Review Detail

Arbortech Ball Gouge
Wood Carving Matt KeddieMatt Keddie April 28, 2018 853
It's cool but has limited applications
Overall rating 
Ease of Use 
Pull The Trigger ?
Initial Thoughts
I when I saw that Arbortech was releasing a new product and I didn't really see anyone using it, I jumped right on it! I watched their demo video and thought "wow this thing can do it all" so I promptly ordered one from Amazon. I attached it to my Ryobi Cordless grinder and noticed how quickly I can create woodchips! It took about 15 minutes of use to really understand how to use it.
I like that the blade is self-sharpening by design. You can carve a deep profile and freehand rough shape which is perfect if you're creating an abstract shape or surface.
I think it's going to sound like I am coming down heavy but there are a few drawbacks. The video showed them shaping a spoon, I tried that with no luck whatsoever. The sphere tends to "walk" with the grain and if you're trying to really create smooth lines this is not the tool to use. If you are creating something abstract with no real direct shape or surface it works great but don't be alarmed if bites and you round over the edge of your bowl after spending a considerable amount of time hollowing it. You'll also experience a lot of grain tear-out until you find the right angle and direction.
Rating Rundown
Quality: It is certainly well constructed and has some weight to it. It doesn't feel "cheap" but the price tag didn't either!!

Functionality: I rated this a bit low. Combined with other products you can really create some impressive work but standalone I would say it's best used for abstract art.

Price: A bit of sticker shock, when I posted the arrowheads, everyone was interested in making their own, until they saw the cost of the attachment.

Durability: This thing is built tough and will certainly outlive me!

Features: The deep profile carving and abstract shaping are the two highlight features.

Ease of Use: There is a bit of a learning curve with it. Grain tearout can be eliminated once you get a feel for it, but it seems sometimes tearout is unavoidable.
Bottom Line
If you plan on picking up some of the other Arbortech attachments to compliment the ball gouge, then YES! Get it! It isn't a standalone, one stop carving tool (although none really are) it has some limitations but man it is fun to use!
At the end of the day, the ball gouge is new. People will come up with 100's of different applications for it so if you've got a project in mind, where any of the features could be used and you can work the price tag into the budget then pick one up!
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