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Lathe Chisel Sharpening ANGLES and/or BEVELS PER TOOL

by HorizontalMike
posted 01-14-2013 07:34 PM


31 replies so far

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2097 posts in 840 days


#1 posted 01-14-2013 07:51 PM

Mike:

Check out Leonard Lee (of Lee Valley fame)’s book on sharpening. It’s a no nonsense guide to sharpening all kinds of ww tools, including lathe tools. He debunks a number of myths that are out there as well. It’s a Taunton Press book, “The Complete Guide To Sharpening” is the title (I think).

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6938 posts in 1566 days


#2 posted 01-14-2013 08:59 PM

I’ll look for it. Plus I need to dig into a couple of old crates of mags & books I was given some time ago to see if anything turns up there. Thanks.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1650 days


#3 posted 01-14-2013 09:16 PM

The angles are in the same range as regular wood chisels and planes. Higher angle for figured woods. Very steep for scraping.

The gouges will have what is referred to as a fingernail grind. The main idea is to have the bevel radially ground so it will be good for coming in at different angles and for doing a cut while rotating the tool. The gouge is a bit special in that it is a “self-jigging tool”. You can ride the bevel to act like a depth stop for the cutting. 30 deg or so is a good start for softer wood (and green wood) and 40 deg for more hard woods. These are a fairly recent invention. Previously this work was done with hook tools and ring tools (not for cutting rings—the cutting edge is a sharpened cylinder that is a bit tricky to sharpen)

The scrapers are all pretty easy. Almost 90 deg and you are good. The less than 90 deg part is to give clearance behind the cutting edge. Really should only be used for trimming and handling nasty grain.

Parting tools generally have a lot of clearance (bottom and sides) and are either done like a really thick but narrow scraper or are kind of a weird bevel on the top and bottom. Diamond shape in profile. This is to reduce friction while cutting. They generally have a pretty beefy cutting edge because you ride them pretty hard. One of the harder tools to get used to. The angles are usually about 60 degrees and up for the cutting edge The diamond shaped ones are usually sharpened the same from each direction so you can use them either side up.

The skew…. This one is different. It gets 2 bevels like a knife. Sharpened at the same angles as a knife. 20 deg or so from each side. Many people are afraid of skews. They can bite. The thing is, this is your surgeon’s scalpel. It can be dainty for working on delicate features. It can also remove material at a frightening speed. It’s main purpose is slicing.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View johnintecumseh's profile

johnintecumseh

105 posts in 2069 days


#4 posted 01-14-2013 09:23 PM

Hey Mike , look up Oneway.ca and thompsonlathetools.com 2 good sites for bowl gouge sharpening. keep smiling John

-- retired and smiling

View rum's profile

rum

148 posts in 1238 days


#5 posted 01-14-2013 09:47 PM

Actually I’d take Davids statement about them being the same angle as regular chisels, etc.. a step further.

I found (and continue to find) it really useful to try my lathe tools out at the bench and/or with the lathe turned off for a few test cuts. Doing that taught me more about how the tool should approach the wood and what angle was good for grinding, etc.. than any of a dozen videos. Basically try taking shavings off of a piece of wood with whatever tool your using. When you can get nice clean shavings from a 2×4 on the bench then transfer that to a piece with the lathe off you’ll have a pretty good idea of where the tool should be in relation to the work for a given grind/part/whatever.

Now I’m not talking down the sharpening videos, both the oneway and thompson ones John pointed out were very useful as well, I’d also add the D-way videos to that list: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8jsr2OBog-RwMjbNvYJ8Lg?feature=watch
the last couple there especially are applicable to any grinding wheel, my bowl gouges got a whole lot better after watching that.

I would disagree that scrapers should only be used for trimming/nasty grain (granted they do excel there), check out these two videos from Reed Grey (aka Robo Hippy) and I think you’ll change your mind at least a little :D: Turning with scrapers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKdqiAc0jx4 Sharpening scrapers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ7w6yFhw4c
They can be really flexible and useful tools. They are especially useful (imho) for getting into complicated angles and are somewhat more forgiving than a gouge for a lot of operation (especially when used with a bit of a negative – downward facing) angle).

