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Thread: Spindle gouge bevel angle?

  1. #1
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    Spindle gouge bevel angle?

    I have a 1/2" sorby detail gouge that I have ground at 40 (also removed the heel) and it works ok now that I moved away from the jigs and started sharpening by hand... but it's still just an ok tool. I now have a d-way detail spindle gouge (1/2") on the way and was thinking about trying a 25 bevel when it suddenly occurred to me that I shouldn't just trow arbitrary angles at the work and ask some folks that know better. I've watched and read a ton but there's so much that's either left vague or that contradicts the last thing I read. Thanks for the guidance.
    "The reward of a thing well done is having done it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. #2
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    I can't see how a bevel angle makes a difference from an okay tool to a great tool. I only find the quality of the steel to make that difference. Your arms can adjust to work with any and every angle, so why would that change performance?

  3. #3
    There is no single correct answer on bevel angle.
    The bevel angle on a spindle/detail gouge partially determines how aggressive the cut is.
    With a low, 25 degree bevel angle, you get more of a paring cut. This can be great for softer woods and fine detail work but does dull more quickly.
    With a higher, 40 degree bevel angle, you get more of a scoop like an SRG or bowl gouge. This can be good for harder woods, making the edge last longer but does not provide a fine enough point for some detail work.
    this is one of my detail gouges, ground between 35-40
    Spindle gouge.jpg

  4. #4
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    I consider this a good place to start and then if you think you need something better, try it. Sharpening always seems to turn into a "personal choice" thing very quickly.

    https://thompsonlathetools.com/sharpening/

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    I can't see how a bevel angle makes a difference from an okay tool to a great tool. I only find the quality of the steel to make that difference. Your arms can adjust to work with any and every angle, so why would that change performance?
    Richard, I'm surprised to hear this - are certain angles not easier to work with under any particular circumstances? Thanks for chiming in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Weber View Post
    There is no single correct answer on bevel angle.
    The bevel angle on a spindle/detail gouge partially determines how aggressive the cut is.
    With a low, 25 degree bevel angle, you get more of a paring cut. This can be great for softer woods and fine detail work but does dull more quickly.
    With a higher, 40 degree bevel angle, you get more of a scoop like an SRG or bowl gouge. This can be good for harder woods, making the edge last longer but does not provide a fine enough point for some detail work.
    this is one of my detail gouges, ground between 35-40
    Spindle gouge.jpg
    Edward, than you - this actually helps me grasp things a bit better. I notice that in your picture, you don't grind off the heel of the tool?...I thought I was supposed to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Howatt View Post
    I consider this a good place to start and then if you think you need something better, try it. Sharpening always seems to turn into a "personal choice" thing very quickly.

    https://thompsonlathetools.com/sharpening/
    Bill, thanks for the link. I use a Wolverine platform but I've move onto sharpening with just the platform. I also have the turner's jig for my tormek, which I don't use any more either. The grinder is located 1 pace from my lathe and I like touching up in 5 seconds and getting back to work. Regardless, moral of the story is I can handle creating the profiles by hand, I'm just often unsure of which profile to use.

  6. #6
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    I don't know John, after 39 years of turning I've never stopped turning, ground on a different bevel angle, and then declared that it was now a better tool. Could be just me, but all that 40/40 talk and one bevel angle over another from touring turners has always baffled me since curls fly off the wood no matter what the angle is.

  7. #7
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    I couldn't possibly answer the question as I don't even have 39 months as a turner. My lack of knowledge and experience is what brings me here to ask questions. I've not heard this from anyone else (that angle doesn't matter) yet but I have very little access to experienced turners so thanks for sharing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    I don't know John, after 39 years of turning I've never stopped turning, ground on a different bevel angle, and then declared that it was now a better tool. Could be just me, but all that 40/40 talk and one bevel angle over another from touring turners has always baffled me since curls fly off the wood no matter what the angle is.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    I don't know John, after 39 years of turning I've never stopped turning, ground on a different bevel angle, and then declared that it was now a better tool. Could be just me, but all that 40/40 talk and one bevel angle over another from touring turners has always baffled me since curls fly off the wood no matter what the angle is.
    I agree with this to some extent (and certainly respect your experience as I’ve only been turning a few years). That being said, I recently started using a detail gouge with a 35 degree bevel compared to my regular spindle gouge with a 45 degree bevel and I am amazed at the difference. Yes, I can get great cuts with both tools, but with the detail gouge and different angle, I can access the wood in totally different ways. It has become my go-to for spindle turning and I now use it 90% of the time for the things I turn.

