Bottom line, I am looking to get a gouge chisel but am not sure what a good size would be given how diverse the selection is. Highland Woodworking has Hirsch gouges and I plan to head over and pick one up but thought I would ask around here. What is a good size to get considering it will be the only gouge chisel I’ll have for now? I’m basically asking what the gouge chisel equivalent would be to a #4 bench plane…any thoughts? Thanks.
Paul features the 35mm 7 sweep in the spoon making video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krAIHRCx9R0 from 11:50) for spoon making.
I’m not an expert, but it really depends mostly on what you will want to do with it. There are dozens of gouge variants (sweeps 1-11, various V-chisels and specialist tools, each in straight, curved and spoon gouge (crooked), most from 2-100mm in size, check this for an impression: https://www.hobbyschnitzen.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/STUBAI-Schnitzeisen-Serie52er.pdf), which is very different to bench planes.
If you want to just have a gouge for the odd thumb hole or such, a sweep 6-9 with 20-30mm might do, but in that case I would see what I could get second hand or on sale and take whatever I find.
If you want to get into carving, check Mary May’s free introduction to carving gouges (https://www.marymaycarving.com/carvingschool/2012/06/28/1-woodcarving-basics-all-about-gouges-introduction/ – requires free registration), but expect to start with at least a handful.
Sweet! Going to Highland Hardware vs. browsing online at Highlandwoodworking.com are two completely different experiences–so much fun to just go walk through the place. If anyone is looking, they do sell EZE Lap diamond stones (and the cool little EZE Lap wands that Paul uses) there.
Gouge on the left is the cheap $15 number I found on Amazon when I was not really sure what I needed to get and didn’t realize how much variance there was between different ones (chalk it up to inexperience). The beaut on the right is the 35mm Hirsch #7 ($50). Quite the upgrade!
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