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post #1 of 10 Old 09-30-2010, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Tool Sharpening

How often do you sharpen your roughing gouge when turning pen blanks?

Reason I ask is that I don't have a grinder, but my father in law does. Is it something I would need on hand while turning a pen blank or can I turn a few blanks during the week & then sharpen it on the weekends? probably a lot of variables there, but just as a general question.

Second, how critical is it to have a variable speed grinder? $45 sounds much more appealing than $100 to the old pocket book.

Thanks,
Dan
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-30-2010, 02:31 PM
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It is a good idea to have a grinder on hand to sharpen your gouges. If you are doing a few pens a week you could use your father-in-laws but it really depends on the type of wood and how careful you are with the gouge. I just bought a variable speed grinder from Lowes with 2000 to 3450 rpm for $69.95 on sale. The lower speed keeps you from burning up the gouge. It is not only the speed but you will want a finer grit as well. I left the finer wheel that came with it on the grinder and replaced the course one with 120 grit wheel that I bought from Woodcraft.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-30-2010, 03:02 PM
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Bob buy yourself a diamond hone. About Medium works well for a rough out gouge. You can get these at hardware stores, fishing stores, and of course Knife and woodworking stores. I use the E-Z lapp hones. A set of 4 different grits runs about $20. You can hone it many times between sharpenings.
You can turn quite a few pens with one sharpening on a rough out gouge if is High Speed Steel.
The only thing variable speed does on a grinder is slow the wheel down so you are less likely to burn the cutting edge. If you have High speed steel this won't damage the edge. If you use a very light touch while grinding you won't burn the edge. I used a single speed High speed grinder with gray wheels for many years. Ideally I prefer a slow speed grinder with the White wheels, which is what I have now. The white wheels cut cleaner and cooler and the slower speed means I don't heat up the tool so I can go right back to turning without burning my fingers.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-30-2010, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Willing View Post
It is a good idea to have a grinder on hand to sharpen your gouges. If you are doing a few pens a week you could use your father-in-laws but it really depends on the type of wood and how careful you are with the gouge. I just bought a variable speed grinder from Lowes with 2000 to 3450 rpm for $69.95 on sale. The lower speed keeps you from burning up the gouge. It is not only the speed but you will want a finer grit as well. I left the finer wheel that came with it on the grinder and replaced the course one with 120 grit wheel that I bought from Woodcraft.
I assume you bought the porter cable from Lowe's. That's the cheaper one I was looking at. Thanks for the grit too, that was going to be my next question.

Those are some awesome laminated peppermills, btw!
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-30-2010, 11:20 PM
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Great advice from John.

***For the record*** Ive made hundreds of guitar bodies,never put one together and cant play a note.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-30-2010, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danno6102 View Post
I assume you bought the porter cable from Lowe's. That's the cheaper one I was looking at. Thanks for the grit too, that was going to be my next question.

Those are some awesome laminated peppermills, btw!
Yes I bought the PC at Lowes, the only thing I wish the light was independent of the on off switch. The grinder has to be running for the light to come on. It is a nice grinder for hte price.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-30-2010, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by john lucas View Post
Bob buy yourself a diamond hone. About Medium works well for a rough out gouge. You can get these at hardware stores, fishing stores, and of course Knife and woodworking stores. I use the E-Z lapp hones. A set of 4 different grits runs about $20. You can hone it many times between sharpenings.
You can turn quite a few pens with one sharpening on a rough out gouge if is High Speed Steel.
The only thing variable speed does on a grinder is slow the wheel down so you are less likely to burn the cutting edge. If you have High speed steel this won't damage the edge. If you use a very light touch while grinding you won't burn the edge. I used a single speed High speed grinder with gray wheels for many years. Ideally I prefer a slow speed grinder with the White wheels, which is what I have now. The white wheels cut cleaner and cooler and the slower speed means I don't heat up the tool so I can go right back to turning without burning my fingers.
I have the white wheel as well and I was using it on a 3450rpm grinder and it works much better at slower speed. I also made my own tool rest out of plywood.
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-01-2010, 06:47 AM
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If your only making a few pens a week it would be fine to wait till the weekend for sharpening but go ahead and invest in one because it is very addictive and you will soon be making more and more. My grinder came from Woodcraft and is a 1725 slow speed type. I also bought the Wolvering jig and it works great at touching up those tools in between pens if needed.
Donny
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-01-2010, 09:35 AM
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The biggest problem with not sharpening often enough is that you push the gouge through the work. This leaves a less than perfect finish. It takes a while to get a feel for what a dull tool is. The best way to learn is to sharpen often. When you have a freshly sharpened gouge you'll notice the difference in feel and cut. Consequently it's important to have some way to sharpen and have it really handy and easy to use.
I use white wheels at 100 grit but have used 60,80 and even 120. If your hand sharpening and don't have a lot of skill I think the lower grits are better. It takes a while to learn to get the bevel flat on the grinding wheel and with the higher grits you end up rounding the bevel trying to get the sparks to come over the top. Using one of the sharpening jigs (I use the Oneway) the jig itself helps you stay on the bevel while grinding so you can get away with much higher.
I took a class with Frank Sudol and he used a belt sander with a 400 grit belt. I had one heck of a time getting my edge sharp and by the end of the weekend had messed up the bevel so bad it took a while to get it back when I got home. I now have the skills to sharpen on a belt like that but I just find the jig and 100 grit wheel to be quite adequate.
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-03-2010, 09:58 PM
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Yes, have a good grinder close by to keep those edges razor sharp. After awhile, you won't even need those expensive sharpening attachments. Just do it by eye.

To understand the geometry faster, get some old drill bits and practice off hand grinding.

The lathe gouges and skews will be a piece of cake, with some practice. Hand grinding is also hell of a lot faster than setting up those jigs.
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