Sharpening & Woodturning Resources

  • Sharpening Tips
  • Woodturning Resources
  • Overview
  • Bowl Gouges
  • Spindle Gouges
  • Spindle Roughing Gouges
  • Skews & Scrapers

Your best woodturning begins at the grinder. Razor sharp tools are not only safer - they create smoother cuts and an easier learning curve. And as with any skill, every sharpening master began as a rookie. Use the videos above, and the following information to hone (pun intended!) your skills. And give us a call anytime!

Equipment For sharpening your high speed steel tools we suggest a slow running grinder, Raptor Set Up tools, the Wolverine Jig and the Oneway Varigrind. While these jigs and tools are not required, they will help ensure that you end up with the same grind geometry every time.

CBN Wheels In our shop, we use CBN wheels. There are a myriad of videos and articles regarding these wheels and their specific benefits. If you're looking to invest in sharpening equipment, CBN wheels are an excellent place to start. We suggest 320 grit or higher. The higher you go (up to 400 or 600 grit) the finer your edge will be. Please give us a call for further CBN wheel recommendations.

Questions? Give us a call, we're happy to help. We're available Monday through Saturday, 8am - 5pm. at 206-878-7672, or visit our contact page to message us anytime.

Your best woodturning begins at the grinder. Razor sharp tools are not only safer - they create smoother cuts and an easier learning curve. And as with any skill - every sharpening master began as a rookie. Use the videos above, and the following information to hone (pun intended!) your skills. And give us a call anytime!

Equipment

For sharpening your high speed steel tools we suggest a slow running grinder, Raptor Set Up tools, the Wolverine Jig and the Oneway Varigrind. While these jigs and tools are not required, they will help ensure that you end up with the same grind geometry every time.

CBN Wheels

In our shop, we use CBN wheels. There are a myriad of videos and articles regarding these wheels and their specific benefits. If you're looking to invest in sharpening equipment, CBN wheels are an excellent place to start. We suggest 320 grit or higher. The higher you go (up to 400 or 600 grit) the finer your edge will be. Please give us a call for further CBN wheel recommendations.

Questions? Give us a call, we're happy to help. We're available Monday through Saturday, 7am - 7pm. (206)878-7672.

Ready for more tips?

Sign up for curated woodturning tips delivered to your inbox, from our lathe to yours. We value your privacy. No gimmicks, just wood chips.

Thank you, you're all signed up!
This field is required

Ready for more tips?

Sign up for curated woodturning tips delivered to your inbox, from our lathe to yours. We value your privacy. No gimmicks, just wood chips.

Thank you, you're all signed up!
This field is required

Step 1: Set Wolverine Jig Arm

Using the raptor set up tool, set the wolverine jig arm to the appropriate angle. Ensure that the raptor tool touches the wheel at two points and is resting firmly in the wolverine jig.

Step 2: Set Varigrind Jig

Next, fasten your tool into the varigrind jig. The tool should protrude 2" from the jig, and your varigrind should be set at a 23º angle.

If you'd like to grind a relief angle, allow the tool to protrude 2-1/2" from the jig.

Step 3: Grind!

Place the varigrind in the wolverine jig arm and rotate the tool back and forth to restore the edge.

Tool Angle

'V' Shape Bowl Gouges

This is appropriate for fingernail grind 'v' fluted bowl gouges.

50º angle

'U' Shape Bowl Gouges

This angle is optimal for 'u' flute gouges with a traditional grind.

60º angle

Parabolic Bowl Gouges

This is appropriate for the parabolic wood beater and cleaner with a swept back grind.

40º angle

Parabolic Bottom Feeder

This angle is optimal for the parabolic bottom feeder with a traditional grind.

50º angle

Parabolic Shear Shaper

This angle is optimal for the parabolic shear shaper gouge with a swept back grind.

35º angle

Fingernail Grind Sharpening Tips

Before you begin, it's important to have the fingernail profile fresh on your mind. Remember that the nose of the gouge should be oval, not too pointy. And the side profile of the wings should be straight or convex, never concave.

  1. Split the tool into three sections: left wing, nose, and right wing.
  2. Keep the tool moving, stalling at any one point will impact your profile.
  3. Work on the left and right wing first, then blend the nose.
  4. Use consistent pressure on each section. Too much pressure may result in a concave wing.
  5. If the wings are concave, muster your patience, bring the nose down, and start again. Practice makes perfect!
  6. Use light pressure until you're confident in the motion. This will save you tool stock.

