What is the best grinder for turning tools

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Forum topic by Nick posted 11-21-2010 09:17 PM 12886 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Nick's profile


87 posts in 3030 days

11-21-2010 09:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip resource jig question

Hello you all, I’m looking at getting a new grinder for my turning tools and my hand tools I use. I have looked at the Tormek t7 and a slow speed grinder. I have had sales people from two different stores tell the complete oppsite of each other so I have no clue what to get. So could you all help me out in figuring what the best grinder for my turning tools is. thank you.

-- Nick, AZ. Wood is a canvas for God's art work, it is our job as woodworkers to figur out the best way to display it.

10 replies so far

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2954 days

#1 posted 11-21-2010 10:10 PM

Richard Raffan, David Ellsworth (both pro turners with long careers and how to books) and Oneway (lathe mfrs) all recommend regular high speed grinding wheels vs. slow speed systems.

The thinking is that: a) lathe tools wear much faster than any other edge tool, so frequent sharpening is a fact of life, b) the fine honed edge doesn’t last long enough to make a difference, and c)slow speed systems take longer to use vs. a high speed wheel.

I use a high speed belt/disc sander because it is easy and cheap to change grits, it spins up and down faster than a wheel, and I like a flat bevel more than a curved one.

My suggestion is use what you already have, or if you don’t have one, get a regular high speed grinder and use it. Much cheaper than the dedicated sharpening systems. Also, USE a jig! I cobbled one together based on the Wolverine fingernail grinder and it made more difference than any difference between grinder vs. sander or grit difference in wheels.

-- Nate,

View jeepturner's profile


939 posts in 2969 days

#2 posted 11-22-2010 02:05 AM

I like my Tormak. I like it, because it will not overheat an edge. I like the available fixtures for sharpening different tools. The tool for the bowl gouge does an excellent job with the finger nail profile. Putting an edge on my skew, I can have it set up to where I hardly have to remove any metal to have a new edge, and it is perfect every time.

I have used a high speed, or relative high speed grinder, and I have also sharpened my tools by hand. The Tormak makes it easy for me.

I don’t consider myself an expert on sharpening, but I do know what is easiest for me, and I have never regretted buying the Tormak.

-- Mel,

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3251 days

#3 posted 11-22-2010 02:26 AM

This is an ongoing discussion/debate. I use a slow speed 8” grinder with the Wolverine system. That does not mean it’s the best approach. I’ve never tried a faster speed grinder.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2954 days

#4 posted 11-22-2010 05:37 AM

Jeepturner, I hear that!

I don’t normally have problems with turning tools getting too hot, but I have had to reharden plane blades.

-- Nate,

View Nick's profile


87 posts in 3030 days

#5 posted 11-22-2010 06:11 AM

thank you all for your help. I do have a high speed grinder now but it heats the tools up in seconds so I was thinking of going to something slower to solve this problem but was not sure how slow to go.

-- Nick, AZ. Wood is a canvas for God's art work, it is our job as woodworkers to figur out the best way to display it.

View jayman7's profile


218 posts in 3682 days

#6 posted 11-22-2010 02:25 PM

Just remember that lathe tools are typically High Speed Steel (HSS), meaning that a little bluing from overheating won’t affect the strength of the steel, unlike chisels. I haven’t had a problem using my high speed grinder using my homemade Wolverine jig.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3409 days

#7 posted 11-22-2010 05:01 PM

Just FWIW, because of the David Ellsworth suggestions on the subject, as well as OneWay MFG’s recommendation when I bought my Wolverine jig, I went with a Ryobi BGH-827 8” 3600 rpm grinder fitted with Norton white oxide wheels and stainless steel bushings. Smooth as silk, and matched with the Wolverine, is fast and easy to get the edge I want, on what I want… I keep a cup of cooling water next to the grinder when I am working to keep the edges of the HSS from getting too hot…

If you are using a 3600 rpm grinder, and your tools are getting hot, without you holding them there unduly long, you ought to ask if you are using the right wheels… The OEM gray stones that come on most bench grinders are good for lawn mower blades and not much else… They are KNOWN to build up a LOT of heat… The white aluminum oxide wheels are a great upgrade, but you will need proper metal bushings, the plastic ones that Norton at least ships with will induce a NASTY vibration to your grinder making it unusable.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View peter blair's profile

peter blair

34 posts in 2827 days

#8 posted 05-07-2011 10:21 PM

Hi all. I have just had a very bad experience with an off shore built slow speed General 8” grinder. I have been using a high speed for some time but seem to grind more off than I want to. I have read everything I can find and there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer. Right now I turn my grinder on then off then grind and repeat if required but I think I’ll next try the Woodcraft 8” x 1” slow speed grinder. I did notice in the post by dbhost the suggestion of proper metal bushings. These I would like to try. Can anyone suggest where to purchase them?


-- Pete

View Gerry1942's profile


25 posts in 1006 days

#9 posted 02-20-2016 02:50 AM

I use an 8” slow speed grinder, 8 ” Ron Brown CBN wheels and the Wolverine Jig.. The Jig comes with a Video .
Works great for me. I Am a relatively new Turner. I also have several Easy Wood carbide tools. I broken down and bought the Easy Chuck and really like it,

View Woodknack's profile


12401 posts in 2557 days

#10 posted 02-20-2016 05:08 AM

There is no point in answering 6 year old questions, the guy has either bought a grinder by now or he never will.

-- Rick M,

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