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Thread: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

  1. #1
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    Default V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    I'm looking to carve some letters and I can't find a suitably sized V gouge anywhere. I have a little artsy crafty one that's maybe 3 or 4mm if that. I'm looking for something closer to an inch across. Anybody have any suggestions? Lee Valley, my go to for specialist woodworking tools doesn't have anything that I can find. They've got small sized V parting tools but not as big as I think I need. Would a 60 degree 3/4" straight parting tool work? The letters will be about 5 inches tall in Times New Roman font, carved in Black Locust so I need SHARP edges and something that will be give enough to actually carve to the depth I'll need. Any advice would be appreciated. I guess I could make one if it came down to it but I'd rather not as I've never made anything like that and don't have a forge. One day but not quite yet I don't think.
    Thanks Guys,
    Daniel
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Carved in black locust? You sir are a glutton for punishment.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Here are some sources. Or... if you have a local woodworker's 'boutique' store. I'm no great shakes as a carver, but I do have a nice Flexcut set of tools, along with a few larger single tools --

    https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/carving-tools.aspx

    https://www.woodcraft.com/categories/carving-tools

    https://www.garrettwade.com/woodwork.../show/all.html

    https://www.japanwoodworker.com/cate.../carving-tools

    https://www.flexcut.com/home/categor...-carving-tools
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    I order Pfeil carving tools from Wood 'n Wildcraft here https://www.woodcarvingbiz.com/ - best prices and good service (and he's in Canada, but on the wrong coast).

    Howard

  6. #6
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Thanks Howard, I took a look through there and I think the 13/30 is what I need.
    Daniel
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  7. #7
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    the 13/30 is what I need.
    Daniel
    go big or go home
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    I do a lot of incised Roman and Cursive script work. I ended up having my large V gouges made up by a blacksmith in Italy. That was a long time ago. So if you really want big V gouges I would recommend seeking out a black smith who can custom make them for you.
    One such man is my friend Steve Lopes in Port Townsend. Steve is a true artist in all forms of metal working.
    https://stevelopesblacksmith.com/
    Jay

  9. #9
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Id think for letters that big a regular chisel might be the thing. Hopefully Jay will be by soon to give his ideas.

    Oops. I should have refreshed before posting.

    This is one approach:
    Last edited by StevenBauer; 02-02-2019 at 01:29 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    The main reason I use a V gouge for carving incised letters is that it works fast. Here are some of the ones I use. Rather than chiseling down ward, the tool is used to first carve all the seriffs in one direction and then the other. This is followed by the straight ascending and descending verticals. Then the curves are formed with a short bodied V sweep. Any touch up needed is then done with curves or straits or skews. This makes incised carving fast, because a rhythm is set while working that creates a connection of the letters. I use a small metal cone shaped mallet to dive the tools as the shock is sharp compared to that of a wooden mallet.
    Here are some of my V gouges. The first is the one I had made in Italy. It has one inch wings.
    Jay

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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Jay, the 4th gouge down from the top in post #11 appears to have a cork handle - is this how you use it, or just a protective piece for storage ?

  13. #13
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    Default V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Take a look at Chris Pye's book, Letter Carving in Wood



    I find that a knife works better and/or easier and/or faster.

    Like this mill knife (nice because you can suck the blade in so that only the minimum required is exposed]

    http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=31080&cat=1,130



    Or Pfeil's Brienz carving knife, available at a Woodcraft near yous.



    Easier to sharpen than a gouge, too.
    Last edited by Nicholas Carey; 02-03-2019 at 12:04 AM.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Lovely.
    I know FA about carving,but I would not be driving any of these through locust,with a mallet.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    A few thoughts. You might not need one that large. Consider. A one-inch v-shaped gouge will have wings, depending on how you're measuring and the angle between the two cutting edges around three-quarters of an inch to half an inch. Trying to take a cut from both sides at the full depth of cut, is going to be tough, even doing only side of a deep groove at a time, cleanly, through that much of that hard, dense, wood will be tough to do with or without a mallet. Whatever tool you finally decide on, you want a classic large handle suitable for use with a mallet, The palm-handled carving tools will more difficult to use with enough force to get through black locust. Even with the same cutting edge, a larger handled gouge will be easier to wield.

    If you can get that whole edge of a large tool into the channel you're cutting, you can also get a smaller, easier to use v-gouge to start the cut, and then, as the sides of the groove increase with depth, treat each side of the groove independently with a flat chisel. Less actual force to get a clean, flat finished surface in your v-shaped groove. You could actually do the whole thing with only straight chisels, and gouges for the curves.











