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U-shaped gouges

'U'-shaped gouges look and function differently from what I'm calling 'true' gouges.

U gouges come in at least 2 distinct varieties and are used for different purposes. Each will have its own effect on your carving and how you work.


| 04 June 2020 12:00

Joe - Well, that threw me! I could have sworn we did one, but I can't find it either. Thanks for the heads up; we'll certainly add a sharpening U-gouges video asap.
In the meantime, think of a deep U-gouge as having chisels on either side, and sharpen those parts forwards and backwards like a chisel; and a middle gouge part, which you sharpen side to side like a gouge. The trick is to merge, blend in all these three actions. You can add a short inside bevel with a narrow slipstone.
Some U-gouges are more open and you can treat them more as a #9 gouge, rotating from one side to the other.

| 04 June 2020 01:18

Hi Chris - where is the lesson on sharpening the U shaped gouge? I have a #11.

joe clark

| 20 March 2013 09:19

David - Yes, add that inside bevel. Whether an edge can stand the strain of cutting the wood depends on what it's up against: the wood hardness; whether you lever across the edge as you cut; the brittleness of the steel temper for example. Whatever, a crumbling edge needs strengthening. If you keep that desirable low cutting angle, your only option is to add a lot of inside bevel at 5-10 deg., thus making the overall 'wedge' of metal tougher. A good learning experience!

| 19 March 2013 23:05

Chis, I recently purchased a couple of Henry Taylor number 10 U shaped gouges. I sharpened them correctly with a 20 degree outside bevel, squared corners etc. but with no inside bevel. The problem I am having is that once I started carving the edges started to crumble away they became jagged. I sharpened them several times and this happened each time to both tools. I removed the burr with a slip stone and strop. Should I added an inside bevel for more edge strength?
This also has happened to me with an Ashley Illes number nine 1/4 inch tool as well. I did not overheat the tools when grinding. Any advise would be very much appreciated.

| 17 August 2012 09:02

Hugh - I'm calling a U gouge anything that isn't an arc of a circle (a 'true' gouge). Having said that,U gouges come in a couple of types: either with tall, parallel sided cannels; or more open mouthed with the sides leaning away. You are quite right about the sharpening: consider the U gouge as a true gouge in the middle part, with the 2 sides as chisels.The trick is in merging everything nicely. I have a decent inner bevel on my wider mouthed gouges but a lot less on the parallel sided ones - some inside bevel helps lift the shaving out of the cannel and avoids binding on the sides. We'll do a lesson on sharpening these tools but I'm afraid, because we have a schedule, it won't appear until the far end of the year.

| 16 August 2012 13:12

Chris, are these U-shaped gouges number 11 on the sheffield list? I got a couple of old ones that needed attention and I found they were more difficult to grind and sharpen than the true gouges, especially as they are narrow ones. Is it best to see them, a bit like the v-shaped gouges, as a true gouge at the bottom with a gouge of a shallower sweep either side? In your video on how to sharpen a gouge you demonstrate on quite a shallow true gouge which can be sharpened with a nice smooth rolloing motion but U-shaped gouges seem to requiire a slightly different approach (as if sharpening three gouges in one) and it is easy to round the corners off. Finally, should one try to put an inside bevel since it is not going to be used upside down?

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