The skew is indeed subtle but well worth the time, there are dozens of ways to adjust the details on how its sharpened so take some time on a cheap skew to try a few and see what works for you. Its worth spending a fair bit of time with any one grind before switching so you have gotten over the “its all new” part and settled down to use the tool.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1650 days


#6 posted 01-14-2013 10:28 PM

Rum,

He is cutting and not scraping :) Look carefully at how high he is from the center of rotation and how his tool is slicing at an angle. He is just using skew technique with a single beveled tool with rounded corners and calling it a scraper. Nothing wrong with that at all. Skews are awesome. The chips flying speak for themselves. If you are not covered in them, you are doing it wrong. :) The problem beginners have is that they just sit there plunging the tool straight in generating nothing but dust doing nothing but using too much tool pressure and producing a lot of heat and chatter. Many times the piece will just blow up in their face.

Thankfully, I started turning with material that was barely able to support itself. I started with clay on a potter’s wheel. By the time I got to solid material, it was wild to actually be able to push the tool in without everything flying apart.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6938 posts in 1566 days


#7 posted 01-14-2013 10:39 PM

Wow, great videos! That sure simplifies things for me. So there are no hard and fast angles, but rather ranges of angle depending on hardness and task. Cool…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6938 posts in 1566 days


#8 posted 01-14-2013 10:44 PM

David: ”...The problem beginners have is that they just sit there plunging the tool straight in generating nothing but dust doing nothing but using too much tool pressure and producing a lot of heat and chatter….”

That sounds almost like you watching me on my first turning! ;-) Except for the chatter, all I was really doing was making dust. I didn’t have a clue as to how that skew worked as was just trying figure it out on the run. Now I know better.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1650 days


#9 posted 01-14-2013 11:02 PM

Mike, For a skew on a spindle, start with just the lower 1/3rd or so of the blade until you get used to it. Keep the point away from the work. The point will catch badly if you are not careful. You ride on the bevel and then shift a bit to start cutting. All of a sudden, the chips will just spray off the work. You shift your body to steer the tool just like riding a bike. Only move your hands and tool for really delicate cuts. Everything else will be whole body.

Get used to turning to dimension. Start out just roughing out and turning a cylinder. Turn tenons on the ends. Then make grooves on the piece. Then round off the pieces between the grooves. Then you turn hollow portions between the grooves. When you go to part off, it is just a deep groove that goes all the way to the center. That’s it. Beyond that it is just doing things to size until you try hollow forms like bowls and beyond. Don’t worry about those until you can do spindles.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View rum's profile

rum

148 posts in 1238 days


#10 posted 01-14-2013 11:46 PM

When Reed raises the angle of the tool for the finishing cuts he is definitely using it more like a skew; for the initial cuts I would still argue that its more of/mostly a scraping cut – imho demonstrating you can get awesome curlies from a scraper :D. You can obviously make scraping cuts with a skew as well but that’s not generally its normal domain.

I would also note one thing I figured out that helped me a lot with scrapers (at least getting started) is to not leave the grinding “burr” on it. The burr makes it cut (and thus grab) a lot more aggressively. That’s probably fine if you’re used to it but can suck it into the wood in a hurry if you’re not expecting it and can cause a “bad day”. I mostly just hone the top a few strokes on a stone after grinding and its all good. Cuts slower but a lot easier to control.

You are so very very correct on the dust versus shavings comment, regardless of the tool (even scrapers) you can get nice shavings when you’re touching it correctly and dust is a sure sign you’re doing it wrong.

Spot on the skew, I would also caution that touching the heal – while not dangerous like the point – is annoying because you keep getting these awesome backward spirals. It took me a while to figure out that, despite what the folks in the videos might say, you don’t really want touch either end of the skew to the wood1 in planing/carving mode but for cutting beads you are using the edge just barely back of the heal (the closer you get the better the cut until Ziiiippp a spiral :D).

[1] the obvious exception to this is when the skew is point down and you are making parting type cuts with it.