    For my in-the-round sculpture carving tools, I don't use the v-gouge so much. A a few of my tools have been purchased new at retail, particularly the carving gouges and the Stanley Sweetheart chisel set, but most have been acquired from yard sales. The set of carving gouges from Ashley Iles, eight gouges of varying sweeps and all less than about three-quarters of an inch wide. Then after reading up on it a bit, I bought a pair of larger, wider gouges, a two-and-half inch, an inch and quarter, with a very shallow, number three sweep, from Ashley Isles, Chris Pye inspired, London pattern. I would rather they came with sockets instead of a ferruled tang, but it isn't a deal-killer. When I recently needed a wide shallow sweep in-cannel gouge, with the bevel on the inside instead of the back, I had to buy a regular gouge and grind the opposite bevel myself. The pair of gouges I got for that from Sculpture House, were hand forged in China and look less refined than the Ashley Iles, for instance, but both the big one and the little one get and keep a nice sharp edge after the grinding the new bevels.

    Just my opinions, worth what you paid for it. I wrote most of this before Jay Greer posted, to whom I would defer for hs much longer experience.
    No number six.

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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    The Craftsman ten-inch table saw I bought from my BIL sixteen years ago, with the new hardwood stand, a mix of sycamore and black walnut for the leg-posts, and Modesto ash (I think) for the horizontal parts between the leg-posts, only because that's what I had on hand. Same species from the same neighborhood, but at different times and from different trees, as the un-finished figure sculpture in the previous post. The other side says, 'Hold Fast.'






    No number six.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    i didn't know kreg made a jig for angle drifts that large

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post



    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Well I guess someone has to say it, buy a dremel and be happy. Your work is not worth more if you pound iron with a mallet.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    The saw is further along than that old photo, and is operational, but I still have walnut and sycamore knees to put in below the drifted mortise and tenon joints. It was a trick getting the long drill bit and then equally long drifts, cut from five-sixteenths rod and go all the way through, lined up to pierce the center of the joints, to snug them up, and then pounding them all together, and have everything come out ninety degrees and the table level. Right now, without the knees, it's more solid than the orignial sheet metal factory stand, especially with the caster feet, but it weighs about twice as much, nearly four hundred pounds, and it doesn't move. Of course, like probably most folk's tablesaws in their garage-shops, it serves more for a large flat surface and a solid work bench than as a saw, and as Martha would say, that's a good thing. Everything in the shop with a bed, except the lathe, does double duty as a work bench and short term storage.
    No number six.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumars View Post
    Well I guess someone has to say it, buy a dremel and be happy. Your work is not worth more if you pound iron with a mallet.
    Maybe. Depends on the work.

    Sorry about drifting the thread so far. The OP is about cutting letters. I still wouldn't do that with a dremel.
    No number six.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeye54 View Post
    Jay, the 4th gouge down from the top in post #11 appears to have a cork handle - is this how you use it, or just a protective piece for storage ?
    That is there for protection of the roll material and my hands. I need to make a new handle for it.

    In truth, I do carve both sides of an incised letter in one sweep, when ever the grain allows for it. It is the sharp inpact of the metal carving mallet in tiny taps that works best for me.

    Nice carving tools Jim!
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 02-03-2019 at 02:18 PM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    Maybe. Depends on the work.

    Sorry about drifting the thread so far. The OP is about cutting letters. I still wouldn't do that with a dremel.
    Why not? Lots of professional carvers switched to power carving.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Might as well just get the CNC router.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    If you are considering doing that, you might just hire a real wood carver and save the extra expense of the machine. We cheap chiselers are at the bottom of the pay scale.
    Jay

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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Here is the round brass mallet I like to use for carving incised Roman copy. I got it from Lee Valley.
    Jay

