I created a “Sharpening and Buffing Attachment” for my wood lathe. I use it to sharpen my wood carving gouges and to buff my metal spinning tools.
It attaches to my lathe via a 4 jaw chuck in expansion mode. Thus it is cheap and easy to make.
Wood carvers often having an expensive fancy sharpening machine. It is just a bench grinder with a 7 inch MDF sharpening wheel on one side and a 6-1/4″ hard spiral sewn buffing wheel on the other side. The wheels are charged with Brown Tripoli or Red Rouge buffing compound.
My sharpening and buffing attachment is just a 7 inch MDF wheel attached to a 6″ hard spiral sewn buffing wheel from the local hardware store.
Make Your Own
Here is how you can make your own.
Purchase Buffing Wheel, Compound, Bolt & MDF
Purchase the following from local hardware store.
- 6-1/4" (or what ever size floats your boat) hard SPIRAL sewn buffing wheel. Dico is well known old brand.
- Brown tripoli or red rouge buffing compound, or what ever floats your boat. I prefer brown tripoli.
- 4" long 1/2" bolt with nut and fender washer.
- Blank for 7" diameter round piece of 3/4" wide MDF. You do NOT need a 4'x8' sheet of MDF. If you look around, you can often purchase a 2'x2' or 2'x4' piece of MDF at Home Depot, etc.
- Blanks for 5" diameter round piece of 3/4" plywood and two of 2" diameter round pieces of 3/4" plywood.
Rough Cut MDF and Plywood Blanks
- Rough cut 5" diameter 3/4" plywood circle and 7" diameter 3/4" MDF circle.
- Drill 1/8" center hole in plywood and MDF circles.
- Line up the 1/8" holes with a nail and attache the plywood to MDF with 4 drywall screws.
- Mount the chuck screw in your 4 jaw chuck on the lathe.
- Drill a hole thru both the plywood and MDF the proper size for your chuck screw. For example, a 3/8" hole for Oneway chucks.
- Mount the plywood and MDF blank on chuck with the chuck screw going into the MDF side.
- Turn the plywood round. Roughly 5" in diameter. DO NOT mess with the MDF. See #7 below.
- Turn a hole in plywood that matches the jaws on your 4 jaw chuck in expansion mode. For example, a 2-1/2" hole that is 3/8" deep for Oneway Stronghold chuck with #2 jaws.
- Reverse the plywood and MDF blank on chuck. Expand the jaws of your 4 jaw chuck into the hole you just turned in the plywood.
- Turn the MDF round. It should be around 7" in diameter. Do it at this point, rather than earlier so it now runs TRUE on chuck when mounted via hole in plywood.
- Drill (on the lathe) a 1/2" center hole all the way thru the center for 1/2" bolt.
- Rough cut two of 2" diameter 3/4" plywood circles.
- Drill 1/2" holes in center of plywood blanks.
- Attach the plywood blanks to MDF side of widget created in previous step with a 1/2" bolt all the way thru center holes.
- Turn the plywood spacers round.
Attache the 6-1/4" (or what ever size floats your boat) hard SPIRAL sewn buffing wheel to
above widget. Use 1/2" bolt with fender washers or what ever.
The soft edges of the wheel will flex. Thus, it does NOT need to run perfectly TRUE.
Charge the wheels with brown tripoli or red rouge buffing compound, or what ever floats your
boat. I prefer brown tripoli.
Hold the stick of what ever up to the wheels and rub it on with the lathe running.
How To Use
BEWARE! DO NOT use the tool rest in the lathe banjo when holding things up to the
wheels! It is not safe.
Anything you hold up the wheels should be hand held in mid air.
The tip of any tool (carving gouge, etc) MUST always point in the same direction as buffing wheel rotation.
Thus, tools should be sharpened in the down position on the wheels with the lathe running in forward. Or in the up position with the lathe running in reverse.
Google "sharpening carving gouge" for more info. There is tons of info on the web. Mother Earth News has a good "Razor Sharp Tools in Less Than Three Minutes" article here https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/razor-sharp-tools-in-less-than-three-minutes/.
One thought on “Sharpening & Buffing Lathe Attachment”
Carl, as usual, an excellent idea.
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