Many beginning woodturners and also some experienced ones are confused over the question of sharpening their tools, specifically wondering how sharp a tool needs to be. This tends to be further confused by the tendency for woodworkers never to restrict themselves to only 1 kind of woodworking. Basically a woodturner may find themselves at the wood lathe one hour and using a hand plane or a wood chisel the next. Now the question becomes whether the lathe tool should be as sharp as the hand tool. The solution may lie in taking into consideration the type of wood and work each will do.

Hand planes are designed for removing wood leaving as smooth as surface as you possibly can. types of vises They move across boards that are progressively flatter and flatter as well as smoother and smoother and can leave a surface only as fine because the edge on their blade. In addition, they’re propelled with the motion of arms and hands and cover a fairly small area in a comparatively large segment of time compared with a wood lathe.

The wood that planes work with is normally fairly clear with few knots and irregularities. It has also been brought to a spot of relative flatness and finish prior to the planes start their work. Hand planes are really the finish tools of the present day cabinet maker. As such they need a very fine edge that leaves a finished surface ready for fine sandpaper or a cabinet scraper.

Woodturning tools however will be the roughing tolls of the woodturner as well as the finishing tools. They’ll attack a rough piece of wood that may include bark filled with grit from felling on the woodland floor, all sorts of knots that add character to the finished piece or even cross grain and bark inclusions within many burls. An excellent edge can last only seconds instead of minutes in such circumstances.

Furthermore, a wood lathe moves the material so quickly that the fine edge of a wood plane would dull rapidly under the friction of the movement. Rather a far more robust, thicker edge is necessary. Instead of the edge from water stones and leather strops, the rougher edge from the grinding wheel is enough for the woodturner.

Grinders using eighty grit aluminum oxide wheels will leave an edge that is sufficiently strong and sharp enough to eliminate a lot of wood and last well. The top that is left behind is ready for sanding or scraping. Actually, many spindle turners will use a skew chisel to leave a surface that will not need any sanding or only that of papers greater than 2 hundred grit of finer. Some bowl turners use scrapers with a fine edge to accomplish similar results.

The solution to the question of how sharp is sharp enough really is the sharpness that works for the various tools and the work at hand. It will vary for the tool used but the final results speak for themselves.

Darrell Feltmate is a juried wood turner whose site, Round the Woods, contains detailed information about wood turning for the novice or experienced turner as well as a collection of turnings for your viewing pleasure. You too can learn to turn wood, this is actually the place to start. Wondering what it appears like? There are numerous free videos on the webpage dealing with from sharpening to creating a bowl.
For full instruction in getting your tools sharp and in particular how to make an extremely inexpensive sharpening jig, have a look at making and using the sharpening jig. Using only short time, some shop scraps and a couple of dollars you can make a jig that may perform like a hundred dollar tool and easily sharpen your wood lathe tools.