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Are fishtail gouges good for in the round or limited to relief and lettering only?

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  • Are fishtail gouges good for in the round or limited to relief and lettering only?

    Hello again, friends

    I was searching for a couple more gouges to build out my little collection and stumbled across opportunity to purchase an almost-new 8 piece set from a brand I love very much already (Auriou). The price is excellent - still a chunk of money, but within budget - and they match all the sizes and profiles (#3,6,9 in 6mm and 14mm) I'll need for some time.

    They are, however, all short fishtail but one.

    I've done a bit of research and it seems like many experts think fishtail gouges are great - extolling the virtues of getting into small spaces. Yet most people seem to be using them just for relief and lettering; for in the round - my interest - they tend to use allongee or straight from what I've seen.

    So I'm wondering... Is there any good reason why I can't use these short fishtails for everything? Seems like they are much more versatile than even allongee.

    Thanks again

    Jof

    EDIT: here's a picture of them from a website (not the seller)

    AU-PYE1_K_big.jpg
    Last edited by Jof; 03-24-2019, 02:15 PM.

  • #2
    Go ahead. There are no rules except to use the tool that works best for the job.
    At the end of the day, nobody knows what you did. I have a 3F/8 and a 5F/14 that I enjoy using.
    Thanks for the picture = I've never seen a set of Auriou gouges.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
      Go ahead. There are no rules except to use the tool that works best for the job.
      At the end of the day, nobody knows what you did. I have a 3F/8 and a 5F/14 that I enjoy using.
      Thanks for the picture = I've never seen a set of Auriou gouges.
      Thanks Robson. When you say "3F" I'm guessing the "F" is for "fish"? My worry is the corners being a bit fragile as they have less meat behind them. Have you found that?

      I have two other Auriou's (allongee style) and I fell in love the moment I took them out of their packet. There's something just perfect about their handles and form. They are super hard to get hold of, however, and normally pretty expensive.

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      • #4
        HI. Yes, for the example, '3' is the sweep. 'F' is for fishtail shape and 8 is the width in mm as usual. Those two are Pfeil.
        As long as you don't try to pry out chips and work towards a stop cut, I think there's enough steel in the corners.
        Gutter shape elbow adze blades are a little bit fishtail as well and I show them no mercy.
        I've noticed that I rarely have more than the middle half of the edge in the wood.
        Brian T

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        • #5
          I love fishtails, I use them for everything. The majority of my tools are fishtail profile, I find them perfect for all my carving needs, so much that I have very few regular straight tools.

          Just an opinion, use what ever works for you.

          Bob
          Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.

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          • #6
            Fishtails are one knife I don't have, but would not pass up this opportunity, some of my gauges have kind turn into fishtails which I don't mind.
            . . .JoeB

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            • #7
              I don't see why you couldn't use them. If it's a good opportunity, grab them!
              Keep On Carvin'
              Bob K.

              My Etsy page: https://www.etsy.com/shop/rwkwoodcarving


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              • #8
                Is it sharp? Can you hold it and cut wood with it? Then it's a carving tool!

                Bob L

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jof View Post
                  Hello again, friends

                  I was searching for a couple more gouges to build out my little collection and stumbled across opportunity to purchase an almost-new 8 piece set from a brand I love very

                  So I'm wondering... Is there any good reason why I can't use these short fishtails for everything? Seems like they are much more versatile than even allongee.

                  Thanks again

                  Jof
                  Short pod, long pod, alongee, etc. Short pod are THE most useful for the reasons you'd want a fish tail. They get out of your way the quickest giving the most clearance. Some guys will complain the tool gets narrow over time. Well yes, but we're carvers not farmers scraping paint and taking these to a power grinder to re-edge. It will take a long time to wear them via honing to a point they are any narrower.

                  Many brands have moved away from producing all the variations of fishtail. Probably because their aren't many carvers demanding them and most carvers aren't demanding of their tools. They happily accept what company abc puts out and will use that never changing a thing, in fact being afraid to. Carving tools from any manufacturer are nothing more than a template in my eyes. I make them my own so they do what I want.

                  My carving teacher has over 500 tools. Almost ALL of them are fishtail, short pod, Henry Taylor, some Dastra as well. He even has some fishtail v-tools which I don't even think are made anymore. If you can get short pod fishtail, I'd say do it.

