Best lathe chisel sharpening set up

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Forum topic by SethA73 posted 11-12-2019 12:06 PM 282 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 854 days

11-12-2019 12:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: slow speed grinder diamond wheels grinder lathe sharpening

Great morning. I am looking for some advise for a brand new sharpening set up. A slow speed grinder, grit for diamond wheels, sharpening jig system… all suggestions are very welcomed. I am pretty new at lathe turning. Thank you very much.

10 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2767 posts in 2697 days

#1 posted 11-12-2019 12:47 PM

Have used Wolverine sharpening system for many years basic system pretty much same price just about anywhere but if have bowl & spindle gouges recommend getting the Var-grind jig too. My system about 25 years old so pretty bias.

Lesss expensive system:

Packard also sells 80 grit CBN wheels but shop around for better prices or higher grit if feel you need them.

I use bot 80 & 46 grit wheels on my grinder and they last very long time. When my 6” grinder quits will look for 8” CBN wheels & 8” grinder. Don’t care if fast or slow speed. Turning gurus recommend a slow grinder today, buy whatever grinder can afford & locally if possible. Stay away from Harbor freight grinders.

-- Bill

View gwilki's profile


329 posts in 2036 days

#2 posted 11-12-2019 12:48 PM

Now you’ve gone and done it. :-)

Ask 10 turners, you will get at least 11 answers. Here’s mine.

An 8” low speed grinder is likely best. The Oneway Wolverine with the Varigrind jig seems to be pretty much a standard. As for wheels, norton blue are good. If you want to go with something more permanent, get CBN. You don’t want diamond for the steel that our tools are made of. What grits to get will get you into a whole ‘nother conversation. I use a norton blue 60 to profile gouges and a CBN 180 for sharpening. This works very well for me with all my gouges, including Doug Thompson, Oneway and Dway, all of which I understand use pretty hard metal.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View HorizontalMike's profile


7803 posts in 3476 days

#3 posted 11-12-2019 12:59 PM

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View OSU55's profile


2450 posts in 2551 days

#4 posted 11-12-2019 01:22 PM

I was gonna say, your searching for the holy grail – the single best system/method doesnt exist. I use different jigs and tools, but starting from scratch the slow speed grinder, wolverine with varigrind (not the #2) would be my recommendation. You dont need cbn wheels, especially starting out unless you just wanna spend $. Al Ox wheels do just fine. Norton 3X K type wheels work well. Sharpening threads for turning tools, plane blades, and chisels become black holes quickly.

View edapp's profile


324 posts in 1992 days

#5 posted 11-12-2019 02:20 PM

I like the varigrind 2, rikon low speed grinder (wish I would have jumped up to the 1hp) and cbn setup. You only need to touch the tool to the cbn for a second or two and it is good to go. A lot of internet advice recommends low grit wheels, stating that they are effectively higher grit than their stone counterpart. I strongly disagree with this! they cut fast, even at higher grits, so I would NOT go lower than 220, and personally I would not even go that low again. I have a 180 and a 220 I believe, and the 220 cuts plenty fast and leaves a much nicer finish. Wish I would have opted for a higher grit and skipped the 180.

View Brawler's profile


90 posts in 392 days

#6 posted 11-12-2019 03:21 PM

What Grant Wilkinson said, +1

-- Daniel

View hairy's profile


3004 posts in 4094 days

#7 posted 11-12-2019 03:47 PM

I have a slow speed grinder with a Wolverine jig, and also this:

I use them both. I prefer the Sorby. Sanding belts gives a flat grind. A grinding wheel gives a hollow grind. The wolverine is quicker and easier for some things. They both do well at what they are made for. Just my opinion…

The Sorby does much more than just lathe tools.

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View Eric's profile


135 posts in 799 days

#8 posted 11-12-2019 04:21 PM

Balador 1hp 1750rpm grinder with Woodturners CBN wheels looks to be the best off-the-shelf set up. Then the jigs/fixtures of your choice. Way over my means but if I won the lottery I’d go for it. I run a 1/2hp 1750rpm grinder with white wheels and Veritas guides. In 1990 we dreamed of something so nice, now it’s the budget set up, lol.

-- Eric

View gtrgeo's profile


70 posts in 992 days

#9 posted 11-12-2019 05:05 PM

When I started turning I went through the same effort. I looked at many options in attempt to keep the cost down as turning is little more than a side interest for me. I ended up picking up a wolverine setup with the vari-grind from Amazon for ~$135, I believe from Highland Hardware. To complete the setup I purchased the Rikon slow speed grinder. Either Woodcraft or Rockler will often have these on sale for ~$100. I feel I ended up with a solid setup that enabled me to quickly get through the learning curve on sharpening lathe chisels and focus on the turning. Touch-up sharpening is a breeze as long as you set up some simple guide blocks for insertion depth on the vari-grind jig. I added them to the base of my grinder so they are always at the ready. For quick touch-up while turning and refinement of the edge on the skew I use a simple hand held diamond hone.

Good luck with your search.

View MrUnix's profile


7531 posts in 2761 days

#10 posted 11-12-2019 05:22 PM

What are you sharpening with now, and how much cash are you willing to throw at it? There are great solutions that range from cheap (or even free) to very expensive. I prefer the former, and a belt sander along with a homemade jig has been all that I’ve ever needed.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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