sharpening turning tools

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Forum topic by 3285jeff posted 10-04-2014 11:41 AM 1274 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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160 posts in 1895 days

10-04-2014 11:41 AM

can anyone tell me what is the best way to sharpen your turning tools,,,and what I need to get started,,i have a shopsmith but they tell me that you cannot sharpen smaller lathe tools on it because of the length,,can anyone help,,im trying to get into pen turning,,

6 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5143 posts in 2670 days

#1 posted 10-04-2014 12:12 PM

The answer to that may depend, to some extent, on what you have available to you right now. But a popular option is to use a Wolverine type jig and a slow speed grinder, preferably an 8” with the friable wheels (usually the white ones). But there are lots of alternatives, and budget plays a big part (a Tormek does a great job). If you watch Alan Lacer sharpen he does it with just the grinder and a tool rest (holding and moving the tool by hand). That might be a good way to start, but you ought to have a tool you don’t mind ruining the first time to get a feel for it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5107 posts in 4137 days

#2 posted 10-04-2014 02:27 PM

There are as many methods as there are turners. Each of us has a favorite process because we have tried different techniques.
My advice? Get on the net, look up all the videos on sharpening, and PRACTICE.
Some machines (as Tormek) are very pricey. A slow speed grinder can be bought pretty reasonably. You can make your own gouge grinding jig for little money. Capt. Eddie Castelin has a video about the construction of such a jig.
Get good wheels and a wheel truing device. Take your time, don’t get discouraged, and don’t invest in super expensive turning tools until you get comfortable with the whole process.
Have you thought about carbide tools?
Keep us posted as you progress.


View Nubsnstubs's profile


1414 posts in 1907 days

#3 posted 10-04-2014 02:34 PM

“Around the Woods” also has a video on making your own jig to do the Ellsworth grind. It’s pretty simple, and you use woods you have around the shop…... I don’t have a link, but copy and paste their name at the beginning of my reply, and you’ll find it….... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View waho6o9's profile


8489 posts in 2754 days

#4 posted 10-04-2014 02:50 PM

View TheDane's profile


5535 posts in 3840 days

#5 posted 10-04-2014 04:11 PM

can anyone tell me what is the best way to sharpen your turning tools …

Depends, to a large extent, what kind of budget you have to work with. Sorby’s ProEdge runs around $500. I have a slow-speed grinder with CBN wheels and a Wolverine system.

I also use a belt sander to sharpen skews, which is a decent alternative. I have a friend who is a production turner and woodturning instructor who does 100% of his sharpening on a Sears belt sander. He doesn’t have anything against grinders … says he just hasn’t had time to shop for one yet!

You can build a pretty decent system using a Harbor Freight belt sander … see:
... HorizontalMike did a detailed review of this system:

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View REO's profile


929 posts in 2251 days

#6 posted 10-04-2014 11:34 PM
It is possible to reverse the motor instead of having to cant the motor and buy a new belt. It takes a little time but it is a good project that may also give you some insight as to how things work.

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