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Forum topic by matthewcressey posted 12-28-2012 12:40 AM 1344 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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76 posts in 2163 days

12-28-2012 12:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe turning sharpening jig tip question

So I gust got a new lathe for christmas its a shopfox mini lathe and ive done a couple of small things on it but I have now encontered a very big problem. They need sharpening and I dont have a grinder. Any suggestions? im buying a grinder tommorow. But what about jigs? What grit wheels should I use? Any advise would be greatly appretiated.

10 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3826 days

#1 posted 12-28-2012 01:13 AM

Lee Valley has some clever jigs and some cool
wheels like profiled leather stropping wheels.

If you don’t have a friable (usually white) oxide
grinder wheel, you need one. They run cooler
and won’t burn tools too easily. I still use a cup
of water when I grind, dipping the tool frequently.
Better safe than sorry.

View mpax356's profile


74 posts in 2670 days

#2 posted 12-29-2012 11:24 PM

The 8” slow speed grinder from Woodcraft with a 60 grit and 120 grit white aluminum wheels is probably the most common grinder used by turners. Pretty reasonable in price and better when they go on sale fairly often. The wolverine jig and vari grind jig are also pretty well the standard jigs used. Some folks make their own. Plans are available with a little Google search on the internet. I would advise you to find a local club if you are near one and get some assistance there. A little hands on guidance will get you going a lot faster and with more fun than trying to get it all on your own.

There is a lot of discussion that you will find useful on this thread

-- MPax, Atlanta

View matthewcressey's profile


76 posts in 2163 days

#3 posted 12-30-2012 01:52 AM

does it need to be a slow speed someone gave me a grinder and I dont know if its a slow speed will this affect my sharpening majorly or am i still good?

View waho6o9's profile


8490 posts in 2755 days

#4 posted 12-30-2012 02:13 AM

View Caleb James's profile

Caleb James

149 posts in 3107 days

#5 posted 12-30-2012 02:20 AM


I understand your confusion. I have seen over the years a bunch of mixed advice. I turn chair parts not bowls or vessels. What you get for sharpening will vary depending on what tools you want to sharpen but just get a grinder, any grinder. I have variable speed but just because it came on it, I never use it. Truing wheels is best at full speed.

Second, a 80 grit wheel is probably just right for most uses, aluminum oxide.

Third, if you must get jigs the wolverine will serve you the best. Sturdy, well made.

Forth, take a picture of what the geometry of your tools look like from the factory so when you go to sharpen and screw it up (we all did it learning) then you know what you are trying to get back to. I have seen a lot of really bad methods shown in videos on Youtube so beware.

The geometry of the cutting edge is what is important before trying to get the tool sharp. When you are sharpening your skew chisel it makes all the difference. When someone says the skew scares them it is because they don’t know how to sharpen it.


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Caleb James

149 posts in 3107 days

#6 posted 12-30-2012 02:23 AM

If you need help sharpening a skew then check this guy out. He knows exactly what he is doing.


View Caleb James's profile

Caleb James

149 posts in 3107 days

#7 posted 12-30-2012 02:24 AM

By the way don’t pay more for a 8” grinder unless you just want it. I have used a 6” grinder for years. My wheels last a long time so it is not an issue to me.


View matthewcressey's profile


76 posts in 2163 days

#8 posted 12-30-2012 03:01 AM

ok thanks for the advise.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3704 days

#9 posted 12-30-2012 04:33 AM

Watch the Richard Raffan, Mike Darlow and Alan Lacer videos and you will know everything you need to sharpen any and all of your tools.

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

View stefang's profile


16073 posts in 3512 days

#10 posted 12-30-2012 04:21 PM

I started with just a grinder with a white wheel, but get advice on the right color (blue?). I didn’t use a jig for years. I finally bought a Wolverine aka One-Way jig, but I only use it for fingernail grinds which are not so easy to do freehand. That said, many love the jig and use it for just about every turning tool they have and love it. You decide.

I prefer an 8” wheel because it is less concave and grinds maybe less fragile edges, not sure as I haven’t tried a 6”, but the cost diff. is not that great. My grinder is 1750 RPM and it’s good, but I wouldn’t go over that.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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