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Oh the wait.

Sharpening my lathe chisels is like waking up for work every morning. You hate doing it, but you have to do it all the time, and the results are awesome.

Well I have been spoiled. About two weeks ago I found an old Grizzly Vickimg Slow-Speed Grinder from 1996 on FB Marketppace for a 1/6th of the original selling price. Everything worked well enough on the unit. The main grinding wheel is 2” thick, 10” diameter, 220 grit sharpening stone wheel which turn at 60 rpm. The wheel also sits in a puddle of water, and when the wheel spins, the water is brought up the wheel to the grinding surface to kept the tool you are sharpening cool. Well as it turns out, the wheel was slightly lopsided, and when I would sharpen (sucessfully I might add) the chisels the chiseling would ride the lopsidedness. So I grabbed a chisel and sharpeners, and sharpened all my lathe chisel quickly and efficiently.

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After I honed the chisel evenly, I set out to flatten the lopsided wheel. So I took a grinding stone and clamped it to the adjustable table adjacent to the grinding wheel and set it up so that it would scrap all the larger ends of the wheel and let it run while I worked slept, readjusting it after work and after I awoke.

Well, on day three, the grinding wheel wasn’t spinning!

Oh no!!

Oh no!!

Do now comes the waiting game. Not my favorite part of woodworking. Waiting for Grizzly to send me a new gear! I can’t turn until I get it. WHY? Cause the type of acrylic I am using (inlace acrylester) it VERY brittle and requires a sharp chisel. In fact, after every turn, o have to re-sharpen it. I do have a diamond honing stone, which I can use to hoe it, but it takes a long time and it is hard to get a consistent sharp edge around the entire chisel edge (it is not a flat edge, it is a round edge). So if I hone it on the diamond stone, then while turning some angles that I hold the chisel at will cut the acrylic blank the way it should… smooth and easy. But other angles almost do nothing to the blank. Meaning I have to use more force digging into the blank. This in turn means one of two things could happen:

  1. I push and push on the blank with the chisel while twisting the chisel trying to find a cutting edge that was sharpened properly, and all of the sudden I get an unexpected really sharp edge and my chisel digs into the pen blank way to much, and now I have to try and salvage the pen, or scrap it and start a new pen.

  2. I make the blank EXPLODE on the lathe (if it’s not rounded off)! So much force being applied into a dull blade, the amount of energy from the lathe being transferred into the blank then into the dull chisel creates a weak point in the squared acrylic blank that the blank shatters.

So, I sit and I wait for the gear, so that that one day when the gear gets here, I can install it and I may hone with ease and efficiency!

Nick Valenza