Sharpening for Woodturners advice wanted

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Forum topic by steve3604 posted 03-10-2008 04:28 AM 2223 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View steve3604's profile


27 posts in 4102 days

03-10-2008 04:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe sharpening

I need to invest in some sharpening equipment for woodturning tools, besides the waterstones I currently have.
would like some opinions on the wolverine jig system, and others that are similar.
My needs will be mainly for gouges (including fingernail profile) skews etc.
thanks in advance
any opinions appreciated

steve in Ind

12 replies so far

View lew's profile


12736 posts in 4117 days

#1 posted 03-10-2008 04:59 AM

I use the Tormek system with the gouge jig. It was expensive but now Jet has an almost exact system at a much lower price.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Grumpy's profile


25216 posts in 4213 days

#2 posted 03-10-2008 06:18 AM

Steve, I use a white stone on the grinder and have made several wooden jigs for the various chisels, saves a lot of expense at minimal cost. There is good information on the www if you look around.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4350 days

#3 posted 03-10-2008 08:32 AM

I use a Tormek like Lew.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4428 days

#4 posted 03-10-2008 08:32 AM

Steve, I’m with Grumpy. I have a white stone on my grinder and have made a few wooden jigs to hold the tools at the proper angle. Works great and is inexpensive to set up.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View relic's profile


343 posts in 4298 days

#5 posted 03-10-2008 11:36 AM

Steve I use the wolverine system, and am quite happy with it.

-- Andy Stark

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 4250 days

#6 posted 03-10-2008 12:55 PM


Most professional woodturners use a grinder. The Tormek might be a fantastic sharpening system in most situations but on most woodturning tools you need a burl to cut properly not a perfectly sharp edge. I know it sounds weird, but a perfectly sharp tool gets blunt within seconds on bowls. The only tool I would consider using a “fine sharpening” solution is on a skew for spindle work. The skew is useless for bowls, though. By the way, David Ellsworth, one of the most prolific woodturners, goes at length on his video on this topic and explains why you want a grinder.

The solution I use is the Wolverine jig on a 8” slow speed grinder (the grinder Woodcraft sells). Most pieces of advice you get from woodturners is to use an 8” not a 6” grinder (10” is better but expensive). Also, you should sharpen with a 100-120 grit stone. I have the Wolverine jig with the Irish/Ellsworth grind attachment and I could not be happier. It usually takes me 30 seconds to resharpen my gouge. If you want to make bowls, you have to resharpen you tool every 10 minutes, so the fastest the resharpening the better.

I also made wooden jigs but in the end I was frustrated. The Wolverine is much nicer, stable and easier to setup. It will set you back about 100$ but it is worth it.

I hope this helps,

-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View Stacey's profile


19 posts in 4118 days

#7 posted 03-10-2008 08:17 PM


I’ll second Alin’s recommendation for a slow speed 8” grinder and the Wolverine Sharpening System. It really does make sharpening quick and efficient. I also have the Ellsworth side grind jig for bowl gouges and couldn’t be happier. I picked up Woodcraft’s 8” slow speed grinder which they put on sale periodically. I believe it comes with a 60 grit and a 120 grit wheel.

While I haven’t had any experience with other systems like the Tormek, it is my understanding that they are geared towards flat bevels like plane irons and bench chisels…Some of you other turners out there might could comment on the use of this system for the curved edges on gouges.


-- S. Box --- "But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever." - John Adams

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 4250 days

#8 posted 03-10-2008 08:24 PM


You can use the Tormek for any profile and they have an Ellsworth grind attachment. The only trouble is the fact that it is slow and it does not leave a significant burr to turn efficiently. A super sharp edge cannot take the punishment of turning large pieces.


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 4166 days

#9 posted 03-10-2008 10:27 PM

I have a 10” slow grinder with a white wheel and use the wolverine jig for my turning gouges. Recently watched an expert on sharpening use the side of the wheel to sharpen his skew—did a great job and just had to touch it lightly to the side of the grinding wheel. For my plane irons I use water stones and a piece of flat steel. You can get a burr with the leather strop on a Tormek but it is time consuming. I would spend the extra money and get a 10” slow grinder and put white wheels on it. The wolverine jig is well worth the investment.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4383 days

#10 posted 03-10-2008 10:34 PM

I use a wolverne jig to get my initial shape to the sweet spot then I do all my touch ups with the lee Valley sander grinder.
I have better control it seems of how the edge is honed.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View steve3604's profile


27 posts in 4102 days

#11 posted 03-11-2008 05:51 PM

thanks for all the great replies its most appreciated

steve in Ind

View jimp's profile


208 posts in 4123 days

#12 posted 03-11-2008 06:26 PM

Alin & Stacey -

I’m new to woodturning and I just got the Wolverine Sharpening System. I’m using a 6” grinder instead of an 8” grinder, because I already had the 6” grinder. It seems to do a pretty good job sharpening my lathe tools. What type of benefits do you get when you use an 8” grinder over the 6” grinder? Thanks.


-- - Jim, Carroll, OH

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