Carving Gouge chart

mish-mash of carving gouges

I’ve frustrated students for ages whenever they ask me which gouges they need. Mine are a collection of old, new & in between. English, American, German & Swiss. Which means they don’t have a common marking system to designate the curvature, or “sweep” of the gouges. I took to just blamming them into a piece of scrap wood and handing it to the students and sending them off with that. Not so effective over the web or through the mail.

I’ve been working with Jeff Lefkowitz on my 2nd set of carving-pattern drawings (now officially 8 months late, my fault! Hopefully ready to post today or tomorrow – Aug 23/24) – and as part of that set we devised this new diagram of 11 gouges in my kit. I had seen a system used by Hans Karllson in which they described each tool by the circle it’s a segment of – then by its width. So that’s what Jeff & I have tried here. It’s a free download below – here’s an example – this is a gouge that is a segment of a circle 1 3/8″ in diameter and it’s 1″ wide. So it’s designated as a 1 3/8 – 1 gouge. Sweep/width.

It’s for 11 gouges, not counting the V-tool. These are not magic gouges in any way – they just happen to be the shapes I’ve found that best fit the patterns I want to carve. If you have something close to these, you’ll be able to carve designs close to what I show. Slight variations are perfectly fine.