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woodsac

Sharpening Tips

6 posts in this topic

OK, I'm ready for all you lathe masters to share your tool sharpening tips.

I need to sharpen a 3/4" roughing gouge. I also bought a cheap set of regular wood chisels just to try and grind some different edges on them. Didn't work too good :oops:

I've got a standard B&D 6" bench grinder. Nobody in town has 'white' wheels (aluminum oxide). Hope I don't need one. Right now it's got 36 and 60 gritt wheels.

My gouge just seems real rough? The tip isn't even and makes it hard to make accurate cuts. Now after using it a little bit, it feels slightly 'rolled' to the inside (or top). I don't know if it was that way before?

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First thing to do is make yourself a jig so you can adjust for sharpening every tool you use. The angle is most important, pay close attention to the previous angle and follow that as a general guide. DO NOT get your tool overheated during the grinding process. If it starts to turn dark from the heat, STOP, you'll take the temper out. Take it slow and easy. The ones I have had to sharpen took very very little to put an edge back on.
"Jig" I used a piece of 4x4. Cut the top at I think was 45 degree angle, (looks like a podium people speak/preach from) On the back, add a hinge to attach to like a small table top to your podium, attach the other half of the hinge to that. Now you have a podium with a top on it, and a hinge on the back, right? Now cut yourself a little wedge, couple a 45's will do. Now when you want to sharpen a tool, slide your lil podium up to your grinder, look for what angle you need, push the wedge between the top you made and the top of the podium till it matches the angle of your tool.
Note: this works best if your sharpening stand (podium)and your grinder are attached to the same piece a wood, bench, what ever.

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Thanks. Makes sense. A picture would be even better 8)

I've looked at some of the jigs on the market, but they're too expensive. I just thought it was odd that my gouge was that uneven to start with? I haven't put it on the grinder yet.

I have read about 20 different articles on sharpening so far 8O Seems like everyone does it differently? I don't want to ruin my tools.

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:D Hi Jake, first off you won't get a very good edge with a 36 or 60 grit wheel. Thats OK for rough grinding or removing alot of material which you don't want to do. I would say a 120 grit wheel at a minimum. Remember one thing, heat is a tools worst enemy. When grinding always do so very lightly and keep the tool cool by dipping in a can of water. The finer the wheel the faster the heat will build up. If your tool turns blue you will draw out the temper and then it won't hold an edge. I will see if I can get a picture of a few jigs that you can make yourself. Its really not that hard to learn. When I finish grind my tools I always strop them on leather. I have a power leather wheel that turns away from the cutting edge. This wheel turns very slow and when I am done the edge is polished to a mirror finish which is extremely sharp. Your wood will come off in a thin like ribbon. If shipping wasn't so expensive I would tell you to send me a few of your tools and I would gladly do them for you. I imagine two way shipping would cost more than a couple of tools. Just hang in there Jake, with a bit of time and a few replys back and forth we will get a good edge on those tools for you. You can always email me too. Ken Schmitz
Jake, the machine I use to sharpen lathe tools has a 12 inch wheel x 2 inches wide. It is water cooled and I think it is 400 or 600 grit. I know they make a 1200 grit wheel for this machine. The wheel probably is $125.00 and the machine was $800.00. I have a small sharpening shop. It comes in very handy once in awhile. The name of that machine is Tormek.

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Thanks Ken. I was waiting for your reply :wink:

I'll look around and see if I can find a replacement wheel. I'll probably have to order one. That's why I posted the grit. I just didn't think it was gonna 'cut it' 8)

Right now, the wood comes off ok, but it comes off almost like dust. There are no chips or shavings. The other thing that concerns me is the rough edge. If you look at the picture you can see that the edge is like a roller coaster. It makes it hard to keep a nice straight line.

I know part of that is the learning curve. I've already found out that I have to keep the tool rest clean to keep the tool moving smoothly. How long can I use this tool without sharpening it? I don't want to damage it. I mean if I damage it either way I'll buy a new one. That's just the way it goes. I already know I need some smaller tools as well. The 3/4" works good till I get down towards the ends. Then I find myself having to remove excess wood beyond my finish point in order to allow my gouge to get in close. That's why I sharpened a couple of wood chisels. They aren't real sharp, but they get in the tight spots and they're sharp enough to make a nice smooth cut on the wood.

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Jake,
One thing to remember. A dull tool is more dangerous than a sharp tool. Not only does the quality of the cut suffer you need to use more pressure on the tool to get the job done wich could cause the tool to grap into your work piece and send one or the other flying at you.
To answer your question. Your gouge needs to be resharpend before you use it again. It's time to resharpen when: your cut quality starts to diminish, you no longer get clean shavings or chips, you have to apply more pressure to get the tool to cut, there is a nick of flat spot on your tool, If you strop or hone your tools often you won't need to grind them unless you damage the edge.

Also listen to Ken, He knows alot more about sharpening than I ever will.

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