sharpening angle set up

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Forum topic by Karda posted 07-19-2018 06:10 PM 1820 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Karda's profile


2296 posts in 1332 days

07-19-2018 06:10 PM

Hi, need some help. Working with angles is new to me, never had to work with them until wood turning. I have made angle pieces to set my tool rest on my grinder. but my grinds are off. what is the contact point on the wheel to establish the angle. want to use this protractor if I can

11 replies so far

View OSU55's profile


2648 posts in 2767 days

#1 posted 07-19-2018 07:41 PM

It wont work the way I’m thinking you want it to, ie attach to the shaft of the tool, put against the wheel and adjust the shaft to the desired angle. This may not help, but think about how a tangent to a circle changes as a plane moves up through the center of the circle. A dwg would help explain but I cant do that now.

What you need to be able to do is fairly accurately determine the angle of the bevel on a tool. I use one of these and there are some bevel angle tools – a round disc with different notches cut out for different bevel angles.

The idea is to find the settings with your particular jig/gringer setup that give the desired bevel angle and then document the settings so they are easy to return to. It is a bit of a trial and error operation. The gauges mentioned determine when you are “there”. The distance of the jig pivot from the wheel, the angle of the jig itself (if adj), and the distance the tool extends from the jig determine bevel angle, and for gouges, the type of grind- amount of “wings”, traditional vs ellsworth for example.

Tormek has a gauge to help set the angle, but its for wet grinders or their bench grinder tool rest (what I use) but it isnt exact. Ofhers will chime in with other “cheat” methods. For flat tools using a flat tool rest I just color the bevel and adjust until Im in the center of the bevel. For new angles I sometimes use the Tormek gauge but checking it with a bevel gauge has shown me it close but usually 3-4 off.

2 main points. 1) bevel angle doesnt have to perfect – +\- 3-4 is fine 2) Find the setup that gives you what you want and document the settings so you can quickly resharpen. Rely on a bevel gauge to know the bevel angle.

Each of my tools has an adhesive label on the collar where I list settings (in my own shorthand). With over 30 tools I cant keep it straight in my head how a particular tool was setup. Hope this helps.

View Wildwood's profile


2868 posts in 2913 days

#2 posted 07-19-2018 07:46 PM

Think you should bite the bullet and get yourself a sharpening jig. Have been using the Oneway basic system plus optional vair-grind jig for more than 20 years. There are other systems out there too!

If want to stay with free hand sharpening get better tool rest to replace the one that came with your grinder.

-- Bill

View Karda's profile


2296 posts in 1332 days

#3 posted 07-19-2018 10:16 PM

don’t need any thing for my gouges I do them with a jig on a sander. I need to be able to set a specific angle so I can reset the angle from time to time, or to establish a different angle. I am sharpening my skew, scrapers and parting tools. My tool rest is a chisel jig, I plugged the jig so i could swing my .5 inch scraper all the way around . you have to use what you can afford. I would love to have that robbo hippy tool rest. Here is a picture of mine with what I want to do with the angle gauge. some body here suggested this but I am doing something wrong. My math is almost non existent compared to you young guys

View LeeMills's profile


702 posts in 2079 days

#4 posted 07-20-2018 06:47 AM

You just about have it made. You need to slide the wood to the side of the wheel and mark it. Then cut out your wood guide. The cut out should leave just the top and bottom points touching the wheel, not the full curve so that as your wheel wears the table will automatically adjusted to the smaller diameter.
This video of John’s shows the same thing with a longer handle which you don’t need since yours is going flat on the rest. About 3:30 he shows using it on the table.

