Roughing Gouge Vs. Spindle Gouge: Comparative Analysis

Simple tools like roughing gouge and spindle gouge allow you to create amazing pieces of art. Although they look similar, different gouges are made and used for different purposes.

As long as you know which is what and how it works, you can turn things into what you want. Besides, you have to know the little differences that make your work easy, accurate, and fast. So, let’s have a clear understanding on roughing gouge vs. spindle gouge.

Roughing Gouge Vs. Spindle Gouge

There are many different types of gouges, but the two most common ones are roughing and spindle. Roughing is used to shape wood quickly with a lot of material removed in one cut, while spindle is used for more precision work such as carving. Let’s learn more about these gouges..

Roughing Gouge

Roughing Gouge

Roughing gouge, also known as spindle roughing gouge is a type of spindle gouges, usually used for spindle works. Although they look almost identical, there are some differences between a spindle roughing and a regular spindle gouge. The spindle roughing gouge has a wider flute and thicker still on the side. You can use it to give a piece of wood a spindle shape. It is not for detailed work, rather for making a primary, spindle shape.

Use of a Roughing Gouge

While some bowl turners are able to achieve a perfectly sanded surface on their bowls by sanding with finer and finer grits, most of us use tools to smooth the inside of our bowls before sanding. One of the simplest ways is to rough out the inside using a roughing gouge.

A roughing gouge is primarily used for turning a square piece of wood into a spindle, or round shape. It does not leave a smooth, finished surface. However, it can easily remove stocks as long as you press it firmly on the piece of wood. But be careful; if you don’t hold firmly or leave it without a support, you will end up hurting yourself, or at least removing a large stock messing up the whole thing.

Spindle Gouge

Spindle Gouge

A regular spindle gouge comes with a shallower flute, used for making spindle shapes in a detailed manner. Spindle gouges usually have a ‘fingernail’ which helps bring variety in your work and leave a finished surface with details. Hence, creating details like coves or beads is easy and fun when you have the skills of using a spindle gouge.

What Is the Difference Between a Roughing Gouge and a Spindle Gouge?

Roughing Gouge Vs. Spindle Gouge

When it comes time to purchase new turning tools there are a lot of options. Part of the confusion can stem from the different names for certain tools depending on what part of the world you are.

Along with the differences in naming conventions is also some inconsistency as to which tools serve which functions. A spindle gouge is used in the same way as a roughing gouge, but they are designed differently. Let’s see the main difference between spindle gouge and roughing gouge.


A roughing gouge has a wide flute, whereas a spindle gouge has a shallow flute. So, a spindle gouge is designed to take a lighter cut and remove smaller amounts of material.


The edges of these two gouges look different and work in different styles. The roughing gouge’s cutting edge is beveled on the end. The spindle gouge has either an angled or straight flat section at the end of the cutting edge.


A roughing gouge has a thicker body than a regular spindle gouge. So, if you are looking for a larger radius, then the roughing gouge is what you need. If you want to take deeper cuts or cut into inside curves, then you want a spindle gouge.


A spindle gouge is used for creating detailed works, whereas a roughing gouge is used for a primary touch, to give a piece of wood a round shape.

Safety Concern

If you could use them independently on a piece of wood, the work would be safer. However, the gouges are not made for independent use. You apply them on a piece of wood while the wood is attached to a machine and revolving very fast. So, wearing safety goggles or masks is recommended. Plus, keep your fingers at safer distance from the machine.


Turning a square piece of wood into something spectacular is a satisfying work. However, to achieve a specific shape on piece of wood, you need to use a wide range of different tools and machines. Likewise, the tools I have discussed in this article are among the most important tools in the woodturning industry.

Hopefully, you have got a clear idea about spindle gouge vs. roughing gouge. Learn how to use them and go pro as woodturning enthusiast.

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