Sharpening Woodturning Tools
DVD
by Mike Darlow

Produced by Mike Darlow,
Lot 17 Wilsons Lane
Exeter, NSW 2579 Australia

R.R.P.$30.00

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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 128

Mike Darlow's latest release is a two disk DVD set, Sharpening Woodturning Tools.

The DVD is a comprehensive look at tool sharpening, particularly in relation to woodturning, though much of the material applies to woodworking tools generally. Some of the content is based on the first five chapters of Mike's book, Fundamentals of Woodturning; Chapter Two in his book, Woodworking Techniques; and Leonard Lee’s book, Complete Guide to Sharpening.

Before sharpening any tools, Mike begins with a lengthy discourse on how tools remove surplus wood, how this applies to woodturning and the cutting action of various edges. While the information is quite technical, it is well illustrated by visual images such as cutting blocks of butter with different tools and the concepts are referred to in later chapters.

The discussion of cutting action leads to cutting angles and the selection of blade materials. In this chapter as through the rest of the DVD, Mike covers the subject matter in detail so that an informed choice can be made by the viewer, rather than Mike making rigid recommendations. For example, he provides reasons why a turner might choose to change the sharpening angle on a blade from the accepted value or the manufacturer's factory setting.

Working from an understanding of the cutting action of tools, Mike then sets out the desired objectives when sharpening and honing the cutting edge. In later chapters the performance of various abrading equipment, grinding jigs and honing products are assessed in relation to these objectives.

There is a long chapter on selecting and setting up a bench grinder for sharpening woodturning tools. This ends with an overview of the alternatives available to the grinder. Tips include how to set up your grinder level and parallel to the front edge of the bench for accurate grinding when using jigs, selecting grinder wheels, checking for defects, truing the wheel, safety equipment and guard modifications required by some jigs.

Woodturning tools can be sharpened freehand or on a jig. Mike divides the latter into four groups - tilting platform, pivoting, handle end and Heli-Grind. These are discussed briefly at this point.

The first DVD finishes with a look at the various types of turning tools and the blade geometry required. This information is drawn upon in the second DVD to demonstrate how to use each type of jig (plus freehand) to sharpen the various woodturning tools.

At the end of the second DVD there is a chapter on honing, buffing and ticketing.

Included with the DVD set is a 16-page booklet with templates for setting up jigs for different tools and sharpening angles, a graph for determining grinding angles and a protractor scale.

Sharpening Woodturning Tools is a very informative and instructive DVD and deserves a place in every turner's library. So long as one makes allowances for the intended bias in the material towards woodturning requirements, there is enough general information and tips to make this a worthwhile treatise on tool sharpening for any woodworker.

Duration: 3 hours on 2 disks

Contents

Introduction

1 How woodturning tools cut

2 Tool steels

3 The sharpening processes

4 Abrading equipment

5 Grinding jigs

6 Woodturning-tool geometries

7 Grinding on a tilting-platform jig

8 Grinding freehand

9 Grinding using a pivoting jig

10 Grinding using a handle-end jig

11 Grinding using the Heli-Grind

12 Honing and buffing