Chad Sobodash

Straight Gouges or Bent Gouges?

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Picking up a new gouge to replace an old fractured one (need to get a set of "throwaway" gouges to keep in the bottom of my toolbox, otherwise this sort of thing happens). On TraditionalWoodworker.com, I saw they had bent gouges. I've never actually used these kinds of gouges, and I was wondering if anyone on here had. Do you prefer them for a particular job? Why?

At first glance, I can't really see an advantage in the bent gouge, besides the inside of a top. Any input on this? I'd take the plunge and add one to my collection, but I'm replacing my main 1" #3.

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A number of years ago, I took a woodcarving class from a European trained, master woodcarver, Demetrios Klitsas. He is an excellent woodcarver, and has done some amazing work. I showed up with a big collection of tools that I had amassed (several gouges and chisels from each manufacturer of woodcarving tools that I could find). One of the first tools that I had bought was a Pfeil bent gouge. When Mr. Klitsas looked over my tools he picked up the bent gouge, and I asked him if he thought it was a good tool. He said he had only one bent gouge, and he had a very good use for it, which he would show me later. A few hours went by, and it was break time. Mr. Klitsas took me into the back room, where he kept the coffee maker, and there, inside a plastic jar of non-dairy creamer, was his only bent gouge, serving as a spoon for measuring out powdered coffee creamer. He said that was all they were good for. I have told this story many times. Since then, I have only bought one other bent gouge, which was marketed as an excellent tool for carving the heels on guitar necks. The bend makes it almost impossible to use, because the bend puts the cutting edge in the wrong plane of attack, when you are holding the tool correctly. I don't think these bent gouges will serve you well in your violin making. The bend is meant to allow you to get into very tight inside curves, which just don't exist on the violin (even inside the top or bottom plate). However, I am a rank amateur, and other more advanced makers might have a different opinion, which you should regard as more learned than mine. The bottom line, though, is that you have to find the right tools for you and the way you work. If you find that a certain tool or technique works for you, despite what anybody else says, ignore everybody else and do it the way that works for you. There is no right or wrong way to get to the proper end result. Enjoy the journey.

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Mr. Klitsas took me into the back room, where he kept the coffee maker, and there, inside a plastic jar of non-dairy creamer, was his only bent gouge, serving as a spoon for measuring out powdered coffee creamer. He said that was all they were good for. I have told this story many times.

Great story, good tip. Thanks very much!

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I prefer the bent gouges for hollowing the plates; the straight ones didn't seem to want to make the turn at the bottom very well, unless I sharpened them at a very blunt angle. That, and roughing the recurve on the outer surface of the plates are the only thing I'd ever use them for.

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I think bent gouges have very limited use in violinmaking, more used in heavy carving with alot of tight concave areas etc.. I have a draw full of beautifully made late 19th century English bent gouges and spoon gouges by Addis with beautiful boxwood handles,they have never left the drawer .Never found a use for them.

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I think bent gouges have very limited use in violinmaking, more used in heavy carving with alot of tight concave areas etc.. I have a draw full of beautifully made late 19th century English bent gouges and spoon gouges by Addis with beautiful boxwood handles,they have never left the drawer .Never found a use for them.

I also found this to be the case, so in the end I sold them all off.

Handy for sculptures and carving in confined spaces, but not really any use on violins.

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The only bent I have is a Pfeil one. It's a Xmas gift that I never use but I can't get rid of. Creamer's spoon is a good suggestion ;) .

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I think bent gouges have very limited use in violinmaking, more used in heavy carving with alot of tight concave areas etc..

Agreed. I only have two: a huge one (40mm) for scooping out the plates, and a 20 mm spoon for tighter concaves and a little cleanup. I could do fine without them, but I do find them useful for these specific jobs. I also use the 20mm spoon gouge to get dry abrasives and and resins out of their containers.

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Arg, another zombie thread come back to life! :rolleyes:  I happened to see this Addis "spoon" gouge while looking at tool porn and thought it would be good for roughing C-bouts, inside and outside.  Is this the type of tool shape previously discussed as only being good for scooping creamer?  If not, what do you think about it's use in the c-bout area?

Thanks,

Jim

 

ADDIS 3/4 x 10 inch No. 18 Boxwood Handled Carving Gouge - 77439

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Yes like that ,they are known in the Uk as ``sow back`` gouges. Some people may find them useful for violin work but i never found a use. I had a load with even more curve and weird shapes. More used for sculptural carving work.

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I use a bent gouge for rough arching and graduating.  Mine has a more severe bend than the one pictured above and has a long handle for better leverage.  When rough arching, particularly spruce, it is easy to take off wood at too steep an angle, so care must be taken.  Roughing the inside requires less care.  I find the bent gouge more effective in hogging wood than the flatter Stubai I have.  All of my other gouges are scroll gouges of the Stubai variety so they are straight.

Turns out mine is not so different in it bend.

