How to Build a Sharpening Jig for Woodturning Tools

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Things You'll Need

  • Bench grinder with adjustable tool rest
  • 6-inch section of 1-inch-wide angle iron
  • C-clamp

To turn spindles, bowls and other items on a lathe, a wood-turner must have a variety of specialty chisels and gouges to form the required profiles. To cut properly, these wood-turning tools must be sharpened regularly. Because of the curved shape of some gouges, honing these wood-turning tools can be tricky to freehand. However, you can build a sharpening jig for wood-turning tools that can convert any bench grinder with an adjustable tool rest into a wood-turning tool grinder.

Turn off the bench grinder. Raise the blade guard in front of the grinding wheel.

Place the angle iron on the tool rest so the angle iron's long side is perpendicular to the front, flat grinding edge of the grinding wheel. Position the edge of the angle iron at least 1/2 inch away from the grinding wheel. Clamp the angle iron onto the tool rest with a C-clamp.

Place a gouge into the "V" of the angle iron, with the cutting edge against the stationary grinding wheel. Loosen the wing nut on the tool rest. Adjust the angle of the jig so that the bottom edge of the gouge is flat against the grinding wheel. Tighten the wing nut to secure the jig in position.

Ease the gouge away from the grinding wheel, and turn on the grinder. Slide the gouge forward until it just engages the grinding wheel, while holding the side of the gouge into the "V" of the angle iron.

Rotate the gouge with your wrist, grinding the entire semicircular shape of the gouge. Grind for no more than two to three seconds at a time to avoid overheating the tool. Dip the tool into a cup of water to cool it between grindings.


  • When using a bench grinder, wear long sleeves and safety glasses to protect against flying sparks.