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Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author 

When it comes to handicraft, there are few more satisfying pursuits than turning your own bowl. Whether you are an established craftsman, or you are new to using a lathe, a bowl can be an excellent way to develop and home in your skills. You don’t have to start with big projects, you can make them as small and as simple.

When it comes to choosing bowl gouges, there is no shortage of options online, but how do you know if you are picking a tool that is right for your needs, especially if you are new to this exciting hobby? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are 10 of the best bowl gouge for the money. We’ve tried, tested and reviewed these products and created a comprehensive buying guide to make sure you get the right tools for your needs.

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Product Name

Bowl Gouge Set (Inch)

Price

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryHurricane Turning Tools Woodturning Three Piece Bowl Gouge Set

Hurricane Turning Tools Woodturning Three Piece Bowl Gouge Set

1/4

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryIMOTECHOM 3/8-Inches HSS Bowl Gouge Turning Tools

IMOTECHOM 3/8-Inches HSS Bowl Gouge Turning Tools

3/8

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryBeaverCraft Wood Carving Gouge Chisel Bowl Gouge

BeaverCraft Wood Carving Gouge Chisel Bowl Gouge

-

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryWoodstock D3804 Bowl Gouge

Woodstock D3804 Bowl Gouge

1/2

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryRobert Sorby Deep Flute Bowl Gouge


Robert Sorby Deep Flute Bowl Gouge

3/8

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryCarter & Son Toolworks 5/8 Inch Bowl Gouge

Carter & Son Toolworks 5/8" Bowl Gouge

5/8

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryYellowhammer Turning Tools Essentials 3 Piece Bowl Gouge

Yellowhammer Turning Tools Essentials 3 Piece Bowl Gouge

1/4

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiarySorby Sovereign Fingernail Bowl Gouge

Sorby Sovereign Fingernail Bowl Gouge

1/2

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryCrown 242PM Powder Metallurgy Bowl Gouge

Crown 242PM Powder Metallurgy Bowl Gouge

1/2

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryBig Horn 25302 1/2 Inch M42 Bowl Gouge

Big Horn 25302 1/2" M42 Bowl Gouge

1/2

10 Best Bowl Gouge Review In 2020

 1. Hurricane Turning Tools Woodturning Three Piece Bowl Gouge Set

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryHurricane Turning Tools Woodturning Three Piece Bowl Gouge Set Review

If you are just starting out on your gouging adventure, then the hurricane turning tools are an excellent place to start. They are far longer than their carbon steel comparatives, but don’t be concerned about their length. Just because they are longer does not mean that they are fragile. The steel they are made of is well constructed, so the additional length doesn’t increase fragility.

When you first get these gouges out of the box, you may think that the ends aren’t as refined as others. That isn’t a bad thing. Most gougers who have been working for a long time like unrefined ends. This means that you have ability to refine them yourself to suit your needs. This won’t take long to get the hang of and you’ll be left with tools that you can work with till your hearts content.

The length of the flute also means that you have a tool that will last a long time. In the event that it does snap, break or become dull, you can simply re-sharpen. What we really liked about these tools is how comfortable the handles are. They have a nice feeling grip and a nice shape, so your hands won’t get fatigued.

Things We Liked

  • Steel construction
  • Long flute
  • Easy to refine
  • Great entry level product
  • Comfortable handles

Things We Didn't Like

  • It takes time to refine
  • Not as sturdy as other products

 2. IMOTECHOM 3/8-Inches HSS Bowl Gouge Turning Tools

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryIMOTECHOM 3/8-Inches HSS Bowl Gouge Turning Tools Review

The Imotechom is a professional looking gouge with a beautifully designed handle that gives the air of elegance. The walnut handle is of high quality and adds an increased level of class to your tools.

When you get this gouge of the box, you’ll notice that the gouge as been refined for you. Imotechom have machine tooled the end to make sure you get the angle that you want. It also means you can start using your tool straight away. You may want to refine the tool to meet your preference, but if you are just starting out, they are a good place to start.

One of the best things about this tool is how well balanced it is. Some tools end up being too heavy on the handle end which fatigues you. This lack of fatigue means you can continue using the tool throughout the day and not be left aching.

