I just love Cap’n Eddie, wish I lived closer to him. I know we’d be good friends. He loves teaching woodturning to others and has all kinds of tips, tricks and other woodturning secrets.
Although he can tell you all about the best and most expensive tools for woodturning. Often he’ll share a method of doing something almost for free. That is, if your handy and you can follow his instructions.
Often times he has some of his woodturning tools and jigs for sale. Do him and yourself a favor and send the guy a few bucks so he can keep cranking out these videos and we can learn from him.
Learn How to Make a $2 Sharpening
Jig for Your Woodturning Tools
In this video Eddie shows us how to make a $2 sharpening jig for your gouges and bowl woodturning tools, a tool that gives you the fingernail grind or elsworth grind. He shares everything you need to make it your self, or you can get on from him for about $20 bucks.
Now this is just one part of the Oneway Wolverine Grinding Jig, nonetheless, I think the part from Oneway is 80 bucks and is called the Vari-Grind Attachment.
Basically Eddie is Showing you how to make something like this:
Here is his comment from the video:
This is a $2 sharpening jig for the Elsworth type deep fluted gouge. See my website: www.eddiecastelin.com for more. It’s best made from a piece of water pipe, but if you can’t do that, a piece of schedule 80 plastic will do.
See my website: www.eddiecastelin.com for more.
I added a revision to this video so you can stop it at the end and print a picture of the sketch. Just hit pause and then file, print. You should be able to get the sketch at the very end.
Click on the image to read the pdf, its only 4 pages and came with my oneway wolverine grinding jig! you have your choice of vari-grind attachments, but you can use Cap’n Eddies 2 dollar jig and save about 60 bucks or so 🙂 watch the video above, he shows you have to make the vari-grind jig.
How to Sharpen Your Woodturning Lathes and Gouges using a Plywood Grinding Wheel
As I did, you might think that sharpening your woodturning tools is limited to your electric grinder and a 6 inch or 8″ grinding stone. Well, my friend, you’re in for a big surprise because there is a whole new world of sharpening tools when it comes to what you might use to sharpen your woodturning chisels and gouges. This all started when I was looking around to purchase a OneWay sharpening system for woodturning tools, I purchased one and then I wanted to learn how to use it. Which ended up leading me down the rabbit’s hole of different ways to sharpen wood turning tools, sharpening knives or just plain sharpening your chisels!
Well, I found a video on how to sharpen your knives razor sharp by making a plywood sharpening wheel! I thought I bookmarked it, and I thought I placed it in my carefully organized research system of folders on the bookmark tab ….well, somehow it never got bookmarked and I lost the video on how to make your own plywood sharpening wheel. I searched for a week or more and in that time I learned a ton of information on how to get razor sharp woodworking tools, knives or anything that cuts.
The Laziest Way to Sharpen
Any Knife to Razor Sharp 2
I found the video entitled “The Laziest Way to Sharpen Any Knife to Razor Sharp 2”. It’s nothing fancy, nothing complicated but it will open your world of knowledge when it comes to sharpening your woodworking tools in particulate I plan on using it to keep a razor sharp edge on my woodturning bowl gouges, finger grinds, elsworth grinds and basically all my wood turning chisels. In fact, this Easter I took some old kitchen knifes out to the garage and put an edge on them with this plywood sharpening wheel and they sliced through a ham like a hot knife thru butter! I’ll report back once I fine turn the wheel and use it on my wood turning tools and let you know how it sharpens a cheap set of wood lathe turning tools! Meanwhile, you should enjoy this video. Sorry….. should mention this is his first video, make sure you scroll down and watch the next video…. it has the info on the plywood sharpening wheel. I just can’t rewrite this post again ….wordpress or my compter or internet crashed on a fully edited post and somehow it did not get saved …..so I am not going to rewrite it again! ……just make sure you see the next video from this guy 🙂
Oh, by the way, this is the video owners comments, he has some other videos on wood working tools and the wood sharpening wheel/stone that might be worth checking out.
This is not a picture of today’s sharpening technology 🙂 Next I started doing what every 21st century mortal does when in quest of information, I did an internet search. Well, I “Googled” it and then I checked out youtube….. boy was I surprised!
I will do an entire series showing a variety of different methods and tools used to sharpend your woodturning tools and other tools as well. After all, a woodturning chisel or gouge is a metal instrument or tool with a sharp edge. If you learn how to put an edge on a knife, you can carry that skill on to your woodturning tools.
Don’t get me wrong.
Sharpening your woodturning tools is not a one size fits all. There are many methods, many differnt sharpening tools and jigs needed to get your bowl gouges and chisels in tip top shape.
Learning How to Sharpen
Your WoodTurning Tools
Unfortunately you can’t watch one video and go out and give it a whack ….expecting to have a perfect edge and perfect tool. It just ain’t gonna happen 🙂 Best thing is to study, watch some tutorials, take some classes if you have to and keep trying!
I have to be honest with you, although I’m not an expert woodworker yet ….I’ve worked in the trades from highschool, through college and up until now …. a good 45 years or so. I’ve seen many tradesmen, or I should say I’ve watched many workers attempt to master a trade. If you stay at it, you can become sufficent, even good ….but some people are just naturals when it comes to building something ….and some struggle and often quit!
Don’t quit, wood turning and woodturning associated tasks can become overwhelming but with some intestinal fortitude ….keep plugging along, you’ll get it!
The first piece of wood I turned with some cheapo chisels I probably stopped my lathe about 20 times or more when trying to hollow out a cup. I had no idea what I was doing, I was trying to remember some of the videos I watched …..I certainly wasn’t making things happen like those guys. Sooner or latter I could make my cheap woodturning bowl gouges cut like a hot knife thru butter with hardly a gouge.
Here’s the trick. When you mess up, learn how to fix your screw ups. Any good tradesman will mess things up now and then…. the good ones know how to fix their mistakes. So if you leave a big gashing hole in your candle holder or cup you’re turning, watch some of the pro’s mix up some CA or superglue and woodchips, jam it in the hold, let it set and sand it out or turn it out.
I’m sorry, got carried away again.
I wanted to show you guys a video that really caught my eye and its a little off topic but has to do with sharpening knifes, chisels or anything you’d want to sharpen with your grinder.
In this video the guy calls it “The Laziest WAy to Sharpen Any Any Knife to Razor Sharp” I watched this video about sharpening and it opened up a whole new paradigm when using a grinder for sharpening tools. The only problem was, I didn’t bookmark the video and couldn’t find it because I was searching youtube for “plywood grinding wheels” “wood grinding wheels” “different grinding wheels” and a whole bunch of other terms because I couldn’t remember the title.
Long story short is that the guy makes a grinding wheel from plywood, trues the wheel, applies some kind of rubbing or sharpening compound to the plywood grinding wheel and once done he can but a razor sharp edge on a knife in under a minute. I’m thinking you can sharpen anything including your woodturning tools, gouges and chisels.
Check out his video on plywood & MDF grinding wheels for Tool Sharpening
This video is what the whole post is about. If you only watch one video, check this one out….. guaranteed you will be impressed if you or knew as much about wood tool sharpening as I did!
His comments have some useful information, you might want to check out some of his links:
Published on Jan 21, 2017
Today I am showing you a method to sharpen knives from completely dull to razor sharp in just 60 seconds. That makes this method in my opinion the laziest way to sharpen any knife to razor sharp.
My last video on this topic got over 4.7 million views so I think its time for me to re-visit and improve the method!
How to Sharpen a Knife with a Whetstone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh5pM…
Old video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZt6x…
I watched another video where a guy did the same thing but used MDF board for the wheel and then bought some sheets of leather from ebay and cut a couple circles, glued them together, shaped it and applied the buffing compount. You would use this wheel after shapening on the first wheel. I forgot what its called, but if the video isn’t here, just means I lost that one too…. I’ll find it though.
I did watch izzy swan’s video on “How to Make Your Knife Scary Sharp” using store purchased grinding wheels made of cardboard. That’s right folk’s ….cardboard! He swears by it, can’t remember how long he’s been using it be it’s his go to system for sharpening. I think I’m gonna stick with the plywod because I can save probably $100 for either the cardboard or the MDF grinding/sharpening wheels because I can make it myself, I can find tune it and I can steal ideas from all 3 wheels to make the perfect wooden grinding wheel!
How to Make Your Knife Scary Sharp
Anyway, watch Izzy’s video here on wooden or cardboard grinding/sharpening wheels:
You can find the cardboard sharpening wheel system that Izzy uses on Amazon, check out https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0184XI4UM/
Turns out some guy is selling a set of wood wheels made of MDF board, both have a buffing compound on them and then you impregnate the wheel with an abbrasive mixture of sand/grit. Anyway, he sells them for something like $40 bucks a piece on Amazon or Ebay, click here to see the MDF sharpening wheels and buffing compound. I’ll see if I can find the link.
MDF Sharpening Wheels
for Your Woodturning Tool Sharpening
My only problem with MDF board is that I wonder how stable it is. In other words, will it break apart after being on the grinder for a while? I did not see anyone complain with that problem but I think it’s a fairly new method so the test of time is yet to be made.
I really wanted to show you guys the cool method of sharpening stuff with a plywood wheel, how you adapt it to your needs and tools is totally up to you. Look at it this way, a grinding stone is going to remove a lot of steel from your tool, until you really get to know how to use a light touch your tools are not going to last long. Maybe, just maybe a plywood grinding wheel could save you some money in the long run by not grinding away the precious steel of your tool. If you buy a 100 dollar Sorby woodturning bowl gouge or $180 Ellesworth bowl gouge, you’re gonna want to make that steel last as long as possible!
As always, sharpening tools is dangerous, wear the appropiate protective gear…always! And….. when using these wooden grinding wheels you are going to want the plywood or mdf grinding wheel to turn in reverse so it doesn’t allow the tool to dig into the wheel and cause a terrible accident!!!!!
I just ran into a website that seems to specialize these wooden grinding wheels, leather wheels and buffing compounds, everything you would need to get a fine edge. I can’t speak to their quality or service but it surely seems like a collection for those who know what they are doing when it comes to sharpening tools, anyway, check them out at “The Old Texas Woodcarvers Shop” I really enjoyed looking at this site, it’s an old style website and kind of reminded me of the time when we used to walk in stores, talk to the owners and pick their brains on what we needed. I’m not sure but I bet they have a physcial location in Texas and I bet you could spend a day there learning about sharpening wood working tools!
DIY MDF Sharpening Wheel
As I was researching and looking for the plywood sharpening wheel video I ran across this video:
This is what he had to say: This is how I made a paper (mdf) sharpening wheel. It works very well and with practice you can have scary sharp knives because of this simple wheel. Most of you have a piece of scrap mdf laying around which makes this free… Don’t pay $80 like the advertised products. Beat the man and make your own!
It’s a fast and easy to watch video on how to make one of these plywood/wood/paper sharpening wheels. You can give it a go and test it out if you’re pretty handy. If it works, it might be all you need besides a little rubbing compound. However, if it works, you might want to consider grabbing a wood sharpening wheel from one of the links on this page since it will be “trued”, generally you get (2) 6″ or 8″ wood sharpening wheels plus some come with kits of adhesive and/or rubbing compound that allow you to add silica carbide grit to the wheel that supposedly creates a surgeons edge on your wood turning tools and wood working tools. Click Here to check out one of the Razor sharp wood wheel sharpening systems and this is what they say about it …..just to give you an idea of what you get. Sure you can buy all this seperately, just depends how involved you want to get and I’m trying to help you with some ideas. Anyway, this is off their salespage:
8 inches diameter x 3/4 inch wide x 5/8 inch hole in center
with adapter… if needed for adapting to 1/2 inch hole in center
REMOVABLE ADAPTERS ARE ALREADY INSTALLED
8 inches diameter x 3/4 inch wide x 5/8 inch hole in center with adapter… if needed for adapting to 1/2 inch hole in center SHARPENING WHEELS.
Professional sharpening supplies and equipment are now available for your personal, business, and professional use at affordable prices. This method is used by professional knife sharpeners, taxidermists, butchers, custom knife makers, knife dealers, and other professionals whose businesses depend on a RAZOR EDGE. Sharpens Schrade, Buck, Puma, and Gerber knives and other stainless blades. This is the ideal method for sharpening any pocket knife, sheath knife, kitchen knife, hunting knife, and professional knives and tools that require a RAZOR EDGE. Works equally well on high-carbon steel or stainless steel knife blades for a RAZOR EDGE. This method of sharpening is easily learned; quick to sharpen; removes the least amount of blade metal; forms an edge to your requirements; developes the least heat; and can be reconditioned for further use without costly belts or additional wheels and supplies.
COMPLETE INSTRUCTIONS ARE INCLUDED.
Each sharpening wheel set contains:
1 grittted sharpening wheel 180 grit silicon carbide 8 inches diameter by 3/4 inch wide by 5/8 inch hole in center.
1 slotted polishing wheel 8 inches diameter by 3/4 inch wide by 5/8 inch hole in center.
2 adapters if needed to adapt to 1/2 inch hole in center.
REMOVABLE ADAPTERS ARE ALREADY INSTALLED
2 ounces of white rouge…used to polish the knife edge.
2 ounces of wax “goose grease”…used to lubricate the sharpening wheel to reduce heat.
