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Bowl Gauge Sharpening Bogalusa LA

How do you make a velvety smooth bowl with evenly thick walls and crisp details? Well, it’s not done by sanding the heck out of it. The secret is to use a bowl gouge that is properly shaped and very sharp.

The Home Depot
(601)749-2180
2000 Hwy 43 South
Picayune, MS
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Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

3300 Highway 11 N
(601) 798-4701
Ste B
Picayune, MS
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Mon:9.5-19
Tue:9.5-19
Wed:9.5-19
Thu:9.5-19
Fri:9.5-19
Sat:9-18
Sun:12-17
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Mon:9.5-19
Tue:9.5-19
Wed:9.5-19
Thu:9.5-19
Fri:9.5-19
Sat:9-18
Sun:12-17

Phillips Do it Best Bldg Suppl
(601) 798-8611
2217 N Hwy 11
Picayune, MS
 
Knight's Ace Hardware
(985) 839-3531
1107 Washington St
Franklinton, LA
 
The Home Depot
(985)641-6485
143 N Shore Blvd
Slidell, LA
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Bogalusa - Auth Hometown
(985) 732-3641
412 Avenue B
Bogalusa, LA
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Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-19
Thu:9-19
Fri:9-19
Sat:9-18
Sun:12-17
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Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-19
Thu:9-19
Fri:9-19
Sat:9-18
Sun:12-17

Quick & Grice Ace Hardware
(601) 798-4851
1007 Highway 11 S
Picayune, MS
 
Hooker's Ace Hdw
(601) 798-4445
6422 Hwy 11 N
Picayune, MS
 
Knights Ace Hardware
(601) 795-4177
1312 S Main St
Poplarville, MS
 
The Home Depot
(337)475-9998
3200 E Prien Lake Rd
Lake Charles, LA
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Mon-Sat: 6:00am-9:00pm
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Bowl Gauge Sharpening

Bowl Gauge Sharpening

Do it by hand, just like you turn.

by Alan Lacer

How do you make a velvety smooth bowl with evenly thick walls and crisp details? Well, it’s not done by sanding the heck out of it. The secret is to use a bowl gouge that is properly shaped and very sharp.

Most bowl gouges aren’t ready to do this kind of fine work right out of the package. They must be shaped, sharpened and honed. Shaping a bowl gouge means altering its profile, also called its grind. Sharpening maintains the profile and renews a dull edge. Honing further sharpens the edge. I’ll cover how to do all three operations freehand style.

I prefer sharpening freehand, as opposed to using a jig, because it’s similar to turning a bowl. When you sharpen, the tool sits on a rest and meets a round object—in this case, the grinding wheel. You rub the bevel on the round object and manipulate the edge. That’s what turning is all about, too. Once you’ve learned to sharpen freehand, you’re all set to make a fantastic bowl.

How to Sharpen 3 Profiles

Woodturners shape their bowl gouges into three basic groups of profiles: traditional, fingernail and swept-back. Any gouge can be modified on the grinder to match these profiles. Your choice of profile depends on your skill level and preference. 

I use a coarse wheel for shaping a bowl gouge and a finer one for sharpening (see “Equipment,” below). The basic procedures for shaping and sharpening are the same. After you shape the profile, you grind a bevel to follow the shape.

Most bowl gouges are made from high-speed steel (HSS). If your HSS gouge turns blue as you grind, don’t worry. This change won’t soften the steel. If the tool becomes too hot to hold, don’t quench it in water. Let it cool in the air or lay it on a metal surface to dissipate the heat.

When you’re sharpening a gouge, it’s important to grind the entire bevel, rather than just the edge. To find the correct position, contact the heel of the bevel first, and then raise the tool’s handle until the entire bevel contacts the grinding wheel.

Traditional Profile

The traditional profile is the easiest to sharpen. It’s created by rotating the tool. To begin, set the tool rest to create a 45- to 60-degree bevel. Lay the tool on the rest, positioned to start at one side (Step 1). Slowly push the gouge toward the wheel. When you contact the wheel, rotate the gouge until you reach the other side, and then reverse direction. As you grind, hold the gouge firmly on the rest and keep its end square to the wheel. 

The traditional profile works well in general but has some limitations. It’s good for shaping the outside of a bowl that’s mounted with its opening facing the headstock. But if the bowl is mounted the other way, facing the tailstock, this profile doesn’t work as well. The traditional profile is good for open...

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