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Thread: Hone, Strop?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Colby, Washington. Just across the Puget Sound from Seattle, near Blake Island.

    Hone, Strop?

    Does anyone hone or strop your tools after sharpening? Does it make a significant difference?
    Russell Neyman.

    Writer - Woodworker - Historian
    Past President, Olympic Peninsula Woodturners
    West Puget Sound, Washington State

    "Outside of a dog, there's nothing better than a good book; inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

  2. #2
    Russell, you have opened one of the more debated issues in turning! There are a lot of threads in which it has been discussed, and I am guessing you will get a lot of responses.

    Left click my name for homepage link.

  3. #3
    For sure it is worth it for the skew. Debatable if it is practical for most gouges. I have done it to scrapers where I hone all of the burr off, and I can get pretty good surfaces on bowl grain if I take very gentle cuts. Still learning. I was never able to get satisfactory results with hand honing, but with the leather wheel on the Tormek, it does a better job, at least for me...

    robo hippy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    E TN, near Knoxville

    yes and no, mostly yes

    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Neyman View Post
    Does anyone hone or strop your tools after sharpening? Does it make a significant difference?
    Yes, this seems to get discussed repeatedly. But you ask a broad question. Keep in mind that any answer you get comes from a perspective which may be different from yours. Which tools? What kind of honing? Stropping on leather or wood?? And perhaps very important, what kind of turning - dry/wet, small/large, spindle/face, hollowing/other, rough/finishing? What kind of wood, soft maple/hard black locust? What level of excellence is the goal?

    I like to turn dry wood, often very hard exotic woods. I like finish cuts that need no coarse sanding. I turn a lot of spindles, boxes, and small things but also some large things. I personally hone the grinder burr from all tools, raise a burr with a carbide burnisher if needed, and strop SOME tools after sharpening with 1200 grit CBN. If I ground with a coarser wheel I would hone first then strop. As tools get dull I MAY hone/strop several more times before resharpening. I often start with the leather wheel on the Tormek, then hone by hand with two extra fine diamond hones, one flat and one round/tapered. I strop gouges on the profiled wheel of the Tormek. I strop skews on a hard surface with polishing compound added.

    Which tools do I hone/strop? I want all my spindle gouges and skews and often other tools to be extremely. I handle scrapers differently. I sometimes prepare bowl gouges differently, depending. Things are different when turning a bowl or hollow form from green wood.

    As for if it makes a difference, yes and no. For me, it can make a big difference, very obvious with some cuts on some woods. It makes almost no difference in some cases. It certainly can't hurt! This may sound vague but your question is broad. Perhaps a more specifically directed question would help.

    If you are a YouTube watcher, perhaps this will help - in this video Alan Lacer discusses honing, why, when, and how. Good stuff about the skew and some other tools too.

    This video is long and a poorly-done in places, but I think it may answer some of your questions. About 20+ minutes in he sharpens a skew and then a bit later shows how he hones. At about 55+ minutes he further discusses the issue of sharpness and honing and shows some microscope photos of edges off the grinder then honed and talks about the burr on scrapers. I don't agree with everything he says and use a different method for honing, but the principles are the same. Well worth watching, especially for beginners and bowl turners a bit afraid of the skew.

    If possible, I suggest sharpening two identical tools and hone/strop just one, then try the same cuts with each on different woods and see what works best for you.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    West Coast of WI
    My skews get finished with a leather belt with Tripoli compound on the belt grinder.

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