How To Sharpen Lathe Tools By Hand

Roupe, router, and other tools that require a hand-held sharpening system are usually mounted on a handle. This allows you to easily change the angle at which you sharpen the tool.

The different angles create different amounts of grit in your file. A very slight angle of 45 degrees produces less grit in your file than an angle of 90 degrees.

We will discuss how to use a router in this article, but the same principles apply to a table-top router or disc-type router.

Choose a good grit

When sharpening a tool, its grit must be matched to the tool you are working with. Some tools require different grades of grit, while others do not.

A router can be Router-Rift! Once you have the right grade of router bit, you will know what tools will work with it.

The routable tools like routers and angleswing tables have one kind of bit that requires special attention to make sure it is completely flush against the plane bottom. These kinds of tools need new grain on them so they fit correctly into the plane bottom.

The other ones do not need new grain on them but they may need new dust on them to prevent clash while machining. Either way, looking for good grits when sharpening can make a huge difference in how your tools function.

Ensure the metal is flat

If you are using a chisel or a router, it is very important that you make sure the metal is flat. You can do this by holding the tool in your hand, or by placing a rag or piece of cloth on the tool to prevent sanding.

To ensure this, hold the router at an angle when sanding and sliding the router along the workpiece. If you hold the router with both hands, one hand must be on top to regulate speed and the other to control clearance.

To ensure this works for lathe tools, they must be smooth on one side and rounded on the other. If they are sharp, try flipping them over to round them out a bit.

Find the correct angle

When sharpening a tool, you want to find the angle that gives you the most stability. This means getting your material under the angle of the tools and working against it to bring it up.

Pivoting is one way to do this. You hold the tool at an angle and rotate the disk until it looks smooth. This requires a little practice and concentration, though. You want to be careful not to overshoot or the tool can become brittle.

Another way to get the same effect is by finding a centered spot on the tool and then stepping away from that spot outward. This may require more time and effort spent looking for where you want the center to be.

Use a protractor to find the angle

Most common ways to sharpening lathe tools by hand is by using a protractor and finding the correct angle for the chuck against the work.

This method requires a little more practice and skill, but it can be very rewarding. By finding the angle correctly, you can then easily round off your cornering cuts.

You can also use a Dremel Tool or other rotary tool, but this requires some forethought and skill. When using a Dremel, you must be careful not to iron out the plastic housing of the tool. You can also use an emery board or chisel point set, but these require some special care when using because they are hard to see without looking for them.

Use a sharpening stone

Instead of using a whetstone, you can use a sharpening stone. A sharpening stone contains tiny diamond-shaped grains that are set in their path. When you sand the area around the stone, the stone will create tiny diamond-shaped groves on your sanding surface. These groves can be used to sharpen most types of tools including knives, routers, and planes.

Maintain your sharpening equipment

When you go to sharpen your lathe tools, you should be taking care of your equipment. You want to be practicing your techniques on scrap material, so that you are familiar with how the tool works and how to improve it.

You can buy some books and videos, but in the end you have to practice what you learn. It takes time to get the hang of it, but after a few tries you will do it!

Some tips when practicing your sharpening techniques: Use a light source for lightness, avoid direct sunlight when possible, and avoid cutting too deep into the wood. You want to make sure that your sharpener is able to bring the wood back to its natural state.

If you need help with putting away your equipment at work or getting them sharpened, look up websites such as YouTube or email companies like for help.

Don’t get lazy with sharpening tools

When trying to give your lathe a rich, smooth surface, it is important to be careful. You want hard wood pieces to be rounded at the bottom, and sharp at the top.

When trying to create a smooth surface on your tool, you must remove some material from the bottom of the tool and leave a little bit of material on top. This process helps redistribute stress across the tool and gives you a better finish.

Tools can sometimes get crowded space wise when being finished. If you have very small tools that you need to finish in one shot, use two separate tools joined together for the sake of speed. This will require some getting used to, but once done it will save time!

The hardest part about giving your tools their own look is taking time to watch your work and make sure you are putting enough pressure on the next pass.

Keep your tools clean

When working with hard, sharp tools such as an anchor lathe, a hand drill, or a bandsaw fence, it is important to keep them clean.

Handle them lightly and let them dry before working with them again. A damp tool will result in a tough time working with it and removing some of the polish resulting from the prior operation.

Even lightly used tools may require a little cleaning between projects to ensure you are obtaining full coverage and coverage of the final product. To keep tools clean, scrub them thoroughly in a eraser-backed cloth followed by a dry cloth before beginning another project.

Consider getting some new tools but they may be hard to afford every time you need new ones.