Here is a really good illustration of the “practice piece” for skew work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vA91yJ9KhKU

View Druid's profile

Druid

617 posts in 1447 days


#11 posted 01-14-2013 11:47 PM

Hi again, For a bit more sharpening information, Lee Valley Tools has some free articles at . . .
http://www.leevalley.com/en/home/Articles.aspx?p=32
Dwight – You are correct about the title of the book on sharpening, and chapter 6 deals specifically with Chisels.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1650 days


#12 posted 01-15-2013 12:19 AM

Pfft. This guy knows how to use a skew :)

!!

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2097 posts in 840 days


#13 posted 01-15-2013 01:26 AM

Watched David’s video (post #12) about a Moroccan dude turning a chess piece. Amazing what a guy can do with a little ingenuity !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6938 posts in 1566 days


#14 posted 01-15-2013 01:35 AM

David,
Yeah, I had seen that one before, but I just watched it again because it is so amazing! Thanks.

John,
Thanks for adding more info. Digging around in those crates, so far I have found these paperbacks:

  • Woodturning in Pictures by Bruce Boulter 1983 Sterling Publishing Inc.
  • Turning Wood with Richard Raffan 1985 Tauton Press
  • Creative Woodturning by Dale L. Nish 1975 Brigham Young University Press

They look like relative beginners stuff, so this is good. Also looks like I have Woodturner Journal Mags from ~1985-1999. Most of these looks like advanced stuff that is beyond me for the time being. When I was given this stuff, 10-12 crates full, I really wasn’t quite sure what I really had. Now to find the time to read, as long as it does not cut into shop time ;-).

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View rum's profile

rum

148 posts in 1238 days


#15 posted 01-15-2013 01:58 AM

The reading time overlaps well with beer time (actually turning does not). I love that video to although I always feel bad about my (lack of) skills everytime I see it :|

BTW: one other thing I should add is if you don’t have a good face shield please do get one. The Uvex Bionics is pretty reasonably priced and works well. The woodturning community has had several very experienced members pass on in the last year because a piece of wood let go and clocked them in the face. Its well worth the $35.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6938 posts in 1566 days


#16 posted 01-15-2013 02:04 AM

Indeed the Uvex Bionics is what I just acquired (along with a spare lens for the future). Seems to work really well in the cooler 50F temps. I wonder how it will perform in the 100F summer though. I tend to fog things up very quickly.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1133 posts in 1415 days


#17 posted 01-15-2013 02:57 AM

Mike, are there any local woodturning clubs in your area ? They would be the guys to go and see for first hand help. It’s not difficult to watch someone on you tube – but – a whole lot easier in person. Most of the clubs give free lessons and, have mentors for whatever you are learning to do in the “art” of woodturning.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6938 posts in 1566 days


#18 posted 01-15-2013 03:04 AM

Granted, I haven’t looked too hard, but all I know of in my area is from the local WC store classes and they are in the range of $100-200 and vary from 1/2-day to 1-1/2 day in length. I have seen a few, but not many turners at the local street/crafts fairs.

From what I’ve seen so far the YouTube videos have some really good stuff. The bad ones seem to show you how bad very early in the video so not much time is wasted either… ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View rum's profile

rum

148 posts in 1238 days


#19 posted 01-15-2013 07:04 AM

Good to hear! I’ve used a few of the anti-fog tricks on the uvex with ok luck (antifog spray for ski glasses and before I got that dishsoap). My problem is the sweat fills up my regular glasses pretty fast so the face shield was sort of a secondary concern :D

A whole bag of clubs here: http://www.woodturningonline.com/Community/Club_Directory_US.html
and a couple that might be local http://www.stwt.org/ http://www.ctwa.org/

The youtube stuff is great, but someone who knows what they’re doing can point how how you’re doing it wrong in 1 minute and save you days of figuring it out :D

