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Bowl Gauge Sharpening Petersburg VA

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
(804)520-0402
2600 Conduit Rd
Colonial Heights, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Thacker Ace Hardware
(804) 861-6700
3671 S Crater Rd, Wal-Mart On S. Crater Road
Petersburg, VA
 
Southpark Mall
(804) 524-3255
114 Southpark Cir
Colonial Hts, VA
Store Hours
Sears Stores
Store Type
Sears Stores
Hours
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:8-21
Sun:11-18
Store Features
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:8-21
Sun:11-18

Lowe's
(804) 957-6201
2085 Waterside Drive
Prince George, VA
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

Lowe's
(804) 768-8843
2601 Weir Place
Chester, VA
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

The Home Depot
(804)706-4501
12300 Jefferson Davis Hw
Chester, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Kmart 3869 / Cross Merch
(804) 520-5146
116 Southgate Square
Colonial Heig, VA
Store Hours
Miscellaneous
Store Type
Miscellaneous
Hours
Monday To Friday Working Hours is :8-22 and for Sat:8-22
Sun:8-21
Store Features
Monday To Friday Working Hours is :8-22 and for Sat:8-22
Sun:8-21

Kmart 3868 / Cross Merch
(804) 748-6108
12810 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Chester, VA
Store Hours
Miscellaneous
Store Type
Miscellaneous
Hours
Monday To Friday Working Hours is :8-22 and for Sat:8-22
Sun:8-21
Store Features
Monday To Friday Working Hours is :8-22 and for Sat:8-22
Sun:8-21

LOWE'S OF CHESTER, VA.
804 768-8843
2601 WEIR PLACE CHESTER, VA, 23831
Chester, VA
 
Pleasants Hardware
(804) 275-7002
5140 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Richmond, VA
 

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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