How to Sharpen Lathe Chisels on a Bench Grinder: A Beginner’s Guide

Lathe chisels are an essential tool for any woodturner looking to create beautiful and intricate pieces. However, keeping them sharp can be a challenge. Sharpening lathe chisels on a bench grinder can be a quick and effective solution for maintaining a keen edge.

Using a bench grinder, you can sharpen your lathe chisels to a razor-sharp point, allowing you to work effortlessly and produce clean and precise cuts. With the right technique and a little practice, you can easily sharpen your lathe chisels on a bench grinder and take your woodturning skills to the next level. So, get ready to learn how to master this art and produce stunning pieces with your lathe chisels!


If you’re a woodworker, then it’s essential to know how to sharpen lathe chisels on a bench grinder. Firstly, find the right wheel for your grinder (we recommend a 6-inch aluminum oxide wheel). Then, put on some safety glasses and clamp your tool to a tool rest to keep it steady.

Move the chisel back and forth, applying gentle pressure to grind the bevel. Ensure that you don’t overheat the tool as it can cause the steel to lose its temper. Finally, use a honing guide to sharpen the edge further and you’re good to go! Sharpening lathe chisels may seem intimidating at first, but with the right technique, it’s a task that anybody can accomplish with ease.

Explaining the Importance of Sharp Chisels

As a woodworker, having sharp chisels is paramount to achieving precise cuts and contours in your work. A chisel is essentially a sharp and narrow blade, designed to carve and shape wood. When a chisel becomes dull, it doesn’t scrape or slice cleanly through the wood, but rather creates rough and ragged edges, ruining the overall outcome of your project.

Keeping your chisels sharpened not only ensures clean cuts but also makes your work smoother, more efficient, and safer. Without well-honed chisels, it’s easy to slip and cause damage to yourself or your project. Proper chisel maintenance is an essential skill for any woodworker, and the keyword “sharp chisels” is critical to the success and quality of your woodworking projects.

how to sharpen lathe chisels on a bench grinder

Preparing Your Chisels for Sharpening

Sharpening lathe chisels on a bench grinder is an important process to ensure that your chisels are in top condition for your lathe projects. However, before you start sharpening, it is crucial to properly prepare your chisels. The first step is to remove any rust or debris from the chisels.

Next, check the blades for any chips or cracks, as these will need to be fixed before sharpening. You may also want to consider honing the chisels, which involves using oil and an abrasive surface to remove any burrs that may have formed on the edge. After preparing your chisels, you can move on to sharpening them on the bench grinder.

Remember to use the appropriate grit wheel and go slowly to avoid overheating the metal. With proper preparation, your chisels will be ready to tackle any lathe project with precision and ease.

Cleaning the Chisels

When it comes to sharpening chisels, the first step is making sure they are clean and free of any debris or rust. This not only ensures a cleaner sharpening process but can also extend the longevity of your chisels. Begin by wiping down each chisel with a dry cloth to remove any surface dirt or dust.

Then, use steel wool or a wire brush to gently scrub away any rust or caked-on debris. If necessary, use a mild solvent or oil to dissolve any stubborn grime. After cleaning, inspect the chisel to make sure no damage or wear has occurred.

Properly cleaning your chisels before sharpening can make a significant difference in the final outcome, so take the time to do it right.

Inspecting the Chisels for Damage

Inspecting your chisels for damage is an essential step in preparing them for sharpening. Before you can make any progress on honing the blade, it’s important to ensure that the tool is structurally sound. Take a close look at the chisel to see if there are any chips or cracks.

Damage on the blade can compromise its strength and stability, causing it to break or bend during use. You’ll also want to check the handle to make sure it hasn’t come loose or split. It’s better to discover these issues before you start using the chisel instead of during the cutting process.

Additionally, inspect the blade for any rust or debris buildup. Rust can corrode the metal, making it harder to achieve a good edge. Debris, on the other hand, can become lodged in the blade and impact its ability to cut effectively.

By tending to your chisels before you sharpen them, you’re ensuring that you have a tool that’s safe, functional, and ready to take on the task at hand.

Setting Up Your Bench Grinder

If you’re looking to sharpen your lathe chisels on a bench grinder, there are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the best results possible. The first step is to make sure that your bench grinder is set up properly. This means making sure that it’s securely mounted to a stable surface and that the grinding wheel is properly aligned.

