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Deo Lawson

How to sharpen a gouge, for the average bloke

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I have some wood, a nice thumb plane, and a gouge. I want to finish my first top (it's been shelved for way too long now), but my gouge is just way too dull and there's too much material left to plane it all. I have only one fine stone.

Is there some way I can jig the gouge so I can sharpen it successfully with a regular old square stone, or do I need some other form of equipment?

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You are severly underequipped for the task. Lots of different methods for proper sharpening, and none of them include a "regular old square stone".

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15 minutes ago, FiddleDoug said:

You are severly underequipped for the task. Lots of different methods for proper sharpening, and none of them include a "regular old square stone".

Poppycock. You can sharpen a gouge with 'regular old square stone'(s), with the addition of a slipstone to remove the burr on the inside.

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37 minutes ago, FiddleDoug said:

You are severly underequipped for the task. Lots of different methods for proper sharpening, and none of them include a "regular old square stone".

my stones(he he he) are rectangular, and I sharpen gouges.

Use the gouge to cut one corner of the stone to the radius of the gouge and that will serve as your slipstone.

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you can get a piece of 1/2" glass table top, or piece of granite cut off for free, that will give you a very flat surface to work with and then as jezzupe suggested the scary sharp does work very well on the cheap , of course there is a learning curve like anything else. Part of the trick is to keep it sharp , not to let it get too dull before sharpening again , that save a lot of time in the long run , if you have to reshape a blade , I think a grinder will be needed.. good luck 

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also with  the gouge , take the gouge on a dowel upside down and cut the dowel or wood to the exact curve of the gouge, and then get some jewlers rouge or chromium oxide and put it on the dowel then you have a final sharpening for the inside. 

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5 hours ago, FiddleDoug said:

You are severly underequipped for the task. -snip -

Huh? FiddleDoug - Surely you can't believe that! Man said he has the gouge.

cheers edi

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8 hours ago, Deo Lawson said:

I have some wood, a nice thumb plane, and a gouge. I want to finish my first top (it's been shelved for way too long now), but my gouge is just way too dull and there's too much material left to plane it all. I have only one fine stone.

Is there some way I can jig the gouge so I can sharpen it successfully with a regular old square stone, or do I need some other form of equipment?

Is the gouge incannel (bevel on inside of curve, not uncommon in vintage Japanese or patternmaker's gouges) or outcannel (bevel on outside, typical common "bench" gouge)?  IMHO, outcannel gouges can be done carefully on a flat stone, incannel require slipstones, tapered round diamond hones, or abrasive paper/cloth wrapped around a dowel.

One trick I've found (which may not be of current use to the OP, but someone might find it useful) is to cover a coarser slipstone than you really want to use for final sharpening (I've got an nice old set of Norton gouge stones that fall in that category) with a supple fine or superfine grit cloth, or with wax paper with superfine diamond paste on it.  :)

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13 hours ago, Deo Lawson said:

 

Is there some way I can sharpen it successfully with a regular old square stone, or do I need some other form of equipment?

Depends what state the gouge is in at the moment. 

I'd suggest adding at least a coarse (300 grit to so) diamond stone for initial bevel shaping to your sharpening armoury. Will be handy for all your sharpening needs.

Perfectly decent ones aren't expensive any more.

https://www.its.co.uk/pd/210082-8-x-3-Double-Sided-Diamond-Sharpening-Stone---CoarseFine-_ULT210082.htm?gclid=Cj0KCQiA1sriBRD-ARIsABYdwwFike2Zlb2m-yeNbzteV_sVVVY2VMZE3o9cFG4Um127UrHuvoVDWOwaAim1EALw_wcB

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11 hours ago, duane88 said:

my stones(he he he) are rectangular, and I sharpen gouges.

Use the gouge to cut one corner of the stone to the radius of the gouge and that will serve as your slipstone.

I don't even do that. I've always just used the 90 degree edge of the stone, which works perfectly well.

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For regular gouge, not in-canal, I locate the handle to my hip (or where ever gives me the right angle) with my right hand at the end of the handle and my left hand adding downward pressure in the handle near the blade.  Then rotate my torso while also rotating the gouge with my right hand while maintaining a fixed location on my body.  You still need to remove the wire off the inner edge.  Plenty of cheap books and how to methods out there.  I think this method was posted by Michael Darnton a long time ago.  Not sure, but works well for me in any case.

