Has Anyone Sharpened Their Turning Tools With . .

Dave Hoskins

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Parker County, Texas
Just wondering if anyone has used a rig like, or similar, this for sharpening their bowl gouges and so on. As a fan of History Channel's Forged in Fire series, I kept seeing the contestants using this sort of rig for both grinding on the steel of their knives, and the wood used for handles. So, me started thinking, which can be most dangerous! I bought one with the other new equipment, and tried it out with a couple of bowl gouges. After getting the tool rest set just right, using a 100 grit belt, it did a really good job! Fast, no noticeable material removed from the gouge, and very little heat build up. So, just wondering if others had done this. Here's a photo from the Grizzly catalogue of the one I bought.

Knife Belt Grinder.jpg
 

Dave Hoskins

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Parker County, Texas
I don't know, Don. Maybe. The belt speed is listed at 3600 feet per minute, which calculates to ??? at the bottom wheel. It came with the 100 grit so that's what I tried at first and it worked pretty good on my 5/8 and 1/2 bowl gouges. I also ordered with it a couple of 80 grit and 120 grit belts. I'm experimenting here so why not? I don't plan on using the 80's on the turning tools, but other stuff. See where it leads to. But I will say the 100 definitely puts a nice long lasting edge on the gouges. I will see what the 120's do after the 100 wears down.
 

Chuck Ellis

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Tellico Plains, Tennessee
I used the 1" Harbor Freight belt sander to sharpen my gouges for several years... worked just fine, except I had trouble keeping the bevel consistent... I finally got a slow speed grinder with the wolverine jig and a CBN wheel that keeps the gouges more accurately configured. But if you can keep the angles right on them, the belt system will sharpen the gouges just fine.
 

Mike Stafford

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Coastal plain of North Carolina
I have used a strip sander in the past. I also used a 12" disc sander with a jig that used to be available from Shopsmith. Both yield flat bevels. They also heat up the steel quite a bit. Depending on how often you sharpen belt life can be an issue.

I have also used a Tormek grinder to sharpen my tools. The Tormek probably achieves the sharpest edge of them all. I prefer the edge from a Tormek for the skew.

I much prefer the concave bevel that comes from a grinding stone which allows the user to glide more efficiently on the bevel rather than riding on it. For years I used aluminum oxide (ALOX) wheels but switched to CBN wheels a couple of years ago and have never looked back. The sharpness I have been able to attain with the CBN wheels is vastly superior to the ALOX wheels and I believe overall, remove less steel to achieve that sharpness. I also love the 1 1/2" wide face on the D-Way Tools CBN wheels.

I still keep a grinder with ALOX wheels in the shop for sharpening non high speed steel tools.

A concave bevel allows the user to touch up the edge between sharpenings with a diamond card. I frequently do so.
 

Dave Hoskins

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Parker County, Texas
This one does have a tool rest for keeping things consistent. I also have an 8" 1750 rpm grinder as well as a Tormek clone from Grizzly. I still use and will continue to use the Tormek clone for some tools. But, I'm still playing with it and I admit to liking it.
 

Ted Calver

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Yorktown, Virginia
I'm a forged in fire fan too. I checked out the kind of machines they use a while back and found them to be in the 2-3k $ range. The grizzly looks like it does the same kind of job with maybe a bit narrower and shorter belt? and a less sturdy platen. Does it have variable speed?
 

Dave Hoskins

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Parker County, Texas
It's a neat show, ain't it? Not sure just how wide the belts are on their machines. This one is single speed. Just a simple machine, but for experimenting it is perfect. So far it seems to do as advertised, so I am happy. It made short work of sharpening a couple of my folding knives as well.
 

Frank Fusco

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Mountain Home, Arkansas
Those wider belt knife grinders are invaluable for........uh......knife grinding and sharpening. But finer grits are needed for good sharpening. Many knife makers turn the belts inside out and final sharpen on the canvas/paper side. I have had a Griz 1" belt sander/grinder for many years and it has many important uses. But sharpening turning tools or knives is not among them. I find the belt too narrow to use without occasionally getting a 'dig' into the tool from the edge of that narrow belt. I like the Forged in Fire show also. But what it shows is only a small part of the usefulness of a good knife grinder. Many knife makers/bladesmiths do not forge. They make their knives from steel of known quality and hardness by stock removal. Yes, some also heat and quench harden but many find that is not necessary depending on the steel used.
 

Ryan Mooney

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The Gorge Area, Oregon
Note that Sorby sells the (significantly more expensive/arguably more featured) Pro-Edge machine for this exact purpose. Not suggesting to buy them... but they do have some useful video's on using this sort of sharpening rig for lathe tools ..

Like this one:
 

Chas Jones

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672
Location
Cotswolds, UK
Sorry to drag up an older thread but I've been using such a system alongside my bench grinders since 2016.
As a matter of interest my daily use belts are 120 grit, occasionally 240 grit.

Here's some UK Forum links to my setup.
The second user beast I acquired.
My home produced accessories and jigs.
My in-use Belt storage.

A Gold plated rival system to the Sorby since developed by Axminster tools.
They have an even more elaborate variable speed version of the system as well.
Rather eye wateringly expensive for a hobbyist but it does address many of the Sorbys deficiencies.
 
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