20171207_153506crop.jpg

Edited by Julian Cossmann Cooke
add pic

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I've never been able to come to grips with gouges.  I have 4 fingernail gouges I use for scrolls.  For everything else I use planes and scrapers.  Yes, a gouge would probably be faster on the outside, but I cringe at the feeling when they start to dig in if I go with the grain.  Going cross grain I find that the bench would have to be really low to get enough power behind a gouge.  And no bigger than 3/4 inch wide with a big curve, nothing flatter than a #7 or it is too much like work.  Then blend with a plane!  I do occasionally lop off some high spots with a gouge, but I don't like the way that out-cannel gouges feel.  The one Jim has pictured might be fine for crosswise in the c bout area.  In-cannel of course.

On the inside, a plane is ideal.

 

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58 minutes ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

I use a bent gouge for rough arching and graduating.  Mine has a more severe bend than the one pictured above and has a long handle for better leverage.  When rough arching, particularly spruce, it is easy to take off wood at too steep an angle, so care must be taken.  Roughing the inside requires less care.  I find the bent gouge more effective in hogging wood than the flatter Stubai I have.  All of my other gouges are scroll gouges of the Stubai variety so they are straight.

We seem to have similar tools.  I was mostly thinking about the c-bout area and working out ways of making sheeps fly with only one hand.  Even being ambidextrous, set up time is greatly extended when you can't use your other hand to stabilize either the work or tool.  But I don't need to buy a gouge to make coffee.  Hence the re-animation of this thread.

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I'm with Ken here. I was taught to arch start to finish with planes, working from a jack down to tiny flat and curved finger planes. Inside, I start with a Stanley 100 1/2 and go smaller from there. I do use a gouge as part of the edge fluting, however. 

Whatever gets you to a good end result seems ok by me. Gouges will do it, planes will do it, sawzalls will do it...

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On 12/8/2017 at 4:12 AM, JacksonMaberry said:

I'm with Ken here. I was taught to arch start to finish with planes, working from a jack down to tiny flat and curved finger planes. Inside, I start with a Stanley 100 1/2 and go smaller from there. I do use a gouge as part of the edge fluting, however. 

Whatever gets you to a good end result seems ok by me. Gouges will do it, planes will do it, sawzalls will do it...

 

On 12/8/2017 at 4:12 AM, JacksonMaberry said:

Whatever gets you to a good end result seems ok by me. Gouges will do it, planes will do it, sawzalls will do it..

I'm a dab hand with an angle grinder, lancelot etc :-)

cheers edi

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On 12/7/2017 at 11:08 AM, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

I use a bent gouge for rough arching and graduating.  Mine has a more severe bend than the one pictured above and has a long handle for better leverage.  When rough arching, particularly spruce, it is easy to take off wood at too steep an angle, so care must be taken.  Roughing the inside requires less care.  I find the bent gouge more effective in hogging wood than the flatter Stubai I have.  All of my other gouges are scroll gouges of the Stubai variety so they are straight.

Turns out mine is not so different in it bend.

20171207_153506crop.jpg

I think I will end up buying one.  Nice oldies pop up regularly on feebay.  I'm looking at a couple 16 sweep (bent gouges have a different numbering system) gouges. One is a 3/4 the other 1 1/8.  The larger one will make it very similar in size and shape to my roughing gouge.  What is your gouges sweep and size?  I can see a sweep number on your gouge but not what it is.  Can you show a picture of your handle?  Unfortunately I've lost touch with the guy who turned my other long handles so I'll need to figure out a new way to make one.  I don't have a lathe.

Cheers,

Jim

london_pattern_carving_chisels.thumb.jpg.d65f0170adfeeaa0d885ed923202f33a.jpg

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3 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

 

Unfortunately I've lost touch with the guy who turned my other long handles so I'll need to figure out a new way to make one.  I don't have a lathe.

Cheers,

Jim

A couple of bucks worth of iron pipe from the hardware store may not get you laid by the "fancy tool groupies", but will otherwise work just fine. :)

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13 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

A couple of bucks worth of iron pipe from the hardware store may not get you laid by the "fancy tool groupies", but will otherwise work just fine. :)

But they would be my first groupies!  Actually for this build, as a one armed bandit, your handle setup might be ideal. I can push with my chest while guiding with my left hand.  Thanks for the idea. 

-Jim 

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Probably go for a wooden dowel instead of an iron pipe.  I assume you’re talking about something like your roughing gouge handle. 

Jim

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On 12/9/2017 at 11:12 AM, Jim Bress said:

I think I will end up buying one.  Nice oldies pop up regularly on feebay.  I'm looking at a couple 16 sweep (bent gouges have a different numbering system) gouges. One is a 3/4 the other 1 1/8.  The larger one will make it very similar in size and shape to my roughing gouge.  What is your gouges sweep and size?  I can see a sweep number on your gouge but not what it is.  Can you show a picture of your handle?  Unfortunately I've lost touch with the guy who turned my other long handles so I'll need to figure out a new way to make one.  I don't have a lathe.

Cheers,

Jim

london_pattern_carving_chisels.thumb.jpg.d65f0170adfeeaa0d885ed923202f33a.jpg

It's an 18 sweep

20171210_110319crop.jpg

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6 minutes ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

It's an 18 sweep

20171210_110319crop.jpg

Thanks.  Umm, did you steal some kids baseball bat for that handle.  I'm not judging, just thinking about doing the same thing. :ph34r:  Ok, I won't steal it. 

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