Step 1: Set Wolverine Jig Arm

Using the raptor set up tool, set the wolverine jig arm to the appropriate angle. Ensure that the raptor tool touches the wheel at two points and is resting firmly in the wolverine jig.

Step 2: Set Varigrind Jig

Next, fasten your tool into the varigrind jig. The tool should protrude 2" from the jig, and your varigrind should be set at a 23º angle.

If you'd like to grind a relief angle, allow the tool to protrude 2-1/2" from the jig.

Step 3: Grind!

Place the varigrind in the wolverine jig arm and rotate the tool back and forth to restore the edge.

Tool Angle

Traditional spindle gouge (e.g. 1/2" and 3/8")

45º

Detail spindle gouge

35º

Low Profile Spindle Gouges

40º

Step 1: Mark the Edge

We demonstrate sharpening the roughing gouge without the use of the wolverine jig. This process is optimal if you'd like to replicate your tool's factory grind. First, we'll color the cutting edge of the gouge to determine if our grinding platform is set at the desired angle.

Step 2: Set the Angle

With the machine turned off, lay the gouge on the flat platform and rotate the wheel slowly. If the wheel is removing the black mark, we know that we have the correct angle. Adjust the grinding platform until the mark is removed.

Step 3: Grind!

Once you've established your angle, simply rotate the tool back and forth to restore the edge.

Tool Angle

Spindle roughing gouge

35º

Step 1: Mark the Edge

We demonstrate sharpening the skew without the use of the wolverine jig. This process is optimal if you'd like to replicate your tool's factory grind. First, we'll color the cutting edge of the tool to determine if our grinding platform is set at the desired angle.

Step 2: Set The Angle

With the machine turned off, lay the skew on the flat platform and rotate the wheel slowly. If the wheel is removing the black mark, we know that we have the correct angle. Adjust the grinding platform until the mark is removed.

Step 3: Grind!

Once you've established your angle, simply rotate the tool back and forth to restore the edge.

Tool Angle

Skew chisel

30º

Square nose and bowl scraper

12º

Negative rake scraper

25º on the top, 40º on the bottom

  • Overview
  • Which Tool Do I Need?
  • Essential Tips
  • Bowl Turning
  • Spindle Turning
  • Video Tutorials

I've had the opportunity to work on many pieces over the years, but I'll never forget my first project - a bowl. It didn't make it off the lathe (my tool caught, resulting in a large crack), but it was the start of a great woodturning journey. I've turned many projects since. Some I love, some are firewood. But with each, my methods and confidence improves. In many ways, that's the secret. Jump back on the lathe knowing that every mistake stands for a lesson learned and technique improved.

I hope these articles and videos are helpful as you begin your woodturning journey. With a little patience and the ability to laugh at yourself, you'll soon have more pieces of wood turned art than you know what to do with! Happy turning, Paul Carter

I've had the opportunity to work on many pieces over the years, but I'll never forget my first project - a bowl. It didn't make it off the lathe (my tool caught, resulting in a large crack), but it was the start of a great woodturning journey. I've turned many projects since. Some I love, some are firewood. But with each, my methods and confidence improves. In many ways, that's the secret. Jump back on the lathe knowing that every mistake stands for a lesson learned and technique improved.

I hope these articles and videos are helpful as you begin your woodturning journey. With a little patience and the ability to laugh at yourself, you'll soon have more pieces of wood turned art than you know what to do with! Happy turning, Paul Carter

Quality wood lathe turning tools by Carter and Son Toolworks

Wood Chips in Your Inbox

The best of woodturning tips, inspiration, and tool sales.

Wood chips are on the way!
This field is required
Quality wood lathe turning tools by Carter and Son Toolworks

Wood Chips in Your Inbox

The best of woodturning tips, inspiration, and tool sales. We value your privacy. No gimmicks, just wood chips.

Wood chips are on the way!
This field is required

Choosing the Right Tool

I'm sure you've noticed - when it comes to turning tools, it seems like everyone has a different opinion. But with so many types, and the fact that everyone has a unique approach to turning, it's no wonder!

That's why we created a Tool Recommender Form. We love building tools, but our biggest goal is to make sure you have the right tools, for your woodturning. Fill out the form and we'll let you know our thoughts. It's that easy!

