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Thread: Which chisel for naguri texturing?

  1. #1

    Which chisel for naguri texturing?

    I want to try carving on my next project. I want to make a piece with naguri style texturing. Im picturing the cut being about 1/2 wide and maybe 1/16 deep. Id like to buy a nice gouge upfront to practice with. What kind of chisel would you recommend?

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    I am no help but I love learning new words on SMC!
    Best Regards, Maurice

  3. #3
    Hard question to answer. The style/texture can be of any size from large adze to a small gouge.
    The size of the pattern created depends on the # gouge sweep (curvature) and the width.
    You mention 1/2" wide and 1/16" deep but I would need more info.
    1/2" wide would mean a 12-13mm wide gouge minimum, the 1/16" depth is controlled by you but you also need to know what curvature or sweep you're looking for, shallow or deep.
    This may help https://diefenbacher.com/sweep-charts/

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mullendore View Post
    I want to try carving on my next project. I want to make a piece with naguri style texturing. I’m picturing the cut being about 1/2” wide and maybe 1/16” deep. I’d like to buy a nice gouge upfront to practice with. What kind of chisel would you recommend?
    If you want a cut of 1/2-inch you would want a gouge bigger than the cut by at least half, maybe double the width, because if the tool is too narrow, the corners will dig in and lift the grain at the edges of your cut in a way that you won't like. I'd say an 20mm would be good. As far as the sweep is concerned, at half an inch wide, to get a cut of reasonable depth I would go with a 7 sweep.

    I just went up to the studio and grabbed a scrap of chestnut (I have a project going on using old chestnut and it was an off-cut) I grabbed a 7-sweep, 20 mm fishtail gouge and this was the result of a minute's carving.

    Naguri.jpg

    Another reason that you want a larger gouge is that you want to use a rolling cut, meaning that you rotate the tool along it's sweep (side to side) Slicing rather than pushing the tool.

    I would recommend the exact tool pictured, the PFeil (Swiss Made) 7F/20. It's expensive, but worth it. I was looking up on YouTube what Naguri is (I know the technique, but never heard it called that) and saw a video with a guy who developed a swinging router jig for a small palm router, which he said he developed because doing it by hand would "take forever." It kind of pissed me off. He demonstrated how bad doing it by hand is with a tiny, dull, palm caving tool..

    I'm no master at the technique, but I can't imagine moving and repositioning the jig, over and over, would be faster than carving it by hand with the properly sized, really sharp gouge and some practice. Plus, part of the beauty of the technique is the tiny irregularities in spacing and cutting angle, when it is done well. The mechanical regularity is, well mechanical.

    Good luck with it and post your results!

    DC
    Last edited by David Carroll; 01-28-2024 at 12:28 PM. Reason: ...and another thing!!

  5. #5
    David, thanks for the excellent reply. I know exactly the video youre talking about and I wanted to do this by hand instead of running a screaming router for a long time. I wasnt sure I would get a response to this post, so I studied the sweep charts and actually ended up ordering a #7/20mm by Hirsch. Glad to know I ended up pretty close to what Im after.

    I really appreciate the sample photo.

  6. #6
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    Will,

    You're welcome! The only reason I grabbed the fishtail gouge is because I have it and it was sharp! A straight gouge is fine. I have never have ordered a new Hirsch tool, though I have several older ones that I got second hand. I know the Pfeil tools come reasonably sharp right out of the package. I don't know about Hirsch. Sharpness is going to be key to this technique, along with the rolling cut.

    One of the reasons that I tend to grab fishtail gouges for things like this is that they are thinner in section than many modern straight gouges. I feel like the thinner, lighter tools are easier to do a shearing, scooping cut, which is what this is. Unless you are planning to do this in very hard wood, I wouldn't use a mallet at all.

    I don't know how experienced you are with sharpening carving tools, but if you aren't you'll need to become so soon. If you run into any snags, let us know. Have fun with it!

    DC
    Last edited by David Carroll; 01-29-2024 at 6:35 PM.

  7. #7
    Ive never carved a curved gouge besides my turning tools that I do on a grinder. I expect to spend some time learning how to sharpen these. Once I learned how to properly sharpen my bench chisels, it made a world of difference. I plan on investing the time up front learning to sharpen and practicing on scrap maple and walnut before I move to a real project.

  8. #8
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    Sounds good, when you get the gouge, post a picture of the working end, top and bottom (if you have a chance). I'm curious to see how Hirsch grinds and sharpens their tools. The main thing with doing a technique like this, in my opinion, is to have a relieved and polished bevel. By relieved, I mean a gentle radius where the flat bevel meets the body of the straight gouge. Polished means the bevel is shiny enough to see your reflection, this comes from repeated stropping or a kiss on a felt wheel. The reason for this is the radiused bevel rides in the cut you just made and it allows for a smooth arc at the base of your cut. The polished bevel burnishes the wood as it cuts, giving the smooth faceted look.

    There are lots of online resources for learning to sharpen carving tools (much different from turning tools or firmer gouges used in cabinetry). I like Chris Pye's videos, but his is a paysite. Mary May also has a paysite , but does have some free videos online, one is about sharpening carving gouges. It shows the technique, using only stones and a strop, no powered grinding.

    Good luck with it all!

    DC

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