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Gouge suggestions

Joined
Apr 17, 2019
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Loxahatchee, Florida
Ok so I currently use handled tools however I am debating buying unhandled tools and using a Clews or Robust system to hold the tools. Demonstrator came to my shop a couple months ago and I liked the idea of having several sharp gouges and only having to change a handle.

What is the favorite unhandled tool supplier? D way, sorby etc. Open to suggestions.

Thanks
Mark
 
Joined
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Bay Settlement, WI
Thompson. When you call Thompson Lathe Tools, Doug answers the phone.
 

hockenbery

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Bosch handles are nice and light.
Some of the handles out there are a bit to heavy to use more than 30 minute.


I like having dedicated handles on each tool. Too time consuming to swap handles in the mid turning
I use several gouges at a time. Each is ready to go when I pick it up.
It only takes a few minutes to turn a handle.
 
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Emiliano Achaval

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I have Thompson handles. Some Trent Bosch. I don't use the Bosch for roughing, I like some weight on the handle when roughing. I like the Bosch to do sheer scrape, in fact I do it without a handle sometimes. I have 3 Thompson handles with the Jimmy Clewes quick release adaptors. You have to ask Doug for handles without the tip. (top?) I also have lots of handles that I turned myself. They are a great project, skill building.
 
Joined
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Erie, PA
There are many good turning tools out there but there are only three makers that I would consider buying and using. Thompson, Hunter and D-Way. Of the conventional turning tools for me Thompson lathe tools are simply the best. The best steel, the best warranty and one of the most honest folks out there in Doug Thompson (I do work in Doug Thompson's booth at the AAW Symposiums but I do so because of those mentioned reasons). If there were no Doug Thompson tools I would buy D-Way as the steel is very good and a decent value and who like Doug started from the ground up (not by stealing the tooling info from someones desk). Now the Hunter tools are carbide not conventional but without equal as carbide turning tools, they cut not scrape. Mike Hunter had a career dealing in carbide and knows his stuff. Like Doug and Dave, Mike is a good guy. I say this because there is more to a turning tool besides the way it cuts, it's the folks who stand behind the tool. I have lots of different handles but most are Thompsons, not the ones he makes now but the ones he used to make. I don't mind using the two set screw handles as I'm not into production and seriously I don't have to sharpen the Thomson tools so often. The handle for me just deals with the comfort of cutting not the way the tool cuts. So many choices!
 
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I would add Carter and Sons to the list Bill. I think their tooling is on par with others in the "Top 4" category. And they are - like Jimmie at D-Way, Mike at Hunter, and Doug at Thompson - some of the nicest people you will deal with. I have a gouge from Robust that seems to be of the same quality steel - with thee added feature - of the shaft being flattened - matching the top of the flute. So, you can sharpen those last 2-1/2 or so inches of steel using your jig/fixtures that you used to throw away...

As for handles...Wow - that is like picking underwear for someone else....;)...So many choices. If you dont mind keeping an Allen wreck handy - you could make your own from a good hardwood, and use 2 set screws in a ferrule . Or...If - at the other extreme...uo want to be able to change the length and weight in a flash, the SB ( Stuart Batty) Tools handles have a really neat cam-oak that I like. The only minor inconvenience is that you have to epoxy the male piece on to the shaft of the tool. But, when you wear the tool down to a nub and need to replace it - a little heat from a heat gun, or torch will allow you to liberate it and re0use it.
 

john lucas

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Unfortunately mmy favorite quick release handle isnt made any more. Big stick handles. They use an R8 collet. You can swap.the collects out quickly to hold any size tool. Removing the tool.is very quick you just loosen the knurled nut and rap.it on your work bench and remove the tool. I made our of these out of PVC and wrapped nylon twine around the collet end as a ferrule. Been using that tool for a.long time. The trick to building one is to have a steady rest. You need to turn a taper to match the R8 taper on the inside. A steady rest will support the handle while you do this which is quite easy using a scraper or a spindle gouge used as a scraper. the R8 collets are metric threaded so you need a metric die of the right size or you can buy metric threaded rods. Then it's just a matter of mating this to some sort of knob.
 

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Joined
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I make my own handles and inserts. Like Hockenbery I like a handle for each tool. I do have one purchased handle made by John Jordan and really like it. Usually make my handles from wood and put lead shot in them as I like a handle with some weight.

As far as gouge I have Thompson bowl gouges an several D-Way tools and both are excellent. I prefer Thompson for gouges.

