Should a gouge be ground concave?

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  • #447039
    Mic van ReijenMic van Reijen

    Hello all,

    I’ve recently bought two gouges that need some love. I’ve found Paul’s old blog post on restoring a gouge as well as Joseph’s video on sharpening, so I have a good idea what needs to be done to get them in working order.

    One thing is not clear to me though. If I look at the cutting edge perpendicular to the length of the gauge I see that the edge is somewhat concave. Is this normal for a gauge? Instinctively I’d grind them square & straight, but never having used one I thought I’d check here. And if it needs to be concave, then by how much? Is my example about right?

    Any thoughts appreciated.


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  • Author
  • #447055
    Richard GuggemosRichard Guggemos


    You have to take that edge back anyway due to the chips – so that’s good news.

    All of my gouges are square on the end. All were received that way not as new and as used. So go ahead and square it up.




    I’m not much of a carver, and know more about chip carving, but what I was taught in my one relief carving class is that usually gouges are sharpened straight across because doing so give you better access into corners. For some work, though, people would sharpen with a convex shape, like a (slight) fingernail, e.g., pattern carving. If that were my gouge, I’d grind straight across to get the chips out. I’d ignore the bevel, and grind both nearly perpendicular vertically and square across. This will give you a thick, blunt edge, but you are less likely to burn the steel while getting rid of the chips. Then work carefully to restore the bevel.

    Mic van ReijenMic van Reijen


    Thanks guys, I’ll square them up. I’ve some other projects ongoing at the moment but Ill post progress in due time.


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