Sharpening system recommendations for a newbie.

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RenmanuEl

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Oct 11, 2020
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Well I am almost done wiring up my first lathe. Picked up a set of Benjamin’s Best turning tools profiled and sharpened by a local wood turning artist.

I want to set up a sharpening system. Three options I am considering are as follows:

1) I have an old no name brand 6” bench grinder. Not slow speed. I can get new 60 and 120 wheels and jig for it.

2) I have the budget to get a Rikon or similar slow speed grinder that comes with the 60 and 120 wheels. And get a jig for it.

3) The other option that I am thinking a little bit about is the new Jet version of Tormek. Jet 727100 JWS 10. It comes with jigs and accessories. But even the Jet version is out of my budget after spending on the lathe, wiring and the turning tools and all. But if it is crazy important I will go that direction.

My gut feeling in my situation is to go with the option number 2. I will like to hear from you experienced fellows.

I also see different jigs and accessories. What is the basic Wolverine jig that I will need? I want to turn Pens and other stuff too. I am going to start by doing spindle turning and once I get a hang of it I will do face turning.



Please share what you think and your suggestions.

Thanks
 
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greenacres2

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I'm only slightly experienced, but have found the Robert Sorby Pro-Edge has really helped me develop sharpening, and as a result turning skills. With the "deluxe" set, even longer grinds are easily done. Got mine as an "open-box" deal on Amazon Warehouse--would replace at full retail if i needed to. Angles are fairly fixed, so some may find it limiting in that regard--but that feature actually makes it very repeatable.
earl
 

Chasper

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Indiana
I bought a slow speed grinder with 8" wheels more than 10 years ago. I've sharpened tools thousands of time. I've ground several tools all the way down to the tang over the years. The wheels are more like 7 1/2 inches now. I bought a Wolverine system with it, but after a few months I took it off and never used it again. I have replaced the Wolverine tool rest plates with smaller plates so I could sharpen shorter tools. I like the system, it has never let me down yet. I did try an old faster and smaller grinder first, it worked but slower is better. I sharpened some tools on a Tormek once, I thought it worked well, it would have taken me a while to get comfortable with it. At the time I didn't think it was worth the extra cost, still don't.
 

Dehn0045

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I'd recommend #1 with CBN wheel. I bought a slow speed wet stone (grizzly), it works but I had to fiddle around with truing the stone and it is a hassle dealing with the water. I haven't actually used a CBN, so I can't give you a comparison, but if I had to do it over again I would try the CBN route based on reviews and videos I've watched. As for the jig, I have had OK luck just shaping by hand, if I did more bowl turning I'd probably try out the wolverine jig.
 

bsshog40

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I'm only slightly experienced, but have found the Robert Sorby Pro-Edge has really helped me develop sharpening, and as a result turning skills. With the "deluxe" set, even longer grinds are easily done. Got mine as an "open-box" deal on Amazon Warehouse--would replace at full retail if i needed to. Angles are fairly fixed, so some may find it limiting in that regard--but that feature actually makes it very repeatable.
earl
This is kind of an expensive way to go, but I bought a Sorby also and love it. Finally bought the knife sharpening jigs for it also.
 
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I use the same turning tools I bought 30+ years ago. Sears Craftsman HSS set. I use an oil stone mounted in a lathe for sharpening and have zero problems with almost everything. I do use carbide for the little acrylic blanks I turn. I do have a Grizzly slow speed wet stone but use it very little, it collects more dust than anything. This is the way I learned a long time ago, works for me so I keep doing what I like. I turned 5 pens today and didn't once have to "touch up" the tools. Turned Olive, Koa, Maple, Monkey Pod and Osage Orange and made some great ribbons. Good luck on your quest.
 

