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  • Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

    Been Wanting and looking at new bowl gouges for some time now. Was talking to Leo about them as well. But I just can't seem to decide on with one?

    I currently have a cheaper 1/2" gouge that's more of a shallow U shape that I have a fingernail grind on it. Think I finally got the final grind that I find works great for me. I want to stick with a 1/2" U-shape. I find that I can get fairly aggressive cuts with the grind that I have as well as good finishing cuts. From ready the V-shape gouges can be more aggressive. I would like to try a V-shape, but don't want to spend the money to find out I don't like it and still have to buy another gouge, especially spending $100 or more on one tool.

    These are the tools I'm looking at currently:

    Robert Sorby 3/8" bowl gouge, long handle, fingernail grind from Busy Bee.

    P&N 1/2" gouge from Lee Valley.

    Thompson Tools 1/2" U-shape

    Carter and Son 1/2" U-shape

    The Robert Sorby is the only one with a handle, currently on sale for $99.99, free shipping when spending $100. Ready to go, just sharpen. Not the cheapest of the bunch, but like said, ready to go. and with the free shipping and does end up being a cheaper option. It's the normal HSS steel unlike the other 3 tools.

    P&N, Cheapest tool, especially if I wait for free shipping with Lee Valley. Lots of flute, goes most of the way to the handle. M2 HSS steel. I have one of their detail gouges, very nice finish and seems to hold an edge very well, Though I haven't used it lots yet. Could almost buy 2 of these compaired to the rest.

    Thompson, really want to try one of these, but, the only places I have found to buy in canada only have the V-shape gouge. So I'd have to order from the states. This raises the cost by a fair bit and weither of not I get hit by customs...... According to readings Powdered steel holds an edge longer but doesn't get as sharp as M2 HSS steel.

    Carter and Son, again like Thompson Tools, their website only lists one seller in Canada and again they only stock V-shape gouges. So ordering from the states again. This tool is more expensive than the rest. It's an M42 HSS steel which they claim holds an edge just as well as powdered steel and also gets a much sharper edge as well.

    Honeslty I might have already bought a Thompson a couple weeks ago if they had the one I want in stock in Canada. Mostly because I see a lot of raves about them. With the P&N the amount of flute and price keeps drawing me to that one. And the Carter and Son I just stumbled on this last night, but sounds like a fine tool as well.

    Anyone have any feedback for me?
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  • #2

    Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

    You need to concentrate more on the actual flute shape. The so called "super flute" is by far the best as it gives a better cutting edge on the wings of a long grind. I have a Hamlet with the super flute and it's far superior to anything else I've got. The Thompson have a lot of hype and I can't say they were a good buy for me. The edge doesn't last as long as a Hamlet and the V or U (I have both) gives disappointing finish cuts with more tear out than other gouges. The Oneway double ended are good value and I would rate them better than Thompson. I gave several turners an opportunity to try any of my gouges and after they tried them on the same piece of wood the consensus was 1/ Hamlet super flute 2/ Oneway 3/ P&N and Thompson.
    Here's some good reading about the super flute http://www.peterchild.co.uk/info1/sflute.htm
    I also think the D-way tools are very good, but exchange rates put them a bit pricey.

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

      If you don't want to turn your own handle, get the Sorby. If you don't mind turning your own handle, P&N seems quite attractive.

      I try not to get caught up in "marketing" with such things as powdered metal and super duper tool steels. Those steels are real, they have their uses and none of them were made specifically for wood turning tools. A maker uses them to "market" their tools and to prove they are superiour/sharper/longer lasting than everyone else and thus deserve higher prices.

      Yes, the differences are there, you *may* be able to hone one steel sharper than the next, but honestly, I gave up on uber sharp, as it took too darn much of my precious shop time. As a hobby woodworker, costs also factor into the deal and I have never seen a turned object that could ONLY be turned using this or that steel. I'll likely not wear out my gouges in the time I have left on this planet, and if I did, I'd order something like the P&N and bung it in the old handle and carry on.

      (In a somewhat related story, I have a North Carolina born friend who does superb carving and wood turning. Whenever he visits my shop and grabs a tool that is a tad dull, he bypasses all my fancy shmancy sharpening dodads and jigs and goes straight to the grinder and grinds freehand. He'd rather turn than sharpen....)

