Working in small scale often requires making your own tools (or doing without). After a lot of searching on the internet, I found a few, nice quality, small palm-held gouges from Two Cherries and Pfeil. Two Cherries makes three that are 1 mm in width and various shapes (sweeps #3, #6, #11)–the number refers to how deep the “U” of the gouge is. Pfeil makes #11 sweep gouges in both 1 mm and 0.5 mm.
You can find these and other tools at some online stores, such as Chipping Away. For the Pfeil tools, search for Palm Block cutters, and for the Two Cherries tools, look for their Palm Micro series.
But no one makes anything smaller than 0.5mm. And I just wasn’t getting the scales on the 1/48th scale dragon right!
My friend Tom is a wonderful turner (both full size, small, and dollhouse miniature) and loves to innovate (and share those innovations). He gave me a few tips on how to make my own gouge. After a few false starts and many hours of trial and error, I produced a gouge that was about 0.3 mm in diameter, smooth in shape, and shaped about like the #11 gouges I had been working with, in terms of the depth of the U.
If you want to learn more about how to make this tool, check out a TUTORIAL: Making a tiny gouge.