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  • Sharpening of a V-gouge

    I am in need of some help here. I was trying to sharpen a v-gouge last night and I think I did more harm than good. I was following along with Rick Butz book on sharpening and something must have went wrong because the gouge is less sharp now than when I started.

    My first question is this. In his book he suggests treating each side of the 'V' as a seperate chisel edge. So that is what I did, but he suggest going back and forth until an edge is formed and then do the other side the same way. I thought that you were supposed to only go in one direction when sharpening?

    My second question is where the sides of the V come together. I tried to do the rocking back and forth of the gouge to get rid of the excess metal that was sticking out but the only thing I managed to do was screw up the sides of the V-gouge. Is there a steeper angle that should be used?

    And my third question is that I am using a DMT diamond sharpener with the holes in it. This is very hard to use with the small gouges that I am using. Should I switch to a Arkansas or India stone? Does it even matter?

    Help! I am getting very frustrated with this sharpening stuff. I seem to be doing more harm than good. Any suggestions would be welcome.

  • #2
    Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

    First, I also treat each side of the V as a seperate chisel edge but also create a small 'third bevel' at the bottom of the V by holding the gouge at the same angle with the V up.
    I only sharpen in one direction as though trying to take a thin shaving off the stone.

    As to the diamond sharpener, I haven't used one so can't say whether it is part of the problem but I use a hard arkansas stone without any oil for all my sharpening and have no complaints.

    Also remember that a wire edge will cut great for a short time but can leave the edge dull after it breaks off. You should take a piece of leather and strop the inside of your V and U gouges the same as you would the flat side of a chisel. You might also want to buy a slipstone for the insides of your gouges.

    Good sharpening techniques take time and practice to develope so don't give up. If nothing else buy a cheap carving tool set from Hobby Lobby and practice sharpening them. That way if you 'ruin' one it hasn't cost you much.

    Good whittlin, Cliff
    Charles City, Iowa
    http://cliffordparker.tripod.com

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    • #3
      Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

      Your technique is correct, your stone is not a good choice for the job. I would recommend you go with the arkansas (pronounced R-Kansas by the hillfolk).
      If you have ever used oil on the arkansas stone, you will need to continue to use it. If you haven't, you can use it without oil and clean it with an eraser.

      The real trick to sharpening V tools is getting the two sides and the curved apex to come together (sharp) at the same time.

      Two words: Magnification and Practice

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      • #4
        Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

        I only use leather strops so far. I was told that the bevels for V gouges are set acording to the type or hardnes of the wood you are using. Less for softer and more for harder as it could break the edge down faster. Corect me if backwards. I try to strop an equal number of times on each side so they stay aligned.

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        • #5

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          • #6
            Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

            I'm sure I could be helpful if I could tell you all the good stuff I have read in books. I do have one helpful hint: if all else fails, send it in to Woodcraft who will sharpen it for $3.00. :'(

            I have one of the DMT diamonds to which you refer and love it! However, I do not use it for very small V-tools.

            I have had several gouges, that I could not sharpen, which I was eventually able to get a good edge on. The problem I had with those is that the edge was NOT STRAIGHT. What I eventually had to do was to stand the tool up on its sharp end -- on my diamond stone -- and work it back and forth until it was straight. Once I did that, I was able to sharpen it within seconds. Sounds contradictary, but I had read about it many times in books but was afraid to try it.

            The other thing I have found is that some of the stones are not fine enough to go to a strop. Therefore, I bought two ceramic stones: one is fine and the other is very fine (these are the two small stones advertised as Wayne Barton's stones). On the occasions when a strop is not sufficient, I use those stones and they put a marvelous edge on the tools. No water or oil is used with them and you clean them with dishwasher detergent. Then use the strop.

            I have some very small ceramic stones with very sharp edges on them for getting down into the inside 'V' once the edges are sharp. Then, I use the flat side of the same stone for the rest of the inside of the tool.

            If this is reply too long, remember I gave you the answer in paragraph one. Once they sharpen it for you, you will be able to keep it sharp if you use your strop frequently. Incidentally, I always use the strop as the last step in the process of sharpening.

