Turning slippery slope #3: Sharp tools

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 01-23-2009 03:36 AM 1249 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Looking more fun as I go - opinions requested Part 3 of Turning slippery slope series Part 4: My first turning class projects »

Well I just got back from my sharpening class. I now have very sharp tools and at least a beginning knowledge of how to keep them that way. I have also come to the opinion that I like the wet sharpening system more than the dry system (grinder). I don’t like the sparks. The wet system takes longer, but I’m in no hurry on anything so that’s not an issue. The issue is price of those wet systems. I’m going to have to do some considering on that. Not sure I’m ready to stimulate the economy that much!

Stay tuned!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

6 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4398 days

#1 posted 01-23-2009 03:57 AM

Well having sharp tools are important. Me though I go for sharpening speed and also sharp. I don’t like sparks either when working with tools.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#2 posted 01-23-2009 04:38 AM

I agree with both of you about the sparks. Whenever I have done this I have destroyed the temper in my chisels. Needless to say I do not use a grinder to sharpen my tools. While it may work I do not have the hand/eye coordination to keep from bluing the steel. But getting sharp tools to work with is an epiphany of sorts. Our woodworking lives are made so much easier when our chisels, plane irons and gouges are sharp.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3711 days

#3 posted 01-23-2009 08:59 AM

i think the grind is a wonderful tool for what it is has to do and that is sharpin steel. i burned up a couple of chisels before i got it right and for turning tools its speed is its advantage, sometimes i only have limited time to turn so i need all that time to turn and not sharpin. just my 2 cents. thanks.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4244 days

#4 posted 01-23-2009 05:15 PM

Me too, just gotta keep the water handy and keep dunkin to keep your steel from going black. By the way, my dad always said man is like steel, when he loses his temper he’s no good.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3893 days

#5 posted 01-23-2009 08:01 PM

Mike – that’s a good saying.

I think if I had to remove a lot of material a regular grinding wheel would probably be the way to go. But since my tools are still in good shape (i.e. I’ve not mangled them trying to sharpen without knowing a little bit of what I’m doing) I think the wet grind would be ok for me.

Thanks for the comments.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View ShopCat's profile


51 posts in 3577 days

#6 posted 01-25-2009 06:01 AM

I both hand sharpen and have a Tormek 7. I struggled with the price on the Tormek and there are still times when I see it listed somewhere that the price takes my breath away, but my usage just continues to go up all the time. That said, I still find myself using waterstones and a piece of sandpaper on a glass plate a lot. Had I to do it over, I can think of a lot of other tools I might have bought before it.

-- ShopCat

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