Gouges

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  • #8043
    Vince Reed
    Participant

    Originally, gouges were pretty far down on my list of tools to procure, but I have noticed now that they have already been used twice in these early projects.  As such, I am looking to purchase at least a basic set of gouges.

    What brand of gouges are of good quality while still being in the mid-priced range?  Should I purchase gouges piece meal or as a whole set?

    #8044
    Dave
    Participant

    Vince, I purchased one gouge when I started Pauls DVD project back in october. I picked up a Henry Taylor 3/4 inch #7 sweep from Lee Valley and so far I’ve been able to do everything Paul has shown us with this one gouge. Personally I wouldn’t go for a set unless you intend to get into some serious carving.

    -Canada

    #8051
    jerryinsomerset
    Participant

    I think I agree not to buy too many, I have been working from Paul’s book carving spoons and now a stool seat and have found the larger gouges to be most useful.  I bought mine second hand from a wonderful old fashioned second hand tool shop near Axminster on the south coast in the UK.  My favourite gouges so far are 3/4″ and 1 1/4″.

    #8982
    woodworker435
    Participant

    I also started the Working Wood course last fall, and had the same question.  This site wasn’t up yet, so I e-mail Paul.  He suggested a #5 or 7 sweep, 1″ to 1-1/4″ wide gouge. I bought a 7/1-1/4 and have been very happy with it.  It is the only gouge I own and can do everything I have needed too.  Of course, I had to learn to sharpen it, but the Working Wood course covers that in great detail too.

    Cleveland, Ohio U.S.A.

    #9121
    bobeaston
    Participant

    Good advice so far. Gouges are expensive and the best plan is to buy them as you understand the need for them.  There are few “basic sets,” and any you might find will likely include sizes or shapes you might rarely use.  Save your money and buy one or two at a time.

    I’m relatively deep into wood carving and have a lot of gouges, but have bought them only as needed.

    As far as brands, there is not a very broad span of quality. The distinctive dividing point is between mass manufactured and hand forged tools.  Because they are such specialty tools most of the mass manufactured brands (for full size gouges) are good quality. Pfiel (“Swiss made”), Ashley Iles, Henry Taylor, Two Cherries, and several others are all good quality. The only cheap gouges are small sized tools with metal parts 3-4 inches long and handles not much longer. Avoid them; look for full size tools instead.

    Hand forged tools, such as Dastra and Stubai are clearly more expensive, but not excessively so. They usually hold less than a 20% premium over the mass manufactured tools. The difference between mass manufactured and hand forged usually comes down to weight and feel. Do you want a really heavy Ashley Iles that you could probably never destroy, or a more svelte and deft Dastra?  That choice comes after a lot of experience.

    As with any hand tool purchase, buy the best you can afford and they’ll last a lifetime.

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