How to Sharpen Your Woodturning Lathes and Gouges using a Plywood Grinding Wheel

How to Sharpen Your Woodturning Lathes and Gouges using a Plywood Grinding Wheel

oneway wolverine woodturing tool sharpening jig
Best way to sharpen your woodturing tools, gouges and chisels is the oneway wolverine sharpening jib

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 … 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.

Published on Aug 29, 2015


Hey guys, in this video I am going to be showing you my method of sharpening knives up to a razor sharpness as quickly as possible.
John Heisz’s video:…
The CNC machine used in this video was sent to me by Inventables, they are such an awesome company and you should check them out here:…

sharpening wheels and stones
Antique Sharpening Wheel Stone

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:…
Old video:…

Cheap bench grinder:…
Buffing compound:…

Please consider supporting me on Patreon for early access to videos and to help keep quality content like this coming:…

Check out my instagram for more updates:…

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

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.


Plywood sharpening system using mdf sharpening wheels

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!!!!!

wooden sharpening wheel
MDF sharpening Wheel from the Old Texas WoodCarvers Shop

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



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.


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.
  • 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.


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 …, 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!