RenmanuEl

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I use the same turning tools I bought 30+ years ago. Sears Craftsman HSS set. I use an oil stone mounted in a lathe for sharpening and have zero problems with almost everything. I do use carbide for the little acrylic blanks I turn. I do have a Grizzly slow speed wet stone but use it very little, it collects more dust than anything. This is the way I learned a long time ago, works for me so I keep doing what I like. I turned 5 pens today and didn't once have to "touch up" the tools. Turned Olive, Koa, Maple, Monkey Pod and Osage Orange and made some great ribbons. Good luck on your quest.
Thanks for sharing that. I will look into that too 😊
 

RenmanuEl

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I'd recommend #1 with CBN wheel. I bought a slow speed wet stone (grizzly), it works but I had to fiddle around with truing the stone and it is a hassle dealing with the water. I haven't actually used a CBN, so I can't give you a comparison, but if I had to do it over again I would try the CBN route based on reviews and videos I've watched. As for the jig, I have had OK luck just shaping by hand, if I did more bowl turning I'd probably try out the wolverine jig.
I am kind of torn between what you just recommended and #2. Thanks for sharing.
 

RenmanuEl

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I bought a slow speed grinder with 8" wheels more than 10 years ago. I've sharpened tools thousands of time. I've ground several tools all the way down to the tang over the years. The wheels are more like 7 1/2 inches now. I bought a Wolverine system with it, but after a few months I took it off and never used it again. I have replaced the Wolverine tool rest plates with smaller plates so I could sharpen shorter tools. I like the system, it has never let me down yet. I did try an old faster and smaller grinder first, it worked but slower is better. I sharpened some tools on a Tormek once, I thought it worked well, it would have taken me a while to get comfortable with it. At the time I didn't think it was worth the extra cost, still don't.
Thanks for sharing
Glad to hear that it is working great for you.
 

RenmanuEl

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Oct 11, 2020
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I'm only slightly experienced, but have found the Robert Sorby Pro-Edge has really helped me develop sharpening, and as a result turning skills. With the "deluxe" set, even longer grinds are easily done. Got mine as an "open-box" deal on Amazon Warehouse--would replace at full retail if i needed to. Angles are fairly fixed, so some may find it limiting in that regard--but that feature actually makes it very repeatable.
earl
Thanks for your input. I appreciate it.
 

bsshog40

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When I started turning, which was not long ago, sharpening tools was my greatest weakness. Without the proper edges, dangerous things can happen. I bought a new variable grinder and the proper grit wheels. I invested at least a couple hundred dollars for that stuff. I still couldn't get the edges like I needed them. This is also important if you plan on turning other things besides pens. It takes a while to properly sharpen cutting tools and I just never got the hang of it. I bought my Sorby, watched their sharpening videos and right out of the box, I was sharpening my tools the way they needed to be. It was well worth the money. Here are a couple before pics of the best I could do and then after pics of putting it on the Sorby.
 

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RenmanuEl

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Oct 11, 2020
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Los Angeles
When I started turning, which was not long ago, sharpening tools was my greatest weakness. Without the proper edges, dangerous things can happen. I bought a new variable grinder and the proper grit wheels. I invested at least a couple hundred dollars for that stuff. I still couldn't get the edges like I needed them. This is also important if you plan on turning other things besides pens. It takes a while to properly sharpen cutting tools and I just never got the hang of it. I bought my Sorby, watched their sharpening videos and right out of the box, I was sharpening my tools the way they needed to be. It was well worth the money. Here are a couple before pics of the best I could do and then after pics of putting it on the Sorby.
Wow
There clearly is a difference. Thanks for sharing and the pictures.
 

JimB

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West Henrietta, NY, USA.
When I started turning I started with a 6” grinder with gray wheels and a home made jig. I then purchased your #2, a slow speed 8” with white wheels and a Wolverine jig. The difference was night and day. About 3 years ago I bought another 8” slow speed with CBN wheels, 180 and 600 grit wheels. I wouldn’t say going to CBN is night and day difference but it is clearly an improvement. I also use a robo rest and a set of raptors. These allow for repeating the angles exactly.

if I were starting out, knowing what I know now, my current set up would be my preference. i know folks who have the Sorby, home made Sorby type system and also Tormek. I have seen them all in use (in person, not on video) And I still wouldn’t change my system.

