Many beginning woodturners and even some experienced ones are confused on the question of sharpening their tools, in particular wondering how sharp an instrument needs to be. This tends to be further confused by the tendency for woodworkers to not restrict themselves to only one kind of woodworking. In other words a woodturner may find themselves at the wood lathe 1 hour and utilizing a hand plane or perhaps a wood chisel the next. Now the question becomes whether the lathe tool has to be as sharp because the hand tool. how to refinish antique furniture The solution may lie in taking into consideration the kind of wood and work each can do.
Hand planes were created for removing wood leaving as smooth as surface as possible. They move across boards that are progressively flatter and flatter and also smoother and smoother and will leave a surface only as fine as the edge on their blade. In addition, they’re propelled with the motion of arms and hands and cover a reasonably small area in a relatively large segment of time compared with a wood lathe.
The wood that planes use is normally fairly clear with few knots and irregularities. It has additionally been brought to a spot of relative flatness and finish before the planes start their work. Hand planes are really the finish tools of the modern cabinet maker. As such they need a very fine edge that leaves a finished surface ready for fine sandpaper or perhaps a cabinet scraper.
Woodturning tools on the other hand will be the roughing tolls of the woodturner as well as the finishing tools. They will attack a rough piece of wood which could include bark complete with grit from felling on the woodland floor, a variety of knots that add character to the finished piece or even cross grain and bark inclusions found in many burls. An excellent edge will last only seconds instead of minutes in such circumstances.
In addition, a wood lathe moves the material so quickly that the fine edge of a wood plane would dull rapidly beneath the friction of the movement. Rather a more robust, thicker edge is needed. Rather than the edge from water stones and leather strops, the rougher edge from the grinding wheel is sufficient for the woodturner.
Grinders using eighty grit aluminum oxide wheels will leave an advantage that is sufficiently strong and sharp enough to eliminate a lot of wood and last well. The surface that is left out is ready for sanding or scraping. In fact, many spindle turners will use a skew chisel to leave a surface that won’t need any sanding or only that of papers greater than two hundred grit of finer. Some bowl turners use scrapers with a fine edge to achieve 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 accessible. It’ll vary for the tool used but the final results speak for themselves.
Darrell Feltmate is really a juried wood turner whose web site, Around the Woods, contains detailed information about wood turning for the novice or experienced turner in addition to a collection of turnings for the viewing pleasure. You too can learn to turn wood, this is actually the place to begin. Wondering what it looks like? There are many free videos on the website dealing with everything from sharpening to making a bowl.
For full instruction in getting the tools sharp and specifically how to make a very inexpensive sharpening jig, have a look at making and utilizing the sharpening jig. Using only short time, some shop scraps and several dollars you can make a jig that will perform just like a hundred dollar tool and easily sharpen your wood lathe tools.