3 ounces of 180 silicon carbide grit…used to refurbish the sharpening wheel 15-20 times.
COMPLETE INSTRUCTIONS ARE INCLUDED.
YouTube videos are available online
Here’s another idea for a sharpening system for the DIY’er. It’s not what I really had in mind when writing this aritcle but it can take you on a totally different route for sharpening, worse case it will open your mind to the possibilities when it comes to sharpening. Sometimes all you need is to watch something like this so you might create your own one off design that is perfect for your woodturning tool purposes. I like his ideas, they are simple to construct and very well explained. You can check out the video here:
I hope you found this post useful. I really did spend a lot of time researching the fine art of sharpening wood working tools and in particular woodturning tools. I plan on doing more detailed posts that cover specifics for sharpening each of the woodturning tools and will probably carry that on to sharpening other wood working tools.
If you stumble on this post, I hope you let me know what you think.
Remember, I really only wanted to reveal what I thought was something very different from the ordinary when it comes to sharpening wood working tools. I thought you needed a grinder and various grits of grinding stones. I stumbled on these wood, mdf and paper sharpening wheels and thought they would be very helpful when it comes to sharpening our woodturning tools …..so, this really does not contain any info from the experts on how to sharpen your wood turning gouges, chisels and the like ….however, I will let you know what each of the woodturning experts has to say on this subject so that you might really enjoy your woodturning and wood lathe experience!
Another habit I’ve developed and really want to explore seriously is sawmilling. Portable sawmills come in many shapes and sizes and the purpose is to basically turn a tree into usable lumber. Could be framing lumber. Could be timbers for timber framing. Might even be slaps of varying thickness ….something I wanted to comment on here. Nothing like opening up a log to see God’s inner design, something that can be used to create a beautiful Woodturnig Project, bowls, knive handles, candle holders, pens, lamps ….you name it! Turning BoxElder on your lathe can create a beautiful project.
It turns out that Boxelder is releated to Maple. When we tapped maple trees for syrup we also tapped Boxelder ….I forgot all about that. There is literally no difference in taste of the syrup from boxelder or maple. ……no cost for that little side note!
BoxElder from Portable Sawmills
This guy posted some pics on facebook of boxelder, beautiful wood with red and blue tints running in veins throughout the wood. I watched a video by someone I’ve been following who did a box elder live edge bowl from a piece of boxelder that just turned out beaufifuly. I will try to post it here, not sure if I can find it as I am writing this.
I always considered boxelder garbage wood, no good to burn and certainly no good to use as lumber. Turns out box elder is a diamond in the rough. You can read the facebook comment I made below, and I think I will swipe the images he posted ….hope he doesn’t mind. They are pretty cool over at the sawilling group.
BoxElder Burls Used for Woodturning and Furniture Making
One thing to look for in any tree for turning and especially boxelder are burls, these are outgrowths or deformities in a tree trunk that make beaufiful turnings. You can cut boxelder burls with a portable bandsaw mill, you can use a lucas slabber and depending how big you can get slaps from these burls that are just beaufiful and can be used for countertops to bowls, lamps and furniture ….check out this video on some boxelder pepper mills.
Scott Parat wow, nice looking slice of wood, wonder how long the red will stay red or if it will fade away?
when I first got my woodburning stove, 30+ years ago the first wood I had to burn was boxelder, burns fast and burning it green makes for nice chimeny fires 🙂 ….I had boxelders falling all the time, never had any idea it looked so good when milled. Wish I had my mill, still run into boxelder.
thanks for the pics! Planning on redoing out kitchen, thinking of concrete tops but then showed my wife some of the slabs here in the group ….she loved em, if the color can be stablized I even think I might consider something like sliced up.
Wonder if anyone used boxelder for tops?
I do some wood turning, really just learning. There are a couple of guys who cranked out some beautiful live edge bowls from boxelder ….some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. Funny how something that was once garbage, looked at a different way is now a diamond.
Grinding An Elsworth or Fingernail Grind for Woodturning Gouges
One of the toughest choices I had to make when getting started in wood turning was deciding which type of woodturning gouge or wood turning chisel to purchase and use.
It gets complicated really fast.
You have to know or learn about steel, that is the steel used in your tools. Brand names become important and deciding on a budget for your woodturning tools is really the major factor.
Knowing what type of steel is used is important because that will tell you how long the woodturning tool will stay sharp and how long it will last. Woodturning tool steel is important also when considering or learning how to sharpen the tools, will it cut green wood easily? ….will it slice thru dry wood?