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Yes, but I don't swing my whole body, just the gouge in front of me. And if you are just using stones, no grinder, you can do the roughing pass, the one to establish the first bevel, at a lower angle, and then go directly to a much finer stone at some blunter angle, so you don't have to grind on the whole initial angle. 

So in your case I might shape with a 300 diamond, then raise my locked wrist an inch on  by body and go to 1000 sandpaper on glass, then raise my wrist again and go to a 12,000 Chinese stone. Since you will be only working on the last fraction of a mm of the tip with the two final stones, you can skip stones. I commonly go from my 120 hand grinder directly to the 12,000 using this method. Remember you don't have to polish a bevel that isn't going to touch anything---just do the tip.

Though it took me a while to appreciate it, I believe one of the best deals on the market is the Chinese grey stone from Woodcraft. It cuts very quickly and is extremely fine. It won't "polish" the edge to a mirror because while the grit is fine, it isn't smooth (polishing grits are rounded, not sharp), so you are left with a 13000 grit haze. Initially I thought this was because the stone was coarser, but no, it really is the finest stone I own, and I prefer it to a supposedly-13,000 grit or so synthetic that cost me $120. The proof for this pudding was on my straight razor, a harder test than woodworking tools.

https://www.woodcraft.com/products/natural-water-stone-8-x-2-x-1

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Mr. Darnton has precisely the same experience as I do with the woodcraft stone.  One of my favorites.  

For regular gouges, I use the green chrome compound on a buffing wheel to polish the inside (if it's messed up, I have slip stones and then abrasive paper on a suitable dowel to get the junk out - lots of my tools are my great grandfather's and need restoration prior to use).  

Following the woodcraft stone, I go straight to stropping strokes on maple with compound on it.  Just to get that edge polished.  With gouges, if I can't get my technique smooth they end up a bit irregularly polished or whatever, but still work.  I keep the maple & compound stuff right by me and touch up while I work.  I used to use a leather wheel in my drill press to polish and keep touched up, but I sold my drill press when I moved.  It was a bit scary, regardless!

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2 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

For regular gouge, not in-canal, I locate the handle to my hip (or where ever gives me the right angle) with my right hand at the end of the handle and my left hand adding downward pressure in the handle near the blade.  Then rotate my torso while also rotating the gouge with my right hand while maintaining a fixed location on my body.  You still need to remove the wire off the inner edge.

Well aren't you quite the Neanderthal. :P

That's pretty much what I do too, when I don't think anyone is watching, lest I be accused of being from the Disco era. :blink:

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9 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Well aren't you quite the Neanderthal. :P

That's pretty much what I do too, when I don't think anyone is watching, lest I be accused of being from the Disco era. :blink:

Yes, actually I am.  But only about 2%. ;)

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5 hours ago, JohnCockburn said:

I don't even do that. I've always just used the 90 degree edge of the stone, which works perfectly well.

I took up that habit when a friend was going to toss the fragments of her broken water stone. Most of my water stones have the edges rounded off for different gouges.

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Wet paper can be an easy way to sharpen odd shapes.   I have a wooden paddle flat on one side and rounded on the other, the edges are rounded to tighter radii.   I can wrap the wet paper around this to address whatever odd shape I need to sharpen.

This started as a support for a strop leather, but has ended up with a more complicated shape and many more uses.

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16 hours ago, David Beard said:

Wet paper can be an easy way to sharpen odd shapes.   I have a wooden paddle flat on one side and rounded on the other, the edges are rounded to tighter radii.   I can wrap the wet paper around this to address whatever odd shape I need to sharpen.

This started as a support for a strop leather, but has ended up with a more complicated shape and many more uses.

If you get a chance I am curious as to what that looks like thanks. 

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On 1/30/2019 at 7:21 PM, FiddleDoug said:

You are severly underequipped for the task. Lots of different methods for proper sharpening, and none of them include a "regular old square stone".

What I was getting at here is that a "regular old stone" might be 500 grit. No where near fine enough to get anything approaching a good edge. I typically go 1000, 4000, 8000, 12000 grit stones. There are lots of methods out there that don't require a lot of money. The wet paper on glass method can be a good one. In any case, spend some time and learn how to sharpen properly. A dull tool will make it a lot harder to do the work on the wood, and can actually be less safe.

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