Choosing the Right Tool

I'm sure you've noticed - when it comes to turning tools, it seems like everyone has a different opinion. But with so many different types of tools, and the fact that everyone has their own approach to woodturning, it's no wonder!

That's why we created this Tool Recommender Form. We love building tools, but our biggest goal is to make sure you have the right tool for your woodturning. Fill out the form, we'll take a look at your situation, and let you know our thoughts. It's that easy!

Thanks!
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required

We'll get back to you in a jiffy. And in the meantime, here are a few helpful articles. Happy turning!

Essential Tips...

5 Essential Woodturning Tips

Don't turn on the lathe without reading these tips.

5 Beginner Projects You Need to Try

Our favorite projects every beginner needs to know.

7 Essential Turning Tools You Need

Basic woodturning tools, their uses, and 7 you need.

Negative Rake Scrapers: the basics

Since their inception ages ago, negative rake scrapers have undergone a resurgence in popularity. And for good reason.

5 Sources for Free Wood

Score free wood from our top 5 sources.

How to Maintain Your Lathe

Keep your lathe in tip top shape with these 5 critical areas of maintenance.

A Quick Overview of Scrapers

Their most popular use is achieving a smooth, cutter-mark free finish. There are quite a few different types of scrapers - we'll be exploring four of the most popular.

Bowl Turning Techniques...

Bowl Turning Basics: 5 essentials for turning your first bowl

This practical guide includes everything I wish someone would have told me before I attempted my first bowl.

Transform Logs to Bowls

A practical article demonstrating the steps to shaping logs into useable bowl blanks.

A Quick Guide to Bowl Gouge Flutes & Grinds

While it's true that every turner has their own grind preference, there are 3 widely held bowl gouge profiles and flute shapes that are worth exploring.

How to Choose a Bowl Gouge

I'll be honest. I have a drawer full of woodturning bowl gouges in my shop. But really, there are only a few key gouges you need to start turning bowls.

6 Fingernail Grind Sharpening Tips

The fingernail grind is a versatile profile, mastering it will pay dividends at the lathe!

The Basics of Bowl Design

Take your bowl turning to a new level with these design techniques.

20 Ways Not to Turn a Bowl

There are lots of tips out there for bowl turning. Nick Cook takes a different approach.

Spindle Turning Techniques...

20 Ways to Master Spindle Turning

Indispensable spindle turning tips from professional woodworker Nick Cook.

Overview

I've enjoyed woodturning for years, but I'll never forget my first project - a bowl. It didn't make it off the lathe (my tool caught, resulting in a large crack), but it was the start of a great woodturning journey. I've turned many projects since. Some I love, some are firewood. But with each, my methods and confidence improves. And that's the secret. Jump back on the lathe knowing that every mistake is another lesson learned and technique improved.

I hope these articles and videos are helpful as you begin your woodturning journey. With a little patience and the ability to laugh at yourself (and those mistakes), you'll soon have more pieces of woodturned art than you know what to do with!

Articles hot off the press....

Ready for more woodturning tips? Sign up for curated woodturning knowledge delivered to your inbox, from our lathe to yours. We value your privacy. No gimmicks, just wood chips.

Thank you, you're all signed up!
This field is required
This field is required

Essential Tips

Essential Turning Tips

7 Essential Turning Tools You Need

The basic woodturning tools, their uses, and the 7 tools you need.

5 Beginner Projects You Need to Try

Our favorite projects, complete with video tutorials, that every beginner needs to know.

5 Essential Wooturning Tips

Don't turn on the lathe without reading these woodturning tips from our shop to yours.

How to Maintain Your Lathe

Keep your lathe in tip top shape with these 5 critical areas of maintenance.

5 Sources for Free Wood

Score free wood from our top 5 sources.

Bowl Turning

Bowl Turning Techniques

Transform Logs to Bowls

A practical article demonstrating the steps to shaping logs into useable bowl blanks.

7 Ways Not to Turn a Bowl

There are lots of tips out there for bowl turning. Nick Cook takes a different approach.

The Basics of Bowl Design

Take your bowl turning to a new level with these design techniques.

Spindle Turning

Spindle Turning Techniques

7 Ways to Master Spindle Turning

7 indispensable spindle turning tips from professional woodworker Nick Cook.

Video Tutorials