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Bowl Gauge Sharpening Rochester MN

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
(507)288-6700
3050 41st Street NW
Rochester, MN
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-9:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Olmsted County Lbr Mart Inc
(507) 775-2307
3777 40th Ave Nw
Rochester, MN
 
Arrow Ace Hardware
(507) 292-6674
1021 15th Ave SE
Rochester, MN
 
Kmart 4351 / Cross Merch
(507) 288-9567
201 Ninth St Se
Rochester, MN
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
(507) 328-8920
4550 Maine Avenue Se
Rochester, MN
Hours
M-SA 7 am - 9 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

Arrow Ace Hardware
(507) 289-3321
10 17th Ave SW, Mircle Mile Shopping Center
Rochester, MN
 
Apache Mall
(507) 280-2500
1001 Apache Mall
Rochester, MN
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:10-21
Sun:11-21
Store Features
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:10-21
Sun:11-21

Arrow Ace Hardware
(507) 282-0095
1500 N Broadway
Rochester, MN
 
Lowe's of Rochester, MN
507-328-8920
4550 Maine Ave SE Rochester, MN, 55904
Rochester, MN
 
Arrow Ace Hdw Inc
(507) 775-6886
1067 Fourth St N E
Byron, MN
 

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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