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Forum topic by becikeja posted 10-26-2016 12:22 PM 738 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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becikeja

823 posts in 2647 days


10-26-2016 12:22 PM

I give up, I am a self taught woodworker, and believe I am pretty good at it. But when it comes to sharpening my carving gouges and turning tools I am horrible. I have taken classes, I have read books, even had a one-on-one instructor. I get the physics behind it and understand the theory, but for the life of me I can’t get a consistent sharp edge on the gouges and V tools. Knives and chisels no problem. I have looked at the wolverine and the Tormek system etc… and am thinking this may be the way I need to go, but not sure which one or if there is something better out there. Also, do they really work?

Just looking for advice and recommendations from the Lumber Jocks community.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense


9 replies so far

View gargey's profile

gargey

862 posts in 609 days


#1 posted 10-26-2016 12:46 PM

Find someone in your area that’s good at it and pay them to do it?

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

2889 posts in 1822 days


#2 posted 10-26-2016 12:50 PM

buy some really cheap gouges to practice with.

Given everything you have tried even one on one, probably time to buy a jig. Also, there are several similar ones you can make. The one for sharpening a gouge is not too difficult.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1499 posts in 1221 days


#3 posted 10-26-2016 01:14 PM

I personally like using a stationary belt sander for sharpening my lathe tools. It literally takes seconds to freshen an edge with almost no chance of overheating. If you have a belt sander, you can make jigs for it similar to the Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system. You can see my examples in my belt sander build blog entry: http://lumberjocks.com/Lazyman/blog/79842
and Dutchy’s conversion here:
http://lumberjocks.com/Dutchy/blog/81458

Not sure how well this will work for carving tools but you can look at the Sorby Pro Edge info on the web to see if they have specific instructions for sharpening them?

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View loiblb's profile

loiblb

141 posts in 889 days


#4 posted 10-26-2016 01:21 PM

I have the Tormek 7 a Woorksharp 3000 and the 1” x 42” Lee Valley belt sander. The best deal is the belt sander and the WS3000. But the Tormek may grow on me. It sure makes a mess even with the drip pan.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=video&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiBx9Ohy_jPAhXoh1QKHeLtANwQtwIIHDAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D7s5B-gqxjWI&usg=AFQjCNGPRREUhXNRahvQ9vWxFoBKMKOw3Q

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1034 posts in 2595 days


#5 posted 10-26-2016 02:19 PM

Carving tools especially have to have a razor sharp edge, and I mean one that will easily shave the hair off your forearm as a test. To get an edge this sharp it takes patience to go through a process of finer and finer grits of abrasives to end up with a mirror finish of the edge using jeweler’s rouge as an abrasive. Most people try to do this with machines like grinders, etc. with little luck. You really need to learn to do it all by hand to really understand what is required. Then you can move to machines for the initial part of the process of “shaping”. But putting the final edge usually requires handwork.

I view sharpening as broken down into two parts – shaping of the edge and the final sharpening of the edge. The shaping can be done with a machine, but the actual final sharpening is usually a hand operation. You must end up with an edge that has a mirror finish with no scratches. To achieve this you must remove any scratches made by coarser abrasives in a previous operation. This means moving through finer and finer grits, each one removing the scratches of the previous coarser grits.

I prefer diamond “stones” in various grits for the coarse shaping and sometimes use sanding belts for the really rough shaping. Harbor Freight has some coarse diamond stones that work well and are not too expensive. I also use diamond laps (made like flat files) that are even finer than the usual diamond stones. But remember the scratches left by really coarse grits can run deep! After the diamond stones I move to Arkansas stones to bring the edge to being really sharp. But you are not finished yet. From the Arkansas stones you move to stropping which is usually done with leather with jeweler’s rouge rubbed into it.

Get in the habit of looking directly at the edge under magnification using a strong light to see your progress. If you can see the edge, you are not truly sharp yet. When you can’t see the edge, you re sharp!

The final test is to see if the edge will shave the hair off your forearm. If you can do this EASILY, then you are ready to carve wood. Its a lot of work to get there, but once you do, all you need to do from then on is an occasional stropping or maybe even a little touch up with a fine Arkansas stone.

By the way, Arkansas stones are expensive, but they generally don’t wear much and you will use them for a lifetime – or two or three. They are worth it.

And one more thing. Use magnification to really see what you are accomplishing. I find the Harbor Freight 2X magnification visor to work just fine.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

2951 posts in 546 days


#6 posted 10-26-2016 03:42 PM

I personally take mine to a sharpening service in my area ….cost is less then you think …....stuff comes back ultra sharp …. I imagine it is how you are holding it at the wrong angle …...just my 3 cents

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

2680 posts in 573 days


#7 posted 10-26-2016 04:28 PM



I personally like using a stationary belt sander for sharpening my lathe tools. It literally takes seconds to freshen an edge with almost no chance of overheating. If you have a belt sander, you can make jigs for it similar to the Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system. You can see my examples in my belt sander build blog entry: http://lumberjocks.com/Lazyman/blog/79842
and Dutchy s conversion here:
http://lumberjocks.com/Dutchy/blog/81458

Not sure how well this will work for carving tools but you can look at the Sorby Pro Edge info on the web to see if they have specific instructions for sharpening them?

- Lazyman

I have the ProEdge. It’s very consistent and idiot proof. Expensive but worth it. I use diamond stones for chisels and planes but my turning tools are done in under a minute on the proedge. .02

-- http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View becikeja's profile

becikeja

823 posts in 2647 days


#8 posted 10-27-2016 10:39 AM

I appreciate the comments. When I lived in Chicago, I would take them to be sharpened every so often, but since moving to Memphis I can’t find anywhere to get it done that I trust. The belt sanding system seems to be the system of choice here, but not sure how that helps with the gouges. I think GR8HUNTER hit the nail on the head. for flat tools I don’t seem to have an issue holding the angle, but with the gouges and V carve, I can’t seem to hold the consistency of the angle when rotating. But watching more videos, and the belt sander links you provided everything seems to start with a reference angle surface vs free hand holding. I have been using the Arkansas stones as mentioned by Planeman40 which works great for the flat edges, and have tried to do everything freehand. Are there any guides to use on flat stones to hold the angle when rotating a gouge?

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1499 posts in 1221 days


#9 posted 10-29-2016 01:20 PM

Have you watched any of Mary May’s videos? She makes sharpening (and carving for that matter) look so easy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5iEhUoSi8Q

Seems like patience and practice but having never tried it, that is easy for me to say.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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