                  I have some from Taylor and Dastra. Diefenbacher is the Dastra importer now, I believe. I think it's passed from Frank Mittermier to him. Taylor can be had lots of places but to get short pod you probably need to custom order. Lee Valley can help you with that. They order quarterly and you can add your stuff to their order. Just call their special orders dept and they'll explain the process.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fiddlesticks View Post

                    Short pod, long pod, alongee, etc. Short pod are THE most useful for the reasons you'd want a fish tail. They get out of your way the quickest giving the most clearance. Some guys will complain the tool gets narrow over time. Well yes, but we're carvers not farmers...
                    Great reply - thanks for that, fiddlesticks.

                    I thought I'd post an update of my experience in the last couple of months since writing that. I now have a bunch of Ashley Iles (straight and allongee), Pfeil (straight) and Auriou (allongee and short fishtail) gouges. I really like the shoort fishtails (they definitely help with the awkward corners as everyone said!) but I tend to use the straight and allongee for two key reasons:

                    1) The fishtails are much more annoying to sharpen. I sharpen to a 12 degree cutting angle and that makes the corners very easy to screw up - especially on the flatter fishtail gouges. I.e. it's very easy to accidentally round them.
                    2) If I get a chip, I have to remove a bigger fraction of the useful length of the tool. And whatever I remove from the length I also almost remove from the width (I'd say about 1mm from length corresponds with 0.5mm from the width for some tools). So the tool gets noticeably shorter and narrower

                    I think if I were to advise my past self I'd say "get really really good at sharpening before buying fishtails". That said, since Auriou only do #5 and #3 in fishtail I don't feel like I've lost anything... and I really really like Auriou toools. Plus the small #9 I have in fishtail is extremely useful for my work.

                    Hope that's useful to someone.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jof View Post

                      Great reply - thanks for that, fiddlesticks.

                      I thought I'd post an update of my experience in the last couple of months since writing that. I now have a bunch of Ashley Iles (straight and allongee), Pfeil (straight) and Auriou (allongee and short fishtail) gouges. I really like the shoort fishtails (they definitely help with the awkward corners as everyone said!) but I tend to use the straight and allongee for two key reasons:

                      1) The fishtails are much more annoying to sharpen. I sharpen to a 12 degree cutting angle and that makes the corners very easy to screw up - especially on the flatter fishtail gouges. I.e. it's very easy to accidentally round them.
                      2) If I get a chip, I have to remove a bigger fraction of the useful length of the tool. And whatever I remove from the length I also almost remove from the width (I'd say about 1mm from length corresponds with 0.5mm from the width for some tools). So the tool gets noticeably shorter and narrower

                      I think if I were to advise my past self I'd say "get really really good at sharpening before buying fishtails". That said, since Auriou only do #5 and #3 in fishtail I don't feel like I've lost anything... and I really really like Auriou toools. Plus the small #9 I have in fishtail is extremely useful for my work.

                      Hope that's useful to someone.
                      Jof, glad your building up some quality tools, you won’t regret your investment. I wish I responded earlier but again to maybe help others down the road. I prefer fishtails over straight gouges until I get to about 14-16mm in size. I’m generally not using a mallet much but when I do it’s generally on a larger chisel or gouge and I like the feel of a full straight gouges when I’m hitting it over a FT. I love my pfeil straight ft chisels. I even sanded down the outside back edages to get more clearance. I’m surprised how much I can get with a larger fishtail. I’m glad you found some Auriou, they are probably my favorite brand for new stuff. I wish they had a larger selection though.
                      Cheers

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Vice View Post
                        I wish they had a larger selection though.
                        Cheers
                        Tell me about it. They've massively cut down on the range since their bankruptcy a few years back. I'm generally filling out my collection with new Auriou for the "go to" gouges and that seams to be working nicely. Still, Ashley Iles have pretty much everything you can imagine and I really love the quality of the tools; the Auriou have better ergonomics and design (for me personally), but the steel on the Iles tools more than compensates. Iles V Tools especially are a big upgrade over Pfeil, in my opinion, and are more than capable of surviving my mallet!. The big probably with Auriou is that they are pretty rare new and even rarer used.

                        Related: I'm a tool addict.

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                        • #13
                          I have few fishtails which are great in the round....do not do much relief....great for getting into holes and other places that you can not get a normal chisel into. I wish I had a few medium size ones although for this last project...as mine are small in size

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                          • #14
                            Some of my #3 gouges are becoming fishtail over time, which is OK for me.
                            . . .JoeB

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dileon View Post
                              I have few fishtails which are great in the round....do not do much relief....great for getting into holes and other places that you can not get a normal chisel into. I wish I had a few medium size ones although for this last project...as mine are small in size
                              Seems that this simply duplicates the use of detail knives...am I missing something here?
                              Arthur

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