One of those revelation moments happened, you know those one's that happen when you don't expect it and they turn into something really major.


A while back, in a workshop session with Phil Irons on hollow forms, we got onto the subject of flute profiles and sharpening of bowl gouges and Phil was looking at the range of tools that the workshop attendees had brought along.

I had, as always my "trusty" 5/8" bowl gouge - now I say "trusty" because it is the most used tool but in fact it is also the most troublesome. The gouge has always been heavily used but, if I'm honest, it's never been a tool that has felt comfortable and we have always had a somewhat "uncomfortable" relationship. 

I hadn't thought about it properly and the tell tale signs were present, the slightly lopsided bevels - one slightly longer than the other. However it is a reputable make so I simply attributed any issues I was having as exactly that - down to me and not the tool.

Phil looked at the gouge and pointed out two very important things: 

  • The flute was not central in the tool shaft which meant that one of the swept back wings would always be longer than the other.
  • The flute was almost a perfect "V" shape which on most swept back or long grinds would give me a nice point which would not lend itself to the way I tend to want to use the tool.

I was promptly handed one of Phil's standard gouges which are made by Vicmarc and, to be honest, it was a light switch moment. So whilst it was not the topic of the workshop Phil had pointed out what should have been obvious to me all along and given me the solution!!

So, after a couple of emails with a very nice bloke in Germany and being relieved of a reasonable amount of cash I took delivery of two new bowl gouges!! The gouges were supplied by DNS and you can find them online here:

The language problem is simply not an issue, I would say that their English is way better than mine and even taking into account a public holiday in Germany the tools arrived in 3 days and in included a free diamond sharpening card!!

The impact of these two tools has been frankly revolutionary, the old gouge is now in the rack and has not been used since the new ones arrived. The gouges arrived correctly profiled and sharp!!

Literally take it out of the wrapper and go to work!

The high Vanadium alloy they are made from seems to hold an edge for a long time and the diamond card is all you need between very infrequent trips to the Tormek.

So it goes to show that I should pay more attention to the details of the tools I use and perhaps not just blame myself for tools not working...though to be fair I am to blame most of the time!!

Photos are below: