For more information on the gouge, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.

Briefly. In answer to the question, why I prefer a #7 35mm gouge over a hand scorp or hook knife, it’s dead simple really. Whereas knives and scorps do similar and sometimes the same work, they are designed for different action, presentation and even wood types, I think. DSC_0018This gouge cuts a spoon in a few minutes in hard, dense-grained hard wood and open-grained soft, even punky wood. It also carves both deep and shallow bowls and chair seats and all this the wood from dried and green with little resistance either way. The gouge cuts incrementally deeper and within six cuts from each end delivers a near perfect spoon bowl to the shape I imagined just a few minutes before. Right. Remember that I bought that Hirsch #7 35mm gouge two weeks ago from Highland Hardware? yesterday I took it from the plastic packet and without any further sharpening, scalloped out the spoon bowl As I challenged the blows to task I felt so directly connected as the fibres cut, split and separated from the remaining wood. I think that this could be the best spoon gouge I’ve ever used. Glad to have it in my tool box. The wood? Kiln-dried American white oak.

Of course there’s a place for different methods, techniques and indeed tools. I think the gouge can be used for a much broader spectrum of tasks without compromising quality, economy of movement. There are other issues of course, such as stock holding, but that’s not much of an issue. There are also issue of whittling from a stool instead of standing at a bench. it all depends on what you want. Now we do have inshaves for carving seats, but that’s another sphere.


  1. Michael Tekin on 6 April 2013 at 9:19 pm


    You mentioned that the Gouge you purchased from Highland in the prior blog post was a #7 35mm. Is this was you meant or do you also use a #5 37mm gouge as you mentioned in this blog? Is their a big difference in a #5 vs #7 profile?

  2. Paul Sellers on 6 April 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Just changed it. Sorry. Yes, there is quite a difference, though both will work for spoons, but the #7 has a shallower sweep, just a different radii.

  • Alec Garner on Finally Sorted My Tools;David Stanley Auctions; if you're in the UK.
  • Wayne Whalen on Finally Sorted My ToolsMaybe you could open a woodworkers museum and be its curator and demonstrate the use and history of the most interesting pieces. You could build the display cases made with joints…
  • Daniel Currie on Finally Sorted My ToolsHi there where is the best place to sell vintage tools .I have a Norris 20 1/2 joining plane never been used .Just dont want it to go on eBay and not get what is worth thanks
  • Thomas on Working AlonePaul, you haven't posted since this blog - we're all getting a bit worried I think!
  • Michael Muschal on MisnomersThanks, Paul. I reported that to Ebay. I expect they'll close him up. Found your Essential Tools book and DVD at Rocksmith LTD. Looking forward to reading and following your guidan…
  • Stuart Woodcock on Sharp TalkingHaving been inducted into sharpening knives via the Kangaroo meat industry at 17 in the 1970s (yes i kid you not first for pet meat and then human consumption in France) we only ha…
  • John Besharian on Working AloneWell, Mr. Whalen, you seem a "Glass Half Empty" sort of soul. I can just imagine the sort of toasts you'd give at happy events like, say weddings, for example. If therapy is your p…