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Thread: Beyond difference in steel

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Stow, OH

    Beyond difference in steel

    There should be more than steel alone. No doubt better steel provides more wear resistance, more turning and less sharpening. But an inferior shaped flute would cause clogging or chattering. When I examined the flutes, I noticed the slight difference, but never thought the difference would be so dramatic. May be all the gouges are sharpened to an angle which is deceiving. I made a wax mold of each flute; I then used a hand plane to get rid of the overfill. I scanned them on the flat bed scanner and enlarged them 200%. I was surprised that the scanned images have a 3-D effect. We are all taking about "U" and "V" flutes. But from the pictures, there are variation in flute depth and it is hard to define "U" and "V". Some are hybrids. If you look at the 1/2" and 5/8" (I am using American Standard here) Crown Pro-PM, the 1/2" is definitely one of the tightest "V" flute gouge, but the 5/8" is one of wider "U". I don't think I am qualified to give expert opinion that which is better than which. One of the major complaint about the Glaser tool is the "V" flute tends to clog. On the other extreme is a spindle gouge which is the most open flute gouge. We don't want to use it for side grain bowl turning, so there must be a happy medium in the middle.
    Alan Lacer has an article "Putting the Steel to the Test" in current Summer 2008 issue of American Woodturner. I want to do my part and provide some raw pictures of flute cross sections. There are more than difference in steel. I believe with the difference in flute, we can't get the same grind even with identical grinding jig settings. I borrow the 5/8" V gouge from Doug Thompson to do this project. What I had was an early production of the Thompson gouge, I knew he has made some changes in flute design. He has made the flute more open and decreased the depth of the flute. Since mine is no longer available, it would be better to do on the current production. All my other gouges are more than 2 years old, they may not reflect the current gouges. After I have done that, I think I should have included the Thompson "U" gouge, I borrowed one from Doug at today's club meeting. I am going to post the casting when I am done.

    There is so much more to be learned.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Very interesting Gord, looks like a bit of work too.

    I know that I like the "U" shaped gouges for most things, but I'll bet that the "V" shaped gouge will do something better than the "U" shaped gouge, I'm just not experienced enough to know what that is. I would say that either design, as well as the depth of the flute itself is something of a personal choice, but I'd also be willing to bet that each was designed with a certain job in mind, and that there is a lot of overlap from one design to the next, if that makes sense.

    Looking forward to the next casting!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Great way to show the differences, Gordon. I'm inexperienced enough that I don't know why one profile might be better than another. My go-to gouges are Thompson gouges...the 5/8" V and the 1/2" U. I just ordered another 1/2, so I figured I'd try the V in that size for variety. (And likely get the 5/8" U next.)

    Stu, in my limited experience, I like using the big V for roughing and for shearing cuts where I want a fairly long and straight section of the blade contacting the wood. I like the smaller U for inside curves like bowl interiors, or exterior shearing cuts where I want less of the blade contacting the wood.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    Great info Gordon. I am like Vaughn I like the V shape when I want to hog wood the V works great but find the U shape works better on the finial shaping cuts inside the bowl.
    Bernie W.

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

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

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