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Gouge size and log rolling

bradleyheathhays

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Thought I'd get my moneys worth out of this one and ask two questions in one thread.

I'm about to start turning bowls and need to purchase another carving tool or two. Right now I've got one of the typical inexpensive 3 piece carbide sets off Amazon (pictured below w/o inserts) and from the videos I've been watching I'm gonna need a regular HSS bowl gouge and parting tool, and I'm wondering what size of each of these I'll need. I believe the size parting tool I've seen is described as 3/16"? so I suppose that's the size I'll order. And so far as the gouge goes I've seen them (in videos) in a number of different sizes. The turner I watch the most uses a 5/8" gouge but I'm wondering if that's gonna be too large to start off with. Since I'm just starting out my main concern is not doing anything quickly so if the only advantage of the larger 5/8" gouge is speed then I could probably do without it. Also, I've seen examples of dovetails being made in tenons with much smaller gouges, which is something I prob need to consider. Is there a middle size gouge that would do well for general bowl turning and tenon dove tails? What size parting tool and gouge would be best? Trying to save $ so if 1 gouge will do instead of 2 different sizes then that would make my day.

and...

I'm sourcing locally felled trees and have come across a really big log I can't get through with my 14" chain saw without being able to rotate is to get the bottom of the cut. My best idea is to get a log moving/rotating tool I've only seen in videos. Not sure what it's called but it's about a 5-6' long pole with a large hook attached about 1.5' from the end. Hook the log then turn it with leverage. What are these things called and what's the cheapest place to get one?

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woodtickgreg

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The log turning tool is called a cant hook or kant hook or peavy. I got some nice ones from bailey's on line, 5' ash handles and very stout.
I cut my dovetails with a square carbide and then a carbide detailer or skew to get the dovetail portion.
 

Mike Hill

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There is absolutely no reason not to make a bowl with the carbides you already have unless they are just too small. And depending on your mounting methods, you might not even need a parting tool. The downfall of how most carbides are used are that they are used in a scraping fashion rather than a cutting fashion and thereby you have a greater chance of grain tear out. The square carbide is good for the exterior while the round carbide is good for the inside. Videos are available to watch to help out with technique.

Bowl gauges are mighty fine, but take a little longer time to learn proper use - but it comes quick with some practice. Catches can be more problematic, but there are ways to minimize or eliminate them - plenty of videos available. With all that said, I'm partial to the Ellsworth bowl gouges. Why - probably because I have a couple. But they are good and seem more versatile. But they are expensive compared to many gouges.

Parting tools - 3/16" would be good. On a piece I have on the lathe right now I wish I had a longer one because I'm having to reach out far off the tool rest and it is rather unsettling but doable with a light touch. For now I'd stay away from the thin kerf ones when doing bowls.
 
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David Hill

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If there's a Tractor Supply near you, they have the log "rollers", nice heavy Ash (there;s a pun there somewhere) handle. I have 2-- a metal one that works ok and the regular wood handeled.
As far as cutting tenons--use the square carbide---can cut both a regular tenon or a recess.
I started out just using carbides because I didn't envision myself sharpening "regular" gouges--but I like the cuts I get with them. As far as less expen$ive but good--look at Henry Taylor gouges or the Craft Supply brand.
 

trc65

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Do you have a way to sharpen a HSS gouge? If not, and if you don't want to spend the extra money for a sharpening system, you may want to stick with carbides.

I started with inexpensive Benjamin Best gouges, and still use them, but my main bowl gouges are from Thompson tools. The BB are decent gouges and I turned dozens of bowls with them. A 1/2" gouge is plenty big to start, and some people never use a larger one.

I don't use a parting tool when turning bowls, but nevertheless, one is handy to have around for lots of tasks.
 

bradleyheathhays

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Thanks for the info everybody. I'll just summarize instead of getting back to everyone separately to make things shorter. Always glad to get more than one source of advice though.

Looks like I'm settling on probably a 3/8" 55 degree swept back bowl gouge. Was thinking about the 1/2" for a bit but being so new I better go with the 3/8" that I'm guessing is more forgiving. Am I right about that? If a 3/8" takes is slower v. 1/2" or 5/8" then I'm ok with it. Tool quality wise, good but not too much $ is what I'm after. Any thoughts on Henry Taylor v Craft Supply v Benjamin Best v Thompson Tools?

And thanks trc65 for bringing up the issue of a sharpening system, as I forgot myself. Yes, I do want to get a sharpening system but I'm entirely unfamiliar with them. I'd like to aim for a system/brand that's versatile yet moderately priced. Any recommendations for a direction here?
 

bradleyheathhays

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Nother question. Changed my mind again and probably getting a 1/2" bowl gouge instead of 3/8"

Any advice on a sharpening system? I've got a cheap HF 6" bench grinder but I've seen some videos of people using specialized 8" grinding wheels, so I'm prepared to spend a bit of $$ on it. I'll be getting a spindle gouge set as well so I need to be able to sharpen those plus the swept back bowl gouge.
 

djg

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Did you tackle the log yet? How big in diameter is it? I've cut 24" logs one firewood season with a 14" bar. Make the first cut with the saw on top until the bar is vertical. The make a second cut horizontal from the other side until you get to the bottom. So if you have only one log, it can be done without turning.
 

Nubsnstubs

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If you get the Rikon from Woodcraft that @woodtickgreg mentioned, it has a 3 amp 1/2 HP motor. Nothing wrong with that other than it starts up pretty slow. I believe the next higher amp motor that would be 6 or 8 amps. When I was at Waco for SWAT, Woodturners Wonders had one each side by side and would start each at the same time. There is definitely a difference in the two motors. Don't know the cost difference, but it's not much.

I have the 3 amp motor, but wish it was the higher amp motor.

As far a sharpening systems go, I have the full 1 1/2" face 8"CBN wheels with the CBN on the sides, and my system is the Wolverine from Oneway. There are others, but those items I mentioned above are the only ones that I can comment on.......... Jerry (in Tucson)
 

NCWoodSmith

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For sharpening, a good setup is a low-speed grinding wheel — 8”. Replace the white aluminum oxide wheels with CBN if you can swing it — they run about 150 each. I have 80 and 180 grit wheels and they are 2” wide. 1-inch wheels are problematic for sharpening lathe tools — too narrow. CBN wheels last forever and you don’t have to worry about silicosis from the white wheels (should still wear breathing protection).
 

trc65

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Ive got the 1/2HP Rikon and two of the Spartan CBN wheels from Wood turners Wonders. It may not be the most powerful grinder, but it is plenty fast to spin up to speed for me. If I turn it on, I can't get a gouge into the wolverine varigrind before it's up to speed.

The Spartan wheels are aluminum and 1" wide, not had any problems sharpening with them. They are $119 each or two for $219.

Now the next question is which grit of CBN to get.....
 

Mike Hill

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Love the CBN wheels or equivalent - polished many a cab on them. However, my current cab machine is a flat lap (takes up far less space)- so don't currently have a CBN wheel. Been sharpening on a bench belt sander. But next project after the one I'm on is to make a couple of jigs so I can sharpen on my 2x72 knife grinder. can buy plenty of low cost belts for the cost of a CBN, but the machine ain't cheap - but I have it though and gotta use it. I have a low RPM grinder Ive had for 15 years but not even out of the box.
 
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