Christophe Mineau

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A two handed gouge

A two handed gouge

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A two handed gouge

A two-handed gouge

For rough carving the top or back of a violin, or any other archtop instrument like the mandolin or jazz guitar, there are several possible methods. The fans of power tools may use a rooter to do so, but the true amateur of the “wood feeling” will by far prefer to use the gouge.

The quantity of wood to remove can be quite big and you need for that a tool with good output. A simple carving gouge can do the work, but the classic handle doesn’t allow a very strong push and at least, tiredness will come very soon as well as the blister in the palm of the hand that pushes the gouge.

It is true that maple can be very hard and carving a full back can represent quite an effort.

Here is a gouge I have modified for that purpose, replacing the standard handle by a new one that I made differently. It allows to push using the two hands and there is at the tip a pommel knob which allow an efficient push with the palm of the hand.

I tried to make it pretty : the main shaft is made of curly ash.

The rings are turned out of boxwood and the pommel is out of rosewood.

The gouge is a French Auriou one, 30mm width, curve #4. The metal ring is out of copper.

A little leather hood is helpful for avoiding damaging the gouge in the drawer.

Voilà, comments are welcome.


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