GRIND THE INSIDE to refine the shape of a gouge using a cone-shaped grinding wheel in an electric drill or rotary tool. Roughly form the bevel, but don't sharpen yet. The tool must first be heat-treated.
TEMPERING produces a hard, durable edge. Heat the tool tip to a bright glow for 30 seconds, then plunge into cold water. Polish the end of the tool to a mirror shine with fine sandpaper or emory cloth. Heat the tool slowly, keeping the flame about an inch below the cutting edge. When the edge turns a medium straw color, plunge it into cold water. (You may want to practice this!)
USE A SOCKET AS AN ANVIL to open up or form gouge shapes. Different socket sizes can be used for gouges of different shapes. This is also a good method for making curved detailing knives.
ATTACH THE HANDLE LAST Heat the handle end of the tool and hammer the last 1/2 inch or so square to prevent twisting. Drill a hole in the handle, add a bit of carpenter's glue and pound the handle onto the tool. For bent tools, hold the shank with locking pliers and pound on the pliers. Give the bevel a final grind, sharpen, and you're ready to carve. A
SLOW COOLING on an electric burner (annealing) will reduce stresses built up in the metal during forging. Heat the first 1/2 in. of the tool tip bright red, keep it red for 30 seconds, then place between the coils of a burner set on high. Every 10 minutes, lower the heat until the tool is cool.
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