Carving tool sharpener

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Project by mpounders posted 09-27-2010 06:52 AM 6775 views 16 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have used a lot of different methods to sharpen and hone my knives and gouges and all of them seem to work pretty well with a little practice. But I recently had a chance to use a sharpener patterned after the Burke sharpeners (made and sold by the late John Burke). I used it for about a week and really became fond of the speed and ease with which I could sharpen my tools. So I built me one! The key things I liked about it was the large and wide leather honing wheel and the spacing between the wheels. I made my wheel 2 inches wide and 9 inches in diameter from some MDF wheels glued together. I used a small electric motor and a mandrel and some pulleys I had to reduce the motor speed to about 800 RPM. I used rubber cement to attach some leather to the wheel and I plan to change out the small buffing wheel to a couple of larger ones. The wheels rotate clockwise and it really makes it easy to maintain a razor sharp edge on my tools. There is plenty of room to polish my largest knives and gouges!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

9 comments so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3028 days

#1 posted 09-27-2010 07:40 AM

I would imagine you could also strop plane irons and bench chisels with it. Not for shaping, but just for the final strop and polish. Also, you could easily make wheels shaped to fit the inside of gouges ore v-tools also. Great idea.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 3755 days

#2 posted 09-27-2010 01:21 PM

I cant imagine going back to the old fashion way. I am so spoiled by my power shapeners that I couldnt w/o them.
Nice job on this tool.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2966 days

#3 posted 09-27-2010 01:57 PM

I always say (anyone can buy one- it takes talent to make one !)
Nice job !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3566 days

#4 posted 09-27-2010 06:39 PM

I would like a tutorial on how to make one

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4269 days

#5 posted 09-28-2010 08:09 PM

It looks like a very nice inexpensive system.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View MichaelA's profile


778 posts in 2858 days

#6 posted 10-07-2010 07:18 AM


-- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "Helen Keller"

View mpounders's profile


874 posts in 2865 days

#7 posted 10-07-2010 08:27 PM

It is 1725 rpm, but I believe it is only 1/4hp. I stepped the rpm down by using a 1” pulley on the motor and a 2 ” pulley on the mandrel….. it wouldn’t hurt it to be a little slower than that if you have a 3” pully. I bought a bag of leather scraps for $6 at Hobby Lobby that had pieces long enough and wide enough to cover the wheel. I just used rubber cement and made a lap joint with the leather…after it dries you can smooth it down using a sharp knife to make the joint really smooth. I replaced the small stitched buffing wheel shown with a 6” loose buffing wheel. It really does do a great job of keeping my gouges and knives sharp. A bigger motor might be handy if you are going to use additional wheels covered with sandpaper, for sharpening and shaping, but I wanted something that was smaller and had the two wheels that I use the most!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2773 days

#8 posted 10-20-2010 02:15 AM

very ingenious… great idea… I’m sure you can put one heck of an edge on a tool

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3546 days

#9 posted 10-20-2010 02:22 AM

great Idea well done

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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