View tamboti's profile

tamboti

207 posts in 1793 days


#20 posted 01-15-2013 08:52 AM

Hi A lot has been said about sharpening and my few cents worth is find a club near you and speak to other turners and you will then get possibly the best advice. I do not agree with David on Robo rubbing a bevel and cutting he is scraping. Rum when he raises the angle he is shear scraping and the wood is wet, you will not get shavings like that from dry wood. He also makes a cardinal mistake by going back to finish the rim and final shear scraping from rim to bottom ok if bowl is 3/4” thick other wise do not do that. I use a scraper with a 45’ angle and leave the burr on. I digressed badly sorry back to sharping each turner has found out in a relatively short time what angles work for him/her Regards Tamboti PS don’t take every thing you see on you tube as been gospel there is a huge heap of crap and only the few
good videos

-- Africa is not for sissies

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6938 posts in 1566 days


#21 posted 01-15-2013 02:25 PM

”...The youtube stuff is great, but someone who knows what they’re doing can point how how you’re doing it wrong in 1 minute and save you days of figuring it out :D…”

I unfortunately live an hour away from each of the three clubs in my area of the State. The closest is the WC with $100-$200 classes. And with the recent expenditures on the new lathe, tools, and accessories… it looks like YouTube is going to have to be my educational mainstay at the moment. The only exception will probably be the book John (@Druid) suggests in post #11. He sent me a PDF of one of the chapters and WOW, that was/is very informative. I really like the detail and direct presentation this book delivers, in a very concise manner.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1650 days


#22 posted 01-15-2013 03:02 PM

Tamboti,

I will defer to you on that. It’s a tough call and the video doesn’t show the contact.

Do you leave the burr on with dry wood? I can see leaving it with wet wood. Doesn’t seem like it would last long enough on dry and I just go ahead and knock it off with a strop. Especially with harder woods.

Not being argumentative but I honestly don’t see a scraper ground at 45 deg as a scraper but rather a very large radius gouge. That is the kind of scraper I could get used to. I will have to try that. About the only time I use a high angle scraper is for trimming tenons or tapers or turning into brass ferrules anyway. Worst case scenario is I could always regrind it back to original.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 900 days


#23 posted 01-15-2013 03:16 PM

Playing devils advocate here because I don’t necessarily agree with all of this, but does it REALLY matter if the tool is ground to the exact perfect angle or if it is just sharp? I sharpen my gouges on a grinder with a home made wolverine style jig. I touch up the inside with a dowel wrapped in 600 grit PSA. Skews and parting tools I free hand on wetstones. No matter what I am turning, I can get a really nice fountain of shavings to come off. On acrylics, I can get a solid uninterrupted ribbon across the entire piece. To me that is the mark of a sharp tool. When I start getting chips thrown at me, I know it’s time to hit the grinder.

I have been using some of the easywood tools recently and like them. The carbide inserts can be sharpened very easily (contrary to popular belief) using something like this:

Lubrication is key. Unlike HSS, carbide is nasty, dirty metal that will clog up stones quick.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1650 days


#24 posted 01-15-2013 03:48 PM

lumberjoe,

The main differences of the cutting angle are surface finish and tool pressure. Surface finish can be overcome by sanding but, sanding will tend to leave mushy details. You only get the really fine details by cutting. It is relatively simple to get a shape if you have thick material. When you are turning thin material, tool pressure will be the difference between a piece being successful or shrapnel. When you are turning thin walled vessels or fine spindles, you will just break them if you have to apply too much pressure to cut. Some materials will also have the tendency to grab the tool. Brass is notorious for that. Dry wood will splinter. The cutting angle controls tool pressure needed to get a cut.

I have mixed emotions about the carbide inserts. The granular structure of carbide just does not get as sharp as steel. Steel wears faster than carbide so you end up having to sharpen more. The difference in surface finish can be seen a lot more easily when I am cutting metal. The other place where steel out performs carbide is the ability to cut form tools for really fine details. Some shapes are easier to just have a tool the right shape rather than trying to cut them in pieces with general shapes. Like using a molding cutter vs. using several bits to get the same shape.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 900 days


#25 posted 01-15-2013 03:59 PM

Thanks David. My question now is how big of a difference does a few degrees make, and on what tools is it really important? I actually prefer a fingernail (Ellsworth) grind on my gouges. I believe the correct angle is about 65 degrees, but I have never actually measured. I just get the desired shape on my 60 grit stone, then touch it up with the 120 there after. I can consistently repeat the angle I have it ground to, but again, I’m not sure it is exactly 65 degrees.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1650 days


