Anatomy Of A Spindle Gouge

Cut half coves and half beads with front section of

Cut full beads with midsection of edge.

Cutting a cove is done in a series of two-cut sequences that hollows out the cove—a cut from right to center followed bv a cut from left to center. Each cut m goes downhill, from larger to smaller diameter until you reach the final shape and diameter of the cove.

To turn a cove, draw pencil lines on the cylinder to mark the cove length and the center of the cove as shown. Make the cove 1 xh in. long and locate the end of the cove about 1 in. from the end of the cylinder.

Next, make a cut on the center line with a parting tool. (I prefer the diamond-shaped variety.) This depth cut is a guide for the smallest diameter of the cove but it also creates a relief for clearing out chips and keeping the edge of the gouge from catching on the opposite side of the cove at the end of each cut.

Set your calipers for a diameter of 1 lU in. With your left hand (if you're right handed) hold the calipers so that the ends arc rubbing the spinning wood and with your right hand hold the parting tool firmly against the tool rest. Then make a cut with the parting tool until the caliper's ends are no longer rubbing the wood.

Place the !/2-in. spindle gouge on the tool rest with your right hand in the middle of the handle (if you're right handed) and your left hand on top of the blade just behind the tool rest.

Roll the tool on its left side, just to the right of the depth cut so that the channel faces the depth cut as shown in the drawing. With the handle held low, position the edge just to the right of the depth cul so you can envision slicing off only the right corner formed by the depth cut. With your right hand, pivot the handle upward until the edge and the bevel contact the wood, give the handle a clockwise twist, rolling the tool to make a piercing, scooping cut. It's a fluid motion that starts with the gouge on its left side and ends with the gouge channel facing up. Only the hands move; your body stays still during the cut. If the tool won't cut. roll the tool a bit more to the left and try again.

I find it helpful to divide the edge visually into two sections on either side of center as shown in Fig. 2. Use

Turn a 2-ln. cylinder and mark the canter and the ends of the cove wtth a pencil.

To turn a bead, draw pencil lines on the cylinder to mark both the edges of the bead and the center of the bead as shown. Make the bead l'/j in. long and locate the end at least 1 in. from the end of the cylinder.

Adjust the tool rest so that it is slightly below the axis of the cylinder and from '/«to '/•» in. away from the

» r wood. Set the lathe speed to approximately 1500 to 1700 RPM for a block this size.

Next, make a depth cut with a parting tool on all three pencil lines. The center cut defines the largest diameter of the bead and the other two cuts define the smallest diameter. Set your calipers for l'/j-in. dia. for the outer cuts and lVa-in. dia. for the center cut. Make the outer cuts at least 'A-in. wide, making two parting-tool cuts side-by-side if necessary. You need this extra room so that the unsupported edge of the gouge won't catch in adjacent wood at the end of the cut.

Place the gouge on the tool rest with your right hand in the middle of the handle (if you're right handed) and your left hand on top of the blade near the tool rest.

Your first cut will take off the right-hand corner of the bead as shown in the drawing. Hold the tool handle low with the gouge channel facing up. Allow the right side of the bevel to rub the wood near the corner so that you can envision nipping that corner off. Roll the handle clockwise until the right-hand edge starts to cut. When the gouge starts to cut, keep the bevel against the wood, lift the handle up slightly, and roll the tool clockwise to the right, shearing off the corner. At the end of the cut, the gouge channel should be facing down. It's a smooth, fluid motion with the hands.

Repeat the above steps on the left side of the bead, rolling the tool counterclockwise to make the cut. When you get close to the bottom of the depth cuts, re-hone the gouge and make light finishing cuts until you've reached the bottom of the depth cuts.

To get a symmetrical bead, you should alternate cuts on either side of the bead, cutting the same amount from each side. The quality of the bead shape depends entirely on the control you exercise over the tool. While

Turn a 2-in. cylinder and mark the center and edges of the bead with a pencil.

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