You’ll also want to make sure that you have the right kind of grinding wheel for your lathe chisels. Generally, a fine grit wheel will work best for sharpening lathe chisels, as it will produce a sharper edge without removing too much material. Once your bench grinder is set up and ready to go, it’s time to begin sharpening.

Hold your chisel securely against the grinding wheel, taking care not to apply too much pressure. Move the chisel back and forth across the wheel, making sure to keep the angle consistent and to move at a steady pace. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon be able to sharpen your lathe chisels with ease using your bench grinder.

Selecting the Right Grinding Wheel

Setting up your bench grinder can be a simple yet crucial process to ensure the quality of your work. First and foremost, you need to make sure that your grinder is properly grounded to prevent electrical hazards. Mount the grinder securely on a stable surface to prevent wobbling and use the appropriate clamps to hold your workpiece in place.

When selecting the right grinding wheel, consider the material of your workpiece and the task at hand. A harder wheel is suitable for tougher materials while softer wheels are great for finer grinds. It’s also important to check the speed rating of your grinder to prevent damage to the wheels.

Overall, taking the time to properly set up your bench grinder will result in smoother grinding and more precise finishes.

Configuring the Angle of the Grinding Wheel

If you’ve recently purchased a bench grinder, you may be wondering how to configure the angle of the grinding wheel. It’s important to set up your bench grinder correctly to ensure that you get the best possible results when sharpening tools or shaping metal. The angle of the grinding wheel is a critical factor in achieving the desired results, and it’s easy to adjust if you know what you’re doing.

First, you’ll need to determine the angle you want for your job. You can use a protractor or angle guide to find the right angle. Once you have the angle, you’ll need to adjust the tool rest to the correct height and secure it in place with the necessary bolts.

Then, you can adjust the grinding wheel’s angle by loosening the locking screw and rotating the wheel until it matches the desired angle. Tighten the screw, and you’re ready to go. By setting up your bench grinder correctly, you’ll get the results you need for a wide variety of tasks.

Sharpening Your Chisels

If you’re looking to improve the quality of your woodturning projects, then you need to learn how to sharpen your lathe chisels. A bench grinder is an excellent tool for sharpening chisels, but it can also be dangerous if used improperly. To get started, make sure you have the correct grinding wheel, ideally a 120-grit fine aluminum oxide wheel.

Next, adjust the tool rest to the correct angle for your chisel, and turn on the grinder. Hold the chisel firmly against the rest and move it back and forth across the wheel, being careful not to apply too much pressure. If you notice the chisel getting hot, dip it in water to cool it down.

Repeat the process on the other side. When you’re finished, use a honing stone to remove any burrs and give your chisel a razor-sharp edge. Remember to wear eye protection and take breaks as needed to avoid fatigue.

With practice, you’ll soon be sharpening your lathe chisels like a pro!

Grinding the Bevel

Grinding the bevel is an essential part of sharpening your chisels. The bevel is the angled surface that meets the edge of the blade, and it’s what you’ll be grinding down to create a sharp edge. To get started, you’ll need to secure your chisel in a vice, making sure it’s held firmly in place.

Then, use a grinding stone to shape the bevel. This process can take some time, so be patient. It’s important to keep the bevel flat and consistent, so take your time and use a light touch.

Once you’ve ground the bevel to the desired angle, you can move on to honing the edge, which involves using a finer stone to refine and polish the bevel. With practice, you’ll be able to sharpen your chisels quickly and efficiently, producing clean cuts that are essential for woodworking projects. So, take the time to sharpen your chisels correctly, and you’ll be amazed at how much easier your woodworking projects become.

Removing Any Burrs or Rough Edges

When it comes to chisels, sharpening them is a key part of maintaining their longevity and usefulness. But sharpening is not the only step in the process. After you have sharpened them, it’s essential to remove any burrs or rough edges that may have developed.

These rough spots can not only make your chisels uncomfortable to use, but they can also create chips or other types of damage, leading to a shortened lifespan. To remove burrs and rough edges, it’s best to use a honing stone or a fine-grit sandpaper. Move the chisel back and forth gently, being careful not to apply too much pressure, until all the rough spots have been removed.

Taking the extra time to do this will ensure that your chisels stay sharp and effective for years to come.

Tips and Tricks for Better Results

One of the most important components of woodworking with a lathe is sharpening lathe chisels. It’s crucial to ensure that they are sharp and well-maintained to achieve optimal results. Using a bench grinder is an excellent way to sharpen your lathe chisels, and it’s relatively simple with the right techniques.

