Arbortech Ball Gouge | Popular Woodworking Magazine
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This accessory makes power carving grooves fast and fun.
Tool: Ball Gouge Buy now
MSRP: $ 109
T.The Arbortech ball gouge is one of the funniest tools I’ve used in recent times. Turn an angle grinder – a relatively rough woodworking tool – into a more precise tool that can still quickly absorb a lot of material.
The first thing I did was slip this slightly weird looking accessory onto my angle grinder, put on a safety suit and see what kind of damage I could do to a piece of firewood. I was expecting to have to deal with some kind of backlash or use a lot of muscle to get it to do what I wanted. But it wasn’t like that at all. Simply cut nice rounded stitches with a good deal of precision.
The annex itself consists of a 13⁄16Spherical head of diameter “with integrated and replaceable cutter fixed to a steel shaft. Attaches via threads to an angle grinder. The gouge is designed to fit most 4 “or 41⁄2”Grinders and work with speeds between 9,000 and 12,000 rpm.
The ring cutter is designed to self-sharpen during use. As the cutting edge cuts, the back edge is blued. This means that you can rotate the cutter to expose a new sharp edge a few times before needing to replace the blade (a replacement cutter costs around $ 30).
My immediate thought with this gouge was to empty a stack of spoons. And he sure did a quick job! Compared to using a hand gouge or spoon and working by hand, it was (unsurprisingly) much faster. The spoons still needed some finishing work by hand, but I got to that point faster than I would have otherwise.
So I started digging a bigger piece of wood to make a serving dish. This took a little longer than a spoon bowl – in hindsight, I probably should have used a hatchet to get closer to the shape I was looking for before using the ball gouge. But it was still amazing how quickly I could create a usable form.
The last thing I tried was to create a patterned surface on a flat piece of football. This was more complicated than just hollowing out, especially getting a uniform and repeating pattern, but still a lot easier than I thought it would be.
You’ll want to make sure you’re using adequate protection – safety glasses, hearing protection – and that your workpiece is securely attached to a stable work surface. You will notice that the ball gouge does not create a lot of dust – it is mainly small chips. You will also need to make sure that you use the grinder’s auxiliary handle to always keep two hands on the tool. It makes tool control much easier and keeps your hands away from the rotary gouge. It’s not a trifling investment at around $ 110 for the tool, but once you start using it, the creative juices start flowing and you really start enjoying it.
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