First bowl carving tools - which ones?

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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:43 pm

Hi Shankar,
I rather like the rough edge, might be best to leave it. I would probably have done a little more to flatten that out before starting to hollow and/or before shaping the outside, as there would be more support available.

Yes Robin Wood bowlmates are good for hollowing out bowls :) - worth making. My log-chopping block has a big car tire/tyre screwed to the top of it - a Norwegian idea for holding logs in place when chopping firewood - it can be handy for holding large bowl blanks too, that's what I used this weekend (see my Leylandii thread). Jogge Sundqvist uses a bench vice with front-dog and bench dogs to secure his bowl blank for hollowing & for shaving the outside in his DVD. David Fisher use his own design of bowl-horse for shaving the outside of his bowls - very nice. Wille Sundqvist (in his book) & Robin Wood (in his posts on this forum) have also shown a more vertical holder, like a V-notch in a fat log to hold the bottom and thick wooden dowels or a foot operated clamp to hold the top, the log sometimes has "legs" splayed out almost horizontally, near the bottom for extra stability.

If you wish to smooth the outside, I suggest that you try a draw knife and/or spoke shave and/or plane (small or large) - it depends on what you have available, the bowl, the wood, the tool, how its set-up and how you are feeling on the day, as to which will work best for you. That's from personal experience and from David Fishers videos and Jogge Sundqvist's DVD (which I recommend you get - the link to the left is for Amazon, looks like the price has recently come down quite a lot, just £7 now - super bargain :)). That will get you a smoother finish but you'll still have the option to leave tool-marks or not. As Gavin hinted, you usually won't get a fresh wet bowl/spoon completely smooth, you'll tend to raise fibres, so you'll likely want to let it dry a little (Jogge suggests ~ 2 weeks for a bowl).

Re. pith, best to remove it immediately after you first split the blank. You can flatten the top edges at the same time. It can be ... disappointing to see your bowl blank shrinking as you do this. Remove most of it, you don't have to remove it entirely at this stage, because your later hollowing, shaping & smoothing activity later will likely involve removing more of the top (or bottom) surface.
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby Shankar » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:10 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I got the DVD but your post arrived a couple of hours after I ordered it from Woodsmiths Store at twice the price. Having said that I've not bought a single thing from Amazon since their tax dodging came to light.

One good thing I learned was that the bowl does not need to be uniform it can change shape to accommodate the shape of the log (which is good news if you can only get limited supplies of wood.) The other was how to fix the wood while using the gouges on the surfaces. I used my old BD Workmate with some whittled wooden pins in the holes and got a pretty stable fix. Works well but not as elegant as DFs bowl-horse. Made the gouge work a lot easier than using my hand or leg to stabilise the workpiece. Got nice inner surface on ShankarBowl Vision 0.2 (some struggle with the bottom) currently axing away on outside not sure how to finish. Might give it a go with the drawknife but its one designed for spindle work - straight edge so not sure how well it will go. Might get myself a spokeshave as it looked useful on the DVD. May also try scrapers for the finish particularly on the bottom of the inside where it has been difficult to get a really good finish.

As for suggesting for burning the ShankarBowl Vision 0.1 - I've been trying to get a good edge with the knife and it is gradually turning into a saucer. Soon it will be a small coaster leaving little to cremate.

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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:32 pm

:D I found my father's old #4 plane quite useful for flattening the bottom of some of my bowls (a tip from David Fisher) - used across as well as along the grain. Can be a bit unwieldy for small bowls or bowl with smaller bottoms though.
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby jrccaim » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:38 am

ToneWood wrote::D I found my father's old #4 plane quite useful for flattening the bottom of some of my bowls (a tip from David Fisher) - used across as well as along the grain. Can be a bit unwieldy for small bowls or bowl with smaller bottoms though.