    I appreciate all the experience and opinions on this site and enjoy trying various techniques, finishes, etc. Some things I’ve picked up here have been super helpful and other things that many people seem to love have never caught on for me.

    John, I would recommend you try a few typical grinds that multiple turners commonly use (from this forum or qualified YouTube videos from professional turners or sites like CraftSupplies) and let us know what you think.

    ‘Good luck,
    Tom

  9. #9
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    So I just found a clip by Cindy Drozda that help a tremendous amount. Its the sweep angle that I should be changing, not the grind angle. Thanks everyone.

  10. #10
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    I've found there's a difference between Sorby, Thompson, D-Way and Robust gouge profiles. One set up won't necessarily be acceptable for all of them. I have to work with them and eventually find what works best for me. At best I'm an average turner and don't have a lot of flexibility in tool choice. We have a fellow in our club that can make shavings with almost any tool you give him. He's very skilled and can make adjustments as needed. I can't.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the input, Dave. The D-Way gets here tomorrow and my plan is to keep the sorby at a standard grind as it works well for certain things and then sweep the wings of the D-Way to about 20. I'm trying to keep things at 40 and 20 when/where I can so I can leave my grinding platforms as they are and only spend a little time touching edges up as needed. I'm excited for the new gouge - I've already picked out the walnut for the handle.

  12. #12
    The cut you get from spindle and detail gouges are partially influenced by the flute shape, the same way bowl gouges are.
    The Heel;
    I don't typically ease off the heel of spindle gouges. Spindle gouges are primarily for convex turnings and the heel rarely, if ever, gets in the way. If it does, I usually switch to another tool with a finer profile.

    Bowl gouges cut the outside as well as the inside (concave) surface of the bowl, this is where easing off the heel is most beneficial.
    When cutting a tight radius, like making the transition from wall to bottom, the heel can often come in contact, trailing behind the cut. This can make you come out of the cut and it can also bruise the wood, leaving marks sometimes not always seen until after sanding.
    I do ease the heel on my bowl gouges.
    Double Bevel-1.jpg
    I'll sometimes do a third grind if necessary

  13. #13
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    Edward, thanks for this. Sometimes, when your hear (read) things out loud, they make more sense.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kananis View Post
    I couldn't possibly answer the question as I don't even have 39 months as a turner. My lack of knowledge and experience is what brings me here to ask questions. I've not heard this from anyone else (that angle doesn't matter) yet but I have very little access to experienced turners so thanks for sharing.
    If you base all your decisions on the advice of internet hobbiest, then you would expect the bevel to be critical. But ask a grizzly old veteran, and you will understand my advice. Rudy Osolnik said he put his kids through college making candle sticks and only had around 3 gouges in his shop. He sure didn't care if the bevel angle was 36 degrees or 42 degrees. Internet folks will argue about something being .005" out of flat. Same comparison.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson80 View Post
    I agree with this to some extent (and certainly respect your experience as I’ve only been turning a few years). That being said, I recently started using a detail gouge with a 35 degree bevel compared to my regular spindle gouge with a 45 degree bevel and I am amazed at the difference. Yes, I can get great cuts with both tools, but with the detail gouge and different angle, I can access the wood in totally different ways. It has become my go-to for spindle turning and I now use it 90% of the time for the things I turn.

    I appreciate all the experience and opinions on this site and enjoy trying various techniques, finishes, etc. Some things I’ve picked up here have been super helpful and other things that many people seem to love have never caught on for me.

    John, I would recommend you try a few typical grinds that multiple turners commonly use (from this forum or qualified YouTube videos from professional turners or sites like CraftSupplies) and let us know what you think.

    ‘Good luck,
    Tom
    You can't compare a detail and spindle gouge based solely on the bevel angle. The flutes are different as well as the amount of material below the flute. Two different tools and an apples and oranges comparison.

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