Finishing a bowl

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Finishing a bowl

Postby TomBartlett » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:04 am

Hi all,

I recently treated myself to an adze and have been busy carving some bowls. Now that I have a couple nicely roughed out I think I'd like to get a gouge to give them a nice finished surface as my spoon knife isn't really up to the task. I was hoping I could get a recommendation on what gouge to get. Ideally I'd like to get away with buying just the one. I know Hans Karlsson comes highly recommended, but I don't know what size/shape gouge would be best. I'd appreciate any advice you can offer.

Cheers,

Tom
[url]carvedspoons.blogspot.com[/url]
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Re: Finishing a bowl

Postby woodness sake » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:23 pm

After roughing out the inside with an adz, I use a scorp to level the tool marks and define the final shape. Then, I scrape the scorp tool marks out and burnish.
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/200182 ... Scorp.aspx
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Re: Finishing a bowl

Postby DavidFisher » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:16 pm

Tom,
I would also recommend the Hans Karlsson gouges. Swiss Made, and others also make excellent ones. If you are going with one HK, then I would recommend the 40mm 90 sweep bent paring gouge. It is the middle of the three bent paring gouges he offers. The smallest is nice for small bowls, the largest (and flattest sweep) creates a very subtle texture on larger bowls. The middle one is pretty versatile, and will still allow you to leave the interior of the bowl with a lovely surface straight from the tool.
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Re: Finishing a bowl

Postby ToneWood » Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:19 pm

DavidFisher wrote:I would recommend the 40mm 90 sweep bent paring gouge. It is the middle of the three bent paring gouges he offers...
That's what I tried to get but could only find the 40mm x Radius 55mm in the UK - Ian S. & Matt at Woodland Craft Supplies assured me it would be fine, and they were right, So, get the HK 40x90 curved gouge if you can but if you can't, the 40x55 works well too. Alternatively, I think there is a Radius 70mm Heavy duty gouge (might even be a little broader, 45mm/50mm?) which would sit between the two - I don't think you need the heavy duty features but it does no harm, costs a bit more though.

I found I needed/wanted another broader gouge to further flatten my bowls after the R55 -that might be unnecessary if you get the R90mm gouge. So I got the wide, flattish 40mm x R150 dog-leg gouge. That allowed me to tackle another issue with the same tool: I find it can sometimes be difficult get a nice smooth floor in the bowl and the dog-leg makes that easy (David manages fine without one though).

Actually you can get the 40x90 in the UK here: http://www.woodsmithstore.co.uk/shop/Pr ... e+40+-+90/
A bit pricey (compared to Woodland Craft Supplies) but it might save you from having to buy a second gouge as I did (or maybe not!). HK tools are a pleasure to use and own, I enjoy using mine and they instill confidence - if something goes wrong you can't really blame the tool though! :D

English gouges are good too, there are so many available I found the selection daunting - unlike HK, bowl and spoon makers are not their main market. Look for a broad, curved/bent gouge, like the HKs, "out cannel" (i.e. outside bevel) and a shallow (low numbered) sweep. It would be nice if one of the British toolmakers came out with a small set of gouges specifically for bowl making/makers - or perhaps just one gouge, a curved 40mm wide x Radius 90mm seems like the obvious one. (British tool maker Ben Orford makes a dog-leg gouge designed specifically for bowl makers.)
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Re: Finishing a bowl

Postby TomBartlett » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:51 pm

Cheers for that, I might have to start putting away the pennies for that HK 40x90 and maybe a scorp. Here's where my first bowl is at the moment.

I'd like to hollow it out a little further, but don't feel too confident about going any further with an adze at the moment and my mora spoon knife isn't really up to the task of providing a finer finish (well, technically I'm not up to the task of using a spoon knife to hollow out the bowl further, but details, details).
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Re: Finishing a bowl

Postby ToneWood » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:41 pm

Interesting design, yes I know the feeling, I used a Mora spoon knife for my first 2 bowls. A flatter spoon knife (i.e. most non-Mora spoon knives) would probably do a better job.
You probably don't need a scorp & gouge, just one or the other. Robin Wood provides his students with another option, a very large "spoon" knife/bowl knife (presumably something like Nic Westerman's bigger Welsh Twca).
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Finishing the Outside of the Bowl

Postby ToneWood » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:58 pm

While on the topic of finishing bowl, I'm coming to to the end of my large, round oak bowl and was trying to figure out how to finish the outside. I've already decided to leave the inside just gouged with the R150mm gouge (R90mm would leave a more distinct pattern, which might have been nice - see David Fisher's website & video to see what I mean, that was the inspiration), although I did lightly scrape mine with a card/furniture scraper today to remove the odd loose fibre.

