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Bowl Gouges

Bowl gouges, as their name implies, are primarily used in the production of bowls, platters, dishes and other hollow forms produced on the faceplate - normally with the grain running across the blank (perpendicular to the lathe axis).  There are many factors which may influence the buying decision, including the flute shape and the handle length.  Some factors, such as the style and angle of grind can be altered by the user.

We would also ask you to note that the sizing of bowl gouges is somewhat anachronistic and is historically based on the flute width - but of an old-style gouge forged from square bar stock.  Today, round bar stock is used in the manufacture of most bowl gouges so the old measurements cease to make much sense in terms of being able to measure the gouge to determine its size.  To make matters more confusing - albeit in a well-argued attempt to rationalise the situation - American terminology has changed in recent years to the more logical approach of using the size of the bar stock to define the gouge size.  In an attempt to clarify the situation, the table below gives the comparative terms for the common sizes of bowl gouges: Beware though: this applies to bowl gouges ONLY - spindle gouges are normally referred to by their bar stock size regardless of where in the world you're sitting.

Sizing of Bowl Gouges

UK Terminology

Bar Stock (Tool) Diameter

US Terminology

1/4"

3/8"

3/8"

3/8"

1/2"

1/2"

1/2"

5/8"

5/8"

5/8"

3/4"

3/4"

3/4"

7/8"

7/8"

1"

1"

1"

In addition to the standard M2 tools shown on this page, we have also included the KRYO range tools from Henry Taylor.  The Kryo treatment is an advanced cryogenic technique that changes the structure of the whole of the tool blade.  Put simply, a blade is subjected to a complex immersion procedure at very low temperatures (down to minus 195 degrees Celsius - just 78 degreees above the absolute zero of temperature!) to produce an ultra fine, harder, martensitic structure, supported by fine carbides.  This results in a blade which shows excellent wear resistance, capable of retaining its cutting edge longer by at least a factor of 2 to 3 compared to standard M2 steel with conventional heat treatment.

Indeed, blades treated this way perform very favourably compared with more exotic materials such as 2060 and other ASP/Powder Metallurgy high speed steels and unlike hard surface coated tools (such as those with titanium nitride coatings) the performance is maintained throughout the life of the tool and can never get worn away.  Kryo treatment improves the strength, hardness and wear resistance characteristics throughout the tool.

The tools can be recognised by their distinctive gold coloured flume on the blade and the Kryo logo label on the handle.  The real test is to try one - then you will know you have a tool of exceptional performance.

Click for photo
Click on this icon  to view an enlarged photo in a separate browser window.

Traditional Bowl Gouges:  We are pleased to offer traditionally shaped gouges from both Henry Taylor Click for photo and Robert Sorby Click for photo.  These are supplied with a square across grind and both manufacturers grind their tools from solid High Speed Steel (HSS) bar stock, producing very stiff, robust tools.  The Taylor versions feature a U-shaped flute with almost vertical sides giving a high bending stiffness, giving rise to their name of 'Long and Strong  (L&S) gouges' whilst Sorby favour a slightly more open flute design which could be claimed to give improved chip clearance.

Taylor Bowl Gouge and Krco (cryogenic) bowl gouges: HS39, 842LH14, HS40, 842LH38, HS55, 842LH12, 842XLH12, 842XLH34, KHS39, KHS40

Henry Taylor (L)

Robert Sorby (R)

Sorby Bowl Gouge styles 842FLH14, 842FLH38, 842FLH12, HS165

NB: Sorby gouges marked (*), part number 842XLH, feature a longer handle length of 17" in lieu of the normal 14".  Taylor tools have 9.5" (HS39 & 40) and 11.5" (HS55) handles.

 
Henry Taylor crogenic (Kryo or cryo) bowl gouges:  HS84, HS85, HS1, HS80, HS137, HS136, HS156, HS155, KHS84, KHS85, KHS1, KHS80
 

Don't miss the further selections of bowl gouges in the
Hamlet Tools and Crown sections

Fingernail/O'Donnell/Celtic Grind Gouges: Click for photo of types: HS84, HS85, HS1, HS80, HS137, HS136, HS156, HS155, KHS84, KHS85, KHS1, KHS80 Most bowl gouges are delivered ground to a 'traditional' square across profile in plan and a bevel angle of between 40 and 45 degrees.  However, there is a school of practice, led by some of our most prolific production turners, who favour a longer side wing as originally devised by Mick O'Donnell and subsequently refined by Mick and others such as Liam O'Neill whose version is sometimes referred to as the 'Irish Grind'.  Robert Sorby are supplying a limited range of bowl gouges featuring a modest form of this grind and turners new to this style may find that this helps them get used to the grinding action required to produce the form for themselves.  Henry Taylor have taken one of their Superflute bowl gouges and given this a more radical form of the grind with the wing corners ground well back from the tip, almost blending into the flute.  But beware; this very effective grind does require a rather different technique from those used with traditional grinds, but it is very good for removing large amounts of material very quickly.  Also see Hamlet Gouges page and a useful sharpening jig .

 

*NB: Prices quoted in pounds sterling. 
§Value Added Tax will be added to invoices to EU residents unless
a valid VAT registration number is quoted when ordering.

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Superflute Bowl Gouges: Click for photo  The Superflute bowl gouge produced by Henry Taylor Tools was developed as a result of collaboration with one of the pioneers of modern turning, Peter Child, and may be considered as the Rolls-Royce of bowl gouges:  for many it is the only bowl gouge in existence! 

We are pleased to offer the full range of these marvellous tools from the supremely agile 1/4" to the enormously voracious 1" size.  If you are only going to own one bowl gouge, start and end your list with one of these - perhaps the HS85.  These gouges top my list every time.  Also see the Hamlet Masterflute gouges.

Superflute Gouge which includes some or all of HS84, HS85, HS1, HS80, HS137, HS136, HS156, HS155, KHS84, KHS85, KHS1, KHS80

Superflute gouge profile

 
Henry Taylor Kryo (cryogenic) tools and also types HS39, 842LH14, HS40, 842LH38, HS55, 842LH12, 842XLH12, 842XLH34, KHS39, KHS40, 842FLH14, 842FLH38, 842FLH12, HS165
 

*NB: Prices quoted in pounds sterling. 
§Value Added Tax will be added to invoices to EU residents unless
a valid VAT registration number is quoted when ordering.

Review Current Basket Contents 

Ray Key Modified Gouges: Click for photo of Ray Key modified gouges ref HS105, HS106 Ray Key must surely be one of the world's most competent and respected turners, as well as being one of the craft's greatest evangelists.  His many year's experience have led him to pioneer many innovations in turning and his specially modified spindle gouges are just one of these.  Don't let the name 'spindle gouges' put you off: concentrate instead on the 'modified', for these are gouges modified to help in forming a smooth outer surface on bowls as well as for hollowing of small vessels and boxes.  By letting the bevel rub and aligning the tools to give a long shear angle, these gouges will leave an unsurpassed finish straight off the gouge.  Catch a Ray Key demo if you can and find out what 'A Master' really looks like at work!

 

Don't be put off by the plethora of products available in this classification, we're always pleased to answer your questions and give recommendations if you e-mail or phone us.  Once you've got your bowl to shape, you may well find that there are ripples or undulations to be removed to achieve a really super finish.  For that, a good bowl scraper (however inappropriately  named) is the tool to reach for next.

*NB: Prices quoted in pounds sterling. 
§Value Added Tax will be added to invoices to EU residents unless
a valid VAT registration number is quoted when ordering.

Review Current Basket Contents 

©1997-2009 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice