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Thread: Homemade wood lathe gouge

  1. #11
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    Are you equipped for blacksmithing?

    At least one of three volumes written by Alexander Weygers shows how to make lathe gouges and the like from "found" steel.


    http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Moder.../dp/0898158966


    Edit: missed the earlier reference to the very same ...
    Last edited by tlfamm; 04-30-2012 at 09:21 AM.

  2. #12
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    I just made a couple bowl turning tools for folks in Georgia, one is a noob the other an old hand. Hole in the end of 5/8" round stock, broach out for a 1/4" square hss lathe bit about 5/8' deep, then drill and tap for a set screw. Hole can be bigger, mine were .277" and .308" to start. I use the bit itself (and a fair sized hammer) as the broach, working it around the 4 pts until the hole is deep enough. I've made four such tools now for wood turning folks, and they prefer them to the gouge.
    I'm here hoping to advancify my smartitude.

  3. #13
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    For bowl and face plate turning, which is scraped rather than pared, another alternative is a piece of good round stock. Grind the end to the contour and bevel you want, then grind the top third or so off. Optionally you can grind a little groove in the top, and the result is a very stout scraping tool that will dig in hard without springing. Keep it as short as you can get away with. The best bowl turning gouge I've ever found is one that someone long long ago made out of what appears to be the remains of another gouge that broke off. It's nearly full round, about 5/8 of an inch in diameter, with the top ground off and grooved, and a very blunt bevel at the end. You can safely push this thing into the work until it stalls the lathe.

    Many people prefer to scrape in spindle turning as well, but if you prefer a paring cut, the best thing I've found is a common woodworking gouge, with a straight end and well defined corners. I bevel mine just slightly less sharply than I might a carving chisel, but with a very sharp edge, polished if possible. Round-nosed gouges aren't really best suited for deep paring cuts, but once you've gotten used to the technique, a big old gouge with a very sharp edge will do all sorts of cuts and contours. The trick is to ride the bevel on the work, and just tip it in ever so slightly without digging in. Different contours can be gotten by rotating the gouge, or skewing it to one side or the other. As long as the bevel rides on the surface of the work, you can control the cut. The penalty for getting it wrong is fairly high - broken tools, broken work, etc. - but if you're careful you can remove huge quantities of wood smoothly and safely, and need few other tools than a couple of gouges and a flat skew chisel for finish work and sharp corners. If the gouge is super sharp you won't have splits and raised grain, even on tricky woods, and you won't need to sand the work later.

    My best big skew chisel is a piece of leaf spring sharpened. I didn't even bother to take the arch out. Just torched out a tang and put on a handle.

  4. #14
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    I have made several very large scrapers of different designs never agouge which would be better bought as the type of hss or silver steel needed would out weigh the purchase price imho.Still I wish you well and have fun. Alistair
    Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

  5. #15
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    The wrist pin suggestion caught my fancy, so I went out and tried it. This was a very quick and dirty experiment, but the picture shows a wrist pin after about 5 minutes of cutting and grinding, and a piece of scrap pine thrown hastily in the lathe. It's a nasty bit of work, overheated and blued in parts, ground freehand in bad light. I didn't even bother to hone the gouge, or to sharpen the corners properly, but it's clear that the wrist pin itself would make a dandy starting place for a small gouge. If you were doing this seriously, you should grind the top back further, so that it doesn't clog, or plug it. For my experiment I just held the end of the pin with vise grips, but of course a little more handle would be better. You could just turn a step into a stout dowel or piece of broom handle and it would be more than enough for a paring cut, which puts very little stress on the tool.

  6. #16

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    Thanks for all of the valuable suggestions for making a gouge.
    I just thought of an idea to bevel a long nut socket for a gouge. The handle could be your choice and are readily available. Would a thin wall socket or an impact socket be best to use? Thanks Paul

  7. #17
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    Jan 2011
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    Default turning gouge

    I have several large gouges aquired over the years, but one of my favorites was included in a box of junk I bought at a farm auction. It was made from an old file, probably by a small-town blacksmith in the area. Most of the tooth marks were ground off, but it's still obvious that it was once a file. Whoever he was, he must have spent some time forging it to shape and tempering it just right.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinrow
    Thanks for all of the valuable suggestions for making a gouge.
    I just thought of an idea to bevel a long nut socket for a gouge. The handle could be your choice and are readily available. Would a thin wall socket or an impact socket be best to use? Thanks Paul
    I thought of that, but you'll have difficulty with the inside diameter, since it's not round. You want the bevel on the outside, so the inside has to be a pretty smooth bore.

  9. #19
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    I made one of these a few years ago-

    http://www.cleanturn.net/details.htm

    Turned the end from A-2 heatreated it and pressed it into the end of a 1-1/2" DOM tube.Worked great,you could probably do the same with a wristpin.
    I just need one more tool,just one!

  10. #20
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    The vacuum gouge design is certainly interesting, but I think it limits the usefulness of a gouge not to have square ends. If you rotate a conventional gouge so that it is cutting only on one side, you can cut flat right up to a shoulder. If I were doing this, I think I'd make sure I had more than one wristpin to work with. Make a vac. gouge out of one, and a half-circle gouge out of another. If you get a gouge sharp enough, and designed just right, you may find that the chips are too big and too long to go through the hole anyway.

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