Detail & Spindle Gouges

Detail Gouges and Spindle Gouges are different in the shape or depth of the flute. (This article by Joe Larese, A Guide to Gouges gives a good overview of the differences.)

Regardless of the flute, the sharpening is the same.

Guidelines shown below are for use with the Tormek Spindle Gouges (SVD-186 R, SVD-186, or SVD-185).

General Guidelines
α Relief
(if used)
Comments Recommended
Tormek Jig
JS P Hole
30° 5° - 10° 2 55 mm B

α can range from 30° - 40°.

For tight spots, detail work and finest finish. When the flute is shallow, this is known as a Detail Gouge. Traditionally, the wings are swept back quite far.

Not recommended for starter-level turners.

SVD-186 R
45° 2 65 mm A

α can range from 35° - 45°.

Standard profile. For turners of all skill levels.

Notes & Comments

Marty Kiminsky noted "Woodturning" magazine (issue # 352) these α angles for gouges:

Gouge Type Generally
Detail Gouges 40° 40°
Spindle Gouges 25-40° 40°

When the tool gets too short to be held by the jig, you may be able to grind off the top as shown in the upper tool below. This flat area allows for the jig to hold the tool without the tool slipping or rotating.

Or, when the tool gets too short to be held by the jig, consider making it into a beading tool (video).

More Information

Books & Papers

Videos & Presentations

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Remember : The goal of sharpening is to produce sharp tools, and these tools can injure you if mishandled. Safety measures should be followed to protect yourself and those in your shop. Be sure to read and follow all instructions from the manufacturer, and and utilize proper safety equipment. Never consume alcohol or anything that could impair your judgement before sharpening tools, or using sharp tools. Comments can be sent via eMail to me at