Begin by setting the grinder at the correct angle; a 20-degree angle is recommended. Once you have set the angle correctly, use light pressure from both your hands to sharpen the chisels. Avoid pressing too hard, as it can cause the chisel to heat up, leading to micro-fractures and quickly dulling the edge.

It’s also essential to regularly cool the chisels with water while sharpening. Remember, a well-sharpened chisel will not only make your woodworking work easier but will also give you a beautiful finish. If you’ve never sharpened lathe chisels before, using a bench grinder is an excellent starting point.

Sharpening them correctly will make a considerable difference in the finished product.

Maintaining the Correct Angle

Maintaining the correct angle is one of the essential factors to obtain better results in woodworking or any other cutting task. However, it’s not always easy to maintain the right angle, especially if you’re new to the craft. To get the best results, you will need to follow some tips and tricks that will help you maintain the correct angle.

First, ensure that you have the right tools for the task. Using tools that are not meant for the job can make it harder for you to maintain the correct angle. You also need to keep your eyes on the tool’s blade or cutting edge to ensure that it doesn’t move from the correct position.

Additionally, use a bevel gauge to measure the angle while you work, and practice your technique until you get a feel for it. Remember, mastering the skill of maintaining the correct angle takes time, so be patient. With these tips, you can be sure to achieve better results.

Avoiding Overheating the Chisel

When it comes to woodworking, overheating the chisel is a common problem that can affect the quality of your work. If the chisel becomes too hot, it can weaken the metal or cause it to warp, resulting in a dull and unreliable edge. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks you can follow to avoid overheating your chisel and achieve better results.

Firstly, always work with a sharp chisel to avoid putting too much pressure on the blade, which can generate more heat. Secondly, make sure to use the right technique when sharpening your chisel to prevent any uneven bevels that can contribute to overheating. Lastly, take regular breaks between chiseling and dip your chisel into a container of water to cool it down.

By following these simple steps, you can improve your chiseling technique and avoid overheating your chisel, saving you time and money in the long run.


In conclusion, sharpening lathe chisels on a bench grinder is like turning a block of wood into a magnificent piece of art. With a steady hand and the right technique, you can transform a dull tool into a razor-sharp instrument of precision. Just remember to wear protection, take your time, and never compromise on quality.

So grab your chisels, fire up the grinder, and let’s make some magic happen!”

Summarizing the Importance of Sharpening Chisels Regularly

Sharpening chisels regularly is crucial, as dull chisels can lead to frustration and subpar results in projects. When chisels are not sharpened, they produce rough and uneven cuts, making it difficult to achieve a smooth and precise finish. In addition, a dull chisel requires more force to make a cut, which can lead to slip-ups and injuries.

By sharpening your chisels, you not only improve your workmanship but also extend the lifespan of your tools. To achieve better results, you can start by selecting the appropriate sharpening stone, oil, and technique based on the type of chisel you have. The goal is to maintain a consistent angle while taking off the least amount of material possible.

As with any skill, sharpening chisels takes practice, so don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting it right the first time. With patience and persistence, you’ll be able to sharpen your chisels like a pro and excel in your craft.


What equipment do I need to sharpen lathe chisels on a bench grinder?
You will need a bench grinder, a sharpening jig, and a set of lathe chisels.

How do I set up a sharpening jig for lathe chisels on a bench grinder?
First, adjust the angle on the sharpening jig to match the angle on your lathe chisel. Then, secure the jig onto the bench grinder and set the grinder’s speed to high.

How do I properly hold a lathe chisel while sharpening it on a bench grinder?
Hold the chisel with both hands at a comfortable and secure grip. Keep the blade in contact with the jig at all times while sharpening.

What is the correct angle to sharpen a lathe chisel on a bench grinder?
The most common angle for lathe chisels is 60 degrees. However, some chisels may require a different angle depending on their specific use.

How often should I sharpen my lathe chisels on a bench grinder?
It depends on the frequency of use and the type of wood you’re working with. As a general rule, you should sharpen your chisels after every project or when you notice a decrease in performance.

Can I sharpen other tools besides lathe chisels on a bench grinder?
Yes, you can use a bench grinder to sharpen other tools such as knives, scissors, and garden tools.

Can I damage my lathe chisels while sharpening them on a bench grinder?
Yes, you can damage your chisels if they overheat, are not properly secured, or if you grind too much material away. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take your time to ensure a proper sharpening job.

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