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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some of you have read I set up 3 sharpening systems to play with. 180 grit CBN wheel, 1" strip sander, and a Tormek. I still haven't set the Tormek up to use my jigs yet but I've been playing with the strip sander and using 320 grit belt. It definitely cuts cleaner than the 180 grit CBN. I was turning finials for Christmas ornaments yesterday and turned this top finial out of Walnut. I used my small Sorby continental gouge (actually it's a mini Sorby roughing gouge that I reground to resemble the larger Continental gouge grind) I have it sharpened at about 45 degree bevel. Using the 320 grit belt I got this finish.
The photo doesn't show it well enough. It was almost burnished. Except for 2 tiny areas where there is totally side grain showing I could have just applied finish. 400 grit actually dulled the surface but did blend all the areas. I had to sand to 100 grit to resemble the finish off the tool. Now I do believe some of that is burnishing from the polished bevel of the tool however I did try my best not to do that so it's probably a combination of really clean cutting and burnishing.
the 320 belt removes metal very fast so you have to be careful or you'll grind away your tool. All it takes is a very light touch. It leaves a satin bevel with no striations. I'm going to use the 600 belt next which will leave an almost mirror finish
I've been using it to sharpen my spindle roughing gouge which is also sharpened at about 40 degrees. It seems to make it hold an edge longer although if you were actually roughing a lot of work an edge with that sharp of an angle might chip. For doing table legs and such I use my bigger roughing gouge that has an angle of about 50 degrees which handles those forces better.
 

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Interesting. I made a disc sander for my lathe that does a decent job sharpening, I'm using 60 grit with that and it gives a nice edge. I have 120 grit that I need to try. I also buff quick when I'm done especially if I'm done with a project. I've also used a belt sander with 80grit but as you said very light touch or it'll eat the tool. It's odd how the disc sander with 60grit is less aggressive then the 80grit belt sander. I'm not positive about the rpms for each but I'd say they're fairly close. The only other factors would be the type of paper and the fact the disc has a pad backing while the belt sander has a solid backing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The disc sander has the advantage of slower feet per minute depending on where your sharpening. At the outer edge, very fast of course. Toward the middle very slow. I used to use one and it worked fantastic for carbon steel tools because you could sharpen close to the center and never over heat the tool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I bought the 1" strip sander kit from Lee Valley. I had a 1750 rpm motor left over and put it on this, It uses 1"x42 belts so if your good at math I suppose you could figure out the surface feet. Well I guess I'd have to get the diameter of the main pulley as well.
I'm using standard wood cutting paper for the higher grits. I would love to have the blue ceramic belts but could only find them in the courser grits.
 

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have you ever tried the robert sorby system and what are your thoughts?
I have always used a grinder to sharpen my tools but I would like to try out the belt sander but I am interested to see what other folks think is the best for sharpening.
 

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I have always used a belt sander 4 x 36 in. It takes just a light touch. If you realy think about it you are just sharpening your tools like you would a knife. You are just putting a edge on it. I would never sharpen a knife on a grinder. Your tools will last a lot longer if you use a fine grit sander rather a grinder. Just my 2 cents.

Jack
 

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If you realy think about it you are just sharpening your tools like you would a knife. You are just putting a edge on it.
I don't fully agree with this assertion.

I think of it as "restoring the intersection between the bevel and the back of the tool".

Simply sharpening the edge could easily result in a dual facet on the bevel which would make a big difference.

(IMO, YMMV, etc.)
 
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