Scott Austin

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    First and foremost, Thank you everyone for your advice. I turned a large black cherry bowl this morning. I used it for experimentation and I think I've got some improvement. I tried doing some hollowing with a scraper, and that made things easier getting started. I also tried several different techniques for roughing out and hollowing that fit the big bowls better. I ordered a Thompson 5/8" V-flute bowl gouge last night, so I will give that a shot. (I've been wanting to try some thompson tools anyway, I hear good things about them) And, I turned my speed up. Yes, the catches do get a bit more exciting, but it is far more efficient. I know every woodturner has their own style and technique, I am still in the experimental stage trying to find mine. I will probably eventually get a coring tool, but I just spent 3000 on a new lathe, and I cut my money tree down to make bowls out of it. So, that is a purchase I will save for a later date. Thanks everybody once again
     
  9. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    If you sell your bowls, the coring system will pay for itself in about 3 or 4 bowl sets. Other than that, I don't know if you have hooked up with a local club or not, but it is one of those 'priceless' accessories. You can figure out a lot of things eventually, but the clubs provide a lot of learning short cuts.

    robo hippy
     
  10. Scott Austin

    Scott Austin

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    Hey robo.

    I have been trying to get in on my local club, but it has taken me 2 months to get someone to reply to my inquiries. And, they're meetings don't align with my work schedule. But, I am trying to work it out. I definetly want to get some personal advice on a few things. What coring tool do you have good luck with? I will probably buy one in the next few months. It would be so handy to go ahead and rough turn a bunch of bowls and get them on their way to lower moisture. And it sounds to me like that would be the easiest way to do it.
     
  11. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    If you think the bowl gouge is hard to use wait until you try the McNaughton coring tool. I know a lot of people like it but it has in my opinion one heck of a learning curve and I have a lot of experience turning.
    There have been discussions on the various coring tools on this site so I would suggest looking them up before buying one. As a turner who has no problem getting wood I have yet to really learn to use the coring tool very well because I simply don't need it. I purchased it for a special project and it payed for itself in that one project. Now that I'm approaching retirement it might be a tool I use more often because I'll have more time to play and probably need the money so production will become an issue.
     
  12. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Coring is for precious wood. From your location, I'd imagine you have a lot of good domestics available. Extra bowls are fine, but mulch is useful too, though, as I recall, there was a lot of walnut down there on my schoolmate's farm near Griffin. It's not good mulch, but a good weed killer.

    George Van told me his coring ran about seven-eight minutes per, so I timed the next two or three large ones my way. Averaged ten minutes, or perhaps a touch less at rough hollowing. Don't think even a production type would complain about an extra three minutes per bowl. Just collect the shavings in a strategically placed bag to cut down on pickup time!
     
  13. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    John,

    You have to pay me a visit in San Jose, in the vendor area.

    As far as coring goes, the biggest time saver is when you turn the core as 90% of the shaping is already done.

    Woodcut is small, (large blade is 5 inch radius) and simple to use.

    Oneway is most expensive, and very stable on even the largest bowls, but more time consuming.

    McNaughton is most efficient, but has a learning curve.

    robo hippy
     
  14. Scott Austin

    Scott Austin

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    As far as wood here, I live right on the Ohio river valley, so yes it is mostly wooded around me. And I have gotten several large maple, ash, and cherry logs from storm damaged or unwanted trees. Plus, I have several friends and relatives who are loggers and I can go dig through the piles at their cut up yard. so, yeah, as much wood as I can haul. and if it is only a 3 minute difference I might not worry about it. But, if you think about it, you can chuck up one blank and cut several bowls out. As opposed to having to chuck up several different blanks to get the same amount of bowls. Regardless, I am doing this for a hobby, and yes, I would like to sell some bowls. But at the same time I want to just practice and find my groove. Thanks everybody for all your advice
     
  15. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Scott,

    Once you master the Ellsworth gouge. That will be all you need for any bowl you can put on your lathe.
    keep the cut above center, ride the bevel and flute pointed 0 to 40 degrees from horizontal, you cannot get catches.
    If yo can, Take a class, watch someone who knows what they are doing turn a bowl.

    I recommend you stick to 10 and 12 inch bowls until you can turn 5 in a row with no catch
    You can turn the small bowls faster and lean more.
    A crown pm Ellsworth 1/2 should be a 5/8 diameter bar.

    As for coring. If you plan on turning lots of bowls, coring is a definite plusI
    You get a 14, 12, 10, and 8". Bowl from one blank in about the time it would take to turn a 12" bowl.
    Regardless of how much wood you have a couple of 12 and 10 inch bowls will pay for your coring system.


    Have fun
    Al
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  16. Curt Fuller

    Curt Fuller

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    The C1 easy rougher. I've never actually used this tool so I can't speak from experience, but I got to watch Craig Jackson demonstrate it at CraftSuppies this week. He was turning fairly green wood and the shavings were flying off in long ribbons with what seemed like very little effort. I'm not a scraper guy but I was impressed with the way this tool hogged off wood.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhBHM0TsS6I
    There are several other youtube videos about it that might even be better.
     
  17. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Curtiss In all fairness when you watch any skilled turner with his or her favorite tool they make it look easy.
    Watch John Jordan turn with one hand with a bowl gouge. Huge shaving flying off. I'm sure the same is true with Mike Mahoney, David Ellsworth and Glenn Lucas as well.
    The Hunter Hercules is also a tool that will remove a lot of wood with little effort.
    Not putting down the C1, it's a great tool I'm just saying that there are others out there as well.
    Granted tools like the C1 and Hunter Hercules have less of a learning curve than a bowl gouge but they are also much less versatile.
     
  18. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    John, They make it look effortless and easy. Because they use techniques that are easy and effortless. It is relatively easy to become good with proper guidance.
    I should add that I still get the oh! Wow! Feeling watching Ellsworth, Jordan and Mahoney--- haven't seen Lucas but we should fix that in the next year.

    Curtis, if you can manage a 3 day class with Ellsworth, Bosch, Mahoney, Jordan, or regional turners like James McClure Rudy Lopez, David Frye, Cliff Poodry.....
    Chances are way in your favor of never getting a catch you don't expect.

    I was self taught and not too badly. In 1994. I took a class with Liam O'neil. He told me I held the tools too tightly. Liam had me turn the outside of bowls one handed.
    Put a 12" blank on a screw center ana turn it down to 3". I think he let me stop after 3.
    A year later I had a class with David Ellsworth. He had me turn the inside of bowls one handed.
    Those two classes totally changed my turning style.

    It does take practice. But you need to practice good techniques.

    Liam O'neil may be the best turner I have ever seen. I saw him return and sand a dry 14" cherry bowl. In about 7 minutes.
    Het made one pass base to rim to put it back in round, a second light cleanup pass, Shear scraped and sanded it.
    The inside took him about four passes then sanded. He probably spent more time turning the rim thane he did on the rest of the owl.


    Have fun,
    Al
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012

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