To get the most out of your lathe tools, you'll need to sharpen them and maintain them properly. Woodturning tools are much more abusive, much more than most of the other equipment in the toolbox. It is as a result of the amount of wood they can get through in a short time. Carving a large piece of wood that spins at high speed is enough to dull even the best chisel.
So what the best measure to take to keep the tools sharp? The first and one of the most important things to do is to clean the chisel after each use. This small step will lead you to extend the life of your tools and keep them sharp. If you take good care of your chisel, regular cleaning will sharpen them less often and will give better milling results.
A funny statement: You want your tools to be as sharp as possible, but don't sharpen them more often. The truth: Each time you sharpen your lathe tools, you grind them a little and reduce the life of the tools. They will wear out to become more than just wooden handles with a small metal slate. You may not have seen it, but believe me!
Therefore, all the cleaning in the world will not prevent your tools from dulling if you use them frequently; at some point, you will need to sharpen them. The process of sharpening chisels is a very precise art, and it is better to make an experienced wood chipper to show you how. If not, I recommend videos on sharpening your woodturning tools, as there is no substitute for viewing it.
After saying that, I will briefly describe the steps required to sharpen a chisel. First, you will need a tool grinder. The preferred tool grinder is the one that rotates at more than 3,000 rpm, and for your wheel, you will need alumina with something like sixty grains.
Always immerse the wheel with a little water before sharpening it, to avoid sparks and to prevent the tool from getting stuck. Depending on the chisel or the specific gouge you want to sharpen, you will need to use different angles of attack and pressure to get the best result. The tool should be applied to the wheel with light pressure, being careful not to force it, as this can cause cracks and scratches and can also be very dangerous if the tool reaches a speed of 3000 rpm.
With regular cleaning and sharpening, you will keep your best lathe tools, and your woodturning projects will never suffer from inferior tools. Nothing is worse than working on a project for weeks, just to get a gouge to grab the tree and cut it in half.
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