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Crown Hand Tools Sheffield

Manufacturers of turning tools have been using M2 High Speed Steel (HSS) for their gouges and chisels for several years.  Some steels also offer longer edge-life.  This reduces the need for sharpening, cuts downtime and lengthens the life of a tool.


Crown Hand Tools have recently introduced a range of 'Pro-PM' HSS turning gouges which make use of the powder technology that has been used on heavy-duty machine tools for some years.  Such steel is said to give superior wear resistance, hardness retention, excellent toughness and excellent 'grindability'.

The Two Tested


I tested the 237PM 13mm (1/2") Spindle Gouge and the 242PM (1/2") Bowl Gouge.  The spindle gouge is made from 13mm (1/2") diameter bar, but the bowl gouge is formed from 16mm (5/8") diameter bar.


Gouge size terminology varies with supplier and can be based on flute width or bar diameter.  In North America the tools would be referred to by the bar diameter and not the width of the flute.


The PRO-PM tools come with nicely finished black handles encircled by heavy brass ferrules.  The spindle gouge has a 320mm (12 1/2") handle, and the bowl gouge a 410mm (16") version.


They have a satin finish, are a little different in shape to previous Crown handles and are comfortable to hold.

The spindle gouge was the right profile for me, so only needed some fine finishing and honing.  Here I used a Tormek whetstone grinder and a diamond hone.


The bowl gouge had high wings, which I don't like, so some heavier reshaping was needed here.  Using a dry grinder I quickly took back the wings.  Despite rapid hefty grinding, I did not get any burning on the tool edge, which creates a better edge more quickly and easily.

The Real Test


The profile then got a fine finishing on the Tormek using the SVD 180 jig.  The tools took no longer to sharpen than conventional HSS tools, putting paid to one presumption.  Then it was on to the real test - how long would the edge stay keen compared with normal HSS tools?


Early trials with the bowl gouge were encouraging.  I achieved a very clean cut with my well-honed edge, and the tool kept its edge much longer than with traditional M2 HSS.  The bowl gouge is nicely balanced, with the 405mm (16") handle just the right length.


To give the gouge a good workout I used it to final finish a 405mm (16") diameter heavy oak bowl that had been roughed out when wet using a King Arthurs Tools chainsaw cutter on an angle grinder.


With the gouge freshly honed, the challenge was to see if I could finish the job without going back to the diamond hone, let alone the grinder.  Again I was impressed.  The tool kept its edge longer, and needed only a slight tough-up with a diamond hone a couple of times during the heavy turning.

Spindle Gouge


The spindle gouge performed equally well on a between-centres work without need for frequent re-honing or sharpening.


I think the best feature of the Crown PRO-PM gouges is that they keep their edge much longer.  Also, that they are easier to quickly as the steel is difficult to burn an edge on when it is being dry ground.  Better durability and easier sharpening - great!  A jewel in the Crown range, you might say.





Test Report on the New 'Pro-PM' Turning Gouges from

Crown Hand Tools Terry Porter