What angles do you grind your turning tools?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Tim Leiter, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. Tim Leiter

    Tim Leiter

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    I read Dennis J Gooding's post regarding the design characteristics about blunt but sharp turning tools and the way they cut the wood as it is turning on the lathe. I am not sure I followed this post at all but this brought up a question that I have often wondered about. I typically grind my spindle gouges to around a 35 degree angle, my skews to around 30 degrees and roughing gouges to around 40 degrees. I only turn smaller items so I don't use bowl gouges anymore so I don't know the angle I used anymore but you may want to include yours for the benefit of other turners.
    My question is which angles do you typically use when you are sharpening your turning chisels?
    Tim.
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I usually sharpen my spindle gouges about 30 degrees.
    Detail gouge at 35-40 or 60

    Skew about 30

    Shallow roughing gouge about 35
    U roughing gouge about 40

    I sharpen all these tools by hand so I start with the bevel that is there So they can drift one or the other a degree or two.
     
  3. odie

    odie

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    Skews are about 30-35°

    Bowl Gouges about 35-40°

    Scrapers are about 70° +/-

    SRG is about 38° (I only have one)

    Like most turners, the angles vary somewhat. The information is not a constant, and the exact angles are more for communication between turners. I can remember trying to duplicate exact angles at one time, but have evolved to eyeballing it. The performance you get, has more to do with the hands that hold the tool, than any exact angle.

    One interesting thing, is I took out some old gouges recently, and began using them again. As the grind proceeds up the ground flute at the very end, the angle increases.......but, I'm not seeing a whole lot of difference in how it can perform. For me, the most important thing is how sharp the cutting edge is, and the angle is secondary. You can take any tool that is ground to an approximate angle, and the only real difference is with the skill in which it's used.
    -----odie-----
    IMG_3288.JPG
     
  4. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    Odie,

    Those old gouges could be ground into great point tools.

    Rich
     
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  5. Tim Leiter

    Tim Leiter

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    Thanks Odie, that makes a lot of sense, (you didn't post the angles for your spindle gouges?), thanks as well to Hockenbery. I'm happy that I am using the approximate angle of my chisels that are used by others that have posted. Mine vary a little at times because I also grind by eyeballing them but I need to double check with one of my angle guides to regrind some a little bit once in a while. I just sharpened and corrected the angles on at least a dozen tools this past week and that is why my question came to mind.
    Tim.
     
  6. odie

    odie

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    Tim.......my spindle gouges are also about 30, but I must say that I am not an experienced spindle turner. I believe most expert spindle turners have theirs a bit more acute an angle than I have mine.....so, take that for what it's worth! o_O

    Right from the start, I've always been a bowl/platter turner, and my interests haven't wavered. :D

    It is my opinion that taming a cross grain bowl to behave is a whole 'nuther ball game that has it's own unique difficulties.....and although I feel I'm gaining ground constantly, I am still not the bowl turner, I think I can become. (If that attitude never changes, I'll never stagnate, and the future will always be something to look forward to!)

    -----odie-----
     
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  7. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    The only angle I have ever measured is bowl gouge at 55. Not my take on angles is similar to Odie's . The angle is not critical, SHARP is . No matter the angle you have to have it sharp and then learn how to use the angle you grind to. What I am saying is that each different angle requires different handling to achieve results and learning to use that angle is critical to success.
     
  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    My skews are all about 40° included angle.

    My "normal" spindle gouges are 30° to 35°, but my Cindy Drozda spindle gouge is probably 25°.

    My SRG is 45°. I think that my detail gouge is also 45°.

    My bowl gouges range between 45° and 65°. I think that I have seven or eight and still looking for the one that will be my key to greatness. :D

    I use a Tormek for most of my sharpening so the edge angles don't drift much.

    After watching SB demo his style of sharpening a NRS I am gradually reshaping mine to have an included angle of about 60° and also grind the top and bottom to the same profile. I've been putting a pulled bur on all of my scrapers for at least a decade using a burnishing rod. Now that SB is doing it for the NRS, it's all the rage in NRS sharpening. He demonstrated that a grinder "bur" will only last for a few seconds while the hand formed bur (aka, pulled bur) will last 45 seconds for the wood that he was turning.
     