  26. #26
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Thanks HR, the link to the Canadian supplier of Pfeil tools is very much appreciated. Prices, even after postage, significantly better than in the States. I ordered two gouges and they came in a week.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    An added note here on technique. When ever possible, I try to carve both sides of a letter at once. Carving of serrifs is first followed by the vertical ascenders or decenders such as for E, F, H and L. I begin in the mid height of a vertical and carve at a slightly down angle towards the serrifs or horizontals. This keeps the wings carving the outer surface of the wood first as the keel trails slightly and cuts a clean V on the bottom. The serrifs are then freed by this cutting of the verticals as the wings move into the seffifs at the same angle as their sides. Curved letters begin at the thinnest part of the form and care is made to create a smooth sweep. The gouge may need to be rolled slightly to the out side of the curve while doing this. A short mouth V gouge is needed here in order to follow the curve which more ease. Whenever possible, on all letters a diving cut is made in order to cut the surface first followed by the keel of the tool at the bottom of the cut. This avoids chipping out the grain at the surface of the work. Often the cut needs to be reversed to avoid chipping.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 02-16-2019 at 02:38 PM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Lots of useful tips here guys. Thanks Jay et al. I have yet to start this project aside from thickness planing the boards I'll use. And I'm not done that yet either. Baby, school, work, bathroom reno, I have no time to breath at times it seems. I did carve a practice board though. I did the whole thing, round letters included with my regular bench chisels. The curves were hard and clearly I need the proper tools to do a decent job of it but I did manage to get something resembling what I want. Practice should allow me to clean up my work and make it "good enough" moving forward.
    Eunoia.jpg
    Clearly I need to practice my gold leafing as well but that was the point of this little project. Figure out carving and gold leafing. Not super happy with the result but for a first attempt, I'm ok with it.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Quote Originally Posted by CundysHarbor View Post
    Thanks HR, the link to the Canadian supplier of Pfeil tools is very much appreciated. Prices, even after postage, significantly better than in the States. I ordered two gouges and they came in a week.
    Glad to hear it - not only are his prices good, he's great to deal with and it's nice to support an independent carver.

    Howard

  30. #30
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Sailor, You have a nice form going for your Roman Letters! The are well spaced and well proportioned! A few things that you might want to consider is that The letter "E" can be improved by extending the upper and lower horizontal serrifs to the left so as to have them begin thin and move into the ascender slightly enlarged. The line will then continue on for the upper and lower horizonatals which you have ended correctly. Letters such as U have one of the vertical limbs wider than the other as do the A,V, H, M and N. Check the "BOAT HOUSE" copy on the Mermaid Sign above and you can see what I am talking about. Another hint to getting better flow from the copy is to hand paint the letters with grey tempera after pouncing to cartoon on to the board that is to be carved.

    It looks like you are carving in Red Cedar which is one of the hardest woods to use for this kind of work due to it's being very brittle and also for its tendancy to split and fracture when worked for fine carving. White Pine or Bass Wood are easier woods to work with for practice. Alaskan Yellow Cedar if a very good wood to carve for lettering. Honduras Mahogany, Oak and Cherry are especially nice hardwoods to work for lettering work when a hard wood is needed. Note that any of the soft woods are in need of razor sharp tools with stropped edges to avoid fracturing the grain. A stropped edge will lightly compress soft cedar as the blade passes into the grain, leaving a polished surface.

    Gold leaf work calls for patience as there is a learning curve attached to the work that takes time to assimilate. If the portions to be leafed are first sealed with thin shellac followed by yellow tinted white primer, running and grain bleed can be kept to a minimum. If you need a book of Alphabets to give you letter forms, the most versitile and modestly priced book is the "Speedball Tex Book A comprehensive Guide to Pen and Brush Lettering." It sells for about $11.00 from Amazon. This small reference book is the Bible of sign painters and Caligraphers.
    https://www.amazon.com/speedball-let...dball+letterin

    Wishing you fun and progress with your carving.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 02-17-2019 at 02:31 PM.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Here is a close up for you.
    Jay

  32. #32
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Thanks Jay. I had already purchased speedball at your suggestion. Part of what gave me confidence to start. That is actually black locust I've got carved there, very hard stuff that BL. I'm making name board/light screen boxes with it.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  33. #33
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    Amazing! No wonder you were challenged to carve that piece! You fooled me with that one! In a quick glance and all that chipping at the upper left, it looked like Red Cedar. The letter O is most impressive!

    The Mermaid was posed for by one of my old girl friends. She was a surfer and also was one of the mermaids that graced the rocks in Disneyland back when the Chicken of the Sea Ship first went on display along with the submarine ride. We used the original carving as a pattern for a rubber mold. Then we cast a lot of the replica plaques up in foam. They are scattered about from coast to coast. They have copy that gives all manner of information like "Max. Occupancy 85, Men's or Ladies and Exit with an arrow" The one in the picture is made of foam. The out line was laid on with a striping liner brush. Simple here as the ring and little finger ride on the edge of the plaque to guide the line while the thumb, index and middle finger hold the brush.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 02-18-2019 at 12:41 PM.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?


  35. #35
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    Default Re: V Gouge... Where do I find one?

    "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors". African Proverb

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