Gouge Article and Thumbnail Cuts

In the current issue of Fine Woodworking Magazine, #288 Mar/Apr 2021, is an article in which I suggest seven or eight gouges that form a solid kit for greenwood carving. One of them is a #8 10mm gouge that can be used to add a variety of patterns to your bowls, spoons, shrink pots, boxes, or anything else.

Given the limited space in the magazine, they weren’t able to include this sample board I put together of just some of the patterns that can be created using just one #8 gouge, although a couple of the patterns include some cuts from a narrower gouge, or some nail taps. So I’m sharing it here. The vertical plunge cut is followed by an angled back cut that meets it and removes a chip. Varying the distance between those two cuts and the arrangement of the chips provides for all sorts of possibilities.

Of course, various widths of gouges can create chips from tiny to large, but, regardless of width, I find that a #8 or #9 sweep works best for most patterns. Simple, fun technique, and if executed crisply, really catches light and shadow to great effect. You might easily get carried away and be running around with your gouge like Charlie Chaplin with his wrenches.

Now I’m off for some final preparations for today’s online bowl carving class. Elia and I are excited to get started. Looking forward to seeing some of you there.

This entry was posted in carving, patterns, tools, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Gouge Article and Thumbnail Cuts

  1. 25LTuesday says:

    What a beautiful display of technique on the sample board. It’s amazing how with one tool you can get so much variety. Thanks for sharing it here!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darren MacMartin says:

    Dave, thank you for investing all the time and effort that must go into maintaining your website. As a relative newcomer to wood working and green wood in particular, I find it informative and very inspiring. I really enjoyed the Fine Woodworking article on gouges, thanks again for sharing your craft and making it accessible to everyone.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Kineret Dekel says:

    Great article, thank you. Since the online version of the magazine, shows only 3 of your recommended gouges, could you please list the rest? (Just sweep and width).


    • Dave Fisher says:

      The full online article is only available with a subscription to FWW. Of course, there’s the individual hard copy too. The article discusses the uses for each and explains various possibilities, with lots of photos, of course. I emphasize the notion that there is no need at all for the exact sweep and width.
      Long bent #8 30mm
      Long bent #5 25mm
      Spoon bent #8 20mm
      #8 20mm
      #5 18mm
      #8 10mm
      #1 double-bevel 25-40mm
      v-tool 10mm

      Liked by 1 person

      • kdekel says:

        Thank you (-:


      • Joe says:

        Thanks David. I get the magazine (and have the unlimited membership). I wanted to write down the list in my tools to get list. You putting it here made it easy for me to copy and paste it.


  4. ikustwood says:

    Thank you so, so much !


    Hugo Baillargeon

    Liked by 1 person

  5. onerubbersoul says:

    Great exercise, Dave. It’s amazing how simple cuts can make beautiful patterns.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Steve D says:

    I wish this post came out a day earlier. Yesterday, for the first time in years I grabbed a gouge to do one of those patterns on an oilstone box. Needless to say, I hadn’t considered the range of possibilities.

    Looks like I will be making some more stone boxes. Thanks.


  7. Joe says:

    Thanks David. It was a wonderful article. It’s a shame they didn’t include the sample board. I think the sample board is a powerful image. As you mentioned, it shows what can be done with one gouge. For those of us who are new to carving, making bowls, etc this is very helpful. Do you happen to have any other sample boards or is there a good resource to learn more about what one gouge type tool can do?


  8. Dave Fisher says:

    Thanks, Joe. I have several ideas scattered around. I’ll try to get some more boards organized sometime. There are lots of resources for combinations of various knife chip cuts, including Jogge Sundqvist’s book: https://lostartpress.com/collections/green-woodworking/products/slojd-in-wood


    • Joe says:

      Thanks David. I could also see where it would make for a nice brief YouTube video showing then and explaining it. I could also see where FWW might want something like that as well on that page where they tell you the online contents.

      Liked by 1 person

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