The advantage of plain ol' M2 steel........

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by odie, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I find 2 things that help learn when to sharpen. 1st is to have a second gouge handy. When you pick it up and use it you can feel the difference. Then its kind of fun to use the other gouge just to learn the feel. If you feel like your having to work to turn then it probably needs to be sharpened. The other method I use is to try and take a really shallow cut, maybe .010" or so. If the gouge comes out of the wood or simply won't cut that fine of a cut then it isn't as sharp as it could be. Now I don't sharpen 25 times per bowl. I take pretty large cuts when roughing so I can usually get it close to the final size on one sharpening of say the inside. Then I will sharpen and make some cuts down to final size looking for any tearout or how clean it's cutting. Then I may sharpen again to get the final cuts and need be one more time. Same for the outside. Kind of depends on the wood. I turned an Ash bowl the other day that was really hard. Took quite a few sharpenings to get through that one.
     
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  2. odie

    odie

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    One thing to consider, is if you don't keep your tools to a very high degree of sharpness, and use a tool that could/should be sharpened......you risk the likelihood of disrupting the wood beneath the surface. This may not be readily apparent to the eye, but it WILL cause difficulty when you do the necessary sanding, and finishing.

    This is very much like shaving with a used blade, as opposed to a fresh blade. You can feel the difference, and you can feel the drag as the blade tries to cut the whiskers. It's not only pulling on the whisker itself, but it's pulling on the whisker beneath the surface......a dull tool will likewise pull on the wood fibers beneath the surface......even though it's sharp enough to cut the wood at the surface......therein lies the problem. Regardless, you know as well as I that you can get a clean shave with a blade that isn't as sharp as it could be.......that flawed thinking is what gives some turners the thought they are getting good surface quality straight from the tool, when it's not really as good as it could be........it looks good, and it feels good, but it's just not as good as it could be. :(

    -----odie-----
     
  3. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Being able to tell when the tool is dull is a learned process that gets better as you sharpen more. It is a 'sensitivity' thing about being able to 'feel' how the wood is cutting. For most beginners, this light starts to come on when they have a dull tool sharpened properly, either by them or the instructor, then they start to cut again. With my Big Ugly tool, I can rough out bowls for an hour or 3 without needing to touch up the edge, but it is a roughing tool, and most of the time not as good for fine finish cuts. I was recently blown away when I honed the bevel on the Big Ugly (tantung cutter, a cast metal similar to carbide but rather coarse, and you can sharpen on standard grinding wheels). That varies according to the woods mostly, and wet or dry wood can make a difference. I don't think there is ever a one size fits all solution. Most of the time, probably not even a one size fits most...

    robo hippy
     
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  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    First I would have to decide if I want to use the dry grinder or the Tormek which requires thinking which means that I would need to sit down on the patio with a Dr Pepper and enjoy the Autumn weather while thinking this through. I have my lathe rolled outdoors so I could go into the garage where I have my Tormek which would take about two minutes including time to go to the fridge and get another DP. Alternatively, I could go to the shed and stumble through the clutter to get to the dry grinder. Figure on three minutes which includes time lost because of tripping over a pile of wood and spilling my DP.

    Somehow it seems less complicated to just have all my bowl gouges right next to my DP on the tailgate of my pickup truck just a few feet from my lathe. Speaking of DP, has anyone here not had the pleasure of enjoying a DP float made with Blue Bell Home Made Vanilla ice cream?
     
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  5. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I see that your sharp tool consultant is checking the shavings to see if they were cut cleanly. :D

    Fadi, take note of how the tool cuts when first sharpened and how it is currently cutting.have you gone from shavings to chips and dust? Are you pushing the tool in order to get it to cut?
     
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  6. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Odie I understand your analogy about the razor blade but in my opinion if you have to sharpen 25 times to do a bowl then you might want to invest in new tools. :)
     
  7. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    I don't do DP.....but have bil who does.....I think he mainly uses peanuts to add taste.....I try to keep drink/food out of shop area.....when I get that shaky..shaky feeling know to snack.....preferable with diet cola......plays hell with turning wet wood.....
     
  8. odie

    odie

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    Hiya John......all depends on what level of sharp I intend to maintain! The short grey line, as opposed to the long grey line enters into the overall reasoning, as well! :D

    I find that a higher quality of tool finish is well worth the effort......especially when it comes time to sand! I suppose it wouldn't make that much difference to those who only turn simple shapes that are easy to sand, but if there are multiple details, then it does make a huge difference. ;)

    Keep in mind that I hone about 10 times before I go back to the grinder......so, 25 re-sharpenings are only using the grinder 2-3 times. ;)

    -----odie-----
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I've never kept count of how many times I sharpen. I might surprise myself if I actually did keep count. Of course, there are so many things that come into play like size of bowl, wood hardness, how dry the wood is, desired surface quality, which tool I'm using, etc.
     
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  10. Jon Minerich

    Jon Minerich

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    As a newby turner, it took me a long time to know when to sharpen my tools. Now, after a year or two, I can “feel” when my tools need sharpenening. Before every job I sharpen the tools I think I will need. This is no big deal because it is normally just one or two. I don’t have the exotic tools many of you folks use, just basic Packard Tools. So, yes I probably go to the grinder more often. Because of this I have improved my sharpenening skills and it doesn’t take me long to touch up an edge. Also, I practice on pine (construction scraps that I glue up) and have discovered that pine requires sharp tools or it will get fuzzy or tear out quicker than some hardwoods. So my advice for newby’s when it comes to sharpening is: practice, practice, practice.
     
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  11. Jon Spelbring

    Jon Spelbring

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    I like to sharpen like people vote in Chicago; early and often ;-)

    But seriously, folks. I have found that the M42 steel leaves a more significant burr on the inside of my gouges than M2 - quick to get rid of, but an extra step.
     
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