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Quick Start Guide for the Opus1 Gouger

Robin Driscoll

November 23, 2003

Tools Needed to Gouge Cane Radius that reads 10.5mm diameter. Having increments around 10.5mm would be helpful. Bowl of warm water deep enough to submerge your cane in water before gouging it with the Opus1 gouger. A razor or an arrow to split the cane. Guillotine to chop the cane to a specific length to fit in the bed of the gouger. A planing board or similar planing device to prepare the surface to be gouged by the Opus1. Micrometer to measure the gouger s results. 3in1 Oil Cotton Balls

Knowing the Parts of the Opus1 Gouger

With your gouger in front of you, you can use the diagram above to locate and learn the names of the various adjustment screws on your machine. Even though the gouger looks a bit complicated with all its components, it is actually very simple in its design. Each screw handles a specific adjustment to manipulate the measurements of the gouge curve. There is only one screw used to make any specific measurement change. This allows you to UNDO a specific adjustment that you might make and not find to your satisfaction. On other designs, you will need to move multiple screws to make a single adjustment, which becomes impossible to undo unless you are skilled at adjusting gougers. You are now free to experiment with your setup without the fear of getting in over you head and having to send you machine off to have it re-adjusted by an expert.

Prepare your cane to be gouged

Chose a straight piece of cane to be split from the tube that is between 10.25mm and 10.5mm in diameter. I have a radius gauge that is mounted onto the face of a desk lamp. As you can see, I am viewing the cane with the gauge on the top surface of the cane. This way I can use the light to illuminate the cane so that inspection of the diameter is easier.

Using a razor or an arrow, cut this section out of the tube. Inspect it with a radius gauge again and confirm that the piece is straight. You may find that the section of the cane that you want to use is located somewhere in the middle of the piece of cane that you cut from the tube. This could be due to the fact that the ends of the cane slightly curve. This is common because of the joints in the bamboo plant.

Chop one end of the cane with a guillotine to establish one end of the piece of cane to be gouged as in the illustration to the left above. Now insert the remaining section of the cane into the guillotine bed to chop it to its final length. I always chop a small section off during the first cut in order to establish a fresh edge to the cane before chopping the cane to its final length.


Once the cane is cut to length, it is planed, either with a planing board or a pre-gouging device like the one illustrated above. The piece of cane should be, at most, 8.0mm across the flat surface. This is VERY IMPORTANT. If the cane is too wide, the machine will not gouge in an optimal fashion.

Once the cane is planed to the appropriate width, you should narrow the ends of the piece of cane. The intent here is to allow the blade edge to feed into the side part of the gouge curve.

I designed the OPUS1 Gouger to be used in your lap. This is not critical, however. Some people prefer to gouge on a table surface. I like to gouge in my lap because I have a better feel for the machine and I can focus the pressure with my LEFT THUMB more easily. Please note that I am NOT gripping the Blade Push screw with my Right Hand. My right hand is merely providing forward pressure, while my left hand is providing the downward pressure.


This machine is a DOUBLE RADIUS gouger. It is designed to have the cane flipped every 5 or so passes of the carriage. This is done to help insure symmetry in the gouge. Both walls of the cane s gouge curve are cut with the same half of the blade curve. A SINGLE RADIUS gouger uses a Symmetrical Blade and the cane is not flipped. As the blade dulls or if the alignment of the curve is not exact, the gouge curve will loose symmetry.

Measure the thickness of the chip that comes out of the machine. It should not read thicker than 0.05mm. The illustration to the right is reading 0.02mm too thick. The blade should be retracted slightly to adjust this measurement. This procedure is discussed in another paper.

Once the cane is finished being gouged. Inspect the thickness in the center with either a Micrometer or similar device. At left, you will see an attachment that is used with a pair of digital calipers that will give you very accurate readings at an affordable price. Check the website for this attachment.



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