Many beginning woodturners and also 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 never to restrict themselves to only one kind of woodworking. Quite simply a woodturner could find themselves at the wood lathe 1 hour and utilizing a hand plane or perhaps a wood chisel the next. Now the question becomes if the lathe tool has to be as sharp because the hand tool. durable outdoor furniture The answer may lie in taking into consideration the type 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 which are progressively flatter and flatter and also smoother and smoother and can leave a surface only as fine as the edge on their blade. Furthermore, they are propelled with the motion of arms and hands and cover a reasonably small area in a comparatively large segment of time weighed against a wood lathe.
The wood that planes work with is generally fairly clear with few knots and irregularities. It has additionally been brought to a point of relative flatness and finish before the planes start their work. Hand planes are actually the finish tools of the modern cabinet maker. As such they want an extremely fine edge that leaves a finished surface ready for fine sandpaper or perhaps a cabinet scraper.
Woodturning tools however are the roughing tolls of the woodturner as well as the finishing tools. They’ll attack a rough piece of wood which could include bark complete with grit from felling on the woodland floor, all kinds of knots that add character to the finished piece and even cross grain and bark inclusions found in many burls. A fine 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 very quickly under the friction of the movement. Rather a more robust, thicker edge is necessary. Instead of the edge from water stones and leather strops, the rougher edge from a 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 plenty of wood and last well. The surface that is left out is ready for sanding or scraping. In fact, many spindle turners use a skew chisel to leave a surface that won’t need any sanding or only that of papers higher than 2 hundred grit of finer. Some bowl turners use scrapers with a fine edge to accomplish similar results.
The answer to the question of how sharp is sharp enough really is the sharpness that works for the tools and the work accessible. It’ll vary for the tool used however the end results speak for themselves.
Darrell Feltmate is really 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, here is the place to begin. Wondering what it looks like? There are several 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 using the sharpening jig. Using only short time, some shop scraps and several dollars you possibly can make a jig that may perform just like a hundred dollar tool and easily sharpen your wood lathe tools.