General Information on Sharpening Wood Turning Tools

Typical Grinding Media Used
  • SB-250 Original Grindstone, graded course
  • DC-250 Diamond Wheel Course
  • 60 grit ProEdge Zirconium Belt
  • CBN wheel : <100 grit
  • Very friable grindstone : 80 - 100 grit
  • Sandpaper : <100 grit

Shaping the Tool - Wood turning tools are typically only (re)shaped once in their lifetime. And that happens when the turner gets the tool from the manufacturer, and adjusts it to their own preferences.

Typical Grinding Media Used
  • SB-250 Black Grindstone, graded fine
  • DE-250 Diamond Wheel Extra Fine
  • DF-250 Diamond Wheel Fine
  • 120 grit ProEdge Zirconium Belt
  • Pedia ProEdge Diamond Belt
  • 600 grit ProEdge Trizact Belt
  • 1,200 grit ProEdge Trizact Belt
  • CBN wheel : 150-180 grit
  • Very friable grindstone : 150 - 180 grit
  • Sandpaper : 150 - 250 grit

Sharpening the Tool - Wood turning tools should be resharpened often. Softer woods like cedar don't require that the tool is resharpening as often; but harder woods definitely necessitate the need to be resharpened often. Some turners resharpen as frequently as every 10 or even 5 minutes.

And of course, the tool must be resharpened whenever the turner accidentally pushes into the chuck or drops the tool (as it always lands point down !).

Typical Grinding Media Used
  • SJ-250 Japanese Waterstone
  • 3,000 grit ProEdge Trizact Belt
  • Leather honing wheel with a honing compound
  • Paper wheel with a honing compound or diamond honing paste

Honing the Tool - Many turners do not hone their turning tools. Then there are others who sharpen and hone; and re-honing again as much as possible (rather than resharpening).

My experience has been that rough turning can be done using a tool which is not honed; however the final cuts should be done with a tool which is honed. This provides for a smoother surface which requires less sanding (as sanding is the verb form of a 4-letter word !).

Nick Agar, professional woodturner, has prepared this video for Tormek on the three steps noted above.

Mark Baker, editor of Woodturning Magazine prepared this video about how he hones wood turning tools.

AAW Total Experience Woodturning Tip: Honing Tips with Mark Baker from AAW on Vimeo.