Bench Grinder for Lathe Tool Sharpening

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Forum topic by interpim posted 10-19-2009 04:36 PM 8526 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1170 posts in 3664 days

10-19-2009 04:36 PM

Lately I have been doing a ton of turning, and have come to the point where I have needed to sharpen my tools a bit more often. I have been using sandpaper backed up by a granite block, but honestly this is getting old.

I am looking for an in-expensive method of sharpening my tools. Would a bench grinder work for this? and if so, would the” Grizzly 6 grinder here work?

Also, if this is an acceptable method, what type of wheels should I purchase, and tips etc, that I should use while sharpening

-- San Diego, CA

5 replies so far

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 3389 days

#1 posted 10-19-2009 05:53 PM

I use the slow speed grinder from Woodcraft with the Wolverine sharpening system and it works good.
My understanding is that you want to sharpen on a low RPM grinder (@1500 – 2000 RPM).
I know of turners that use the smaller bench top vertical belt sanders 1” to 2” belts and they swear by them.

Here’s some info that may help in your selection for grinder and wheel selection. I hope this helps.

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3664 days

#2 posted 10-19-2009 07:25 PM

wow… I was really looking for something much cheaper. I like the idea of a $40 bench Grinder… when it gets over $60 I have to think what’s more important… the time it takes me to sharpen by hand, or the ability to buy more wood to turn LOL.

-- San Diego, CA

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3476 days

#3 posted 10-19-2009 07:26 PM

I very seldom use a grinder on my tools. I use the grinder to set up the angles (I like some of my tools to have a different angle then the one that comes out of the factory)...then I will grind to maintain the angle or a tool it if it should knick or otherwise get damaged at the edges. For sharpening…I use stones….and a good strop with a good stropping compound (I use diamond compound). A diamond hone by the lathe to get a quick sharp edge when I am in the middle of a long turning.

A good set of water stones will keep your tools sharper and they will last longer if you are not constantly grinding them (a grinder takes off a prodigious amount of material very quickly…whereas a stone will take alot..but very slowly).

For a grinder…you must have a VS or a rheostat to slow the rpms….that or one of the slow speed or the water cooled slow speed grinders would work (but are somewhat expensive for the amount of use you will probably put them too). There really isn’t a great system on the market for sharpening. There are way too many different angles and shapes to tools to make one perfect system. I’ve seen some homemade solutions using a drill press motor…or similar to turn a wood or plastic disc with an abasive attached….you can then vary the speed to a slow turn. I have arbored a wheel on my lathe and used the tool rest….with the really slow speed I can get on my lathe it worked great to get my tool back to function…It is always recommended to use a good quality Alluminum Oxide wheel as good lathe tools are HSS which on the hardness scale is harder then most of the abrasives used on the cheaper sharpeners.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View hairy's profile


2783 posts in 3738 days

#4 posted 10-19-2009 07:39 PM

I second the woodcraft/wolverine combo. The griz grinder you link to does not state the grit of the wheels. Check to make sure that you don’t buy something that you don’t need. I believe 80 and 120 grit is what you should get. Do you have a belt sander? That will get you started.

Here’s a link to Oneway, some good info.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3732 days

#5 posted 10-19-2009 11:38 PM

This may sound crude until you try it… Use a belt sander on the bevel side until it forms a wire bead on the other side then use a buffing wheel until the wire bead is removed. You can shave with it…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

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