Video: Why you shouldn't use a SRG on bowls


Roger T
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Not being much of a turner, you'll have to pardon my ignorance. While I couldn't exactly explain what was "wrong" with that cut, my gut told me what he was doing was a bad idea. If I were turning that bowl. I would have turned the tool rest about 90 degrees from where it was and I would carefully work the blank down to round from the outside edge, essentially creating what would be the top rim of the bowl. I would have also dog-eared the blank so as to limit kickback and stress when initially working the blank into round. So if you could clarify for me, is this video showing why you should never use a roughing gouge on a bowl, or why you should never use a roughing gouge on a bowl in that manner? I would guess that just about any turning tool, used that way, could result in the same disaster.

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This guy needs better hobbies.

First off... he probably should have roughed out a round shape on a bandsaw first.

Second... yeah you get tear out when you are 90 degrees to it... but that calms down once you get close to round.

I use an SRG to round out bowl blanks all the time... I don't try to start shaping the curve of the bowl with it... that's not what that tool is for.

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As a new turner myself, I could see where someone not famalliar with the dynamics of turning could quickly and easily make this same mistake. I am very much looking forward to Roger's video feed tonight of bowl turning so that I can get a better understanding of bowl turning, as it is something I eventually want to try.

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Yeah I don't think I'd try to round a square blank without roughing out the circle first. That said, I'm not sure how the operation he was doing is different than working a natural edge bowl, you don't make constant contact with the rim there either.

Thanks for the head's up Roger.

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Not being much of a turner, you'll have to pardon my ignorance. While I couldn't exactly explain what was "wrong" with that cut, my gut told me what he was doing was a bad idea. If I were turning that bowl. I would have turned the tool rest about 90 degrees from where it was and I would carefully work the blank down to round from the outside edge, essentially creating what would be the top rim of the bowl. I would have also dog-eared the blank so as to limit kickback and stress when initially working the blank into round. So if you could clarify for me, is this video showing why you should never use a roughing gouge on a bowl, or why you should never use a roughing gouge on a bowl in that manner? I would guess that just about any turning tool, used that way, could result in the same disaster.

You can start from a square bowl blank and turn it round in the manner shown in the video, if you're using a bowl gouge. It's not pleasant, but it can be done.

The main reason not to use a spindle roughing gouge on a bowl blank is that a spindle roughing gouge has a considerably large cutting surface and a little tiny tang, compared to a bowl gouge. This can lead to a catch that the tool won't be able to handle, resulting in what you see in the video.

The cutting surface of a bowl gouge is smaller, and the thickness of the shaft where it meets the handle is beefier than what you get on a spindle roughing gouge. I can certainly jam a square bowl blank with a bowl gouge and get a catch, but the tool will be able to handle it.

And despite what went_postal and Bill have said above, I would never use a spindle roughing gouge on a bowl blank no matter what part of the process I'm at. Bowl gouges are for bowls. Spindle roughing gouges are for spindles.

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Based off my experience with turning OSB, which is still in the process of curing, I have to agree using a spindle roughing gouge is not good on end grain. (Since OSB is virtually nothing but end grain...) I've yet to add a bowl gouge to my collection, so my turning of end grain is limited to a pair of skews.

Alas, I have not attempted bowl work yet. And I'm going to miss the video tonight, due to schedule changes...

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I think Wilbur explained it quite nicely. There is just to much potential for a major catch to happen. With the tool being ground square, and the big wings hanging out like they do, one mistake and you are likely to try and take a 1/2" or larger shaving out of the blank, and if it happens to coincide with a valley in the blank and the tool advances into there, it could be disastrous.

Save the Spindle Roughing Gouge to spindles, and bowl gouges for bowls. You will stay much safer.

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I am the turner in this video and this rider should have been posted with the video.

DO NOT USE A SPINDLE ROUGHING GOUGE ON BOWLS.

My name is Ian Robertson (Robbo) and I have been a production woodturner for 30 years.

It is how I make my living turning everything from huge posts to tiny eave finials and everything between and my safety record is impeccable. Our business has never had a lost time incident and we still have all our fingers.

This video was made because of a discussion about using a Spindle Roughing Gouge on a bowl on the Woodworking Forums in Australia.

Most tool manufacturers and most experienced woodturners warn against using the Spindle Roughing Gouge for this work, myself included after seeing a few accidents involving the use of this tool on cross grain work.

The following video graphically displays what can happen one day, some day to turners that use this tool for this purpose through a moments inattention and using the Spindle Roughing Gouge for a purpose it was never designed for.

This was a deliberate attempt to get the tool to catch and grab to explain what happens when it does but I did not expect the rather spectacular (and painful) outcome I achieved.

Remember that this was done under controlled circumstances, imagine what could happen in an uncontrolled situation.

DO NOT USE A SPINDLE ROUGHING GOUGE ON BOWLS.

Gore warning at approximately

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