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Gouges are chisels that allow you to work various pieces, mainly wood, and mould them into your future model. The sizes and shapes you may need for your project can, of course, vary, so Scientific-MHD offers a wide selection of gouges, suitable for all projects.
How do you choose your gouge ?
Gouges are basically chisels with cutting concave blades and they are mainly used for carving and scraping. They are used extensively in ornamental woodcarving and cabinetmaking, but this tool is also commonly used in model making.
A gouge enables a model maker to work their material with high-precision, whether it's during the model assembly or the creation of something from scratch. While the basic usage methods do not change for model making, smaller tools with thinner blades will be required to carry out tasks that are more meticulous than on life-size objects.
Traditionally, the blade of a gouge has a U-shaped cross-section. But in model making, other types of chisels can also be called "gouges". The cross-section can therefore also be straight, chevron-shaped, etc. In addition, a gouge blade can also be flat, angled or curved depending on the part you are working on and the shape you want to achieve. Unless you are buying a gouge for a very specific purpose, we would recommend buying a set which will allow you to choose which one is best for the desired shape and material.
There are different quality brands of gouges on the market, but some brands specialise in model making. This is the case with Maxx and Excel, two brands that Scientific-MHD stocks. Both offer retail gouge blades to replace or supplement the ones you already use. But if you are a newcomer, and want to get started, they also have gouges conveniently put together in a set to suit all circumstances.
What about maintenance ?
A gouge does not require complex maintenance, but there are a few precautions to take when using it. Chisels are usually used with a mallet and not a hammer. However, given the precision you need, the use of a mallet is exceptional in model making. When using it as a chisel with no other tool, make sure you hold it with both hands, pointing outwards to avoid injury. You will often need to use it as a knife to dig into different materials and it is therefore necessary to sharpen the blade regularly. This will ensure the material does not resist too much.
How often you sharpen it depends on how much you use it, but if you find that the gouge is not cutting as well as usual and the material is resisting, then you will probably need to sharpen the blade.