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Conner Michaux

Wood gouges

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This isn’t exactly a knifemaking related question, I can remove this thread if needed. I’m looking for some wood carving gouges and I was wondering if any of you guys have any experience in that field. Where should I look to get a few? I’m looking for one about 1” wide.  

Ive done some looking online and all I can really find is the cheapo tools.     I will eventually try to make one but don’t have time right now. 

Edited by Conner Michaux

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I teach woodcarving at our local vo-tech.  Send me a PM and I'll share a bunch of info with you.

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21 minutes ago, Conner Michaux said:

@Chris Christenberry Pm sent, Thanks. 

 

And responded to. :D

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Garrett Wade sells high end stuff although I haven't been to their site recently. Other suspects would be Woodcraft, Rockler, and Woodpecker.

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A lot of carvers consider Pfiel (Swiss made) to be the gold standard... and they sell pretty much for the price of gold...

My favorite cheap set that I got many years ago was the Warren carving set of gouges that have an interchangeable handle. I still carry those around to this day. 

I’ve also used Flexcut and they hold a sharp edge with the usual maintenance.

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That’s for all the input, I definitely can’t  afford the Pfiel gouges. I’ll get the best I can afford :)

 

 

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Adam,  the Warren Traveler's Set is what I recommend to all my students as a starter set.  Nice piece of kit that would cost a bunch of money to duplicate buying one tool at a time.  I used Phiel most of the time, but I've a bunch of, and recommend to my students, Stoufer House gouges and chisels.  The steel and HT is on the same level as the Phiel at a much lower price.  Only negative thing I can say about them is the aren't ss finely finished as the Phiel and don't come ready to use.  But they'll sharpen them at the dealer's for $2 each if you don't know how to sharpen them as a newbie carver.  I'd have saved a lot of money filling my tool chest and tool rolls if I'd gone that route in the beginning. (I grow old, I get smart) :D I seldom carve any more because of Arthur...........Mr. Arthritis.  Can't carve more than about an hour and pay for it for several days.  I just teach now and make carving knives.

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Unfortunately I found the perfect gouge for what I want to do but it’s 80$ from Phiel.  I’m looking for a bent gouge because I’ll be carving out bowl shapes, but those seem to be much for expensive so I may have to settle for a non bent gouge. 

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Would something like this work? https://www.woodcraft.com/products/pfeil-swiss-made-8-sweep-spoon-gouge-10-mm-full-size

 

 

EDIT Never mind that is only 10mm wide, to small. 

Edited by Conner Michaux

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Absolutely, Conner..............and it's a Swiss Made Phiel to boot.  Just choose the size that best fits the contour you are going to be working on.

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Conner, go back and look at the chart.  They go all the way up to 30mm wide.  Of course, as they get larger they become more expensive.  A 30mm is $68.50, but how large do you think you need?????

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I was looking at this 35mm gouge, I pretty much have no idea what size I should look for, but I was thinking that bigger means more wood removal, and then once the bulk of it is carved out I go in with a small hook knife and finish up.  

 

 

https://www.woodcraft.com/products/pfeil-swiss-made-7-sweep-bent-gouge-35-mm-full-size

Edited by Conner Michaux

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I can make a bowl or spoon shaped item with the spoon gouge included in the Warren Traveler's kit.  It's only about 5/16" wide, but it will remove as much material as anything else.  Are you after the serenity of creating, or are you trying to make this (whatever it is) fast and for sale?  If it's the latter, clamp your project in a vise and Drill out the bulk with a Forstner bit and go from there with carving tools.  KISS !!!!!  Don't make it any harder than you have to if expediency is your goal.

 

Oh, and with a 35mm gouge, you'd better buy yourself a carver's mallet.  That's an awful large gouge to be pushing by hand, I think.

Edited by Chris Christenberry

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Thanks for the help, I am carving green wood, and it obviously cracks pretty fast, so when I first tried to carve a Kuksa I used a hook knife and carved almost the entire bowl out before it cracked, so if I can carve the bowl faster I can get it into a moist environment faster so I minimize cracking possibilities. That’s the reason behind looking to get a gouge.  And I want to do it with all handtools for some reason.   I’ll do some more looking. 

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That's why I asked if you were seeking serenity or speed.  I get it.  I do my work by hand as much as possible.  Spent 17 years as a custom furniture builder and cut all my mortises and tenons..........and dovetails by hand, the slow serene way. 

 

I know little about green wood carving other than you have to keep the wood wet.  If you don't already know (and I'm assuming you do, but I'll mention it anyway) the trick of carving and then putting the object in a ziplock bag with a wet cloth to keep the wood wet, then you need to try it.  If you already know about that, then I agree you need to get to the finished project as quickly as possible.  But, depending on how large your project its, you might want to consider that a smaller width gouge, "properly sharpened" will move a lot of material very quickly.

 

Keep me in the loop.  I'm interested in what you are doing.  PM me any time.  Would like to see what you are up to.

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Yeah Ive been doing the ziplock bag trick, But I had over 10 hours into hand carving with a decently sharp hook knife, And all the time it was out of the bag being carved must have been enough.   Thanks again for all the help, I'll post pictures If i can get something finished.

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"Ten Hours"?  This must be a pretty large object you are carving.  You said "decently sharp".  Will it easily shave hair anywhere on curve of the knife?   I'm anxious to see it, whatever it is.  Wish we lived closer together, I would enjoy helping you with it.

 

 


 

Edited by Chris Christenberry

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2 hours ago, Conner Michaux said:

Thanks for the help, I am carving green wood, and it obviously cracks pretty fast, so when I first tried to carve a Kuksa I used a hook knife and carved almost the entire bowl out before it cracked, so if I can carve the bowl faster I can get it into a moist environment faster so I minimize cracking possibilities. That’s the reason behind looking to get a gouge.  And I want to do it with all handtools for some reason.   I’ll do some more looking. 

 

Maybe try using a spray bottle to keep the wood moist. Put it in a plastic bag between sessions.. You will have to watch for mold though.

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 When I say decently sharp I mean it will do the job, I tried sharpening it but It didn’t work. So I just kept carving. I was using a piece of fresh cut cherry wood. I was carving a Kuksa which is a traditional camping drinking vessel from Finland I believe.  Very unfortunate that it cracked, it is a very nice looking piece of cherry. 

Either my knife is dull or the wood was pretty hard. And yeah the knife was able to shave hair through most of the curve. I tried using glue to seal the crack at first but then it split significantly more 

image.jpg

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You're gonna hate this suggestion... Fill it with some epoxy with that blue pigment? Tape up the back side, tilt the bowl and flood that side with epoxy?

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I have thought of that I would do that, but sadly I have not found a resin that is 100% food safe and somewhat heat resistant. I was making this with the intent on using it when I go camping.  Because I would be drinking out of it most resin is toxic or somewhat  food safe. But it would just leach into the drink. 

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Yup, Conner, Cherry is both dense and hard to carve.  You are correct, there's not really a food safe glue or epoxy.  If it's available in your area, Butternut would work well.  Of course, I'd recommend it be dried first.  I've often wondered how spoon carvers carve green wood utensils and keep them from cracking.

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I don’t really mind the carving tuff ness, I find that carving kind of entrances you with the little shavings of wood falling of the knife. Time kind of flys past when I carve.  But I do feel it in my hands afterwords. I’m currently carving a spoon out of it, I’ll post pics when it’s done. 

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