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Should Your New Turning Tools Be Smoothly Sharpened When You Open Them?
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Q: I recently received a detail gouge as a gift and was wondering why the grind looks and feels rough. Do I have to run it through a light grind to smooth it before I start turning? I thought I could just grab a new tool and start turning.

A: Turning tools do not necessarily come out of the package smoothly sharpened, although some are better than others. In most cases, you will need to at least hone the bevel and cutting edge because the tool was only roughly ground by the manufacturer. In this case, I’ll assume that the profile of the cutting edge and the bevel angle are correct for your needs.

In the worst case, the entire cutting edge will need to be reground to change the profile, adjust the angle of the bevel and finely sharpen it. First, use a coarse-grit grinding wheel to reshape the tool, then switch to a fine-grit wheel to smooth the bevel and cutting edge and/or hone the tool’s bevel and edge with a wet stone.

Some inexpensive turning gouges also have milling marks left inside the flute. These fine lines reduce the sharpness of the tool’s edge. Remove them with a curved stone (known as a slip). Take care to avoid rounding over the tool’s cutting edge.

posted on February 1, 2009 by Woodworker's Journal
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2 thoughts on “Should Your New Turning Tools Be Smoothly Sharpened When You Open Them?”

  • Edward A. Cavallucci lll

    I wish to purchase an want only the highest quality an popular unit so i won't have to upgrade in future ! Can U advise me to what to purchase an what is first an in sequenchel order . I will do it in stages if I have must. Im serious but scared to buy with out input from the experienced turners an craftsmen. Sincerely yours
    Future craftmen an hobbyist

  • Daniel McSwain

    Thank you so much!! I've been very interested in trying my hands at using a lathe lately and this was very helpful!!

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