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When to hone.

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What tools benefit from honing—skew and what else? Is there one answer or will there be dozens? What’s your technique and method?
 
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I usually hone my gouges with a diamond hone a couple times between trips to the grinder, I find that quicker than putting the gouge in the jig every time. I don't get consistent results without the jig at the grinder. I also hone the burr off a scraper before putting it to the grinder when it needs sharpened, seems to put a nicer burr on. Now you're going to get many different answers.
 

hockenbery

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As you said the skew has to be honed or it will cut poorly in the burr down direction.

You’ll get lots of answers on gouges and scraper
Most folks do quite well adopting the method taught by the mentor which work for the tools they have been taught to use.

What I do is
Skew I hone and use a charged strop wheel
Gouges I use off the grinder
Many scrapers and hollowing tools I use off the grinder
Parting tool I use off the grinder burr up
When I need a light shear scape I use a diamond card to polish the burr off then use it to strike a fine burr.

My methods will work for everybody who knows how to use the tools.
But honing works too.( better is in the eye of the honer) Honing can hurt if you roll the edge.

I sand spindles starting with 320. With the exception of some coves where I miss and need a 220 clean up
NE bowls and HFs I sand off the lathe spot sanding with 180
 
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Roger Wiegand

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Pretty much everything. I hone all of my tools dozens of times between trips to the grinder, any time the cut is harder than I think it should be or when I want to stop and look at the piece for a minute. I haven't yet found a tool that's not improved by honing, and it's much faster fpr me than stopping and going to the grinder. Scrapers especially, in my hands, benefit from polishing off the grinder burr and raising one with a burnisher; I find the burnished burr lasts a lot longer and is more readily tuned to the task at hand than the big, ragged grinder burr.

I uset to think that the burrs on gouges would be removed immediately by poking them into fast spinning wood. Examination with a microscope revealed that with tough modern tool steels that's not the case; the burrs persist surprisingly long.

My view is probably prejudiced by the fact that I've never gotten good at freehand sharpening on the grinder, so part of the process that is time consuming always involves readjusting platforms to exact angles and such. With the hone you just keep the heel and edge in contact and you're good to go in under 30 seconds.

I'm willing to bet that my finish cuts are not as good as Hockenbery's, but, for me, they are better with honing than without.
 
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I hone skews, parting tools, bedan, scrapers, burnish a burr on scrapers. I dont hone gouges due to a primary bevel thats only 1/16”-1/8” wide , and are ground on a fine grit wet wheel.
 
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I don't bother with the honing cards. Mostly this is because I sharpen on a platform so there is no using jigs. With the skew, a quick brush on the sharpening wheel, then strop to remove the burr. For stropping, I am now using bare wood, like poplar or alder. You can buy 'polishing' compounds at the big box stores. The black is about 800 or so grit. Other colors, I have no clue. You can get compounds up to 60,000 grit, but those are not practical for what we do, but good for bench chisels and plane irons. I do not strop my gouges or scrapers. Again, with the platform sharpening, there is no need. I do like a burnished burr on my scrapers for shear scraping, my final finish cut. Most of the time I will burnish the grinder burr down, and then back up. I could strop the grinder burr off, but most of the time that is not worth the effort. I did see a demo where a turner polished the burr off of his scraper and then took very light cuts to finish some hard maple that was in bowl orientation. With a very hard wood, that worked very well. On softer woods, that won't work. With gouges, I have never polished off the burr. I did a few times and it didn't seem to make any difference, and this was with wheels from 80 to 1000 grit. The finer grit wheels do make a difference if you are cutting some very punky wood. Less of a difference with solid woods.

robo hippy
 
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Honing achieves two things: it creates a keener and longer-lasting cutting edge, and it is an efficient way to resharpen. It's appropriate for any edge on which you don't want a burr. However many turners sharpen poorly, not because they don't hone, but because they grind erratically and use sharpening angles which are far coarser than they need to be. You might like to consult the new book Sharpening Woodturning Tools only available through Amazon. It provides to templates you'll need to sharpening consistently. Mike Darlow
 

Roger Wiegand

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Thinking about the title "when to hone" and it occurred to me that I often do it when I'm uncertain about a shape I'm cutting or how to approach a cut. I stop, look, contemplate, and keep my hands busy and look like I'm doing something by honing. Sharper tool aside, stopping and looking helps.
 

odie

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Thinking about the title "when to hone" and it occurred to me that I often do it when I'm uncertain about a shape I'm cutting or how to approach a cut. I stop, look, contemplate, and keep my hands busy and look like I'm doing something by honing. Sharper tool aside, stopping and looking helps.
Thanks for bringing this up, Roger! :)

I recently put up a new note on my shop wall, and without going out there to check the exact words, it goes something like this:

"Learn the art of puttering".

This one little concept is changing my turning regimen in one significant way.....it's slowing me down.....in that it's allowing more concentrated mental effort to develop. The "motor skills" are already at a high level of development, so this is not where I need advancement. Where I need improvement, is in the contemplation of zoning my focus on the wood I'm turning at the moment. This is not a general focus applied to all generic turning processes, (which it certainly includes that, too), but more of a specific focus for one specific piece of wood, and how it reacts to turning tools.

(This is very much related to another thread I started some time ago, trying to articulate what I deemed as "spiritual turning".)

Every time you put lathe tool to wood, you need to be thinking about blending your spiritual being with that available data the tool and lathe are giving you, so the intertwining of the two things can be mentally contemplated....and then improved upon.

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-o-
 
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Honing can be a contentious issue over here (England) I’ve only recently resharpened and honed some of my tools. It’s a bit cold in my workshop at the moment so I haven’t had chance to try them out yet. I’m expecting good things though. I use a belt grinder so it’s easy to swap belts to get a honed edge.
 
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Another good book referencing when to hone is "Sharpening" by Leonard Lee, the founder of Lee Valley and Veritas Tools. The book's chapters are by type of tool and in it, he has a section on chisels and turning tools that detail how honing improves overall edge wear.
 
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