power sharpening cutting tools

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Forum topic by michael crawford posted 05-11-2011 04:07 PM 2058 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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michael crawford

19 posts in 3003 days

05-11-2011 04:07 PM

i run a completely self supported vocational woodshop program. in other words, no one pays for what we do other that the profits made from what we sell, which in our area are rather meager.

with that being said, we need to find some new ways of doing stuff.

one of the things i have come to the realization of is that we need to find an easier way to sharpen our cutting tools.

stuff to sharpen:
lathe tools
(jointer and planer knives would be a bonus, but not a necessity)

we have been using some cheap jigs bought at woodcraft and wetstones. this works well, but takes HOURS to do properly for the volume of equipment we maintain. (most of it is pretty cheap stuff which looses and edge rapidly)

in the concern of doing more with less money, were looking at trying electric sharpening. ive been doing research after research at home at night, and am just getting more baffled. there seems to be as many ways of doing this as there are guys.

my two main options that i know of boil down to (due to budget):
1. use my old Dayton 2z646b belt/disc sander, make sone jigs to make it repeatebly and fool proff, and go.
2. pick up a $79 porter cable variable speed 6 inch bench grinder, equip it with some finer wheels, and make some jigs to make it repeatable.

option 1 would be cheaper, as wel already have it. questions there are:
anyone do this? how good of an edge can you get? what grit sandpaper? use the belt or the disc?

option 2 seems to be the more popular direction to go from the lathe tools perspective. will it work on the chisels and planes? what kind of stones do i need?

currently, we work out handtool with finer and finer grits up to and including cultured marble for a mirror like edge. i dont know if we need to go that far, though.

Mostly, we work with cyporess, pine, oak, red oak, hickory, and poplar.

let me know what you think, or an option that i hadnt thought of.


3 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2938 days

#1 posted 05-11-2011 04:57 PM

I use a belt with finest grit I can find, usually 320. Then use the Woodcraft jig to hone on wet/dry (slicon carbide) paper stuck to a granite tile. Usually three grits of paper up to about 800 or 1000. Takes about 1/2 minute per grit. Kind of a hybrid “scary sharp” system. Works fast and cheap.

View WayneC's profile


13753 posts in 4064 days

#2 posted 05-11-2011 04:58 PM

What kind of budget do you have? I would think a knock-off tormak would go a long way towards inproving your situation. You could add accessories over time. You could also look at the Worksharp.

For plane blades only grind to set primary bevels. You will need stones or you could use scary sharp (sandpaper on a flat surface such as plate glass) to flatten the back of the plane blades and chisels.

Perhaps you may want to check out a good sharpening book for ideas.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Elksniffer's profile


101 posts in 3364 days

#3 posted 05-11-2011 05:18 PM

I picked up a Work Sharp 3000 about 3 years ago after spending several years using sandpaper and plate glass. It has speeded sharpening of chisels and plane blades, less work and as good or better edges. I picked up a wide blade attachment for 2.5” and some extra glass plates at a wood store going out of business that has made going through the grits faster. I find I keep the edges in better shape because it takes less time, ie it is no longer a dreaded chore. I sharpened my skews successfully on it but had less consistent results with spindle and bowl gouges but I was just learning to sharpen them. I bought a jig from penn state for doing the gouges and it is similar to Wolverine. I use it on an 8” grinder. It works well but there is some plans at a couple of internet sites I have seen for making nearly identical wood jigs that could work well on your disc sander. With a little patience the Work Sharp may do a good job on the gouges, especially if you make a jig to take the guess work out of positioning the gouge as you approach the disc. I mounted my work sharp on a piece of plywood and store it in a cabinet and just clamp it to the bench when I need to use it.

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