      I think spending your money on wood or a better lathe would be better use of your $$$ than fancy turning tools, and if your lathe is half decent..... stick to more wood! <grin>

      So if it were me, I'd buy the P&N, though for full disclosure, most of my tools are Sorby plus I have a cheap CTC HSS set, and honestly, I cannot tell the difference in the tool steel in use, but I CAN tell the difference in the way that tool is shaped by the maker.

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

        Thanks for the input guys.

        think I'll take a look at the one way and hamlets as well.

        Roundhead, where do you get your hamlet?

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

          Brian, if you want to try a deep V gouge, why not get the Lee Valley ½” bowl gouge from the economy turning tools, $38.40 plus tax and wait for free shipping, that way you can experiment with some grinds on it for just a few $$$.

          I fell for the marketing hype, and have the Hamlet “super-flute” and also the Henry Tailor “super-flute” from Peter Child, not a good investment , I like my Robert Sorby gouges still the best, their steel and flute profile suits my style of turning, where the 9 inches of super flute steel, and only about half is actually the flute length, at $119-- rather un-palatable, mind you the Sorby isn’t cheap either, but they have lasted a very long time and I still have a few back-up barely used ones, for when the first ones are used up
          Last edited by Leo Van Der Loo; 10-10-2017, 05:33 PM.

          Have fun and take care
          Leo Van Der Loo

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

            Originally posted by Leo Van Der Loo View Post
            Brian, if you want to try a deep V gouge, why not get the Lee Valley ½” bowl gouge from the economy turning tools, $38.40 plus tax and wait for free shipping, that way you can experiment with some grinds on it for just a few $$$.

            I fell for the marketing hype, and have the Hamlet “super-flute” and also the Henry Tailor “super-flute” from Peter Child, not a good investment , I like my Robert Sorby gouges still the best, their steel and flute profile suits my style of turning, where the 9 inches of super flute steel, and only about half is actually the flute length, at $119-- rather un-palatable, mind you the Sorby isn’t cheap either, but they have lasted a very long time and I still have a few back-up barely used ones, for when the first ones are used up
            Great point about the Lee Valley econo tools! I have a couple, and while I'm not a fan of the handle style, for the price of admission, they are a great buy. I agree on Sorby tools not being cheap, but they seem worth it.

            I really need to get around to trying a P&N.... I'll probably try the skew as I use my skew a lot in spindle turning, which makes it the most likely to be worn down by sharpening, in my shop.

            Comment

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            • #7

              Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

              having never used anything else except typical yardsale turning tools and the leevalley economy set, i dont profess to be an expert
              i do really like the cuts i get from the lv bowl gouge, took a while to get my technique and im still cutting timidly, but im getting nice long shavings these days.
              i did buy a second one, first was getting kinda short but i still use the short one as well
              my shop is a beaver lodge
              steve, sarnia, ont



              1940's Beaver Jointer

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

                I have a 1/2" Sorby, 1/2" Thompson V, and a Lee Valley Econo. All are good tools. I seem to favour the Thompson, but for the price, you can't beat the Lee Valley. The biggest advantage of the other two in my opinion is more flute length to begin with.

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

                  Originally posted by Leo Van Der Loo View Post
                  Brian, if you want to try a deep V gouge, why not get the Lee Valley ½” bowl gouge from the economy turning tools, $38.40 plus tax and wait for free shipping, that way you can experiment with some grinds on it for just a few $$$.

                  I fell for the marketing hype, and have the Hamlet “super-flute” and also the Henry Tailor “super-flute” from Peter Child, not a good investment , I like my Robert Sorby gouges still the best, their steel and flute profile suits my style of turning, where the 9 inches of super flute steel, and only about half is actually the flute length, at $119-- rather un-palatable, mind you the Sorby isn’t cheap either, but they have lasted a very long time and I still have a few back-up barely used ones, for when the first ones are used up
                  The superflute is not and never has been marketing hype. It's a shape developed on some good engineering principles. So here's a deal for you Leo, send me your terrible Hamlet and any other superflute gouges and I'll send you the LV tools in exchange. The number of good turners i know who have reached the same conclusions about the flute shape on a bowl gouge far out number the 1 dissenter, you.

