Fingernail gouge vs Ellsworth gouge question

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Fingernail gouge vs Ellsworth gouge question

    I went to a local (70 miles away) AWW wood turning meeting last week for the first time. One tool that I was fascinated with but didn't ask about was the Ellsworth gouge. The Ellsworth gouge is like the fingernail gouge but the grind/shaped edge is slanted back far more.

    So my question: Is the difference in the grind only? Can a fingernail/spindle gouge be shaped/sharpened into an Ellsworth gouge?

    I took a softwood bowl blank that I was having trouble with, and the experienced turner picked up the "ellsworth" (he didn't call it that but rather "spindle" gouge) and proceeded to show me how to hold and turn, and where to let the wood cut from on the spindle/fingernail gouge. Scrapers cut rough when the bowl is on the end grain side and I was trying to figure out why. I asked about using a skew but he said use the spindle gouge.

    By the way, what is the difference in a fingernail and spindle gouge? Are they the same?

    I just purchased a 3 spindle gouge (Hurricane) from Amazon. They most certainly must be sharpened before using. But it is too cold out to give it a try this week.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

  • #2
    Spindle gouges are ground to a fingernail shape - when viewed from above, the curve looks like a fingernail. The bevel is perpendicular to the curve.

    A bowl gouge is often ground using the method developed by Liam O'Neill and later adopted by other such as Ellsworth. The shape is somewhat fingernail-like, but the tip is more blunt and the gouge is rolled as it is sharpened, resulting in the bevel reversing on the sided and creating a cutting edge on the top of the sides with a "negative bevel".

    Here is a little of the history:

    The picture on the left on David Child's page shows the O'Neill grind
    Electrical Engineer by day, Woodworker by night


    • #3
      Thanks for the information. I joined AAW after joining the local club last week. The second link was helpful but your explanations helped the most. Thanks!
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!