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Forum topic by LDO2802 posted 04-12-2017 07:21 PM 1064 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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167 posts in 1240 days

04-12-2017 07:21 PM

Everyone talks about grinding their turning tools to the specifications they like, i.e. fingernail bevel, irish bevel, etc. But can you grind a roughing gouge in to a bowl gouge? Or a round shaver in to a flat shaver, or will it remove too much of the tempered metal. If so, can you re-temper it with an acetalyne torch?

17 replies so far

View Bmezz's profile


50 posts in 2193 days

#1 posted 04-12-2017 07:33 PM

Trying to use a spindle roughing gouge on a bowl is a very dangerous enterprise. The tang is very weak and could break and go flying with unfortunate consequences. I have no idea what a round shaver is. If you mean a scraper than yes, it can be reshaped if you wish. As I have suggested many times try to find a local turning club. Basic courses and mentoring are inexpensive and will save time, money and bloodshed.

-- Member Valley Woodturners Ottawa. Member AAW

View LDO2802's profile


167 posts in 1240 days

#2 posted 04-12-2017 07:37 PM

I live in 29 Palms California. There are no clubs. LOL. I learn from Youtube and listening to you guys.

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1727 posts in 2539 days

#3 posted 04-12-2017 08:27 PM

Well, it looks like it’s time for you too move to an area that has a club, unless you’re in the military and can’t move. hehehe

I always thought you could heat up any metal until it turns straw color, and you would have some type of temper. Carbon steel can be done that way.

But, I have looked into tempering HSS, and it’s a long drawn out process. I’m sure with a computer controlled kiln, you coud do it, but using a torch wouldn’t do it. Too many in between steps to do, and you have to maintain or reach certain temperatures, let cool to a certain temp, go up again, and that sort of thing that it’s a lot cheaper to just buy the tools you need. So, I buy some of my HSS tools,, and make the shafts for the specialty carbide tools I’m using. ........ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View LDO2802's profile


167 posts in 1240 days

#4 posted 04-12-2017 08:28 PM

Yup, military, no moving for two years. LOL.

Drats, I just got rid of my kiln…..........

View TheDane's profile


5829 posts in 4472 days

#5 posted 04-12-2017 09:55 PM

As Bmezz points out, you should never try to use a spindle roughing gouge on a bowl … it is dangerous regardless of any grind you put on it.

As for re-grinding scrapers, you can but be aware that the cheap tools may not hardened very far back from the tip. Some of the Chinese manufacturers only temper back an inch or two so when you grind that away all you have is a cheap tool that won’t hold an edge.

Last, but not least, Thank You for serving our country.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View HokieKen's profile


14573 posts in 1948 days

#6 posted 04-13-2017 12:18 PM

What Gerry said^, especially the last part! Thank You.

As for HSS, NO you can’t re-temper it at home. If you have several files though, you can test to see if the hardness at the tip is the same along the whole shaft. If it’s true HSS, it most likely is. If it’s another type of tool steel, then it may not be. If it’s HSS, you can grind it without much fear of wrecking the temper. To be safe though, just cool frequently with water while grinding.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Bill Commerford's profile

Bill Commerford

35 posts in 2004 days

#7 posted 04-13-2017 01:35 PM

I have had good results with reshaping HF scrapers on slow speed grinder. You will not make the steel any worse !
I am in Yucca Valley, be glad to help .

View Wildwood's profile


2879 posts in 2944 days

#8 posted 04-13-2017 03:00 PM

There are three different style roughing gouges sold today, continental, German, and U-shape. What style you talking about.




U-shape often found in better spindle turning sets or bought as individual tool. Cheap spindle sets often include continental style roughing gouge. Difference between continental & German is very small.

Most turning catalogs not so much online will tell you roughing gouges not for turning bowls. Most turners will tell you the same. I know two that use their continental gouges on bowls. One can still be found posting on, and the other is Russ Fairfield deceased they use 45 degree bevel angle. Both common sense & science bears out folly of using any one of the three style roughing gouges to turn bowls.

-- Bill

View Karda's profile


2368 posts in 1363 days

#9 posted 04-13-2017 05:06 PM

I have been told by experts that you can grind to shape HSS steel with a grinder because it will not be damaged at high tempeture but it is a good idea to dip in water any way so it don’t over heat one turner said you can make your own knives out of files without tempering by grinding and dipping to keep the steel from getting hot hope this helps

View Wildwood's profile


2879 posts in 2944 days

#10 posted 04-13-2017 07:29 PM

Karda this message is for you.

I never quench my turning tools in water as I sharpen them. Just about all the woodturning videos you watch online or sharpening demos you watch will never a woodturner quench their HSS or exotic steel tools. If you use a light touch, keep the tool moving your tools should only get warm and not burn your fingers. Don’t care if you freehand or use a jig to sharpen your tools.

You want to avoid bluing your HSS & exotic steel tools as you sharpen. One you are wasting steel and it produces a soft edges. You should never quench these steels in water as it will develop micro cracks and weaken the steel. Fell free to quench your carbon steel tools.

Wish you folks would stop mentioning turning file into turning tools! That steel is too brittle, and there are plenty of inexpensive scrapers around already.

-- Bill

View MrUnix's profile


8164 posts in 3008 days

#11 posted 04-13-2017 07:42 PM

You want to avoid bluing your HSS

HSS is pretty tough stuff – Bluing won’t hurt HSS, and you can actually grind HSS up until it’s a low red glow without hurting it (actually, it grinds easier if you get it nice and hot). And the others are correct, never quench in water as it can’t take the thermal shock.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View bigJohninvegas's profile


789 posts in 2271 days

#12 posted 04-13-2017 09:34 PM

So here is a link to a list of California turning clubs. Maybe one of them is close enough for a visit every now and then.

-- John

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 3572 days

#13 posted 04-14-2017 01:24 AM

What Wildwood says – NO FILES !

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View magaoitin's profile


249 posts in 1759 days

#14 posted 04-14-2017 03:07 PM

My one cent’s worth on this would be the key is a slow speed grinder. And the other cent’s worth of advice it to take your time.

Don’t try to remove a large amount of material all at once. Make a pass, then wait a couple (10-15 or so) seconds for the tool to air cool, then make another pass. It is slow and tedious.

That is the scary part of a regular or high speed grinder on lathe tools and regular chisels, it moves way too much material for me and heats the stock up much quicker on each pass.

The last three tools I purchased were blanks, with no grind at all, and just the “interior” profile machined. It saved me about $10 per tool too.

opps forgot a recourse I find usefull. Thompson tools has a video on grinding and a cheat sheet I find handy

And as said above, Thank you for your service sir!

-- Jeff ~ Tacoma Wa.

View LDO2802's profile


167 posts in 1240 days

#15 posted 04-14-2017 03:27 PM

I ended up just ordering a Thompson v-bowl gouge. Didn’t read the part where it comes with no handle, so I will be turning a handle for it.

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