8F08CFED-F012-4420-9DF5-009B75764D60_1_201_a.jpeg
 
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Joined
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Colorado Springs, CO
I like my three Thompson handles, but they had two issues when they arrived.
1) In my unheated shop, the handles get really cold. Solution: I wrapped them in horse wrap about two or three layers thick. That also adds friction so I don't have to hold onto the handle so tightly.
2) When the handles arrived, they are full of metal pellets. For me, they were too heavy for delicate spindle gouge work. Solution: unscrew the plug at the back end of the handle and empty out some or all the pellets. (I have a baby food jar full of that stuff just sitting on the shelf -- someday I’ll find a use for it!)
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
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New City, NY
Ok so I currently use handled tools however I am debating buying unhandled tools and using a Clews or Robust system to hold the tools. Demonstrator came to my shop a couple months ago and I liked the idea of having several sharp gouges and only having to change a handle.

What is the favorite unhandled tool supplier? D way, sorby etc. Open to suggestions.

Thanks
Mark

I have many favorite unhandled tools that I have obtained over the years. Many are no longer available and probably there will be some new ones that will be manufactured in the future. The important thing is compatibility with the handles that you currently own or wish to purchase going forward.
Ideally, I would like to own one handle of each size class for all my turning tools regardless of who manufactured them. Currently, I am using a ¾ “ cam lock handle that is 16” long and has a detachable 16” extension. All my tools that I use with this handle have an adaptable ¾ “ sleeve that is drilled to the tools diameter and held with set screws. These ¾” sleeves adapt tools that have tangs as well.
Unfortunately, the supplier, Serious Tools, is no longer in business. I am currently making the adapters on my wood lathe out of ¾ steel rod(3” of steel rod cost under$1). This extra effort in drilling these adapters is a one time shot for each tool. ¾” OD sleeve is a good size that is inclusive of most turning tools including many boring bars.

Like a surgeon requesting a scalpel during surgery, I like the convenience of having the tool in the handle ready to go when I am turning. However, I am willing to forgo this for the following reasons:
1. Handle economics
2. Easier to sharpen without the handle
3. Efficient tool storage
4. Occasional use of a tool with or without a handle(Example: Ellsworth shear scraping)

There are a few ways to temporarily connect the tool to the handle. In my opinion, if the switching process involves too much time, I would not consider it. Grabbing an Allen Wrench or another tool falls into this category. Opening a collet is fine, but changing one, not so much. (Too much time is consumed while going into the draw, pulling out a collet set, completely unscrew the collet and put it all back.)
I would consider the Robust ER32 Collet head but with a ¾” collet permanently installed. The Jimmy Clewes Cam action head looks good but not for my tool diameter range. I dismissed it because the maximum tool diameter size is 5/8”. Many tools can use this diameter with 5/8” adapter sleeves. So it may be a good choice.
Recently, I have been working on a small 10” handle for my spindle tools. I couldn’t find a ¾” cam mechanism out there, so I successfully made one first out of PVC and a dowel and then out of aluminum and they both locked the tool just fine. I need a little cleanup on the final design and then I will publish thereafter as a tip.
 
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Joined
Apr 18, 2009
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If you want a light weight quick change collet handle take a look at the SB Carbon Fiber ER 25 or ER 32 Collet Handles from Woodworkers Emporium - woodworkersemporiun.com. The handle uses the Robust Tools collet system. The carbon fiber has low thermal mass so it warms quickly in winter. Although it looks similar, this is not the Stewart Batty Taper Lock handle that required epoxying a bolster to each tool.
 
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Well, it comes to metal first, which is the V10, which is what Doug makes his tools out of, and the M42 high speed steel. I can't tell any difference in edge durability between them, and over all sharpness. My favorite venders are Doug Thompson and Jimmy at D Way. Great folks. They don't have true parabolic fluted tools though, but I am not sure if it would make any real difference, though some swear that it does. As for handles, I prefer the weight and feel of wood, not too heavy, not too light. I have found that sharpening is easier of I take the tool out of the handle first, though I got used to doing it with handles on. Oh, I do only sharpen on the platform, no jigs for me. I should get some of those collets for my gouges so I can swap out tools more easily. I don't like ones where I have to reach for a tool to loosen them up. The knurled knob types do work, however, they do vibrate loose if you do heavy cutting. I do like them for my NRSs, which are only used for light clean up work.

robo hippy
 
Joined
May 4, 2010
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Like Tim said, handles are very personal--it's where the turner and the tool meet. You might want to put your hands on some different options before jumping in. Of course, with symposia and club meetings now virtual, doing so is a challenge. You might ask around your local club members and see if you can wander over and fondle different handles.

