How to sharpen wood lathe chisels

Written by danny donahue
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How to sharpen wood lathe chisels
A bench grinder is the proper tool to use to sharpen your chisels. (grinding lathe image by Anna Chelnokova from

A lathe is a machine that holds and spins a piece of wood as the operator holds a chisel to the wood and shapes it. Chisels become dull over time and lose their effectiveness. Sharpening your chisels will restore them to their proper working condition and give you the cleanest, safest cuts. A bench grinder is the proper tool to use for sharpening your lathe chisels.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wood lathe chisels
  • Bench grinder
  • Rag soaked in lightweight machine oil
  • Long, leather work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Protective face shield

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  1. 1

    Turn on the bench grinder and allow it to reach full speed.

  2. 2

    Grasp one of your chisels by its handle. Place your free hand on the shaft of the chisel.

  3. 3

    Press the bevelled side of the blade onto the grinder's spinning wheel. Hold the blade against the wheel for 10 seconds. Allow only the bevelled edge to touch the wheel to maintain the proper angle of the chisel blade.

  4. 4

    Inspect the blade. Hold it against the grinding wheel for another 10 seconds, then inspect the blade again. Repeat the process until the blade of the chisel is sharp and free of nicks and dings. Wipe the blade with an oil-soaked rag. Repeat this process for your other chisels.

Tips and warnings

  • Flying metal and shards from the grinding wheel pose puncture and burn hazards. Long, leather work gloves, safety glasses and a protective face shield are mandatory when sharpening metal with a grinder.

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