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Thread: Lathe tools - Bowl gouge and round nose scraper

  1. #1

    Lathe tools - Bowl gouge and round nose scraper

    Guys,

    I've found that the two main tools I'm using for my bowls are a 1/2" roughing gouge and a round nose scraper. I use the bowl gouge for roughing them out and sometimes cleaning things up a bit at the start of finishing. Then I use some light cuts with the scraper to smooth things out.

    Does this sound like a pretty typical setup? Or are there other tools that people find really useful?

    I'm always looking learn some new suggestions and improve my process.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
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    4,353
    I use a 1" roughing gouge to clean up my logs and get them rounded, sometimes switch to a round nose scraper to finish the shape and hollow shallow bowls, but as soon as I can I try to work with an actual bowl gouge. I have the 3 pc set from PSI. I think the middle sized one (1/2" I think) works best on most bowls.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
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    I have never used a roughing gouge or a scraper on any bowls. I use a 5/8" bowl gouge to rough the outside to a reasonable shape then switch to my 1/2" bowl gouge to clean up and shape the outside. When I turn it around I use my 5/8" to hog out most of the wood then switch again to the 1/2" or sometimes the 3/8" to shape the inside. My final 2 or 3 cuts are done with a freshly sharpened P & N conventional bowl gouge (no swept side). I can start sanding at about 150 instead of 80 grit on most woods but some still give you some tearout. Then I switch to what Bill calls the 80 grit gouge. If you can get Bill Grumbines DVD Turned Bowls Made Easy. He shows you about all the cuts you need.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    I use a bowl gouge inside and out until I'm at pretty much the final shape I want, then I usually do the final fine tweaking of the form (and removing any tool marks) with a square scraper outside and a round scraper inside. I don't like to use the scraper for removing a lot of wood. It took me a while to get the right touch with the scraper and not get spectacular catches, but on most woods I can get angel hair fine wisps of wood with a properly sharpened and applied scraper. I can usually start sanding at 120 or 220 grit after the scraper. If I'm still getting tearout, I'll use a shearing cut with the bowl gouge to clean it as much as possible, then switch to the 80 grit gouge.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
    Vaughn, it sounds like you use a similar approach to what I'm doing. I was actually mistaken in my original post, I am using a bowl gouge (1/2") not a roughing gouge (newbie). Like you, I do most everything with the bowl gouge and then use the scraper at the end to put one last smooth coat on the bowl before sanding.

    Thanks for the info, doesn't sound like I'm too far off track.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Kea'au Hawaii. Just down the road from Hilo town!
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    Is there any kind of chart that shows the shape and size of a turning tool and tells you what it is intended for? I've got a bunch of tools and don't know where to start. Next time I go up towards the volcano I'm going to cut some 5 or 6" diameter waivi (pronounced Y- V) to practice on. It is a dense wood that is very light in color almost like holey. I think I read that green wood is easy to turn and I think I can do "easy"
    Aloha,

    What goes around, comes around.

  7. #7
    Royall, I'm not sure if there is any sort of chart, maybe some of the other guys can chime in.

    I currently have one good tool (1/2" bowl gouge) and a bunch of cheap tools. I am planning on buying one more good tool at Christmas, do you guys think I'd be better off going with another bowl gouge (maybe 3/8") or getting a solid scraper (1/2")?

    If scraper, round nose, flat / square nose? Whats the difference / benefits between a square nose scraper and a round nose?

    I'm leaning towards the scraper right now as I've been using the cheap one to produce the final smooth finish on my bowls so far.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    30,020
    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson Mossman View Post
    ...If scraper, round nose, flat / square nose? Whats the difference / benefits between a square nose scraper and a round nose?..
    Dawson, typically the square nose scraper is used on convex surfaces like the outside of a bowl, and a round nose scraper is used on concave curves like the inside of a bowl. For me, I use both about equally. I highly recommend the heavy (thick) scrapers over the normal ones (like the one that comes in the Harbor Freight turning tool set). My big round nose scraper is 1/4" thick, and it's much more vibration-free than my thinners ones. My square scraper is not quite as thick, and one of these days I'll replace it with something heavier.

    Royall, I've not been able to find a chart, but catalogs (or websites) from folks like Craft Supplies USA or Packard Woodworks can often help give you a general idea about the various tools and their uses.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
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    5,533
    basic description of several gouges...

    as well as their use.

    Andrew Hilton has several good tips on his articles page:
    http://www.hiltonhandcraft.com/woodturningarticles.asp
    -Ned

  10. #10
    I've also noticed that there are radiused scrapers and regular round-nose scrapers. Is there a particular benefit to using one of these over the other?

    For working with 12" bowls, would you guys recommend a 1/2" or a 1" scraper? I'll only be getting one of them, so I want to make sure its the best all-around tool.

    Thanks!

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