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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Emerald Qld
    Posts
    35

    Default Next Investment - Better tools or sharpening rig

    So I have taken the plunge and purchased a used lathe which came with a set of tools. The tools have no branding so that should give some indication of the quality. With a little use in my less than skilled hands, the tools seem to work just fine however they lose their edge fairly quickly and I am free hand sharpening on a regular grinding wheel. (I know, don't cringe...).

    I feel like my next investment should be some form of tool sharpening jig / rig as even if I had better tools, they would still need sharpening and I wouldn't like to hack them free hand on a regular grinding wheel.

    Looking for advice and suggestions on tool sharpening options.

    I did notice that timberbits has a good looking tool set on sale at the moment. Certainly within my budget. Do you think it worthy of my dollars?

    http://www.timberbits.com/robert-sor...nners-set.html

    Cheers,
    captainkirk

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Bundaberg
    Age
    52
    Posts
    3,077

    Default

    That is a pretty set of tools!

    Personally I think you need to buy specific tooling to suit your specific requirements. I have a similar set of HSS tools from GPW but only really use a couple of them, they are aimed at covering the majority of basic turning procedures but not excelling at any particular one. When I buy individual tools I do gravitate to Sorby by default.

    My advice for what it's worth (I am DEFINATELY a small player on the turning sub-forums) is to first invest in a sharpening station. An 8" grinder with at least one white wheel won't hurt the bank too much; on one end put an auxiliary adjustable rest for scrapers and gouges and on the other put your choice of specialist jig when you have identified your requirements in this area. Your cheap Chinese tools can then be touched up in seconds even on the job. One of the simplest and best systems I've seen is Willy Nelson's over in WA, he has a grinder mounted on the wall directly above his lathe. He doesn't need to stop the lathe, or even move position to give the tools a touch up during work.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    texas, queensland
    Posts
    1,239

    Default

    i have been free hand grinding my tools for 40 years .nothing wrong with that .

    johno
    'If the enemy is in range, so are you.'

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    420

    Default

    I second what Chief Tiff said - turn with available tools, and later get the ones that you use most from reputable brand. That set has a few tools that, depending on your use, may be rarely used.

    Sharpening station or jig makes sharpening more repeatable. There are a lot of various options - true grind, or vicmarc are similar options. On the other hand, this cheaper jig can cover a lot of sharpening - http://www.cwsonline.com.au/shop/item/sharpening-jig
    One of my mates uses it for bowl gouges, skew chisels and scrapers, and it works a treat.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Bundaberg
    Age
    52
    Posts
    3,077

    Default

    That is an impressive jig, its basically the same auxiliary grinder rest available from most major woodwork suppliers but instead of having just a protractor to run across the slot it has dedicated tool rests. I wasn't aware that this existed but that definately tops my list of recommended add ons. I might have to get one myself.... to add the two normal ones I already own!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    4,310

    Default

    To answer your question "better tools" many turners sharpen freehand as I do, use the oppurtunity with the cheep tools to hone your sharpening skill.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Grovedale, Victoria Australia
    Posts
    3,870

    Default

    Learn to sharpen first and wear out the tools you have.

    So buy the jig and as you wear out the old ones replace as need be
    Jim Carroll
    One Good Turn Deserves Another. CWS, Vicmarc, Robert Sorby, Woodcut, Tormek, Woodfast
    Are you a registered member? Why not? click here to register. It's free and only takes 37 seconds!

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Mareeba Far Nth Qld
    Age
    82
    Posts
    3,038

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by captainkirk View Post
    I am free hand sharpening on a regular grinding wheel. (I know, don't cringe...).
    There is nothing wrong with a regular grinding wheel. I do recommend a aluminium oxide wheels for the grinder, and a water stone for honing. Also one of the mentioned jigs is very helpful especially for swept back wing style bowl gouges. Stay with the tools you have and consider buying a 25mm spindle roughing gouge, a 12mm detail gouge and a 25mm skew, all without handles and make your own handles. These will do pretty much all your spindle work. Then you can look at smaller versions of those tools and possibly a parting tool. When you are ready to attack bowls, a 12mm bowl gouge and a 30mm scraping tool. I don't think it is a good idea to buy a "it".
    I used a grinder and water stones for half my life and still do.