I have also taught many people in my local club how to sharpen. They are amazed how easy it really is once I show them. Like many things, it is much easier to learn how to sharpen by having someone work with you then trying to learn on your own.
 

RenmanuEl

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Oct 11, 2020
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Los Angeles
When I started turning I started with a 6” grinder with gray wheels and a home made jig. I then purchased your #2, a slow speed 8” with white wheels and a Wolverine jig. The difference was night and day. About 3 years ago I bought another 8” slow speed with CBN wheels, 180 and 600 grit wheels. I wouldn’t say going to CBN is night and day difference but it is clearly an improvement. I also use a robo rest and a set of raptors. These allow for repeating the angles exactly.

if I were starting out, knowing what I know now, my current set up would be my preference. i know folks who have the Sorby, home made Sorby type system and also Tormek. I have seen them all in use (in person, not on video) And I still wouldn’t change my system.

I have also taught many people in my local club how to sharpen. They are amazed how easy it really is once I show them. Like many things, it is much easier to learn how to sharpen by having someone work with you then trying to learn on your own.
I am leaning towards that direction. I am going to get a slow speed 8” grinder. Rikon is now on sale for around hundred bucks with 60 and 120 aluminum oxide white wheels. Should I start there and eventually get the CBN wheels for it. Or should I try to get a grinder with CBN wheels from the get go ? I don’t know if there are slow speed grinders that already come with CBN. I will check.

Thanks for sharing. Appreciate it.
 

RenmanuEl

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With my budget restrictions it looks like I have to start with a slow speed grinder with 60 and 120 aluminum oxide white wheels and wolverine jig. Then get CBN wheels one at a time eventually.

Regardless of which grinder I get it looks like I will need the Wolverine jig. Seems like there are different packages. Which Wolverine jig should I get as a beginner? The essential basic one ?
 

JimB

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West Henrietta, NY, USA.
As mentioned wood turners wonders has a great selection and great prices. That is where most people in my local club, including me, have bought theirs. You can also get the CBN wheels already mounted On either a 1/2 hp or 1 hp grinder.

As far as the wolverine set up, the basic package goes for about $100 I think. It includes 2 bases, V arm and platform. Add a Vari Grind for bowl gouges. Also useful for spindle detail gouges.

The other option is just a platform or two But learning to sharpen using only a platform takes more time to learn.
 

RenmanuEl

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Los Angeles
Thanks JimB and Brandy and all others.
I am checking with wood turners wonders . If I can afford it I will get the slow speed grinder with CBN. Otherwise I have to get the slow speed grinder with the white wheels.

I am going to get the Wolverine with the vari grind.
 

goldendj

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Apr 13, 2020
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Virginia
With my budget restrictions it looks like I have to start with a slow speed grinder with 60 and 120 aluminum oxide white wheels and wolverine jig. Then get CBN wheels one at a time eventually.

Regardless of which grinder I get it looks like I will need the Wolverine jig. Seems like there are different packages. Which Wolverine jig should I get as a beginner? The essential basic one ?
I just improvised with a 1×2 clamped to the board holding my grinder with a notched piece of wood at the end. I drilled various holes for an indexing nail to get repeatable setups for my different tools.

I did buy the Wolverine fingernail jig for bowl gouges, and the Lee Valley adjustable platform I can bolt on when I just need a flat rest.

Finally, I keep a diamond credit card on a magnet on the lathe and touch up any tool the first time I pick it up during a session.
20201028_080632.jpg20201028_080632.jpg
 

RenmanuEl

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Oct 11, 2020
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Los Angeles
Golden DJ, thanks for sharing your set up. I considered making my own version, then I found a great deal on used Wolverine system including the varigrind and I got it. Now my plan is to get the rikon 1/2 hp slow aka half speed grinder and CBN wheels. I might start with one white wheel for the coarse grit and one CBN wheel for the finer side (600). And eventually as the budget permits I can get a CBN for the coarse side too.
 
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