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Should gouges be as sharp as razors?

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Forum topic by ColonelTravis posted 07-14-2014 03:42 AM 884 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ColonelTravis

571 posts in 549 days


07-14-2014 03:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: gouge sharpening

Bought a low-end lathe and some turning chisels then realized I had nothing to sharpen them with except flat waterstones and a grinder cotton wheel & compound. Don’t have a white sharpening wheel, the grinder isn’t slow speed, no grinder sharpening jigs, so all I’ve used is the cotton wheel.

I got the gouges sharper than they came, using my (very limited) set-up, and practicing on some walnut they seemed to work well. But I’ve never turned anything in my life, so are they supposed to be insanely sharp like bench chisel or plane blades? I’ve cut myself many times on plane blades, my gouges were not that sharp.

Also, with a plane, you can tell by your shavings whether your blade is sharp enough – how do you tell from woodturning shavings?


21 replies so far

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3974 posts in 1036 days


#1 posted 07-14-2014 04:23 AM

Cleaner cut, less tear out with sharp tools.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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ColonelTravis

571 posts in 549 days


#2 posted 07-14-2014 04:29 AM

Understood and agree. But can you get a curved chisel as sharp as a flat one? It’s easy working the convex side, but the concave side is a challenge.

View Paul's profile

Paul

522 posts in 221 days


#3 posted 07-14-2014 04:45 AM

I take a router on a hardwood scrap and mold each side to the angles of my blades. Glue 1200 grit to each side and sharpen. This method works for me but I haven’t found anyone I know that uses it.

Paul

View Loren's profile

Loren

7561 posts in 2303 days


#4 posted 07-14-2014 05:44 AM

I find in the limited turning I do that real sharp edges decline
pretty fast but since the cutting is mostly from the side grain,
the important thing is angle of edge presentation to the work.

Grinding and buffing is generally adequate. The edge is still
going to have ridges that would make hand planing unpleasant,
but for turning these edges work okay.

You certainly should fool around with sharpening enough
that you can tell the difference between a shaving and
a scraping. Both have applications in turning but it your
cutting tools are scraping, some adjustment of the tool
or your turning technique should be considered.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

2052 posts in 1217 days


#5 posted 07-14-2014 06:16 AM

It is not the same as a hand chisel
A wood chisel or gouge has wood passing by it several times a second so if the edge is razor sharp the end will not last as long.

Check Youtube for sharpening turning tools and you will see all use from 80 to 100 grit “K” hardness wheel. Some do stropping or touching up the edge. However, since a gouge can dull with in minutes the grinder is used a lot.
Many including me use a wolverine system with a varigrind jig and do a fast consistent grind everytime that way.

I really like how Lyle Jamieson does his turning and sharpens his tools. Following is a link to his YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtNl1WvnG38&list=UU-EGwe-hMKrYtQGlwkLG-6g

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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Arlin Eastman

2052 posts in 1217 days


#6 posted 07-14-2014 09:08 AM

Or This Link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zUph9zEjck

Both of them will get you to YouTube Videos of Lyle Jamieson

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1038 posts in 790 days


#7 posted 07-14-2014 12:49 PM

No, comparing turning tools to razors, bench chisels, or hand plane blades just not practical.

With turning chisels and gouges you depend upon bevel support to cut cleanly.

Shavings off a woodturning tool depends upon several factors. Goal should be a get off the tool surface and reduce amount of sanding needed..

Sharp vice dull tools
Angle of tool bevel
Dry vice wet wood
Wood species and other characteristics
Light vice heavy pressure, final light cuts produce finer shavings than heavy rough cuts.

-- Bill

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

164 posts in 385 days


#8 posted 07-14-2014 02:16 PM

Leave a burr on your gouges and scrapers….... When you lose the burr, sharpen and leave the burr again.

WW, what is your meaning of “vice”? I’never heard it used in woodturning…...... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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ColonelTravis

571 posts in 549 days


#9 posted 07-14-2014 02:40 PM

Thanks guys. I was impressed by the edge I could get on a flat stone, I’m sure if I get a slow grinder set-up it would be even better.

Wildwood – like Jerry, I’m stumped over “vice”!

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4925 posts in 1232 days


#10 posted 07-14-2014 03:12 PM

Attach leather to the shape you want to hone and

strop away. It might take a while but it will be sharp.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1038 posts in 790 days


#11 posted 07-14-2014 05:04 PM

With sharp tools able to cut wood smoothly with very little effort. With dull tools you tend to force the cut and exert a lot of effort forcing the tool to cut. Much easier to control your cutting with a sharp tool vice dull tool where you are forcing the cut.

That is how define sharp vice dull, and live by re-sharpen before tool gets dull!

-- Bill

View JamesVavra's profile

JamesVavra

286 posts in 1971 days


#12 posted 07-14-2014 05:09 PM

You can sharpen High Speed Steel (HSS) turning tools on your regular speed grinder. A finer grit wheel really helps though (I use a white wheel). They don’t need to be honed afterwards (but you’ll get a much better cut quality if you do). On dry wood or soft wood, you may have a lot of tearout with a tool straight from the grinder.

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

164 posts in 385 days


#13 posted 07-15-2014 04:27 AM

Bill WW, isn’t that suppose to be “verses”?sp? instead of vice?......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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Tedster

2271 posts in 867 days


#14 posted 07-15-2014 05:00 AM

Most of my little collection of turning tools are not very sharp and when I do manage to get a good edge on them, it doesn’t last very long. The one good quality tool I have is a Sorby 1/2” bowl gouge, which I would never take near my single speed grinder with 80 grit wheel. The other tools I use the grinder to shape the edge, then a diamond stone or oil stone to get somewhat of a sharp edge on them. I have resigned to doing a fair amount of sanding until I can afford more better quality tools and a better sharpening set up. Basically, it’s a bit more hassle with all the sanding, but I still manage to turn the shapes and get the finishes I’m after…. usually.

-- I support the 28th Amendment. http://www.wolf-pac.com/28th

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

571 posts in 549 days


#15 posted 07-15-2014 06:01 AM

After 4 disaster attempts (not the chisels’ fault) I turned my first handle, which fits great in the socket. Pretty blah design but I thought – just figure out how to make something round first, little Sorby Jr.

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