Sunday, December 9, 2007

Gouge Grind

Here is the result of the "sideways"grind. As the grinding reduces the size of the blunted edge, I take great care to not let the tool heat up and burn the thin edge. I am freehanding the angle, but I do check it and try to keep it in the 22 to 25 degree range, depending on its intended use. If I am carving stop cuts in oak, I will use a stouter edge that carving gutters into pine. I also keep my finer tools honed and ground for paring type cuts, no mallets there.

After the grinding, there are a couple of ways to proceed.The name of the game is honing the edge with a very gently rounding of the edge. I know that using buffers and strops will round the edge so my focus in on minimizing this result to the point that it benefits the cutting ability of the tool and doesn't hinder it. I head back to my Bear-tex wheel and use the same "sideways" technique, being careful to hold the tool so that the buffing wheel is unable to catch the edge. Once I have turned a small burr to the inside, I polish the bevel on a hard felt wheel with green polishing compound. The all that is left is to remove the burr. I use the buffing wheel or a leather stop. It is important not to round the interior surface too much trying to remove the burr or you'll find yourself back where you started.

I am an advocate of garage sale or junk shop gouges, not just because they are cheap, but because this lack of investment can encourage experimentation with grinding and honing. Grind it, burn it, buff it, try it, try again, learn. I still do and still am.

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