Things We Liked

  • Well refined tips right out of the box
  • Beautiful chestnut handle
  • Easy to refine
  • Long enough to break and re-sharpen time and again
  • Well balanced

Things We Didn't Like

  • The machined tip might not be to everyone’s taste
  • The flute isn’t as thick as others

 3. BeaverCraft Wood Carving Gouge Chisel Bowl Gouge

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryBeaverCraft Wood Carving Gouge Chisel BowlGouge Review

The BeaverCraft prides itself on providing their customers with a tool that can be used on both hardwood and softwood. Having this flexibility means that you can reduce the amount of tools that you need in your shed that you would traditionally need for hand gouging.

The bend in the tool is ideal for gouging out your own bowls by hand. Don’t worry if you are concerned about undertaking this kind of work. The chisel end is plenty sharp enough to be able to handle it. Another benefit to the shape of this chisel is the fact that it is wide enough to fit your thumb in. This means that you don’t get any pressure marks or discomfort even with long use.

The carbon steel composite blade is extremely durable and long lasting. You are also able to sharpen it easily in the comfort of your own home. The handle of the Beavercraft has been well made and has been designed for comfort. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable, even with long use.

Things We Liked

  • Very sharp straight out of the box
  • Well-shaped tool
  • Doesn’t hurt your thumb when gouging
  • Carbon steel blade
  • Easy to care for and maintain

Things We Didn't Like

  • Doesn’t do well on knots
  • Keep the blade clean as it can rust

 4. Woodstock D3804 Bowl Gouge

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryWoodstock D3804 Bowl Gouge Review

If you want to have a tried and trusted work horse in your shed, then the Woodstock can be an excellent tool that you will always go back to. The flute is ½ inch, which makes sure that it can work through even the hardest of woods and hardest of knots.

The quality steel workman ship is apparent from the moment that you get the tool out. The flute is constructed with speed steel. This makes sure that you can work with the tool time and time again. It also means that it doesn’t break and doesn’t blunt quickly. The handle is well constructed and feels comfortable in your hand. It isn’t as ergonomically designed as others are available, but it is still comfortable.

When it comes out of the packaging, there is an end that has been sharpened but you may want to refine it further. The sharpening of the tool won’t be to everyone’s taste. So, when you get it you may want to spend refining it further so you get that perfect angle.

Things We Liked

  • Strong high-speed steel flute
  • Will work through hard wood and knots
  • Machine end
  • Easy to reshape
  • Long flute for extended life

Things We Didn't Like

  • Will need to sharpen often
  • Handle isn’t as ergonomic as others

 5. Robert Sorby Deep Flute Bowl Gouge

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryRobert Sorby Deep Flute Bowl Gouge Review

The Robert Sorby bowl gouge is a precision tool that has been designed and engineered to make sure that it doesn’t heat up and consistently performs. When you get the Robert Sorby out of the box, you’ll notice how well the flute has been machine sharpened. Most gouges will require slight adjustment before use, but the chances of you having to do it to this one is low.

The handle is well constructed and well balanced. Even with extensive use, especially if your hands aren’t used to gouging, you won’t feel as fatigued. The balance of the tool is excellent and shows it has been well made.

The blade has been constructed to withstand heat and excessive wear. You’ll find that you won’t need to sharpen it as much as other tools. Due to the length, this also gives you more scope to change the type of angle if you aren’t happy with what you are using. All in all it’s a well-crafted tool that will leave you happy.

Things We Liked

  • Well balanced
  • Heat resistant
  • Strong steel
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Long flute

Things We Didn't Like

  • You might want to change the angle
  • Too big to whittle

 6. Carter & Son Toolworks 5/8" Bowl Gouge

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryCarter & Son Toolworks 5/8 Inch Bowl Gouge Review

If you need a big job completed, then look no further than the Carter and Son. This massive bowl gouge will make light work of pretty much anything you throw at it. Be it hard wood, soft wood or a lump riddled with knots. The carter and son has been designed for a hard job.

Unlike other tools, this tool has an aluminium handle. Some people may not like this, but it keeps the tool light weight. Which is important when you are handling a tool of this size. It still remains well balanced and effective, but you will feel fatigued with extended use.

The Carter and Son is well constructed and will continue to last. The flute has been heat treated to make sure that it can handle the big jobs. You may not be happy with how the tip has been machined, but you have more than enough room to be able to change the tip to match your needs.

