Sharpening Know

s harpcning a spindle gouge is a three-step process: grinding, honing and buffing.

Grinding establishes the shape of the edge and the length of the bevel. The method for grinding the bevel is the same whether you have a belt grinder or a wheel. I suggest using a fine-grit belt or wheel for all grinding to save time honing later. It may take a little longer to shape a bevel with a fine abrasive, but it is far easier than honing out coarse grinding marks on the curved bevel surface by hand.

The length of the bevel should be about twice as long as the thickness of the blade. Set the angle of the tool rest to determine the angle of the bevel. If the existing bevel is too short, adjust the tool rest so that only the bevel heel rests against the abrasive to grind a longer bevel. If the bevel is too long, adjust the tool rest so that only the nose of the bevel is resting on the abrasive to grind a shorter bevel. If the bevel is the right length to begin with, adjust the rest so that the bevel lies flat on the abrasive.

Once you've established the right angle for the tool rest, roll the gouge to the right and left to grind the finger-shaped edge. There should be no shoulders to catch on the work.

Grinding, the first step in the sharpening process, establishes the shape of the edge and the length of the bevel.

After grinding, hone the edge on a fine India stone or soft Arkansas stone to remove any grinding marks and create a razor-sharp edge. It's easier if you hold the blade of the gouge in one hand and rub the stone against the bevel, checking where contact is being made between bevel and abrasive. Rub the stone in a circular motion, covering the entire bevel surface. The grinding process will leave a hollow-ground bevel so your honing will create two flat surfaces, one next to the cutting edge and the other just above the heel of the bevel. If you see light shining on the edge, the gouge is still dull.

Polishing the edge on a felt buffing wheel or leather strop removes the burr left by the stone and makes the edge stronger and smoother cutting. If you choose to buff, use a light touch on the wheel or you'll round over and dull the edge. Hold the tool the same way as for honing, and rub the strop against the bevel push ing forward from the heel of the bevel to the edge. I charge the wheel with a stick of gray, emery buffing compound (available from Woodcraft. 41 Atlantic Ave., P.O. Box 4000, Woburn, MA 01888.)

I alwavs re-hone and re-buff the edge of a spindle gouge before making finishing cuts.—R.R.

After grinding, hone the edge on a bench stone to remove grinding marks and create a sharp edge.

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

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