A #4 is a bit large ( own two of these). I also own a #1 Lee-Nielsen plane. This is very small. The price is astounding. The quality likewise. Maybe 15 cm/6". Much better for tight places. I use it much more than my #4s. At this point I should say that these strange numbers arise from the Stanley Company's completely arbitrary system of numbering planes. You cannot tell from the number how big a plane is. Well, if the number is small, less than ten, the bigger the number the bigger the plane; #4 is the classic 9"/23 cm plane.

These things are fine for doing the bottom of a bowl. If you want to plane out the inside of a bowl you have another problem. There are many ways around this. My current fad is violin-makers planes. These things are tiny. Maybe 3 cm. They have a curved sole. This is very handy in hollowing out stuff. Mind you this is just my current fad. I may outgrow it. Violin makers have problems that would make the average bodger blench. Their corners are much more difficult than bowl carver's are. You can find these planes at Lee Valley, and doubtless elsewhere.
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:44 pm

Yes, I took a look for smaller planes. Vintage #1 planes go for about £750 now - silly really, while similar #4 planes go for about £6-£20. #4 planes are very common and still made much as they always were - they seem to be the default standard size in the UK. I presume #1 planes are much rarer - pity might be handy for bowls. Little palm planes* are common though, I have an old one & they often sell for around £6 old or new. However, things that are "rare" are often rare for a reason (e.g. not that useful/popular - perhaps something cheaper/simpler/better available).

Update: my "palm plane" is more properly known as a "block plane"
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby Shankar » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:15 am

The inside I am satisfied with - got good surface with gouges. The outside is the challenge. Could do with advice regarding planes/ spokeshave as I've haven't got experience with using either. Want to get a fairly good one (don't think budget will stretch to one of each unless I go second hand but as inexperienced with fine tuning and don't know what make is good and what bad- so best not.)

I was thinking of flat spokeshave as it seems more versatile than plane. Budget will probably not stretch to a Lie-Neilsonand or Veritas are there any other makes to look out for in the middle price range between the £20 ones and the £85 and up in the UK that will do a decent job without breaking the bank. ? Qiangsheng or Anant come in around £30-50 any experience of these?

Thanks.

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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby AlexanderTheLate » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:11 am

Get one of the cheap #4 planes Tonewood was talking about and use that. It does an amazing job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAYcwubAO2E
Just found that in my Youtube suggestions. Good advice on using new planes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cSwKbKk ... &index=108
leading up to...
http://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/video/3100/3105.html
this video was my only instruction in using planes, it is all a beginner needs to know starting off: Very basic, and not too technical.
I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.- Unknown.
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Faithfull leather chisel roll FAILCR8 - Good again!

Postby ToneWood » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:04 pm

ToneWood wrote:The Faithful leather tool roll featured in my images of P3, which I've had for 2 or 3 year, is really good for these bowl carving tools, being well designed and constructed of thick, tough leather with a long, strong webbing band. The tool pockets vary in size and the wide ones at the end are big enough for my wide curved HK gouge & dog-leg gouge :) . HOWEVER...
... - the manufacturer/distributor appears to have changed the design/specification :(. Despite the image of the old tool roll being widely used, the new design is now significantly different...:
...I returned the tool roll to the retailer :( .

Happy to report that Faithfull tools have fixed the new version of their FAILRC8 leather gouge/chisel roll. It now has a longer leather strap & the rivets have been tidied up. So the Faithful Leather Chisel Roll (Product code: FAI LCR8) is good again.

Old & new versions:
Image Image

...although not quite as good as the original (left, above). However it's still the best design I've come across for large bowl gouges and carving tools at a reasonable price (~£5-£7).
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Novel tools / Roy Underhills 20th anniversary episode

Postby ToneWood » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:04 pm

Novel bowl-making tools: the bowl shave featured on this Roy Underhill/Woodwrights Workshop episode video @01:35min: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TsRkTRbuIk also, small adze @02:10min - could perhaps make this type of adze yourself.
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:40 am

The range of English made gouges & chisels is bewildering large. Although initially, I suspected that none might be suitable or perhaps as good for bowl making as the Swedish gouges. However, I have recently come across several English gouges that look very promising. They are not cheap or common but this "heavy duty handled" gouge is £20-£25 cheaper than the similar size/handle HK gouge (& £10 cheaper than the normal handled HK gouge) - and I think its a real beauty:

"Henry Taylor Curved Sculptors Gouge - 38mm
A 38mm (1 1/2") sculptors curved gouge from Henry Taylor."
Image
This one is super wide:
"Henry Taylor Allongee Sculpture Gouge - 63mm
A 63mm (2 1/2") sculpture allongee carving tool (sweep 8) from Henry Taylor."
(I've seen pictures of Wille using an Allongee gouge on a bowl.)
Image
http://www.1066tools.co.uk/tools/Henry- ... Tools.html
To my untrained eye, the HK gouge that I use (the cheaper version w/o heavy duty fittings) appears to be a cross between the two shapes above: a shape is both curved and flaring.Image Image
Whether the HTs work as well as the HK bowl gouge (which I can't fault, apart from having to sand & wax the handles to avoid palm blisters) for bowls, I don't know...but they are highly rated by carvers (although some American carvers prefer thinner Swiss Pfeil gouges - which are probably cheaper in the US - and/or Ashley Iles, England - English gouges are heavier for heavier British woods according to one American carver). I suspect they will work very well - technique & sharpness probably counts for more. The cost saving for the cheaper English gouges will be important to many these days (although bear in mind, these are tools which will last several lifetimes & you might only need one, perhaps 2).

Although this .pdf http://www.oldjimbo.com/Outdoors-Magazi ... arving.pdf says:
Scandinavian Bowl Carving
...
A variety of tools are required for finishing the bowls and truing the surfaces. Gouges are used to finish up the
hollow portion of the bowl. Sundquist recommends two gouges - one with a very curved profile (around an 8 sweep)
and the other gouge with a flatter (a #5) sweep. The gouges should be between ¾ inch and 1 inch (18 to 25mm) in
width. The more curved gouge is used for final hollowing, and the flatter gouge is used to smooth the interior
surface.
The final finishing of the bowl interior is done with various grades of sandpaper, or the tool-marks can be left
in place for a hand-worked appearance.
Gouges <image>
Deeply curved and flat gouges by Henry Taylor Tools, Ltd., Sheffield, England.

The smaller gouges mentioned here will be (even) cheaper than those I've shown above.
UPDATE: I bought my first Ashley Iles tool this week: a "V-tool"/V-chisel/V-gouge. I must say, I am very impressed with the design and quality of it. Visibly a step above the norm and it's a dream to use - great tool :)...perhaps there is hope for us yet Billman.
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Spoke shaves

Postby ToneWood » Sun May 05, 2013 9:49 pm

Shankar wrote:...Could do with advice regarding planes/ spokeshave as I've haven't got experience with using either. Want to get a fairly good one (don't think budget will stretch to one of each unless I go second hand but as inexperienced with fine tuning and don't know what make is good and what bad- so best not.)

I was thinking of flat spokeshave as it seems more versatile than plane. Budget will probably not stretch to a Lie-Neilson and or Veritas are there any other makes to look out for in the middle price range between the £20 ones and the £85 and up in the UK that will do a decent job without breaking the bank. ? Qiangsheng or Anant come in around £30-50 any experience of these?
...

You can buy very good old spoke shaves on ebay/car boot sales at reasonable prices (typically ~£5). A basic flat Stanley/Record/etc. spoke shave, with or without the twin knurled adjusting screws - I have both types & they both work fine. As a beginner, I know the tendency is to go for the ones with two adjusting screws on top - no problem with that, it probably does make it a little easier to start off with. But they work no better or worse than those without.