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  9. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Lately I've been changing things slightly. Mostly due to sharpening ease. I used to have all sorts of angles. Whatever I thought best for that tool. This required having different jigs to set the Oneway Wolverine jig or moving to another sharpening system. Of course part of that was playing with the different sharpening systems to try and understand why/if one is better than the other. Now I'm going back to what should be. Ease of sharpening so it becomes a very simple task that can be repeated accurately and with minimal effort.
    So what I'm using right now is the slow speed grinder with the Oneway system. I have the V arm on one side with a 180 CBN wheel. The V arm is locked in one position and never moves. It sharpens my swept wing bowl gouges at a 55 degree nose or close I wasn't picky when I set it I had been using the same grind and clamped the arm there. To sharpen my spindle and detail gouges which are 35 degrees I use the same V arm setting but put a V block in the V slot. I put the Wolverine jig in front of that V block. This moves the spindle gouges up the stone to give me the 35 degrees. On the other side of the grinder is a 120 grit white wheel. It has the Roborest set permantly at 45 degrees. Because of the way it bumps against my Oneway jig I can lock it in the same position all the time if I have to remove it. This position actually gives me less than 45 degrees but not 40. I sharpen my Stewart batty ground bowl gouge and one wide spindle gouge free hand at that setting. This also works great for my negative rake scrapers. I have ground them on both sides to that same angle so when I wear the burr off I just flip the tool and grind the other side for a new burr.
    when I grind my skews I move the Roborest to the CBN side and set it to 35. I hone my skews for the vast majority of it's sharpenings so I rarely have to use the Roborest in that position.
    Parting tools are sharpened free hand. I have 6 that for whatever reason have a slightly different grind. It's easy to just do those by eye and feel.
    I'm still playing with the strip sander and Tormek. I'm leaning toward the Tormek but just don't have all the jigs I need to true the stone and do bowl gouge grinds. I will let you know what I think once I get all of these (which of course costs way too much money) I didn't like the Tormek in my old shop because I had to remove the water each night during the winter because my shop would freeze on occasions. In my new well insulated shop that isn't a problem so I'm going to see if leaving the water in there is a good or bad thing.
    My Hunter tools of course all stay the same angle ( about 30 degrees) and never need sharpening. :)
     
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  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    You shouldn't leave the wheel sitting in the water overnight or else you will wind up with the wheel frozen to the shaft because of corrosion (even if you have the stainless steel shaft with the LH threaded EZ Lock nut. But you don't always need to completely remove the water tray ... just lower it so that the wheel is out of the water ... doing this easily takes a little practice with tray empty and studying how the tray latches into position. Once you get proficient you will be able to smoothly move the tray up and down and latch it in place with the greatest of ease.

    If your Tormek is an older model like mine that has the older water tray without a magnet to collect the filings, here is a solution that I posted in the Tormek forum about nine years ago:

    image.jpeg

    Many Tormek users place small super magnets in the water tray to collect metal filings which helps to keep the stone clean. However cleaning the fine metal powder from the magnet is a messy and somewhat tough job because of the high strength of the magnets. I use a slightly different approach in which I use one of the larger 3/4 inch super magnets glued to the bottom of the tray near the back edge as shown in the photo. I used a product called "Goop" which does a good job of adhering to the plastic. Other adhesives like epoxy and super glue have poor adhesion to the plastic. After the Goop dried, I applied a thick coating of Goop over the magnet for two reasons.
    • To make it easier to remove any metal particles from the outside
    • To prevent the tray from grabbing the lower frame of the Tormek when the tray is removed to dump the water
    After the second application of Goop cured, I used my belt sander to flatten it to about 3/32 inch thick (this can be seen in the inset to the picture). This step isn't necessary, but it helps the water tray to sit more level without rocking when I lower it to get the stone out of the water, but don't plan to dump the water.

    BTW, John, if you have the older style water tray like mine that doesn't have the flared sides, I personally think it is better for sharpening turning tools because the flared sides on the new style water tray can sometimes interfere with sharpening certain bowl gouge grinds. I have both water trays and I very rarely use the new one.
     
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  11. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    So true, Gerald. If there is ever a 10 Commandments of Woodturning, this should be one of the first!

    In my experience, the steeper the angle of bowl gouge, the longer it takes to develop a basic level of competence using it.

    The other bowl gouge I like to use on steeper bowl is the bottom-of-the-bowl gouge at around 75 degrees for most bottoms, and one in the low 80s for very steep bowls or removing fine amounts—though the low 80s BOB doesn't seem to cut as clean as 70-70 degrees in softer woods.
     
  12. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Well, I have some of just about everything in grind angles because I HAVE to experiment... So, preferred bowl gouges are 45/45 because the 40/40 is just too pointy for me, more of a hybrid detail gouge. My BOB tools are mostly 70 degree bevels. I have some 60 degree beveled bowl gouges, but just find the 70 to work and fit better in the transition and across the bottom of the bowl. The 55 to 60 degree bevels are more of a 'one tool does it all' tool, which works, but the more specialized tools work better/easier for me. It may have been Stuart Batty who commented that more blunt bevel angles take more pressure to push through a cut. That is possible, but when I use that type of gouge, it is for finish cutting and not bulk stock removal. Detail type gouges are all around 35 degrees. SRG is 45 degrees, but I seldom use it as other tools work better.

