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The gouge is a chisel with a curved cutting edge. Gouges are made in various sizes, ranging from 1/8" to 2" in width.

There are two types of gouges, the paring gouge and the firmer gouge.

The paring gouge has a bevel which produces the cutting edge, ground on the inside; the firmer gouge has the bevel on the outside.

A paring gouge is commonly called an inside-beveled gouge and the firmer gouge is known as an outside-beveled gouge.

Gouges The gouge is used for making a rounded recess or a flute, or for shaping the curved edge of a piece of wood. A rounded recess or flute closed at the ends should be cut with a firmer gouge. The outside bevel will permit the gouge to scoop out the stock at the ends of the flute. When making such a cut, form the ends of the flute or recess and remove the stock between these cuts. A concave groove, open at the ends, can be cut with a paring gouge, for the open end will not interfere with holding the gouge parallel to the cut.

When cutting a curve on the edge of a piece of wood, the paring gouge should be used. The stock being cut should be placed on a cutting board to protect the bench as the gouge cuts through.

The gouge is a keen-edged cutting tool, and must therefore be handled with care to avoid accidents. When using the gouge, the stock to be cut should be held securely in the vise or to the bench by means of a clamp, leaving both hands free to manipulate the tool. The hands should be kept on the gouge while it is being used. Make all cuts away from you rather than toward you. If you follow these instructions you are not likely to cut yourself.

Paring gouge

When holding the gouge, place one hand on the blade, keeping all your fingers behind the cutting edge. This hand controls the gouge. The pressure or force that drives the gouge is exerted by the other hand, which is placed on the handle. If a mallet is used to drive the gouge, hold the mallet in the hand that would otherwise be placed on the handle; at no other time should you remove the hand from the gouge while using it.

The direction oft the grain must be taken into consideration when using a gouge. When cutting parallel to the grain, the cut must be made with the grain rather than against it. Failure to cut with the grain splits the wood.

To cut a recess with a gouge, make a series of shallow cuts. At no time should the full width of the gouge be used, for the corners of the cutting edge are likely to go below the surface of the cut and split the wood.

Sharpening the gouge

Sharpening a gouge consists of two operations: grinding the bevel and whetting the edge. Dull gouges do not necessarily require grinding to sharpen them; in fact, grinding should be done only when the cutting edge is nicked or when- the bevel of the whetting angle is too great.

To grind an outside-beveled gouge use a grindstone, resting the gouge on the tool rest with the blade held at an angle to the face of the stone. Revolve the gouge, keeping the tool in contact with the tool rest and the face of the stone and maintaining the bevel angle at all times.

Inside-beveled gouges should be ground on a conical stone. The position of the gouge on the stone should be determined from the sweep or curve of the gouge. A gouge with a sharp sweep must be ground near the point of the stone, and one having a greater sweep should be ground farther in on the surface of the stone. When using a conical stone, the gouge is moved back and forth, taking care not to allow the forward motion to go beyond the point on the stone required for the ultimate sweep.

To whet a gouge, whether it has an inside or outside bevel, use an oilstone and a slipstone. The slipstone must have a rounded edge smaller than the sweep of the gouge. When whetting an outside beveled gouge, place it on the oilstone with the bevel resting on the face of the stone. This position must be maintained throughout the operation.

As you pass the tool over the stone, give it a rolling motion. This step in the whetting operation will turn up a wire edge on the inside of the gouge. Next, remove the wire edge by placing the slipstone in the groove, keeping it flat against the blade. As you move the slipstone back and forth in the groove, give it a rolling motion so that the stone will touch every point on the cutting edge.

To whet an inside-beveled gouge use the slipstone, holding it parallel to the bevel to turn the wire edge out; then use the oilstone to remove the wire edge, keeping the blade flat against the face of the stone.