Of course the above requires you to play with your tool to get the grind you want, then make the jig to repeat it.
You can check the angle on your tool with a little protractor like OSUSS linked to. They should be available at any office/art/school supply also for a buck or two.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View gwilki's profile


354 posts in 2252 days

#5 posted 07-20-2018 12:40 PM

Since you are using a platform to sharpen, you could look to something like this

It is specifically made to set the angle between the platform and the wheel.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View Wildwood's profile


2868 posts in 2913 days

#6 posted 07-20-2018 01:34 PM

That tool rest should work well for sharpening your scapers! Once you get the angle that’s working you really don’t want to change them; same goes for a skew.

I have been free hand sharpen my skews using the bar from wolverine dressing jig or platform set at 90 degrees by eye on the grinder or just holding it on my belt sander without a tool rest. Do hone on a diamond stone whether use grinder or belt sander. If real busy just use the hone!

It’s easy to adjust your tool rest to the existing angle for scrapers. Make adustment with grinder turned off. Just lay the tool on the rest, adust so complete bevel in contact with the wheel.

Your protractor good at setting tool rest angle, but may give you the bevel angles you need or want.

This tool makes it easy to find existing bevel angle on all your turning tools. Also tells you angle when finished sharpenig. Being off a degree or two nothing to get excited about.

Got a tip from Wood magazine many years ago and made my angle checker using two school protracters with small bolt & nut in the center cost me fifty cents. Today might cost couple dollars.

Changing bevel angles on the fly can waste a lot of steel been there & done that. What you want to shoot for is consistency everytime you sharpen your tools. That’s why recommend HD steel protractor or mention school protracters!

On scraper bevel angle is important buy raising a burr just as improtant. I diamond file can really help if angle is correct, so don’t need a grinder or belt sander once have the correct angle that works for you.

-- Bill

View Lazyman's profile


5455 posts in 2165 days

#7 posted 07-20-2018 02:06 PM

Don’t worry too much about the exact angle. The key is repeatability. If you need or want a gauge to set an exact angle, your plywood angle gauge above is close but because of the curve in the wheel I think that you need change it so that it touches the wheel at just 2 points by eliminating straight edge. Yours is measuring the angle only where it touches the wheel, over an inch above the tool rest. A good example of one is the Stuart Batty angle gauge linked above. You can save and print this image of it and use it as a template for making your own. You may have to rescale it to a convenient size for use as a template. You want to size it so that the 2 points of contact are fairly close to the tool rest table.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Karda's profile


2296 posts in 1332 days

#8 posted 07-21-2018 12:59 AM

Hi, thanks for your suggestion, I redo my angle gauges to the point of contact. what I need to know the bed angle for it to keep the angle on the grind. I have found that in the process of grinding I have drifted away from the set angle and regrinding to get it back. I realize a few degrees isn’t going to matter that much but this was more. It also helps in changing grinds. I am experimenting with my skews. My oval skew came with a long grind, 20 degrees or less they work better than shorter grinds. I just noticed that the above protector is divided into 90 degree segments so will read the way I want. thanks Mike

View Kelly's profile


3021 posts in 3722 days

#9 posted 10-16-2018 05:08 PM

I bought the gauge, above, from Stewart when he gave a demo at our club. They’ll do the trick.

I designed and made my own gauges because doing so allowed me to create set up jigs for angles I like. I just happened to have some scrap plastics to make them from, so I went for it. I posted about it on the INSTRUCTABLES web site at:

Remember, the angles you are told to use for different knives are just someone’s opinion and a jumping off point for establishing angles to suit you and your style.

PS I made my own for the same reason Stewart came up with his, store bought angle templates will not work.

View Karda's profile


2296 posts in 1332 days

#10 posted 10-17-2018 04:46 AM

Hi, I read ther article on how to make the gauges. He says that factory gauges, don’ t work but doesn’t say why and he doesn’t say anything about how to make sure the gauges are correct to the sander or grinder. I made a set but now I don’t know if they are right if I don’t know whats wrong.

View waho6o9's profile


8909 posts in 3355 days

#11 posted 10-17-2018 01:05 PM

mdzehr has a great solution for grinding angles and won a well deserved Daily Top 3 award:

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