I like the Oneway handle, just to throw one more out there. It's an allen wrench tool with a different size opening at each end with a vinyl grip, which is comfortable and secure to hold. Like William, my Thompson handle was pretty cold in my cold shop. Rather than vet wrap, I solved the problem by sliding some vinyl tubing from the hardware store over it. You could also use tennis grip or bicycle handlebar tape, which come in really nice textures and densities.
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
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McKinney,Texas
My handles are all Hannes his system with the bench wrench is simple and quick the steel he sells is Doug Thompson his sharpening system is second to none. Check him out @ hannestool.com
 
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Nov 4, 2018
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Penrose, NC
I also have a Hannes Tool handle - and really like it. However - the collets ( the sleeve you epoxy to the tool shaft) are made to fit HIS tools. His tools - made by Thompson - are of a different diameter than others. It is a slight difference - but enough that I had to have the aluminum collets drilled out by a machinist - so that I could use them on other brands of tool steel.
This may be true of any other other handle systems which require you to glue a part onto your tool steel. So - it is not a criticism of Hannes Tool, just a heads up that handle systems from manufacturers which sell their own brand of steel may be sized differently. And...a 1/2" gouge from one company...may not be exactly the same diameter as a 1/2" from another company. As long as you know to ask the exact shaft diameter, and know your handle system's size range for accepting tool steel....you are fine.
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2006
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Erie, PA
I would add Carter and Sons to the list Bill. I think their tooling is on par with others in the "Top 4" category. And they are - like Jimmie at D-Way, Mike at Hunter, and Doug at Thompson - some of the nicest people you will deal with. I have a gouge from Robust that seems to be of the same quality steel - with thee added feature - of the shaft being flattened - matching the top of the flute. So, you can sharpen those last 2-1/2 or so inches of steel using your jig/fixtures that you used to throw away...


Sorry Tim I would never add them to the list. And as far as the Robust gouges I was going to review them for More Woodturning Magazine but he closed the magazine 3 months before the review was to happen. My deal with Brent was that I first state that I work for Doug at the AAW Symposium before writing good, bad or indifferent. The gouges are M2 steel with a coating on the flute. To me they were no different than M2 steel and since the article was not to happen I passed the gouges on for folks to try. I do not know where they are now but half of the folks that tried them liked them and said they would buy them (6 and 6). I think that is pretty fair and I hope Brent got some sales.
 

hockenbery

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Anyone using the Ellsworth grind should consider the gouge Lyle Jamieson sells it is made by thompson.
It takes the Ellsworth grind well and has a slightly wider flute than other gouges I have. It is the best gouge for doing the flute up shear cut that I have tried.

I currently use Three gouges for most of my turning. 2 Jamieson gouges and a Robust gouge.
I am not very good at evaluating edge lasting since I sharpen or switch gouges well before they are dull and usually because there is sap on the the bevel. The Robust gouge takes the Ellsworth grind well and I use it interchangeably with the Jamieson gouges for every cut type I make except the flute up shear cut where I use the Jamieson.
 
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Boy oh boy, what a lot of choices. Since every other maker has received a recommendation I will mention Oneway's double end tools. Being double ended you get two tools for the price of one, so you can more economically explore different grinds if you are so inclined.

If you go this route you will need a handle with a socket deep enough to accomodate the "flip side" of the tool. As far as I know these are the Oneway, Housalak, and Trent Bosch handles.

As to which handle I prefer, I have the Bosch and Oneway. I much prefer the Bosch which has a softer grip and is light weight (you could add balast if you want). I think a collet system would be simpler, but I don't know of one with a deep socket. I bought "jackknife" wrench sets in Imperial, metric and Torx so I always have the needed size wrench at hand.
 
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Lebanon, Missouri
As mentioned know what flute design you want- elliptical, V, or U. Not all are available in all flutes from a mfr. As Hockenberry said, Lyle has an elliptical Doug Thompson makes only for him. Dont throw out handled tools - handles are easily removed. I say this because Crown has M42 in their Razor line and they have PM tools, elliptical flute, all with a handle. I have a 5/8” dia 1/2” flute Razor that I re-handled, and a Razor 3/8” spindle gouge. Seem to me to hold an edge as long as the Thompson 5/8 bowl gouge I have. One thing about edge life - I have read cbn sharpens PM better than Al Ox, alox tends to tear out carbides whereas cbn cuts them. I use alox on a slow wet grinder so its possible I cant get the best edge on PM.

I prefer a handle for each tool, and I prefer to turn my own handles, but for big bowl bowl gouges I wanted to remove the tool for sharpening. I looked at the various collet systems and ddidnt like the weight or the hi $. Some turned their own insert from Al. I opted for some inserts from Cindy Drozda, Al with 2 set screws, ~$20 each. Been very pleased with them. Another option are the hosaluk steel inserts with set screws. One way has the Thread-Lok handle inserts. Im not interested in the mfd handles, I’d make one if I wanted something other than wood. Lots a choices.

I will mention that I had a Drozda handle insert break out of a handle. Made of walnut, tool forces in the correct direction, ~ 350” wall thickness around the insert. No ferrule was used. I had been roughing out a lot of pieces with interrupted cuts and heavy cuts. Thankfully it was uneventful with no harm done, but the replacement handle has a thread and CA glue ferrule. I didnt have a piece of pipe big enough. Normally use copper pipe.
 
