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Looking for some specific carving chisels that won't take a second mortgage

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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 05-06-2020 08:33 PM 431 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CharlesA

3431 posts in 2571 days


05-06-2020 08:33 PM

My daughter is making some bandsaw boxes from a Fine Woodworking video series.

The videos call for #12 6mm v gouge #5 30mm sweep gouge #5 12mm sweep gouge #9 3mm sweep gouge

These appear to be gouges usually sold individuall at about $50-80/piece—I’m not up for $200+ for this one set of projects. I’ve checked out numerous starter sets that don’t seem to include any but the V gouge. I can approximate them with 4 FlexCut Mallet gouges.

Flex-Cut #5 X 1-3/16 Mallet Sweep MC505
Flex-Cut #5 X 11/16 Mallet Sweep MC305
Flex-Cut #11 X 1/8 Mallet Sweep MC211
Flex-Cut 60¦ X 3/8 Mallet V-Tool MC360

That’s about $120, still more than I’d prefer to spend right now, but a lot less than the Pfeils.

I’d appreciate any wisdom you might have. She has some OCD tendencies, so it isn’t easy to just say “use this instead.”

I know little about carving gouges, so I’m at a loss here.

Charles

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson


9 replies so far

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2539 posts in 3412 days


#1 posted 05-06-2020 08:42 PM

Used carving tools go cheaply on ebay. You might not have the specs but I’m sure you can find equivalent for much less money.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

14034 posts in 1912 days


#2 posted 05-06-2020 08:54 PM

Flexcut sweeps and Pfiel sweeps may not have the same curvature geometry Charles. Manufacturers define their own sweep profiles, it’s not standardized across the industry. They may or may not be close enough to accomplish what she needs. Also, a 1-3/16” #5 sweep will likely do what you need the 11/16”#5 for. It’ll be the same geometry, just larger.

Also, gouges aren’t the easiest tools to sharpen. And they have to be SHARP or they will make a priest cuss. So you’re gonna need to have strops and/or slip stones that have the right profiles… sorry :-/

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

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ClaudeF

1145 posts in 2481 days


#3 posted 05-06-2020 09:17 PM

Here’s a chart that might help. I believe this is the same sweep pattern that Pfiel uses. You can see what the sweeps look like here: https://www.woodcraft.com/search?q=gouge&button=search

In the chart, you can see that, for example, a #5 6mm gouge has the same radius curve as a #9 12mm gouge (both have a 6.0mm radius curve. Similarly, a #7 16mm and a #4 6mm gouge have almost the same radius curve (10.1mm vs. 10.0mm)...

-- https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3431 posts in 2571 days


#4 posted 05-06-2020 09:24 PM


In the chart, you can see that, for example, a #5 6mm gouge has the same radius curve as a #9 12mm gouge (both have a 6.0mm radius curve. Similarly, a #7 16mm and a #4 6mm gouge have almost the same radius curve (10.1mm vs. 10.0mm)...

Just when I thought I was beginning to understand.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2437 posts in 936 days


#5 posted 05-06-2020 09:27 PM

Charles, the majority of my gouges came from Wood Carvers Supply . com
(over the years, I bought them as I needed them – never bought a “set”.
and like Claude said, you can make substitutes with no issues. (and sometimes cheaper).
(just another option).

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View DaveMills's profile

DaveMills

19 posts in 173 days


#6 posted 05-06-2020 09:27 PM

Edit: I guess I’m a slow typist. While I was typing, several other similar posts came in :)

I suspect you won’t find that particular list of gouges in a set together. So you’re stuck finding vendors that sell individual chisels (many don’t seem to, and those that do are the higher end ones), or used. Does she already have a set of chisels, and if so what sizes does she have?

You might read up on the numbering system, to see if something she has can legitimately substitute for one of these. As an example, all #5 gouges are sections of the same radius circle. The larger ones simply cut a wider section. So conceptually, two slices with a #5-15 is the same as a #5-30. And a #4 is just a touch larger radius than a #5, and #6 just a touch smaller than a #5. So depending on how accurately she’s trying to reproduce the curves on the box, it could very well be that a nice #6 you might find is “close enough” to that #5 called for.

But I’m an OCD guy too, so I can appreciate her situation…

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DaveMills

19 posts in 173 days


#7 posted 05-06-2020 09:58 PM



In the chart, you can see that, for example, a #5 6mm gouge has the same radius curve as a #9 12mm gouge (both have a 6.0mm radius curve. Similarly, a #7 16mm and a #4 6mm gouge have almost the same radius curve (10.1mm vs. 10.0mm)...

That’s an interesting chart. It’s not the way it’s been explained to me, but I don’t have Pfeil gouges to compare to. So I guess it’s true, the “standard” is not standard.

View pontic's profile

pontic

797 posts in 1382 days


#8 posted 05-06-2020 10:31 PM

If you know how to sharpen and strop then Narex makes carving chisels very close to Pfiels.
Narex doesnt come with a sharpened edge like the Pfiels. Flexcut don’t lend to mallet work very well either.
I do most of my carving with a #7 and V-parting tool. Get her those and tell her to practice projects from Mary what’s her names play book and if she still wants to carve then she can get more one at a time.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

4100 posts in 3883 days


#9 posted 05-07-2020 03:26 PM

Here’s something to consider. Unless she is making a stop cut that requires a specific radius of curvature, she can use any number of gouges, as long as it follows the edge lines. Same for the v-tool. The beauty of carving is that it releases one from the strictures of machine work. I designed tools and other things that required the parts to be made to the print. It took me a while to realize that this isn’t necessary in carving. I bought Lori Irish’s book on wood spirits, and while I was working through the tutorial in that book, I noticed that the pattern there and the wood spirit on the cover weren’t exactly the same. I realized that if I made a mistake (I did- I cut off too much of the mustache) unless you point it out, probably nobody will notice! It’s quite liberating.

ETA- the English and Swiss use a different system. A #9 in England has a different curvature than a #9 in Switzerland. That’s handy if one actually does care about the curvature- one can use either to get what they want.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

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