I just went down to the shop and counted my turning tools. I have 19. Most of them I never touch. Some of them I don’t use well and some of them are so bad that I will not use them, and some I have yet to learn how to use. I have one favorite and I use it for 95% of the turning I do and I recommend it to you highly. I really like the Oneway brand lathes and tools and the one bowl gouge I love is the Oneway Mastercut 5/8″ Bowl Gouge available at Highland. Now it is not cheap – the single ended gouge without a handle is $87.99. Then you will have to buy a handle for another $57.99. But once you put the two together it is a real gem and in my opinion, the best bowl gouge I have ever used.
I particularly like the weight of it. The tool and the handle have the heft and the length to damp out vibration in the cut and I just turn better with it. But wait, you say, how can you do delicate work with a 5/8″ gouge. The answer is that tool control is so positive that delicate work is even easier with this tool than with a smaller one. Case in point, last week I thinned out a bowl to a measured 3/32″ thickness. Now I know there are those who can beat that, but that’s pretty good for me and every bit of it was done with this one tool.
(All right, go ahead and say it shattered on me, but I am going to say that I opened it up for you to see how thin it was. (Actually, it had a small crack and I took it apart before it flung a piece in my face.))
Oneway makes two different handles, and I like the 17-1/2″ Sure Grip Hosaluk.Plus for all you people north of the Mason-Dixon line, the handle does not get so cold in the winter in an unheated shop. It looks but does not feel like one of those braided steel sink connection pipes you might use in your home. This tool is just the best and if you don’t have one for your bowl turning efforts, you are missing out.
In my land surveying career, I went to a real estate closing one time and the seller (a woman, OK) came in wearing a beautiful fur coat. The agent, admiring the coat, asked what it cost. The seller thought about it a moment and said “Oh, about an acre.” Go ahead and get one of these tools, and if you do some decent work, it will only cost about a bowl and a half.