Turning Archive 2005
>I have made a change to Darrell Feltmate's excellent sharpening system which may be of interest.
For the last nine months, as a new turner, I have used Darrel's gouge sharpening jig system with success, and have come to prefer it, after the change pictured below, over commercial jigs.
I have found that adding a rotating "L" bracket (as shown in the picture below) registers the flute exactly and repeatedly. Now I can sharpen quickly in one or two swipes, removing almost no steel, and not heating the tool beyond warm. Because this removes so little metal, I use a 120 grit wheel and get a tool that is sharper and I believe can be used longer before sharpening.
At risk of treading ground well traveled by my superiors I cautiously offer the following personal experience to those newer turners considering how they will sharpen and get on with their turning.
I have tried Truegrind and Kelton adjustable jigs and prefer the easily made dedicated individual jigs of Darrel's, now that I can register the flute consistently. There is no time spent on adjustment, and keeping records on the adjustment. There are also no errors that can be introduced in resetting that can lead to overgrinding. I do however keep notes on each shop made jig as to the current setting of the slide arm.
As I was deciding how I was going to approach my personal sharpening challenge, I observed very skilled freehand sharpeners removing lots of metal, repeatedly checking the grind, and often waiting for a tool to cool before returning to turning. There was little doubt that this on average was taking longer than with a dedicated jig that requires no time to adjust and takes 1/2 a turn to lock down. I know this is a controversial subject, but based on my experience I would recommend that a jig be used, and I would argue, make your own, and not just because it is cheaper. They work just fine in the Wolverine and Kelton sliding arms also.
The one undeniable advantage of freehand sharpening however is the freedom to use a grinder in someone else's shop.