#26 posted 01-15-2013 04:29 PM

There are differences that are more noticeable at the 10-15 degree difference range but personally, I think that it also has a lot to do with practice. You use the angle and you know what to expect when it cuts. A lot of turning is muscle memory and feel more than just by numbers. You can easily feel a 2-3 degree difference.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 900 days


#27 posted 01-15-2013 04:34 PM

Thanks! That kind of confirms my theory that repeatability when sharpening is more important than an exact number.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View tamboti's profile

tamboti

207 posts in 1793 days


#28 posted 01-15-2013 07:50 PM

David and lumberjoe In agree that a small difference in angle is not really noticeable but what is important is to try and achieve the same angle every time when sharpening. As for carbide tools not my cup a tea as I am not always sure that the tips are for wood but for steel. The carbide tips for wood can be the same as for brass and aluminum as these are sharper and a different angle. If you would like to try some garbide tips ask your local cabinet shop if they would sell you a small square blade used in a cutter head. Seek out the local CNC tooling outfit for carbide cutters. Here in Africa we have some HARD woods that I am able to turn with HSS tools. I will be making a mallet out of one of the hard woods for a swop / swap. Will post in projects when receiver has it. The burr is always left on the scrapper for wet or dry wood, I must add that I do very little scrapping, more shear scrapping as I try to get the very best result of the tool so as to eliminate the need to scrap and sand a lot. Sanding starts at 220 or higher unless the piece warrants a off the tool finish.
Horizonmike sorry we have hijacked your thread to a degree. Try chatting to the guys at the fairs most turners are very helpful good luck Regards Tamboti

-- Africa is not for sissies

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6938 posts in 1566 days


#29 posted 01-16-2013 03:08 AM

John (@Druid),
I just ordered a copy of The Complete Guide to Sharpening [Paperback] by Leonard Lee. That PDF, with excerpts, that you sent me was quite impressive and I’m sold on this book! Thanks for sharing this information.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Druid's profile

Druid

617 posts in 1447 days


#30 posted 01-16-2013 04:38 AM

Hi Mike, Glad that the book is what you are looking for. I’ve learned a lot from my copy.
I’d just like to add to my earlier comments. I fully understand all of the questions and comments on achieving the best grind angle for each type of tool, but another aspect of getting an optimum cutting edge is honing (or polishing) your cutting tool once you have it correctly shaped by grinding.
When I sharpen my tools for carving or turning, once I have the desired shape and angle smoothly ground (I go to 600 grit), I then hone the cutting edge on both sides using either a hard felt buffing wheel, or a leather belt on my 1” belt sander. If I want to get a really smooth surface prior to final polishing, I use a 15 micron (1000x) silicon carbide belt on the belt sander. The polished surface should have a mirror finish, and I do both sides of the cutting edge.

Sorry that the photos are not as clear as I would like. The left photo is a small carving gouge. The carving knife on the right shows a reflection of a picture frame on the far wall of the room, and that is the “mirror” finish that I aim for.
When I first saw this method, I thought that this was going to extremes. BUT . . . the resulting cutting action that I have from my tools is much cleaner, and takes less effort (particularly when carving). Unless I actually chip an edge, I do not have to regrind. A side benefit is that since I am only fine tuning rather than grinding away metal, each tool will last longer.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6938 posts in 1566 days


#31 posted 01-16-2013 02:51 PM

Nice job John! Currently my honing wheel ‘arbor’ needs a new sleeve, for the difference in sizing to make it fit properly with a 1/2in. I was in the process of trying to turn a piece to the correct OD and drill out the center with a drill chuck insert on the lathe. I was in the process of trying to remove the live end insert when I had issues with it sticking.

Once I can more accurately turn that insert, I will be able to see just how aligned I can get this bargain honing wheel to turn. Right now it wobbles a bit and is only good enough for soft cotton wheels. The cotton wheels work rather well, but are a bit messy with the polish.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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