LumberJocks

Some Facts About Fishtail Gouges

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodcarving forum

Forum topic by Phil32 posted 02-27-2021 12:04 AM 394 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1358 posts in 959 days


02-27-2021 12:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: fishtail gouges

Fishtails are carving tools that splay outward at the cutting edge. This allows the corners of the cutting edge to reach tight spots without interference from the sides or shaft of the tool. Although spoon gouges might be useful for carving spoons, fishtails are not intended or restricted to carving the tails on wooden fish.

Since the shape narrows immediately behind the edge, the tool gets narrower with each sharpening. It is sharpened all the way to the corners.

The Pfeil (Swiss-Made) fishtails come in 33 sizes. Profiles include #1, 3, 5, 7, 9. They come in widths of 6, 8, 12, 14, 16 & 20 mm, except for the #9s which are 5, 10, 15, & 20 mm. They also offer five heavy duty fishtail gouges in profiles of #1, 2, 5, 7, 9 – all 60 mm wide except the #9, which is only 50 mm.

The Schaaf Tool Company now offers a four fishtail gouge set that includes #3F-6mm, #7F-6mm, #5-14mm, & #7-14mm. They are comparable to the Pfeils (often requiring some reshaping), but only available as a set.

Other carving tool manufacturers have made fishtails in limited sizes. I have a Herring Brothers #3F-7mm that is one of my favorites.

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.


15 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

11150 posts in 4703 days


#1 posted 02-27-2021 12:59 AM

thanks.

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

4518 posts in 4164 days


#2 posted 02-27-2021 02:04 AM

I wish I had known about this 20 years ago. I’ll have to pick up a few once I determine what I need. I have a pilgrimage to the Woodcraft in Ventura planned for the near future for some other purchases, so I’ll look at my two current projects and see what I “have to have”.

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

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2897 posts in 1218 days


#3 posted 02-27-2021 02:48 AM

of all the styles of gouges, the fishtail is my all time favorite.
there’s just something about it that draws me to it.

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

View SMP's profile (online now)

SMP

3810 posts in 961 days


#4 posted 02-27-2021 02:52 AM

Are #1 fishtail gouges any different than fishtail chisels?

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

4518 posts in 4164 days


#5 posted 02-27-2021 05:01 AM

I’ll add that I’m old enough that the amount of width lost from sharpening is something that my grandchildren (if my offspring ever see fit to provide any) will have to worry about it. 8^D

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

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2897 posts in 1218 days


#6 posted 02-27-2021 01:06 PM

LOL – Steven; when I got my first “real” carving gouges, I was at a sign show/workshop and a professional sign carver was giving a class on sharpening tools. I bought a Beaver Visible Wheel from him and I thought that was the Cat’s Meow at the time. after that 3 day event, I think I left with half a dozen gouges that were at least 3/4” shorter than when I brought them. he taught me how to put the tool in water beforeeeeeeeeeeee it turns blue.
(he gave me the nickname of “Stubby”). and called me that for years and years later.
sharpening will always be my downfall – I would rather be tied to the public whipping post and given a good lashing than sharpen tools.

Thanks Phil for your continued invaluable contributions to the forum !!

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

View John Jardin's profile

John Jardin

98 posts in 695 days


#7 posted 02-27-2021 02:06 PM

Phil, I haven’t done a lot of carving over the years but your earlier post this week has been such an inspiration to me that I had to respond. 87!! WOW.
At 81, loosing Rush, together with depressing current events, it is so encouraging to read about people like you.
I’m just finishing up a pair of serpentine dressers that I’ve been working on for nearly 3 years. Now I am climbing a new mountain – Windsor chairs.
Thank you Phil

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1358 posts in 959 days


#8 posted 02-27-2021 04:45 PM

John Jardin – Thanks for your compliments. It is clear from the photo that you do exacting work on your projects, i.e. the serpentine dressers, Did you carve the Roman numerals in your workbench?

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1358 posts in 959 days


#9 posted 02-27-2021 05:16 PM

It would seem easy for someone with a forge and anvil to flare out the end of some 1/4” square steel rod and shape a fishtail. Inspiration!! I have a friend who was project scientist on a JPL space mission, that has taken up blacksmithing in retirement. I think I’ll write to him. . .

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.

View SMP's profile (online now)

SMP

3810 posts in 961 days


#10 posted 02-27-2021 05:44 PM



It would seem easy for someone with a forge and anvil to flare out the end of some 1/4” square steel rod and shape a fishtail. Inspiration!! I have a friend who was project scientist on a JPL space mission, that has taken up blacksmithing in retirement. I think I ll write to him. . .

- Phil32

Actually even easier than that. I’ve seen guys take wider chisels and take ot to the bench grinder and grind off the sides. Maybe Chris Schwarz or Paul Sellers had a video on that
Let me look.

View Andre's profile

Andre

4459 posts in 2861 days


#11 posted 02-27-2021 05:53 PM



It would seem easy for someone with a forge and anvil to flare out the end of some 1/4” square steel rod and shape a fishtail. Inspiration!! I have a friend who was project scientist on a JPL space mission, that has taken up blacksmithing in retirement. I think I ll write to him. . .

- Phil32

I have a couple of Japanese Dove tail chisels, not that expensive when I bought them. I use mine for small Dove tail work, them and Hock Violin knifes.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View John Jardin's profile

John Jardin

98 posts in 695 days


#12 posted 02-27-2021 07:34 PM

Phil, yes I did carve the Roman numerals.
The inset and draw fronts are Euiropean Pear.

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1358 posts in 959 days


#13 posted 02-27-2021 08:14 PM



Are #1 fishtail gouges any different than fishtail chisels?

- SMP


In my opinion any carving tool used with the bevel on the underside would be a gouge, as opposed to woodworking chisels that are used with the bevel up. Of course any gouge can sometimes be used inverted. Does that make it a chisel? Whenever the shaving from a cut goes to the side of the tool opposite the bevel, the tool is gouging.

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.

View SMP's profile (online now)

SMP

3810 posts in 961 days


#14 posted 02-27-2021 09:44 PM


Are #1 fishtail gouges any different than fishtail chisels?

- SMP

In my opinion any carving tool used with the bevel on the underside would be a gouge, as opposed to woodworking chisels that are used with the bevel up. Of course any gouge can sometimes be used inverted. Does that make it a chisel? Whenever the shaving from a cut goes to the side of the tool opposite the bevel, the tool is gouging.

- Phil32

I was looking at gouges on a used site, they had incannel gouges, outcannel gouges, patternmaker gouges etc. I wasn’t quite sure why some were bevel up and some were bevel down. I have only personally used the bevel down.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

4918 posts in 4790 days


#15 posted 02-28-2021 04:01 AM

I did a double-take when you mentioned fishtail gouges by the ‘Herring Brothers’.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com