Few weeks ago I stocked up my tool box with a few new tools. I had some jobs in mind (like scaling fish :) and this girl is always over the moon when when she has an excuse to buy delicious new tools! I ordered a selection of what I thought could work to simulate the scales. I tested them out and came up with these gouges above, just the right curve and only 2 and 3 mm wide.
The shape of the curve is expressed in sweep. Sweep 1 being a flat straight chisel, 2 being a very gentle scoop, and these two for instance are sweep 8 and 9. So if you look at a catalogue and it talks about a gouge 5/8 the first number tells you the sweep or "roundness". The second number, in this case 8, will tell you it is 8 mm wide at its widest point.
When the curve of the cutting edge becomes sharper then a circle they are referred to as veiners. The ones you see here are sweep 11, and from left to right 3, 1 and 0.5 mm.
All these are made by Pfeil in Switserland, and easily available online. Also known as linoleum cutters cos of their size, i prefer these small palm cutters with their round handle. I've got small hands and these fit so well they give me good grip and direction. Another great maker here in Europe is Kirschen from Germany, also know as Two Cherries in English speaking countries. Little bit more expensive but again a large choice in shapes and sizes. Also very neat bend carvers for deep and limited spaced work.
They are great tools for things like these tails. And with the added choice in shape and size i'm not so limited anymore into what i can cut. Here you see the top of the tails, something that's not possible anymore once they will be covered supporting the table top. (why do I bother then!?!? Cos I'm crazy I guess?)