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

                    Originally posted by Roundhead View Post

                    The superflute is not and never has been marketing hype. It's a shape developed on some good engineering principles. So here's a deal for you Leo, send me your terrible Hamlet and any other superflute gouges and I'll send you the LV tools in exchange. The number of good turners i know who have reached the same conclusions about the flute shape on a bowl gouge far out number the 1 dissenter, you.
                    I read some comments by well known turners the other day Pete, and this is what they say about the flute shapes, of course they are not as much an experts as what you are.

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	Shape of flute.jpg Views:	1 Size:	26.2 KB ID:	1142653
                    Click image for larger version  Name:	flute shape.jpg Views:	1 Size:	48.7 KB ID:	1142654

                    Maybe there are other different gouge shape sellers that like to get your good money


                    Click image for larger version  Name:	Another gouge shape.jpg Views:	1 Size:	10.0 KB ID:	1142658
                    Click image for larger version

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                    Last edited by Leo Van Der Loo; 10-12-2017, 09:15 PM.

                    Have fun and take care
                    Leo Van Der Loo

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

                      Think I remember looking for the Hamlet awhile ago and everyone was out if stock.

                      think as suggested I'm going to wait for free shipping with Lee Valley and order a P&N 1/2" and try one of their econo 1/2.

                      Comment

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                      • #12

                        Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

                        I have the 1/2" Econo from LV. I am NOT and experienced bowl turner by any stretch (I think I have made maybe 10 bowls in my life). But, as others have said, this gouge seems pretty good. It is a bit short on the tool end. I liked the fact that it was cheap, but still good steel. All the better to develop sharpening skills. I would hate to grind away a $120 bowl gouge while mucking around trying to develop a good profile.
                        FWIW
                        Cheers
                        Randy

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

                          Originally posted by scroudt View Post
                          Think I remember looking for the Hamlet awhile ago and everyone was out if stock.

                          think as suggested I'm going to wait for free shipping with Lee Valley and order a P&N 1/2" and try one of their econo 1/2.
                          Excellent choice IMHO and to paraphrase a friend of mine: "No amount of money spent on a tool can ever replace the value of the time it takes learning to use it properly"

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

                            Originally posted by Randy in Calgary View Post
                            I have the 1/2" Econo from LV. I am NOT and experienced bowl turner by any stretch (I think I have made maybe 10 bowls in my life). But, as others have said, this gouge seems pretty good. It is a bit short on the tool end. I liked the fact that it was cheap, but still good steel. All the better to develop sharpening skills. I would hate to grind away a $120 bowl gouge while mucking around trying to develop a good profile.
                            FWIW
                            thats exacly why i bought a replacement econo gouge from LV, ive taken almost 2 inches "mucking around trying to develop a good profile"!!
                            but i have a nice profile now that suits me nicely

                            i started using the oneway wolverine jig with the bowl gouge attachment a few months ago, it helps a lot
                            my shop is a beaver lodge
                            steve, sarnia, ont



                            1940's Beaver Jointer

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: Bowl Gouge, Can't Decide

                              Just something to consider, the flute on the P&N 1/2 is very small/narrow, especially compared to my other gouges. I have P&N in their 3/8 and 5/8 and am happy with these-they have similar size flute/width as other gouges, but I quickly returned the 1/2 inch as it was too small and plugged up all the time. As for their steel, same as any other HSS. If you want a 1/2 gouge, look at hamlet, nice open flute design, I use mine for finishing cuts. If you want some fancier metal and long flutes/usable gouge, the oneway materflute gouge is a delight to use. Oneway also carries the crown Pro PM line, and is much cheaper than what LV sells them for. I have a set of these and I do find this steel to be excellent in edge hold abilities, better than Thompson. all my spindle gouges are now Pro PM and the majority of my bowl gouges as well. I could not be happier, long flutes/usable steel, parabolic flute design, great edge holding ability. You've been turning long enough, and seem to do it often enough, it might be worth thinking of investing in decent tools. If you know how to sharpen them, they will last a very long time, and pay dividends. If you turn a bowl or two a month, nothing wrong with the LV economy set, but if you turn more then that, you will quickly run out of gouge and have to by again. By the time you do this, it would have cost you the same or less as a none-economy bowl gouge.
                              ​​​​​​
                              Last edited by MapleBD; 10-13-2017, 06:20 AM.

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