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            • #7

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              • #8

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                • #9
                  Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

                  There's no way I'm gonna stick my foot in my mouth and say that this is best, but it's what has worked for me for a lot of years. I use two Arkansas stones, a soft & a hard. The soft is for the rougher work and the hard for final touches before stropping. I've tried ceramic, but it doesn't have the feel of the Arkansas stones. Once you've done it enough you can actually feel when the tool is as good as that particular stone is going to get it and it's time to move on. It kind of loses it raspy feeling and gets more of a slippery feeling. For the stage your V-tool is at right now your going to want a pretty rought stone. One out of the kitchen drower will work. Your diamond dealy might also, but those holes scare me. When you shaping the V don't forget that the wings of the V need to be leading the bottom or it's not going to cut right. Once you get it shaped correctly move on to a finer shapening device (ceramic, arkansas, other diamond without holes, whatever you choose). Hope that made some kind of sense.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

                    Woo there FatEddy what do you mean by 'the wings of the V need to be leading the bottom. Are you saying that if you look at the V-gouge from the side that the wings are more forward than the intersection point? I thought that if you treat each side as a seperate chisel, if you will, then when looking at it from the side it would still be perpindicular down to the intersection.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

                      Yeah, as you look at if from the side the intersection point should be slightly behind the wings. To throw a little more confusion into the deal, some v tools are true v's while others are rounded at the bottom.. Then you've got two chisels and a very small gouge or veiner. I don't think there's any more confusion I can interject at this point. If you've got a woodcraft catalog take a look at the pfiel #14 as opposed to the #13 and #15. I'm not positive, but I think pfiel is the only company with that particular profile.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

                        I think the perpecularity of the wings where they intersect with the roundicity of the apex is the critical point.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

                          If I had only one 'stone', it would be my diamond (800 on one side, 1200 on the other). However, I think it does not do as good a job as is required on the small v-tools, which is where this thread started. The holes don't bother me too much (but they do a bit) except when I am sharpening those small tools. Then, they seem like craters.

                          Most of my sharpening is done with a strop, but it seems that occasionally one has to back up a stage and do some more serious sharpening. I use the ceramic, but I know too many people that use the Arkansas combination to believe that is not also superior. They will probably both work.

                          I did not realize one could use the Arkansas without lubricant -- the reason I chose the ceramic to begin with.

                          I don't like the leading wings on my v-tools, but I'll certainly keep it mind. He may be right, but I have never done it before.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

                            Let me say this about that.

                            Most V-parting tools should be ground 90 degrees to the length of the tool. Then, when the tool is held an a carving angle, the wings lead the cut; releasing the surface of the cut first. This prevents breakage and allows for easy cutting and turning of the tool.

                            Sometimes carvers may wish to increase this effect by grinding the tool so the wings lead the apex. This will release the wood in front of the tool even sooner than the normal grind. The drawback is turning can be difficult on deep cuts.

                            Most carvers also have one small V-tool which has the apex leading the wings of the tool. This configuration allows cutting cleanly into corners. The drawback is that cuts must be shallow to prevent breakout.

                            and dats da trut :P

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                            • #15
                              Re: Sharpening of a V-gouge

                              Sharpening....hmmmm...something I've just GOT to get a handle on, but haven't so far. And I don't even understand half of what I've just read through this thread!!

                              Maybe someone can point me in a more exact direction from where I sit. The gouges I use most often in my carving - both power and hand - are #3 - 3/8' and 3/4'. I use Flexcut brand for both. I've purchased Flexcut's 'strop', which is leather on wood, shaped (they say) to fit their profiles just right. I use it religiously...and it does work pretty well on most gouges...but the 3/4' #3 just doesn't seem to 'fit' - too curved for the flat part of the strop, and too flat for the curved part of the strop! So I know I'm not keeping the edge it came with for very long....but I'm pretty clueless as to how to mend the situation. Is there another type of strop I should be using? How do I sharpen a #3 gouge?

                              Not sharp enough in Ohio,

                              Teri
                              "Santas for the Soul" &&Original Carvings by Teri Embrey&&http://www.teriembrey.com&&[email protected]

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