I watched all kinds of youtube videos, read a bunch of books and did a lot of googling for “woodturning tools” and the amount of information was really overwhelming!
I purchased a cheap set of HSS woodturning chisels from Harbor Freight. I think there are about 8 tools and the regular price is around 60 dollars. I had a coupon and ended up getting the set for less than $50, in fact, I think I had a 25% coupon and I paid around 48 bucks for the set.
They were kind of sharp to start with, I found out after a while that they were no where near the sharpness they needed to be. I can tell you how many times a gouge dug into a bowl and stopped the lathe 🙂 …..I don’t know how it did’t break those poor tools….. I read of guys paying just as much for one woodturning gouge and having the steel shank break in two! So, I guess I was pretty lucky.
I could go on and on about gouges but I wanted to share how you can get a fingernail grind on a cheap woodturning tool to experiment with while you are learning.
Here’s the deal. Buy a cheap set of chisels, start to learn how to use them, buy the jigs you need to sharpen the woodturning gouges and chisels and then figure out which woodturning chisel you like best.
Once you get a handle on sharpening and abusing your cheap set of woodturning tools, you can now think about which tools you really like. No need to guy a whole new set, because now you can spend some money and buy a good, expensive or more expensive, wood turning tool. Eddie Castelin says, “Hey, no need to buy a set of tools ….just buy the one you like to use and learn to use it well, after you master that move on to the next!”
Of course if budget isn’t an issue you can get a set of Sorby Woodturning Tools or Hamlet woodturning gouges & chisels or the famous David Ellsworth Signature Gouges …I think made by Crown. You can find good deals on Ebay, best deals on Amazon ….then again, if you have a local woodworking store in your area they can always use the business. Check your local area for Woodturning clases, you might have some luck Googling “woodturning” or even your local college might have classes.
I saved the best for last.
The Ellsworth or Fingernail Grind ….A Swept Back Cutting Bowl Gouge Grind
Since I really wanted to learn how to make bowls, I tried to learn as much as I could about the woodturning tools needed to turn wood bowls. As it turns out, no pun intended :), there are a number of variations of something called a fingernail grind or the ellsworth grind….check out the image (if I found one). These bowl gouge grinds allow you to do a variety of cuts but they are:
hard to master
hard to sharpen
You can spend anywhere from $60 to $200 for a bowl gouge with an ellsworth grind already on it, all you need to do is learn how to use the tool and keep it sharpened.
To keep it sharpened you need a sharpening jig similar to or a Oneway Wolverine Sharpening jig, something designed to sharpen a variety of woodturning chisels and gouges. There are different manufacturer’s of this system and youtube can provide you with some homemade solutions, Eddie Castelin actually shows you how to make one of these jigs ….he also sells them. Eddie is a long time wood turner, quite a character who suffered a stroke. If you appreciate his videos, you should consider supporting him! This is his youtube channel
he is a wealth of knowledge ….he is affectionitly known as Captain Eddie!
I don’t know why, but it seems like I can write for hours….late at night. All I wanted to do is share a cool video I found that educates you on how to put an ellsworth grind or fingernail grind on a standard bowl or spindle gouge.
Why is this good?
Because you can take your cheap bowl gouge with a standard bowl grind and turn it into a fancy and effective fingernail grind ….oh, I should have mentioned it can also be called an Irish grind.
Turning an older or cheaper woodturning bowl gouge into a ellsworth grind will allow you to practice using this unique grind at little cost. If you break a 20 or 30 dollar chisel you won’t go busto! Maybe the most important aspect of this whole process is that you can learn and fine turn your woodturning gouge/chisel sharpening skills. It won’t be long before you can shape the Irish grind or Ellsworth grind on your woodturing tools, and it won’t be long before you can effectively use it.
I have yet to use an expensive woodturning gouge with the ellsworth grind such as a Sorby or Crown (Ellsworth) but all the reviews I’ve read tell me that they are a dream come true, they cut the hardest wood like butter, the sharpening last’s 3 to 6 times as long. So, maybe like you, I’m awaiting the finances to get one of the beautiful woodturning tools, the great difference being the type and hardness of the steel …but that’s for another day and another discussion.
How To Grind An Ellsworth Grind or Irish Grind on a Standard Bowl Gouge
So, watch this video about how to take a standard woodturning bowl grind and grind it down to the shape of the fingernail grind, which is the basis of the Irish and Ellsworth grinds. This is one of those videos that you don’t want to lose, after you watch it I would download it and create a folder on your computer with important woodturning videos!