    By the way I do have a Tormek set up.

    Jim
    Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important...

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Banora point,NSW.
    Posts
    172

    Default Sharpening Jig

    This jig may be of interest to you !

    http://www.garypye.com/Sharpening/GP...-Jig-p775.html

    Regards,
    Cam

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Rosetta, South Africa
    Posts
    181

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tangoman View Post
    This jig may be of interest to you !

    http://www.garypye.com/Sharpening/GP...-Jig-p775.html

    Regards,
    Cam
    That looks like a relabelled Wolverine setup.
    I have one from USA. Works well. Every grind is repeatable and easy to setup and use. A good purchase.
    Phil

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Seattle, Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,857

    Default

    I say keep the tools you have, learn to sharpen freehand, learn to HONE (which a lot of turners treat as optional for god know's what reason) and invest that money in more wood to blunt the tools which then need to be resharpened.

    Then, sell the things you make with the wood until you have your money back, and then revisit the idea of the investment knowing what you know after spending the time it took to turn those items, to blunt and sharpen the tools, and to, in turn, improve and broaden your skill set.

    My AU$0.02

    Good luck,
    Luke

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Canterbury UK
    Age
    66
    Posts
    3,863

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Carroll View Post
    Learn to sharpen first and wear out the tools you have.

    So buy the jig and as you wear out the old ones replace as need be
    +1 for that. I free hand all my tools with a wide wheel grinder(White wheel) and the only aid I use is a home made platform.

    HERE is an idea of a home made system

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    shoalhaven n.s.w
    Posts
    1,232

    Default

    I agree the comments above, I'm a free hand grinder also, I takes a while to master but once you get it, it's great!
    also keep an eye out for secondhand tools when you know what your looking for.
    and purchase when needed.
    it does help when you know what your looking at. I just bought the Robert sorby tool for the crushgrind mills for $14 at a garage sale. Which I thought was a fair price.
    Turning round since 1992

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    2,327

    Default

    Captainkirk,

    I have a wolverine system and 8 inch 1725 RPM grinder which came with the used lathe.

    I find free hand sharpening using the platform is easy for scrapers and skews, slightly less so for spindle gouges. I really like the jig for bowl gouges as I get a nice repeatable swept back grind each time.

    I also use the jig for my spindle gouges for the same reason.

    I would not buy any more turning tools until you have spent 50 hours in front of the lathe. By then you will know you need a specific tool for a specific purpose.

    If you get addicted to making bowls from abrasive Aussie timber you may want to buy a tool that uses carbide bits. I find the carbide does not make as nice a finish as a freshly sharpened HSS bowl gouge, so I am still finishing with that.

    Lots of specialized tools can be ground from a tool you never use that came in a set, such as a tool for making a spigot or recess to chuck a bowl blank. A curved edge skew can be ground from a skew or a scraper.

    I do 90% bowls and don't have a spindle roughing gouge. I find a 5/8 inch bowl gouge works as well. Sometimes I use a 1/2 inch square scraper. The object is to knock the corners off the spindle, how you do it doesn't much matter.

    ESPECIALLY do not buy any Famous Turner endorsed or branded tool that promises or implies you will be an expert turner in only 10 minutes of practice.

    If you must have a Famous Turner tool, take your good HSS tool and write that persons name on it. It will then do all the wondrous things promised by the Famous Turners tool.
    So much timber, so little time.

    Paul

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Emerald Qld
    Posts
    35

    Default Update

    Thanks to everyone for their input here on this topic. By way of an update I share the following:

    It appears that the tools I got with my recent lathe purchase (second hand) are not made of HSS (Carbide?).

    I have since purchased some P&N tools without handles and have started the task of making handles (see pic of first one below).

    Thanks to a local club member, I was able to shape and sharpen the cutting edge of the new tools.

    Next purchase - 8 inch grinder, cbn sharpening wheel and jig system of some type, probably wolverine.

    spindle gouge handle.jpg

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