Holding The Tool
Thursday 10 March 2011
Bob Chapman takes a look at the importance of tool presentation
The spindle roughing gouge is a straightforward tool to use but there need be nothing rough about the surface obtained.
As always, good tool presentation is a vital ingredient for success. With the tool on the rest, the left hand is used simply to guide the tool smoothly, and a light touch will make this much easier to achieve.
The thumb pushes the tool along while the forefinger slides along the rest keeping the tool moving in a straight line.
Downward pressure on the tool is unnecessary and often results in jerky movement and can produce an uneven surface.
The three R's
To find the correct cutting angle, support the gouge on the Rest, but keep your right hand low as you advance it to the work. In this position, the bevel will make contact first and gently Rub the wood. Now slowly Raise the tool handle. This lowers the cutting edge until it just begins to cut. For a light cut, maintain this angle as you sweep the tool from side to side. For a heavier cut simply lift the handle a little more
Avoid forming raised ends on your work. As you near the end of each sweep do not stop too early, but continue the cut to the very end allowing the gouge to clear the workpiece. Do not lift the gouge from the rest or you will lose the angle that you found in step 2. Instead, maintain the angle of the tool and simply reverse direction to take another cut going in the opposite direction. A brisk tool movement saves time and will improve the straightness of the cut
Using the centre of the spindle roughing gouge's blade will soon dull the edge in that position. Simply rotate the gouge to use a fresh part of the cutting edge. The wings of the gouge are almost straight and will give a good straight surface if the gouge is rotated through almost 90 degrees, but take care to avoid digging the points in. Always keep the active part of the cutting edge in line with the part of the blade supported by the toolrest
A smooth operator
Rotating the tool clockwise to about 45 degrees, and swinging the handle about 45 degrees to the left, allows a fine slicing cut to be obtained as the tool is moved from left to right. Keep the bevel in contact with the freshly cut surface. This helps guide the tool in a straight line and you can govern the depth of cut by fine movements of the tool handle to swing the cutting edge into, or out of, the work. A very fine finish may be obtained from the spindle roughing gouge