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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Default Mathieson Gouges

    I recently acquired some Mathieson firmer gouges. This set comprises of 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1".
    Mathieson Gouge 002.jpg
    They are in very good condition with minimal signs of use. All four have labels that are 90% intact. My question is does anyone know of information as to the sweeps A-E that are refereed to in the Mathieson Catalogue. I have a number of these gouges and can't find any other reference to what the sweeps actually look like.
    Here are two of my 1" Gouge imprints for reference
    Mathieson Gouge 003.jpg
    I see a lot of these gouges that have been converted to turning chisels
    Mathieson Gouge 001.jpg
    Its a shame really... to get them back to they way they were originally ground will require the removal of a lot steel. I am not sure if billets for these chisels were all the same and then ground to incannel or outcannel as required or if they used different billets for the two chisel styles. With the example of the converted chisel above, far less meat would need to be removed if it was reground to an outcannel than an incannel.
    Gaza
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    McBride BC Canada
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    Default

    I've been carving with "anglo" gouges for maybe 20 years.
    Bevel angles for carving will be 20 degrees, 25 for ball-bustiung hard woods.

    I'll say the shallow is a #3 sweep and the deeper one os a #5 sweep.

    What you need to see is the "London Pattern Book" pages of gouge sweeps.
    Pfeil, Ashley Iles, Stubai and others commonly show those in their websites.

    pfeiltools | F. Zulauf Messerschmiede und Werkzeugfabrikations AG

  4. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post

    I'll say the shallow is a #3 sweep and the deeper one os a #5 sweep.

    What you need to see is the "London Pattern Book" pages of gouge sweeps.
    Pfeil, Ashley Iles, Stubai and others commonly show those in their websites.

    pfeiltools | F. Zulauf Messerschmiede und Werkzeugfabrikations AG
    Thanks Robson Valley.....Yes I see plenty of info about sweeps that have numbers on them and most carving tool manufacturers seem to use that.....however, Mathieson's Catalogue refers to the sweeps on offer as A to E. That's the bit I am having trouble finding.... not sure if it was a standard for firmer chisels and carving chisels had a different standard of 1 to 16.
    Gaza

  5. #4
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    Default

    Somebody always has to be different. Looking around, it seems nobody followed them very far.
    For sweeps, the London Pattern Book has numbers to maybe #75 (tracery-bent, etc).
    Most everybody uses the LPB but even Pfeil stepped away to label skews as #1S rather than a #2.

    Within #1 sweep = straight chisel, I've never noticed a sub set for the differences in shank designs.

    Clean them up, do up the edges and use them would be my plan.
    I was gifted a gouge set of a dozen or more. They might have even been small turning tools.
    I got them all going again and put them in with my soapstone (steatite) carving tools!

  6. #5
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    Default

    I did find a thread on another forum that talked about sweeps on carving chisels. In that one, they said the London Pattern was used as a standard in the UK(With slight variations due to the swage blocks being used) and the European manufacturers used a slightly different system. They mentioned a different system that was used on scribing chisels ie pattern makers and cabinet makers gouges. No one had info on this system though.
    I will be cleaning them up to use... however, I like to know the history and any other info about these old tools.... I think it is a shame that this info is gradually being lost with time.
    Gaza

  7. #6
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    Bladesmiths soon realized that carvers all over wanted more-or-less predictable sweeps when contemplating buying new tools.
    So the factual evidence shows that the LPB standard covered many makers on several continents, not just the UK.
    Ashley Iles is the only maker these days to claim that they make every pattern, maybe not all possible sizes.

    Pfeil stepped away but not vey far atall. I think 1S for all skews is an improvement on a #2 sweep which they are not.
    Stubai and Narex might have gone that way, I have no idea what Aurioux has been doing.

    About 5(?) years ago, I began to explore the crooked knives and elbow adzes
    which are the most common wood carving tools here in the Pacific Northwest.
    Many of the knives have a 'J' shape which gives them a progressive sweep = very useful.
    Having 2 edges allows for working in changing grain directions with both right and left hands.
    I've been having a very god time. Another 60 years of work and study ought to make me more competent.

  8. #7
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    Hi Gaza. I have just purchased my first incannel gouge/chisel and I am looking for some sharpening advice. How do you go about it?

  9. #8
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    At present I am just using Emery Paper wrapped around a dowel.... A very slow process.
    Check out this video Of a better way.
    YouTube
    I have bought a hand grinder like this but am yet to restore it and put it to work. I like the way this method will give a more consistent angle on the bevel.
    Since the original post I have amassed a lot of Mathieson chisels incannel, outcannel, flat of various sizes up to 2" wide. There will be a lot of restoration involved in some these but looking forward to the task. When I first started I was usually the only bidder and you could pick them up fairly cheaply but I am noticing that there is a lot more interest in Mathieson chisels of late... One that I was bidding on went for more than $100 plus shipping.... It was a nice one though.
    By the way I still haven't found out what sweeps A to E refer to... I figured if I keep collecting them I will be able to have enough cross sections to cover the profiles.
    My Excuse anyway
    Gaza

  10. #9
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    Oct 2018
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    Default

    Thanks for a quick response! I thought as much but i am looking at slip stones too

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Ash View Post
    Thanks for a quick response! I thought as much but i am looking at slip stones too
    I usually finish them off with an Arkansas Slip stone and a strop to get that really fine edge. It really depends on what you have available and how much time you have to get them sharp and then keep them sharp if you are using them.
    Gaza

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