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Sharpening - convert potter's wheel to grinding/sharpening wheel

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Forum topic by Catlike posted 01-16-2015 08:27 PM 1052 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Catlike

21 posts in 693 days


01-16-2015 08:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sharpening potters wheel grinding hand tool blades

I read somewhere of someone using a potter’s wheel as a sharpening wheel. He/she got some kind of wet-grind abrasive discs which fit on the wheel.
Has anyone got ideas on how to do this? For instance, what kind of abrasive discs or wheels could I get? Where can I get them? How can they be temporarily afixed to the potter’s wheel? (It’s still going to be used for throwing clay… Have to be able to un-convert it.)
Thank you.

-- Catlike


7 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

8314 posts in 3114 days


#1 posted 01-16-2015 08:52 PM

You could just get a Makita 1000 grit waterstone wheel
and that wheel makes very good edges. They can go
straight to a buffing wheel charged with jeweler’s rouge
if desired, or used as is. The spinning wheel seems to
me to deliver a more polished edge than a 1000 grit
rectangular stone used by hand.

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Catlike

21 posts in 693 days


#2 posted 01-19-2015 03:46 AM



You could just get a Makita 1000 grit waterstone wheel
and that wheel makes very good edges. They can go
straight to a buffing wheel charged with jeweler s rouge
if desired, or used as is. The spinning wheel seems to
me to deliver a more polished edge than a 1000 grit
rectangular stone used by hand.

- Loren

Thank you for replying.
Do you mean simply buy the wheel part—not the whole Makita machine? Will such a wheel readily fit and stay put on a potter’s wheel?
Or did you mean I should just buy the whole Makita machine?

-- Catlike

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Loren

8314 posts in 3114 days


#3 posted 01-19-2015 03:56 AM

The wheel only. You would have to figure out how to fix it to your
potter’s wheel. The Makita waterstone is glued to a metal plate
with a hole in the center for a bolt. You might have to drill and
tap your clay wheel or something like that.

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

550 posts in 2464 days


#4 posted 01-19-2015 07:00 PM

Interesting idea. Most electric potters wheels have a variable speed motor control (aka, a gas pedal) so you could go as fast or as slow as you like!

Depending on the quality of the potters wheel, there should be two holes on the wheel plate for pins. These pins are used to secure removable `bats` to the wheel head. These pin holes may be suitable for your idea. Create flat bats out of mdf or plywood to attach to the wheel and attach the sharpening media to the `bas.` Alternatively, you could make some `bats` that are larger than the wheel head and use cleats to attach the `bats` to the wheel head. Google `pottery wheel bats` to see what I am referring to.

You should be aware that if the wheel has been abused, the wheel head may not be true. People like to stand on the wheel head and it can bend. I think that any distortion in the wheel head would harm what you are working on.

If you decide to pursue this, please post pictures.

Greg

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Catlike

21 posts in 693 days


#5 posted 04-26-2015 03:14 AM

OK, I did pursue this and the results are mixed. I apologize for not posting pictures; I am just lazy about uploading, downloading, sideways-loading… I am impatient, too.

Anyway, the upshot of my experience is that using a potter’s wheel with abrasive discs attached to “bats” is GREAT for polishing relatively broad surfaces such as the backs of plane blades, really broad chisel blades, and cabinet scrapers. I have gotten a truly mirror-like finish, in very little time.

However, even at slow speeds I find it very hard to hold a narrow metal surface, such as the cutting bevel of a plane blade or small chisel, true on the wheel, and due to wobbling, I have gotten unsatisfactory results at these sharpening tasks. I have not figured out how to rig up a brace system that would allow me to hold such narrow/small metal surfaces true on the wheel.

Details: you have to either use a very thick bat, or glue two standard-thickness bats together. This is because the pins which hold the bat in place on the wheel project ever so slightly above the surface of the bat, and so make it impossible to hold a long chisel flat (for polishing the back).

You have to use basic geometry tricks (compass and ruler) to center the abrasive discs on the bats. This is kind of fun for me.

These guys (http://woodartistry.com/) sell excellent abrasive discs. Click, of course, on “Abrasives”. I had to telephone to get advice on what to order. Now I can’t remember which ones I bought, so when mine wear out, I’ll telephone again! Whatever I got, they work GREAT—mirror finish very fast.

Potter’s wheels are designed to handle moisture, so no need to worry about getting too much water on your wheel.

Some wheels have a containment basin, which is good because as you hone a blade the lubricating water (I use water-lubricated abrasives) flings off. However, my wife’s wheel has a basin which is easily removed, and that’s good because when honing a very long tool I need to hang the handle off the edge.

The motor of our potter’s wheel, and probably that of most such wheels, is pretty powerful. Wet clay is very heavy, after all, so the motor has to have a lot of power. So be careful—even at slow speeds, the wheel can yank a tool right out of your hands.

-- Catlike

View esmthin's profile

esmthin

77 posts in 647 days


#6 posted 04-26-2015 03:49 AM

Have you looked at the sanding discs for the Veritas Mk.II Power sharpening system?

-- Ethan, https://instagram.com/ethan_woodworker/

View Catlike's profile

Catlike

21 posts in 693 days


#7 posted 04-28-2015 01:28 AM

No. I was not aware of them. Just took a look and it looks like a great system. I cannot tell from the photo whether their discs are thin enough to just glue to a bat or not.
I did not see prices on the page on their web site. (I hate it when the prices are listed elsewhere.)
Thank you for the suggestion.

-- Catlike

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