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Old 11-12-2018, 01:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Tips for Thompson V Bowl Gouge

Hey all - I've started turning bowls this year along with my pens, and was gifted a Thompson 5/8" V Bowl gouge. I've watched a lot of videos, but don't have a lot of people in my area I can watch and learn from.

I was wondering if anyone knows of any videos or resources for using this shaped gouge specifically. I have a terrible time with catches, or needing to go very slow/shallow. I'm trying to keep the angles right, etc. compared to videos I have seen, but not sure if there is some other trick beyond practice. I watched a couple videos from Brendan Stemp (youturn.tv) that were very helpful, but he appears to have removed them...

Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Hi Eric, I don’t know where you are located in Oregon but I see about 10 registered IAP members in the state, 2 Woodcraft stores and a number of AAW chapters. (American Association of Woodturners). If you can hook up with another Turner, club or take a class at a Woodcraft, it will greatly speed up your bowl turning capabilities.
The 5/8” bowl gouge should cut very nicely....Doug makes great tools. If you are working smaller bowls, you may want a smaller gouge.
With bowl gouges (and most Turning tools), if you don’t have bevel support right behind the cut, you will have problems. Also, different grinds make a difference as to the cut and where you are in the bowl.
Good luck!
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Hi Eric,

What Charlie says about bevel support. I'm just getting back into bowls after a long absence.

My go-to guy on YouTube is robohippy. While he is primarily a scraper guy start to finish, his videos on gouges are really well done in the way that he uses large scale tool cross section cutouts and drawings to show how catches occur.

He's also an Oregon guy if I'm not mistaken.

Worth a look.

Bill
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the input! I'll check those options out.

Charlie - Do you have a rough sizing recommendation for tools to bowl (or other turned items) size? Like a 5/8" gouge should be for bowls 6"-14", 1/2" gouge is for bowls 4"-8" or something like that?
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noot17 View Post
Thanks for the input! I'll check those options out.

Charlie - Do you have a rough sizing recommendation for tools to bowl (or other turned items) size? Like a 5/8" gouge should be for bowls 6"-14", 1/2" gouge is for bowls 4"-8" or something like that?
I find I prefer to use my 5/8” Thompson bowl gouge on larger bowls/ platters such as 10” - 16” and the 1/2” on smaller work. My lathe is 16” max.
The 5/8” can take a bigger cut but that is not always what is needed. Sometimes a smaller cut can be easier to control.
Also, grinding a secondary and sometimes third bevel can help eliminate rubbing the back corner of the grind when going around the curve to the bottom of the bowl. This rubbing burnishes the wood and will show up when you put on your finish....even if sanded.
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Look up Glen Lucas, he's an Irish turner that specializes in bowls and I think his gouges are all V-grooved... he's very good and does some nice videos.



Personally I use Hurricane bowl gouges, ground at 60 degrees on the 5/8 and 50 degrees on the 1/2 inch... I set my tool rest at about or just below center and keep the handle of the gouge down slightly so I ride the bevel... not much problem with catches. Works for me... your technique may be different.
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Robohippy (Reed Gray) is a regular participant at Woodturners Resource and as mentioned above lives somewhere in Oregon. Almost certainly he will know other Oregon turners if you do not live close to him. There's nothing like face to face time.
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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I have the same Thompson V 5/8 bowl gouge. I have kept the profile exactly as it was when I received it. Before I say what I think your problem might be I’ll point out I have been Turning bowls large and small for about 9 years and I have 7 bowl gouges all with different profiles. One of my non-Thompson bowl gouges is also a V.

In my opinion the profile on the Thompson is more prone to catches that other profiles and is more difficult for new Turners to use. Don’t get me wrong. I love mine but I have turned a lot of bowls.

If you look at the gouge from the side and look at the cutting edge from the front tip to the back of the wing you will notice it is curved (arc) rather than straight. In my experience new bowl Turners have difficulty because of that arc and the cutting edge makes unexpected contact because they don’t realize where the tool is going to make contact. It is also more aggressive. I have asked some Turners in my local club who have over 30 years experience and they have confirmed my opinion.

I teach a lot of people to turn. I do not use my Thompson tool to teach new Turners. I use one of my other bowl gouges. I have also worked with several newer Turners who have their own tools and they have described exactly what you describe. I look at their bowl gouge (brand and size does not matter) and it will have that arc. I show them one of my bowl gouges and the difference. They try mine and half their problems go away. The other half of their problem is technique. Technique is easily fixed with some hands on help. Joining a local AAW is excellent advice given above.

Unfortunately watching videos is not always the answer because you don’t have someone standing next to you to help with small changes or who can see what you can’t. I struggled with the skew for many years until someone in my local club helped me. It was just a few very small adjustments I needed to make. I am now very comfortable using the skew.
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Old 11-13-2018, 07:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Thank you for the insight, Jim. That is helpful, and makes complete sense about the curved wing. I do have another bowl gouge from a cheap HSS set. I think I'll try turning a couple using that to see if I notice a difference and can work on my technique before going back to the Thompson.

Would it be possible to grind the Thompson differently so it has straight wings instead of curved, or would that be a waste if I can just practice on the other gouge first?
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