ImageImage
http://www.record-planes.com/

I was getting some bad chattering from my favorite spoke shave yesterday while smoothing the top of my Leylandii bowl - most frustrating, I ended up doing all the flattening with axe & drawknife. So later I did some reading-up on the web about spoke-shaves & chattering. General opinions seems that many/most of the cheap Chinese ones are truly awful and not worth bothering with - they look like the old tools but they are not made like them and they are either not redeemable or not worth redeeming :(. Even the new Stanley spoke shaves (~£16 new & probably made in China too) are not rated as usable products - but viewed as a kit of parts, they are redeemable. Bottom-line: you will need to learn how to tune, sharpen, adjust and maintain your spoke shave(/planes) no matter what you buy (even hyper-expensive but beautifully designed and made Veritas/Lie-Neilson tools). With that in mind, the best 2 options (unless "minted"), it seems to me is to buy a new name brand "kit" (e.g. Stanley) or a couple of old ones from ebay/car boot sales - then sharpen and tune them yourself (lots of info. on-line, it's not hard). There are more than 500 listed on ebay.co.uk at the moment - so I would suggest saving a vintage tool or two rather than importing inferior modern look-alikes from China.

Re. the chattering. I disassembled all 5 of my spoke shaves, cleaning them (a couple had compressed saw dust under the top-plate, most had saw dust on the frog), sharpening the blades (all the blades were already sharp & their bevel shiny but one had some edge damage which I fixed), flattening the backs of the top-plates (one was pitted), oiling them. Then I tested them on a piece of ash. First one chattered still, I swapped the blade around (maker's name up) and that fixed it. Anyway, by the end they all worked beautifully taking nice long shavings & no more chatter - including one spoke shave that is unbranded, shiny, noticeably newer, and more cheaply designed & made (modern but probably pre-Chinese, the blade is fine but the shiny bent-metal top-plate looks like cr*p compared to the grungier solid metal plates on the old ones* but it seems to work ok). Probably took half an hour or so to deal with all 5, although they were all in reasonable condition before hand, having been sharpened by me previously.

*My oldest looking spoke shave, one of my father's I think, has a solid brass top plate - although it was painted black so thickly that I can't make out the maker's name! Unfortunately it is now missing a vital screw :( Seems to be a common problem. I've seen spares on ebay but they cost almost as much as a decent used spoke shave. BTW the parts on the older spoke shave are often interchangeable but the parts on my newer one are not the same as the old ones :(
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Re: ... Roughened axe-handles... / Antique Rasp

Postby ToneWood » Tue May 07, 2013 10:14 pm

ToneWood wrote:...I have an anti-que (i.e. old) huge, very coarse rasp that I picked up a few years ago from the local charity shop. I had no use for it then and they wanted rather more for it than I wanted to pay (they had a box load of similar tools and probably ended up throwing the rest away :( ) - but I had a strange feeling that I would never see such tools again and that I should buy at least one, so I bought the biggest, roughest, ugliest one there :D...

My feeling was correct. I just came across a picture of a rasp like mine - apparently it is a handmade rasp. The one in the picture on P135 of this book Classic Hand Tools - by
Garrett Hack
is dated 1787!! [you can see this page using the "Look inside" feature ;) ] - it also shows the tools that were used to make such a rasp. Even the odd handle is like mine (I thought it was a poor repair but apparently that is normal).
Image
Unfortunately I expect the rest of the box of similar tools was scrapped :(
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:54 am

Noticed these 600g axes on ebay.co.uk. They look a lot like my Lidl Poland/China axe (mine cost £10 or £11 inc. shippingfrom ebay - supposedly around £5 from Lidl when they are available), which I have sharpened into what I consider an excellent carving axe now (took around 2 hours of sharpening though - good practice!) - 600g seems just about about right to me, not too heavy, nor too light (for an adult). These are cheaper, £7.95 inc. shipping, yet supposedly made in Canada, hmm. Anyway looks like a bargain to me:

Image
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/600g-HAND-AXE ... 0941918817

BTW I like Hilka brand: I use an inexpensive Hilka "cigar"-shaped carborundum stone for sharpening my bill hooks & reap/rip hook - it is noticeably better than another brand sold by the same store at the same price. They also sell an inexpensive Eclipse-style chisel-sharpening guide (I use a cheap Proop-brother's version, it's good).
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