How to Use a Gouge

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When working with wood using a gouge, the materials needed are a woodcarving gouge, a mallet, some stock to work with and bass wood. Start doing more wood projects with help from a woodworking expert in this free video on using a gouge.

Part of the Video Series: Woodworking Tips
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Video Transcript

There are a lot of carving tools out there, and a gouge is one that's used quite a lot. I'm Dave Trull with The Trull Gallery, and I'm going to talk to you about how to use a gouge. The materials you would need are a woodcarving gouge, a mallet, some stock to work with and bass wood works really well. It's a good carving wood and you need some clamping devices. We're just going to use some quick grip clamps for that today. When you are working with a gouge, the first thing you want to do is you have a nice clean stock to work with. I've cleaned up this piece of bass wood. I'm going to clamp it down to my bench and now that I've got it clamped down, I'm going to go ahead and just make some practice cuts with my gouge. It's good to use a piece of scrap wood to get used to something. You can see that I'm not using anything fancy, just an old piece I had laying around the shop because we want to make a bunch of different cuts and show you how it works with the grain and against the grain. A lot of times you can work just by hand and sometimes when you are making some cuts you need a little bit more force and you want to go ahead and use your mallet for that. One of the things you want to keep in mind is that by adjusting the angle of your cut you can adjust the depth of your cut. You can go deeper, you can make lighter cuts. One of the other things you can do is basically sway the gouge back and forth and kind of feather your cut. Another option when working with a gouge is if you have got a cut that is going to be deeper in the middle and lighter on the edges is to work your way in from both sides. So, you are going from the shallow cut to the deep part of the cut and then turn your stock around and work from the other side. One thing you want to make sure that you do is that you keep both hands on the blade side of the gouge. What you want to avoid is to have one hand on the far side of the blade because if that gouge comes out of the wood it's going to come up into your hand and unfortunately I can tell you from experience, if you can avoid that, do it at all costs. So just remember, be safe, keep your hands away from the business end of your gouge and that's how to use a gouge for wood carving. I'm Dave Trull with the Trull Gallery, the fine art of furniture making.


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