    I have been playing around with the NRS/skew chisel a lot, particularly for peeling cuts and spindle work. I am starting to think that the 25/25 skew does a better/cleaner peeling cut than the 30/30 does. I can't tell that it either is better when using as a skew chisel. I can take a honed, or a honed and burnished shear scraper and get just as clean of a surface as I can with a skew, which could be my skew skills and not the tools. I can get the same clean cuts with a honed Big Ugly tool which surprised me since the Tantung metal is rather coarse compared to micro grained carbide. I do have one Big Ugly with Stellite as the cutting metal, and it is slightly finer than the Tantung. For the NRS, I have a number of 30/30 types, and a couple of 60/30, and 70/30. The more blunt angles ones seem to cut better with a burnished burr than a grinder burr. The skew type NRS cuts about the same with a grinder burr or a very light burnished burr. If I take that burnished burr and turn it down to the other side, I can hear the old burr breaking off, kind of like celophane krinkling noises, but it still turns a nice burr. Care must be taken to keep the burnisher no more than 10 degrees off of the bevel angle, so almost parallel rather than at 70 or 80 degrees which makes too much of a hook.

    I do all of my shear scraping with scrapers. I have been doing a lot of experimenting with 3 different edges. Grinder burrs, 180 and 600 grit, honed with no burr at all, and burnished burrs. I am, at present anyway, preferring the burnished burr for the cleanest surfaces. For most shear scraping, it seems that the 180 grit grinder burr does a fine job. The honed and no burr edge also is really clean.

    I don't use swept back gouges at all any more. Only thing I can think of to use them for is shear scraping. I do need to do a comparison with the same steel to see if the more acute included angles of the gouge wing will make a cleaner cut than the more blunt angle of the scrapers I use. I don't think it would ever work to try to burnish a burr on gouges...

    robo hippy
     
  13. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Reed,

    When you say 25/25 skew is that the same as a 50° included angle?
     
  14. Tim Leiter

    Tim Leiter

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    Wow..............All this information from my initial question is a lot better and more that I expected. I make small items as the bowl type turnings just have no market that I can find around here and I really don't like making them. I mainly do pens, mechanical pencils, seam rippers and a few other small turnings, the seam rippers especially are hot sellers for me. Lately I have been using my versa-chisels ground at approximately 35 degrees and they work great. I wanted to again try my skews and 1/2" or so spindle gouges and I can't believe the trouble I have been having to get an efficient and smooth cut. I don't know what happened as I used to use those tools with no problems whatsoever. That is the main reason for my question. I am wondering if I inadvertently changed the bevel angles on my spindle gouges and skews. I am grinding some of the angles that you fellas use to see if I can get back to using more of my chisels efficiently. A couple terms of what has been posted is like "greek" to me and I have to do some research.
    Thank you gentlemen so much...
    Tim.
     
  15. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The skew and, to a lesser extent, the spindle gouge require frequent use to maintain proficiency I used to be pretty good with the skew, but then basically quit using it except as a scraper to create tenons. Then I discovered after years of not using it for spindle turning that I was back at square one ... or maybe it's square zero. :D For sure, it's an humbling tool. On the positive side, it's great for scraping mud and cow patties off my boots.
     
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  16. Tim Leiter

    Tim Leiter

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    Thanks Bill you are most likely correct. Maybe the angles on my skews and spindle gouges were correct. Luckily I haven't changed them all yet. I was waiting to see which grind works best for me. After some practice I will probably go back and use my original angles on my chisels.
    Thanks again for the reply Bill. (Oh and I live in a city in Central Michigan....no cows. lol.)
    Tim.
     
  17. john lucas

    john lucas

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    What I learned when I was teaching class is that a less acute edge is easier for new turners to use. Now I'm not tallking about really blunt. Backing a skew off from 25 degrees to 35 or 40 really helps new turners. Same is true with spindle gouges. As you get better then you can make the edge more acute. A more acute edge cuts cleaner which is why you should go there in the long run.
     
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  18. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Yes, I do believe all skew chisels are ground with the same bevel angle on both sides. Not all NRS's are. More variance with the NRS.

    robo hippy
     
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  19. john lucas

    john lucas

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    The only reason I grind my negative rake scraper equal on both sides is I can just flip the tools and go to the grinder to get a new burr. I have 2 other negative rake scrapers that only have a short bevel on the top. You have to be careful when making those to keep the included angle less than 90 degrees.
     
  20. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    John, what I am still trying to figure out with the NRS is the exact role that the included angles play. I know Stuart Batty claims that they only work, or work better with that angle being less than 90 degrees. I can get good results with more blunt angles. It also seems that the burnished burr works fine if you don't over burnish and put too much of a hook on them. Still experimenting with these ideas.

    robo hippy
     

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