That can make learning to turn way more frustrating than it should be. Grind the tip first, and then pivot and swing the jig in each direction, as shown to create an even grind. Log In. Now turn on the grinder, and with the tool parallel to the wheel, touch the tip of the tool. To avoid a catch, let the skew’s bottom edge touch the abrasive before fully registering the bevel against the disc. How to Sharpen Your Woodturning Lathes and Gouges using a Plywood Grinding Wheel Best way to sharpen your woodturing tools, gouges and chisels is the oneway wolverine sharpening jib. • the wheel shows any indications of damage (below). The platform and V-rests are easy to adjust and rock-solid when locked in place. Now, turn the grinder on, and lower the tool onto the wheel. Although it’s regarded as the most difficult tool to use, once mastered, it can produce finished surfaces as smooth as the finest grit sandpaper, in a fraction of the time. © 2020 Meredith Corporation. When the tip is fed straight into the workpiece at or slightly above the centerline, it’s scraping. If the edge catches and creates a curl, you’re set. As you do this, be mindful not to catch the tool’s top corner. A marker offers the easiest way to set a tool rest to match an existing angle. • the gap between the wheel and tool rest (below) cannot be closed to 1⁄8 Why? Although they used to come standard on most bench grinders, they’re becoming less common as more manufacturers switch to aluminum oxide wheels. It’s typically dark gray to bronze in color. As a final step, rotate outward in both directions from the middle of the gouge’s cutting edges to make a uniform, continuous bevel. Adjust the tool rest so that the face of the bevel meets the contour of the wheel. When the grind mark erases the ink on the center of the bevel, you’re set. It is not intended for bowl turning. The best advice I’ve heard is, “When in doubt, sharpen.” As sharp as my tools are, I still make a habit of touching up an edge before making a final cut. A light pass with a truing tool (#158522, $17.99), as shown above, flattens the face of the wheel, removes metal buildup, and exposes fresh abrasive. Re: Wheel grits for sharpening lathe tools im agree with gavin, i use the norton white wheels for turning tools, the 80 grit for major reshaping(and drill bits) and the 120 for regular touchups both of my grinders are high speed, one grinder is dedicated to lathe tools, the other is for everything else I find that more frequent grinding is faster and easier than hand-drawing a burr. So refresh your wheels regularly, for about 10–20 seconds, with a dressing tool, such as the diamond or star-wheel dressers shown. This low-cost wheel works best with non-ferrous  metals, such as aluminum, brass, or copper, and carbide. Designed for cutting straight, accurate diameters and for separating a turning from the waste portion of a blank, a parting tool is a cross between a cutting tool and a scraper. With the grinder off, set the gouge on your resting hand and slide it forward until the middle section of the bevel touches the upper half of the wheel, and then allow it to tip away from the wheel. Since it is a finish-surface tool, a skew must be razor (literally, hair-shaving) sharp. A spindle roughing gouge turns blanks into cylinders; it can also turn basic shapes, such as tapers. As I did, you might think that sharpening your woodturning tools is limited to your electric grinder and a 6 inch or 8″ grinding stone. Never before has there been an easier way to get expert results sharpening woodturning tools. After grinding, you'll need to hone the edge. Grinding wheels require frequent dressing. As you rotate the tool, simultaneously push it up on the grinding wheel, as shown. Fortunately, getting a surgical edge isn’t that much harder than sharpening a standard bench chisel. While I’m still at the machine, I’ll set up an oilstone. ALL OF THE DEALS, ALL IN ONE PLACE - WOODCRAFT HOLIDAY HQ. Note: Some turners polish off the burr on a buffing wheel, and then use a burnisher to draw a burr. Once your hands learn that sharpening is the same as turning, you’ll find that shifting from the grinder to the lathe can be quick and seamless. •Silicon carbide. The lower-cost version, usually gray or brown, works best with carbon-steel tools (the most common steel, usually associated with low-cost tools). So refresh your wheels regularly, for about 10–20 seconds, with a dressing tool, such as the diamond or star-wheel dressers shown. Stop as soon as the edge is square and you feel a burr. Rather than using a grinder, I prefer shaping the bevels on either a disc or belt sander outfitted with 80-grit abrasive. (Note: A lower angle will produce a cleaner cut, but it tends to break down quickly when used for scraping.) My dad built this stand (at right) for me 30 years ago. I also keep a diamond paddle (#415700, $37.99) in my pocket for tool-side touch-ups. Repeat this procedure on the opposite face. When the tip contacts the wheel, use one hand to keep the tool against the table and rotate the gouge until you reach the other side, and then reverse direction. This article is from Issue 65 of Woodcraft Magazine. Adjust the angle of a flat rest so that the tool bevel rides against the stone. You must be logged in to write a comment. This system is recommended to be used with slow speed grinders with 8" diameter grinding wheels. The skew chisel is my go-to tool for most spindle turning. (Watch a video showing how to use a dressing tool at With the rest horizontal at the height of the wheel axis, touch the tool against the wheel and slide it sideways to flatten and clean the surface. You owe it to your tools to invest in decent aftermarket rests, like the Wolverine sharpening system (#125676, $89.99). Tighten the arbor nut only to “snug”—overtightening can fracture the wheel. If you’ve tried using a turning tool brand new, or attempted to turn too long without going back to the grinder, then you already know how a dull tool will pull or tear at your turning, leaving a surface that can be impossible to sand smooth. This premium blend also works with carbon steel, but it’s best with harder steel alloys. Scraper. Sold in multiple grits, it costs 4–5 times that of aluminum-oxide wheels. There are other machines for sharpening and shaping, but a slow-speed grinder is a great starting point. In addition, there are hundreds of useful and satisfying projects that can be accomplished with little more than a lathe, a small collection of turning tools, and a few scraps of wood. For more related content, subscribe to our newsletter! With the PRO-GRIND system there is no more grinding away your expensive turning tools. Because the tip is at the thickest part of the shaft, a diamond parting tool can take deep cuts without the sides binding in the kerf. Simply register the bevel against the stone, and slide the tool back and forth as shown until you’ve achieved a mirror surface. Adjust the legs so that the tool rests are at the same height as your lathe’s tool rest. It’s difficult to see a difference between the “Before” and “After” images, but if you were to run your finger across the top face of both tools, you’d immediately notice the wire edge, or burr, on the properly prepared scraper. You may start with factory-set tool angles, but in time, you’ll find a metal protractor (#85O45, $20.99) handy for checking an angle or establishing a new one. With a round scraper, this means swinging the tool’s handle back and forth. An oilstone (#149103, $31.99) is an effective and affordable solution. To facilitate this two-step process, I set my resting hand on the V-rest as shown above left.