Things We Liked

  • Aluminium handle
  • Made in the USA
  • Well balanced
  • Heat treated
  • Designed for big jobs

Things We Didn't Like

  • May be too big for some
  • May need the tip adjusting before use

 7. Yellowhammer Turning Tools Essentials 3 Piece Bowl Gouge

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryYellowhammer Turning Tools Essentials 3 Piece Bowl Gouge Review

If you are just starting out bowl gouging, then the yellowhammer tools are the entry level set you need. You have three tools to choose from, each of varying size for different jobs. Prior to starting it would be good to read the instructions, so you are aware of which tool is best for which job.

When you unpack these tools, you’ll see that the blades have already been machine sharpened. If you are just starting out, you’ll find that these edges are excellent straight out of the box. For people that are more experienced, they may want to refine these. The yellow hammer gouges keep their edge well and consistently perform.

One of the draw backs to these tools is the black handles. When you first starting using them, you’ll notice (especially if your hands get warm) that the black paint will come off on your palm. Before you start using them, it will be worth giving them a quick wash to stop this from happening. 

Things We Liked

  • Set of three, ideal for beginners
  • Well made
  • Long flute
  • Sharp end
  • Easy to refine

Things We Didn't Like

  • Black paint comes off on your hand
  • Not as well constructed as others we have reviewed

 8. Sorby Sovereign Fingernail Bowl Gouge

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiarySorby Sovereign Fingernail Bowl Gouge Review

Sorby are well known for making bowl gouges and for good reason. They are offer their customers a premium rate tool that has been exceptionally well engineered and designed. This bowl gouge is very versatile, you can either use it for profiling cuts or being delicate.

Sorby have been constructed with straight out of the box use. If you are unsure of what type of gouge you want, make sure that you use it first and assess how you feel about it. If you don’t like its cut, then it is easy to sharpen as long as you have the right tool. You have a long flute to enable you to re-refine the edge depending on your preference.

The Sorby has been treated to remain strong, even under pressure with sustained use. The edge will hold, even with hours of use. You can be sure that you are buying into a quality tool that will consistently preform. Make sure you treat it accordingly, as miss treatment will result in the tool going brittle.

Things We Liked

  • Premium rate product
  • High end materials
  • Quality construction
  • Holds an edge
  • Easy to sharpen

Things We Didn't Like

  • Machine tip isn’t to everyone’s taste
  • Will need a handle

 9. Crown 242PM Powder Metallurgy Bowl Gouge

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryCrown 242PM Powder Metallurgy Bowl Gouge Review

The crown tool has one of the most ergonomic handles on the market. If you feel as though your hands get sore after a while from holding a bowl gouge, then this might help to reduce the fatigue and strain. The handle is constructed of black hardened ash which won’t disintegrate or mark your hands, unlike other handles.

The fluting of the crown is excellent and will consistently perform. When it comes out of the box it isn’t very sharp, so you have full artistic licence when it comes to deciding which type of angle and which type of cut you want. The flute may feel pliable when you sharpen it, but the construction of it is strong and will last.

The crown has been hardened. This means that it will constantly perform under stress and continue to do so even when it gets hot. This is ideal for people who like spending along time gouging out wood. Knots and hard wood aren’t an issue for this tool.

Things We Liked

  • Beautiful blackened ash handle
  • Long flute
  • Easy to refine
  • Light weight
  • Ergonomic

Things We Didn't Like

  • Will need sharpening as soon as you get it
  • Possibly too advanced for novices

 10. Big Horn 25302 1/2" M42 Bowl Gouge

Best Bowl Gouge for the Money 2020 - Top 10 Picks by The Author - Tools DiaryBig Horn 25302 1/2 Inch M42 Bowl Gouge Review

The big horn is exactly what it says on the tin. It is a large tool that will make short work of pretty much anything you throw at it, barring rocks. The hardened shaft will make sure that you can gouge out all the knots that you come across. Resulting in beautifully smooth surfaces.

The handle of the big horn is light weight, but that doesn’t stop the tool being well balanced. You will feel at ease when you are holding it and you will find that even though you are using a big tool, you won’t feel as tired. This is due to the ergonomic considerations that have been made when it was designed.

Out of the box the tool is amazingly sharp with a traditional gouging shape. If you are a novice, you’ll be happy that you don’t have to refine it until you have gotten used to it. If you are a pro, or a well-established wood worker, you’ll find the tool easy to reshape. You are given more than enough length to be able to reshape the edge multiple times.

