Sharpening your woodturning tools - equipment you will need

Woodturning tools work hard - ploughing through hard wood at 30 miles per hour or more - so they need sharpening frequently. Cutting time between sharpenings is measured in minutes even with the finest high speed steel tools. A good grinder setup is essential for every woodturner and it is vital to learn the skill of sharpening before you can enjoy the woodturning.. Click here for a list of the grinding products, jigs etc that we stock plus prices.

(1) First you need a Grinder
A 6" or 8" double ended engineers grinder is fine and will sharpen or re-shape your tools quickly and efficiently.
I quite like this Draper 6" grinder. It is nicely made with a continuously rated motor. It has machined not pressed flanges to make wheel changing easy, and best of all it takes 20mm wide wheels or 25mm wide (recessed) if needed. Some cheap machines only take 16mm wheels! Grinder info and prices
Wet grinders are slow, messy and expensive - only really needed if you sharpen cabinet makers tools - plane irons etc. They will however give a superior long lasting cutting edge.

Adjustable grinding table

(2) Adjustable grinding table for getting the bevel angles consistent

This adjustable metal rest will help sharpen all the different tools to the correct angle. The slot for a mitre fence (perhaps for skew chisel grinding) is very useful as you can make wooden wedges (only two or three needed) to drop into the slot when needed to save frequent fiddling with the angle of the table.
If you have problems sharpening fingernail gouges then you might consider a Fingernail Profiler Jig like the Sorby 445. More about jigs on next page

Sharpening jig prices

(3) Upgrade at least one wheel to a Woodturner's grindstone

The grey wheels which come with the grinder are not good enough for your expensive tools. The blue wheels are better than pink which are better than white.

About grinding wheels

Blue Microcrystal wheels and prices

Pink wheels

(4) Wheel dresser

Every grinding wheel needs dressing periodically and the multiple diamond matrix dresser does the best job with the least effort.
Wheel dresser prices etc

(5) Don't forget eye protection!

This flip-up helmet protects your face and eyes and is very comfortable to wear.

Woodturner's sharpening Manual

This book is packed with really useful sharpening information
Bevel angle data, hints on tuning up and sharpening all your tools, commercial and DIY jigs, selecting grinders and grinding wheels plus much more. 60 photographs and diagrams.

Only £3.95 post free in UK.

Links to information pages on this site
Using green wood - free material! Choosing your first tools About grinding wheels About chucks The Masterchuck and other scroll chucks compared About bowl gouges and Superflutes Woodturning glossary
Sticky chucks Woodturning demo's twice every month Coil chuck Screw chucks Information on our pyro-graphy machines Links to other sites Home page




Copyright 1991 Roy Child. Revised 2002. HTML version Aug 2003.