This site uses cookies, your continued use implies you agree with our cookie policy. Dismiss

Choosing Gouges for Curves

A straight line is a straight line, is a straight line. Right?

And for 'straights' we use dead flat chisels. So that's easy.

But what about curves?

Curves can vary endlessly:  from 'quick' (tight) as we carvers call it, to 'slow' (flat) - and all the variations in between.

And you only have so many gouges...

Different alphabets contain different curves, at different sizes. Leaves too have curves. As do nostrils and flowers. In fact, anything that isn't a straight line will curve in some way, convex or concave.

Do you puzzle over what tool, what sweep (radius) and what width, is the right one for the curve you want to cut?

What gouges do you need? One or several? And which are the best, the most efficient?

There's an answer.

Or, rather, there's a way to work out the answer!

It's all about geometry.

It's about understanding how a gouge with its sweep 'works' and what you can do to change it's progress around the curve, even as you use it. 

Grasping this fundamental geometry of gouges is a gold nugget and will impact all your carving, not just lettering, making it straightforward to pick the right gouge for any curve.

It's far better for me to demonstrate: a picture is worth a thousand words, and a moving picture is worth... so much more.

We have an excellent video in which I lay it all out for you:

Videos > Lettering > Choosing Gouges for Curves

But don't just watch it!

Get out your gouge, a bit of wood and make a close study of the way to pick your gouge for your curve, and then see how flexible the cut of any tool can be.

Related Videos:



Sign up to our free newsletter