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Tips for Tool Bit, Lathe Tools and Graver Sharpening


WeekendMiniaturist
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I have an ordinary Delta Bench Grinder and assorted flat sharpening stones in the shop.  I just discovered that husband found a wet bench grinder at a recent auction - The wheels on these grinders will eat a 1/8" bit in seconds....and a couple of my gravers were $20, so as you can imagine I'm apprehensive in using the current wheels on the grinders - 1/8" Interstate HSS M2 tool bits blanks for the metal lathe are $2.21 each - I should be able to play with these and not feel too much remorse as I practice sharpening little objects...

 

I want to make a couple of beading tools.  I purchased a large Sorby beading tool for the wood lathe at an auction this past year that is beautiful, so I would like to experiment and see if I can make one for miniature use. 

 

As I continue working thought my goal of at least 100 hours on a lathe, I am going to need to be able to sharpen my tools.

I have various stones for sharpening, and I have no idea what kind - ie, Arkansas or India stones as he was picked them up at various used tool resources over the years. 

 

Has anyone used a belt sander for sharpening mini tools?

 

The nice thing about the bench grinders is that the tool rest angle might be adjustable - and what kind of oil do I use?

What are the the best products available and recommendations?  What can I do with the items I have on hand.  Some of these lathe tools are mine, and some are shared, so I do not want to mess up husband's lathe tools...although my generic lathe tools seem sharper then some of his... but I suspect it is because I just opened up the box on my large generic lathe tools.  It seems obvious to me that if the tool is not providing a clean smooth finish on poplar or basswood that it is time to sharpen the tool.

 

It seems to me, that the surface of a vertically mounted wheel is not going to create a flat surface on the face of a tool, so then it it would seem logical to find a horizontal wheel...  I also have a large round disk sander in the shop too.

 

I've made graver handles, prototype miniature porchposts, and turned a replacement knob for a hand drill.

 

Thanks -

 

Tamra

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Belt sanders and disc sanders are too aggressive and do not give a good flat surface. You need to be very careful not over heat the bit;grind lightly and dip in water, step by step. Lathe tool sharpening is not a quick fix sort of thing. It takes patience to get it right. Once shaped and sharpened only a touch up on a whet  (oil) stone is all that should be necessary. Forming and sharpening the tool for the first time should be done on a regular grinding wheel unless you have carbide.  The curvature of the face of the wheel is not a problem on 1/8".  I use a horizontal diamond wheel that is for gravers to touch up my bits when necessary when I left them get too dull.

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I made this belt sander out of a drill as the motor and pieces/parts on hand. I use it as one way to sharpen tiny tools. You can see in the inset the adjustable tool rest (which I "borrowed" from one of my grinders, I got a nice sharpening jig for it and took the tool rest off anyhow) and the part I made that backs the belt, and sometimes I hold tool above the backer plate off the rest, where the belt has play. It's not at all aggressive, It's not going to rip the tool out of your hand without a tool rest. 

 

post-51-0-48795500-1441340369_thumb.jpg

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MC, I like that you are able to re-purpose your tools!  I have been reading everything that I can find in this house about sharpening carving tools.  My logic is that if it works on a carving chisel, the same skill set will work for HSS or Carbide tool bits.

 

We have a belt sander that does have a backer for the belts, but it is just so large, that even at the corner of the belt that I fear it will take my tiny bit out of my hand.  - that could just be me, I use it to touch off the corners of square blocks when I am start turning.

 

I'm still looking for a resource that will tell me what grit of grinding wheel that I'm supposed to use on the bench grinder.  I took the grinding wheel off  the wet/dry bench grinder off last night and it has a delta label on it and says 100 Fine aluminum oxide.  I would think a courser wheel will be required for the initial cuts of tool bits.

 

Tamra

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Bill, Thank you for your reply,

 

>Forming and sharpening the tool for the first time should be done on a regular wheel, unless you have carbide.

 

What do you use to sharpen a Carbide Steel tool bit?  I am purchasing different kinds of tool bit blanks, generally using 1/8"  HSS for gravers, but I am process of purchasing 1/4" bits to have other blanks on hand if I want to make fixtures for the metal lathe.

 

Tamra

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Tam, for carbide you need a green wheel (silicon carbide wheel) It is best to finish off with a diamond wheel or file. Personally I do not like using carbide bits, they chip too easily and I can grind HSS bits to most any shape I need on a regular grinder.

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Today, I found that Sherline has instructions for sharpening tool bits.

 

On their homepage, go to Product Instructions,

Scroll down and it is titled, "Grinding your own lathe tools".

Located between items 3040 and 3050.

 

Tamra

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Linda, I was reading a wood turning magazine today and I noticed that the Sorby sharpening system used a belt.  it appears that it has a back fabricated in the area behind the tool rest.  I am using standard size turning tools at my Jet Mini lathe I feel a really strong need to be able to sharpen the tools properly.  I really like my skew chisel for these porch posts... and as I have been reading everything that we have in this house about sharpening tools, I think I understand, if a tool isn't ground properly for the person using the tool, it will grab or gouge your turning.  So far, I've only used my gravers with the unimat, as the Delta micro turning tools have been working well and I'm getting good crisp detail.  I think I will only need 15 porch posts for my dollhouse - so perhaps making 20 of them will get 15 similar posts... one can still hope... and we started making my first beading tool today from an old chisel. 

 

Hopefully tomorrow will be my first experiment with Rosewood at home...

