Reply by moke

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Posted on Sharpening Lathe Tools

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1175 posts in 2773 days

#1 posted 12-20-2012 07:26 PM

I think there are as many ideas out there about sharpening as there are brands and kinds of lathe tools. I have taken classes watched DVD’s and talked to many turners, and the ideas range greatly. I have three “sharpening systems”, A slow speed 8” Delta with a full wolverine system, a HF buffer with modifications, and a Grizzly 10” slow speed grinder. ( I don’t really have a problem with buying tools all the time, I actually quite proficient at it!)

The Wolverine as mentioned is a very good system, quite versitile, however thinking that it is very cheap is a misnomer. The Woverine idea is to sell you the first set for 120.00 the just catch you 60.00 at a time multiple times!!! I have found the you will need the bowl gouge attachment, new wheels, and the balancer, on and on. MAKE NO MISTAKE, even with all this stuff this is a learned skill set!!! The Grizzly is just different kind of skill. I will say when you make a mistake it seems more forgiving, because it happens slower.

I took a HF buffer and turned it into a “hone”. If you talk to accomplished turners (whom I would assume are accomplished sharpeners) the old addage is sharpen once, hone twice. What they mean is they hone right after sharpening, then turn for a while, hone once again, turn some more, then back to sharpening etc…. etc. Many turners hone by hand with a diamond file too…I have tried it, it seems to work well too…I am just not a “by hand” kind of guy!!

I know there are many people that grind with 3500 rpm grinders, but it really did not work well for me. It heated the tool up, and caused the wheels to load up with metal. So I ended up shortening the life of the tool and the wheels. Also, I have always heard never to dunk your tool in water as if takes the temper from the HSS. However, I was mentored by a guy once that used a 6” 3450rpm grinder with no jigs at all, not even a bigger platform, that did the best work on a lathe of anyone I ever saw!!! So pick a system and work to perfect it. I will say, that when I first started, I basically changed/destroyed any semblance of the factory grind. I bought a set of double sided examples form Craft supplies USA that showed me what they should look like, and got me back on track.
Good Luck—-

-- Mike

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