Sharpening your woodturning tools - jigs

As well as a grinder most woodturners use jigs.

  • A jig gives a consistent bevel angle
  • A jig gives a superior edge unless you are very skilful at freehand grinding
  • A jig minimises the amount of metal you have to remove to get a good edge, so tools last longer
You can make your own jig out of wood, angle iron etc, or you can buy one.
Click here for a list of the grinding products, jigs etc that we stock plus prices.

Mount the grinder on a board - a piece of kitchentop is ideal.

Then bolt the jig or jigs in front at the correct height. The left hand wheel is the best side to choose as some tools require the handle to swing round to the left and you don't want the grinder motor to get in the way.

In this photo the Robert Sorby (old model) 445 jig is mounted on the right, raised on a block to get the base of it 5" below centre height.

Fingernail profiler jigs for pointed gouges

Many turners, not just the novices, have big problems sharpening fingernail spindle gouges and "long grind" bowl gouges. There are lots of profiler jigs available to help. One of the best is the Robert Sorby 445 (or the delux version 447 shown here). I like this one because. .

  • The tool clamp does not flop over to the left or right (as it does with many other designs) resulting in the gouge scraping down the side of the wheel - the tool tip is naturally held central on the wheel. (You can slide it left or right to equalise wear on the wheel)
  • It is compact - it does not project forward as much as many other jigs
  • Calibrated marks make it easy to get back to previous settings
  • The 445 can be slotted in temporarily to the adjustable table shown on the left of the grinder above. This means that you can manage with only one good wheel on the grinder (on the left) saving expense. A rough stone can then be fitted to the right hand side for tool reshaping, garden tools etc.

This picture shows how it is done. I screwed a block of wood the right size to the base of the 445 jig and it just drops straight in between the legs of the adjustable angle table.

The Robert Sorby 447 delux profiler has in addition to the basic profiler a table which can be brought up to the wheel to sharpen other tools such as square ended gouges, chisels, scrapers etc. Again just one good wheel is required at one end of the grinder saving the expense of upgrading both grindstones.

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.