 

Bill, This is a wonderful resource from South Bend Lathe - I do not have any of their books... but this one has been in my wish list for a while; I will check Better World Books inventory - they are very close to me.

 

Tamra

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  • 1 month later...

The local ReStore produced an interesting tool for my workbench... has anyone used this product for sharpening?

 

I saw the WS2000 at a local woodworking auction and then stopped at the ReStore, and there it was, The Worksharp WS3000 for a mere $25.... guess what came home with me.... I will try to get some time in the shop this weekend... as I can't do any more turning until I sharpen my lathe tools... 

 

But I like this option as it is horizontal wheel...

 

I've found a lot of sharpening stones that husband has purchased at auctions, etc... but unfortunately they are not marked.  So except for examining the stones visually, is there a way to know what kind of stone that I am working with?  Some of the stones haven't been used, so I'm guessing that I'm not the only person who was not sharpening their lathe tools.

 

Clearly, we should have a sharpening class before we get to the fun part of turning on the lathe...

 

This could be a great Seminar at Guild School ....  Pete?  Bill?  Elizabeth? Rob? Iulia?

 

Tamra

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  • 8 months later...

Last year, I did purchase many books on lathes, including the South Bend Lathe book.  Thanks Peter & Bill for the suggestion.

Necessity required action.  I finally used our bench grinder and shaped my own 1/8" cutting  bit.  I have been avoiding this for almost a year, but it worked.  I was surprised that I could hold it with my hands to shape it, and it didn't get to terribly hot- I did have a small glass of water nearby to quench it; and it has a very slight discoloration of the steel.  The sparks created a show, but it was very similar to sparklers and I experienced more apprehension, then actual harm. 

I will purchase more tool bits to see if I can get similar results as I need  a cutter that measures .040 in width, per my instructions for my project.  Since this one is working, I will try and make another one, and will quench sooner to avoid steel discoloration, as I do not want to lose my temper.  I am pleased with my finish on my wood turning.

Our bench grinder's tool rest came with a modified rest that holds a much larger square bit.  I would prefer a simple flat surface since the tool bits that I am using are 1/8", so if you are looking at acquiring a bench grinder to create your own tool bit shapes, this may be important to you.  Our bench grinder with stand was acquired at an auction very inexpensively.  While our goal is to create precise miniatures, there are some tools that can be purchased in the secondary market.  

I checked the new Delta bench grinder at Lowes.com and the tool rest is different.

As always, I was wearing my safety glasses, in addition to using the shield that is attached to the bench grinder.

Edited:  07/20/16, I have discovered that that tool rest for our bench grinder helps the user sharpen drill bits... still learning!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I sharpen, hone, my small carving and turning gouges with the paper honing wheel method. A professional carver taught me this honing technique. You make the honing wheel yourself by cutting disks of double thick mat board with a hole drilled in the center. Then put PVA glue between the layers, let dry. You can make the wheel as many layers thick as you wish but for miniatures it does not need to be all that many, I used five or six as I recall.  Put it on a drill mandrel. You can true up the honing wheel on a lathe, it makes lots of dust doing that. Once it is true charge the wheel with a honing compound stick. It runs at a slower speed which keeps the tools cool. I can even use my portable battery drill with it which is nice for portable carving work or for taking it to a class session. While you can't use it to create a tool profile it will be able to work out a small nick in a blade edge.

power%2Bstrop.jpg

power%2Bstrop2.jpg

 

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Thank You Karin, I need all options and will try this.  What is the other tool mounted at the right on your saw horse?

Last night I was studying the 'sore to me' topic of sharpening tools... Has anyone seen the book, The Ultimate Guide for Sharpening tools for Woodworkers by Ron Hock and you can give me a review?  I'm going to try and find it at the library or the local woodworking store...   I'm going to have to get over this hurdle, or I am going to have to give up standard lathe turning with my jet mini lathe.  I am hoping it won't be as difficult to manage sharpening my gravers.

 

 

 

 

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Thank you Gail for the suggestion; I had not got to Amazon yet... I know my local library does not have it, but I can check B & N and the local wood working store.

Do you also turn?

Tamra

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  • 2 weeks later...

05G2001L.jpg

 

On 7/20/2016 at 8:35 PM, WeekendMiniaturist said:

Thank You Karin, I need all options and will try this.  What is the other tool mounted at the right on your saw horse?

 

The other tool on the sawhorse is a carving vise. 

http://www.veritastools.com/Products/Page.aspx?p=61

I like it because I can position it so that I can carve without leaning over. I have spine issues that make it difficult to work bending over a work bench. Also I have made a slight modification to it by creating a couple of custom washers cut from Delrin that go under the mounting plate. That allows me to rotate it on the washers so that I can move the work to follow the grain on intricate cuts or I can still use if clamped in a fixed position. That idea came from the way metal engravers use a rotating ball vise to assist them with making intricate smooth scroll engraving. It really does work. Since the projects such as a chest front are small this vise is a good size for a lot of miniature carving work. The vise does have weight and stability to it and it is well made. But it is small enough to be portable. You can secure it to a board and then take it to a class, show or use it for other types of traveling. Mounting it to the easy to fold saw horse allows me to take it outside or in the car and when I get to someplace such as a pretty park I only need to unfold the legs, get out my tool roll, put out my folding chair and I am ready to work in just a couple of minutes. No point in always being housebound to a workbench. Good for apartment dwellers who need to put things away as it folds up to fit into a corner of a closet. Perfect for me to take traveling in my little RVs http://hideahorsefoldingsawhorses.com/

 

 

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