Before we can dive too far into the topic of sharpening, we need to answer the question, what is sharpening?”
Quite simply sharpening a woodturning tool for bowl making is a process of returning the bevel edge of a tool to a smooth condition where it merges and creates a burr at the tool’s top cutting edge.
The bowl gouge, the most used bowl turning tool, is made up of several different parts; the shaft, flute, cutting edge, bevel, and heel. When we talk about sharpening, we are most concerned with the cutting edge and the bevel.
To make the cutting edge sharp, we need to make the bevel clean, smooth, and consistent up to the cutting edge. It’s really that simple.
With the proper equipment and knowledge, returning a sharp edge to a woodturning tool takes only a few seconds and minimal effort.