The outside of the bowl was spoke-shave smooth but still rather furry. To make it completely smooth I would have left it to dry slowly for a week or two and then scraped it. I decided instead to try texturing the outside with a gouge, an almost flat vintage Gilpin carving gouge. Again, David's video was the inspiration for this, and Jogge Sundqvist on his DVD. I did one end of the outside and showed it to one of my design consultants (the wife :D), she preferred the textured surface (as I suspected she would), said it reminded her of a pheasant - which was my thought too, it looked reminiscent of the throat feathers of a pheasant. Anyway, I have now textured the entire outside of the bowl in this way, although I would say the patten/shape of the texture has moved away from the feather-like texture now. I have also scraped the texture lightly, as it raise a few fibres near the middle of the sides. I also scraped the the handle grips, the sharp edges of the handles, and the inside and outside bowl rims. I was wary of the latter but like the result, especially the rounded outer rim. The textured finish is not as pronounced or refined as David's but I quite like it. However, I plan to get a second-opinion from my senior design consultant (the mother-in-law - a gifted artist I think). She has a knack of getting to the heart of the matter - when I showed her the bowl recently she was very diplomatic and encouraging but commented on the weight. The bowl was too heavy but I hadn't planned to reduce it until that point, it is now noticeably lighter and a better bowl for it.
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Re: Finishing a bowl

Postby ToneWood » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:21 pm

TomBartlett wrote:...I'd like to hollow it out a little further, but don't feel too confident about going any further with an adze at the moment and my mora spoon knife isn't really up to the task of providing a finer finish (well, technically I'm not up to the task of using a spoon knife to hollow out the bowl further, but details, details).

I was just re-reading this thread and it struck me that Tom shaped the outside of his bowl and then hollowed it. I think I probably did the same on my first 2 bowls. However, it is usually easier to flatten the bottom and then hollow the bowl out completely first and flatten/shape the top surface. Shape the outside last. That way you can hold the piece more easily - e.g. in a bowlmate, workmate or using bench dogs, as Jogge does in his DVD. I think a good bowl gouge would be the best, simplest way to finish the inside, as described previously. However, the bowl could be thinned on the outside using a draw-knife and/or spoke shave - or even a sharp axe &/or sloyd knife.
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Re: Finishing a bowl

Postby ToneWood » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:50 pm

ToneWood wrote:
TomBartlett wrote:...I'd like to hollow it out a little further, but don't feel too confident about going any further with an adze at the moment and my mora spoon knife isn't really up to the task of providing a finer finish (well, technically I'm not up to the task of using a spoon knife to hollow out the bowl further, but details, details).

... However, the bowl could be thinned on the outside using a draw-knife and/or spoke shave - or even a sharp axe &/or sloyd knife.

...or with your bowl adze on the outside of the bowl, as David Fisher does in his excellent new second video: http://davidffisher.com/video_from_log_to_wooden_bowl, to form a curve under the handles.
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Re: Finishing a bowl

Postby ToneWood » Sat May 25, 2013 9:33 pm

I've been thinking about my unusual, large HK dog-leg gouge 40mm x R150mm. It gives a surprisingly refined finish and the dog-leg shape allows me to work the bottom of bowls easily - which I had previously found to be a problem area. However, the width, 40mm, is more than is necessary and actually limits the use of this tool in smaller/narrower bowls - that extra width also costs more when you buy the tool. So, while I think the near flat 150mm radius is good (90mm would probably be fine too, maybe even 70mm), I would suggest trying/getting a narrower version e.g. 25mm-30mm - it will be cheaper and more versatile.

e.g. some combination of these: 25mm/30mm x R70mm/R90mm/R150mm
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