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John- in reference to the R8 collets, the thread is 7/16-20 fine thread. When I saw the reference to them, it brought back memories of the Bridgeport milling machines I had and having to clean the threads in the collets occasionally with a tap.
 
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I made a Bedan tool out of some square stock from Amazon. I turned the handle and fit a copper ferrule. Got some more dowel and steel to make something else, haven't decided what yet. I prefer to grab a tool and turn without changing handles. JMHO.
 
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Al, couldn't find the receipt for the three pieces. Here is what is marked on the bar in metrics- 8x8x200 HSS. One end is beveled slightly.
Edit- Did a search and found this. Not sure if this is the place where I got mine but the search gave a list of vendors. Price seems in line with what I paid and I'm cheap.
https://www.amazon.com/Square-Turning-Grinder-Cutting-Cutter/dp/B08GQ8T3CJ/ref=sr_1_23?crid=APJZ6586APNJ&dchild=1&keywords=high+speed+steel+blank&qid=1615392095&s=hi&sprefix=high+speed+stee,aps,199&sr=1-23
BTW, parents lived in SA. Loved the city!
 
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Al, couldn't find the receipt for the three pieces. Here is what is marked on the bar in metrics- 8x8x200 HSS. One end is beveled slightly.
Edit- Did a search and found this. Not sure if this is the place where I got mine but the search gave a list of vendors. Price seems in line with what I paid and I'm cheap.
https://www.amazon.com/Square-Turning-Grinder-Cutting-Cutter/dp/B08GQ8T3CJ/ref=sr_1_23?crid=APJZ6586APNJ&dchild=1&keywords=high+speed+steel+blank&qid=1615392095&s=hi&sprefix=high+speed+stee,aps,199&sr=1-23
BTW, parents lived in SA. Loved the city!
Thank you so much John,
I appreciate all of your effort to share that link!
Yes, San Antonio is beautiful but I sure wish we had four real seasons instead of a 9 month summer and a three month fall/spring.
Thanks again!
Al
 
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Re: Tool storage – this may be a little hard to explain but it is safe and easy to use. Multiples (shelves) can be arranged in various ways.
  • Drill holes in a board (approx. 4” wide) spaced at your discretion - which are slightly larger (⅛”-¼”) than your tool ferrules but smaller than the bulge of your handles. You can even chamfer the edge of the hole for easier insertion of the tool – but this isn’t really necessary.
  • Bandsaw slightly angled cuts into the drilled holes ( / \ - keyhole shape). Where the inverted “V” intercepts the hole the opening should be a little larger than your tool shaft.
  • To use: insert the tool anywhere along the tool shaft into the “/ \”and drop the handle into the hole.
  • Advantages: 1) Sharp edges are down. 2) You can see the entire tool (not like dropping into a tube). 3) Tool hangs straight. 4) You don’t have to aim the tip of your tool into a hole. Easy peasey! :)
Hang your shelf (shelves) with angle brackets or whatever else you come up with for your situation.
 
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Joined
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I have some 4 foot by 2 foot rolling wire rack shelf units. I built a 6 foot plywood top to go with them. That top has a 2 inch lip around 3 sides. This keeps the tips protected from any one walking around the cart. I used to section them off for scrapers, 40/40 gouges, BOB gouges, NRSs, shear scrapers, and the Big Ugly tool. I new and improved it by not sectioning it off. The wire shelves under are great for extra chucks, tool rests, and even bowl blanks. Only problem is having shavings pile up on the shelf....

robo hippy
 
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Thanks for the input Bill. Tell us why you feel Carter and Sons are not in the same league as the others. Is it the steel? Or something else?
I'd like to hear why too. I have several Thompson tools and 3 Carter & Sons. The carters are M42 steel: 1-1/4" spindle roughing gouge, 1 1/4 skew, and a 1/8" tapered parting tool, all have Carter handles. All 3 are excellent tools. The SRG is especially nice with a big heavy round tang. The handles are shaped to fit your hand nicely, but are a bit cold. As far as I can tell, there are no short cuts taken on quality. Beautiful machinings.

I do prefer the toolless Jimmy Clewes cam releases where you make your own handles. Rather than have a handle/socket. length for every size tool, I use the biggest sockets and buy adapters for the smaller tools. This way you have less handles. So far the adapters have not gotten in the way of sharpening. Not sure if they will as the tool gets shorter. I currently have a medium and long handle variety, but want to add a short handle version to the stable. Also, while the cams work on flat tangs, they do inadvertently loosen more quickly on them. Lock is solid on round tangs, though. Wooden handles feel the best to me.
 
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