Things We Liked

  • Hardened shaft
  • Sharp out of the box
  • Quality construction
  • Ideal for bigger jobs
  • Well balanced 

Things We Didn't Like

  • Some users may find it too big
  • The copper handle can get slippy

Why Do You Need Bowl Gouges?

If you want to learn how to make a bowl, then learning how to use a bowel gouge is one of the requirements for this, especially if you are using a lathe, but here are some other reasons that you need a bowl gouge.

Different Types of Gouge​

There are variety of different gouges on the market that are available to you. Some you can use by hand, so if whittling is something that you are interested in, then you will want a hand gouger these are different, as they have more of a curved blade. They allow you to scoop the wood out of what you are shaping. They are also designed to more comfortable in your hand than gouges that you use with a lathe, as whittling takes longer. If you have a lathe, then you will want a gouge than can hold up against being held against a fast spinning piece wood.

Different Finishes

Different bowl gouges have different finishes. Whilst you can use one gouge to fully create a bowl. If you want a level of depth and detail, then you will need different types. There is an array of gouges that can give you different finishes and grinds, all of these works together to help you create your bowl.

Quicker

If you have been whittling by hand, then upgrading to a lathe may well be a natural progression for you. You could spend hours whittling a piece of wood to get an uneven finish or you could start using a lathe. Using bowl gouges on a lathe is a far quicker option for you, if speed is what you want.

The Ultimate Buying Guide For The Bowl Gouge

Before you settle on a gouge, it makes sense to have a good understanding of what different type are out there. Here is the ultimate buying for the best bowl gouge on the market.

Material

Before you make your purchase, it is good to understand what types of material bowl gouges are made out of. More often than not you’ll come across two types of material. It’ll be high carbon steel or high-speed steel. High carbon steel is older technology, but it is still reliable. It may not hold up as well as high speed steel with consistent use, but it still gives you a solid tool. The high-speed steel is an advancement as it doesn’t heat up as much as high carbon and therefore lasts longer. Older brands still use high carbon as some think it gives a better finish.

Size

When we talk about the size of the bowl gouge, we are referring to the width of the flute rather than the length. It is a good to know this so that you know what you are buying. Some manufactures depending on where they are based globally measure size differently. Check how your manufacture measures the size, as it may be the shaft or it may be the flute.

Shape

There aren’t that many options when it comes to the shape of bowl gouges. Out of the box, you will find that the bowl gouge either has a V or a U shape. A lot of people will instantly reshape the gouge as they aren’t what they want, but if you are new to this then you will want to practice with it first. Professional shapers will often change their gouges to the super U shape. Not only does it make the gouge more efficient it also gives you an excellent finish, but it is worth practising first before you commit to reshaping it.

How To Use A Bowl Gouge

When it comes to using a bowl gouge for the first time, it is always worth having a read prior to jumping straight in.

Start On The Outside First

When you first start turning the wood, you will need to start working on the outside of the bowl first. Begin spinning the wood up, and then move your gouge from the centre to the right and then back in. You’ll be applying pressure to make the gouge and if you find that you need to apply more, then you will need to go back and sharpen the tool. Once you have sharpened the tool, you’ll find that the gouging becomes easier and smoother.

Safety

When you are using the bowl gouge, you want to make sure that the handle stays close to your body for support. This is especially true if you aren’t using any tools to stabilise the tool. Hold the gouge tight and keep it against you, so even if you hit a knot the tool won’t be flung across the room.

Curvature

When you are holding onto the gouge you may start by feeling like there is no curve to the bowl. This is natural when you first start but when you start getting comfortable, begin to gently swing the handle. It is this swing motion that gives you the curvature of the bowl!

Hollowing out​

When it comes to hollowing out the bowl, it would be good to have a chuck there so you can attack the gouge. Make sure that the handle is lower than the flute (at a 45-degree angle) and the tool is at rest at the top if your bowl. When you turn the lathe on, move the handle up and the flute will begin to hollow the bowl out. Repeat the process until you get the desired result.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to buying a bowl gouge, there really are an array available to you on the market. Before you settle on your purchase, have a think about what type of construction you want and how the tool has been measured. If it is your first-time buying gouges, then it could be worth buying a set, so that you have everything you need to get started. Once you have bought them, then you are ready to start thinking about how you are going to use them! Bowl gouging is an excellent past time and doesn’t take long to master, so why not give it a go!

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