How to Sharpen a Curved Woodturning Tool with a Grinding Wheel or Sharpener
posted on April 1, 2011 by Rob Johnstone
Turning tool Tools like this are vital to woodturning, but keeping the curved edges sharp is very difficult.

“Just grab a piece of black pipe, take it to the grinder and practice putting an edge on it!” is the advice a turning expert gave to his new-to-turning daughter. He said it to address one of the issues a person must confront when they begin turning. Sharpening a flat edge like a chisel (or a skew) is not difficult to master, but when it comes to sharpening curved edges, like the ones you find on the gouges and scrapers, it’s a different story. And, while some folks can master the “freehand” method, others, like yours truly, need a bit of an assist. The good news is there is plenty of help out there.

Three Basic Options

There are three general types of machines and/or accessories to help sharpen those curved edges. Dedicated sharpening machines divide into two categories: wet grinding and dry-abrasive sharpening — those categories are represented here by the Tormek® and the Work Sharp®, respectively. The third general option is a jig attached to a standard grinder; a good example of that is ONEWAY’s Wolverine Jig.

Any of these options will get you past the roadblock of sharpening curved edges — but each has pros and cons.

Tormek sharpener Tormek gives the sharpest blade and can attach to a variety of jigs for different tools, but it's pricey.

The Tormek will give you the sharpest and best edge, hands-down. It is very versatile and has a long track record of quality. But it is also expensive, and its complexity demands a moderate learning curve.

Work Sharp sharpener Worksharp's sharpening system allows you to watch the tool as it sharpens, but requires a constant supply of abrasive discs to stay in operation.

The Work Sharp is also versatile, certainly less expensive and, many think, a bit more intuitive to use. But you need to keep a supply of the abrasive discs on hand, and they cost money to replace.

Wolverine sharpening jig Wolverine's sharpening jig works with any sharpening tool with a specialized grinding wheel.

The Wolverine Jig works with a standard grinder, but to drill down a bit, it works best with a specially purchased grinding wheel and a grinder that has variable speed.

posted on April 1, 2011 by Rob Johnstone
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- Orval - 08/07/2012
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