The majority of faceplate work is done with a bowl gouge. Due to the grain orientation, you cannot use a spindle gouge (at least in the way you have in cutting beads and coves) because it will cause a nasty catch. A bowl gouge solves the problem nicely.
A bowl gouge cuts parallel to the axes of rotation. You should place the tool level to very slightly uphill on the rest (see the illustration on the facing page). The tool rest should be slightly below center so that the tip of the nose bevel touches the center of the work when the gouge is level on the rest. Your right-hand controls 90% of the bowl gouge’s movement, while your left hand mostly acts as a sand bag to hold the tool down on the rest. Twisting the tool with the right-hand controls the quality of the cut, while swinging the tool to the left or right controls the direction of cut. Pushing forward on the handle (along its axes) controls the speed of the cut.
Starting the tool can be tricky and requires aiming the nose bevel in the direction you want to cut. Depending on the angle of the nose bevel, the handle may be at what seems an odd angle. Hold the tool firmly down on the tool rest with your left hand, and lightly touch the work with the bottom half of the tool.
Once the cut is underway, you want to look for the “sweet spot,” the position where the tool cuts the best. You can find this spot by twisting the tool ever so slightly to the left or right. You are looking for the point where the bottom bevel rides on the ledge that has been created ahead of the cut. This leaves the nose bevel riding on the area just behind the cut, which serves to guide the tool. With a little practice, finding the sweet spot becomes a natural, involuntary action.
You direct the tool by swinging the handle to the left or right. The nose bevel is riding on the area just behind the ledge created by the cut, and the bottom half of the bevel is cutting away on the face of this ledge.
The point of the nose-bevel contact becomes a fulcrum point as you swing the handle left or right and makes for a smooth transition in direction. You should keep the tool fairly flat on the rest during the entire operation. Do not use your left hand to pull or push the tool; push forward with your right hand along the tool’s axis to make the tool go forward. After the tool is started, if everything is cutting correctly, you should be able to do the entire operation with your right hand and drop your left next to your side.