Stay Sharp! DVD
A Study in Sharpening Tools for Woodturners

by Mick Hanbury RPT

Published by KTMP, UK

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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 156

The problem with sharpening techniques is that everyone has a different opinion on what works and what doesn't.

In this DVD Mick Hanbury openly acknowledges this and recommends that if his methods don't work for you, then don't use them. Nonetheless anyone who would like to know more about sharpening is sure to learn something from his demonstrations.

Mick sharpens both freehand and with the use of jigs. Some of the jigs used are not readily available here but similar units from other manufacturers are. A little research should uncover a suitable option for all of the equipment used on the DVD.

This DVD is not about sharpening theory or even different sharpening techniques. There are other books and DVDs on this subject and ideally the viewer will have read or watched one or more of these.

So you read the book, buy the grinder, select the jig and sharpen the tool. But it doesn't work out as well as you had hoped. This is where the information in Stay Sharp! becomes very handy.

Through a series of demonstrations using gouges, chisels, parting and other turning tools (and a few carving tools), Mick illustrates the importance of using sight and sound to check your sharpening process. The lessons are universal and can be applied to everything from a Tormek system to a bench grinder fitted with a basic toolrest. Not only does he show how to set up the jig and tool correctly but also how to adjust your technique when the tool ends up with a unintended multifaceted cutting face.

In addition to a grinder, he also uses diamond files to dress edges and a reverse grinder to hone.

Tool tips such as tear-drop scrapers and hollowing tools are best dressed frequently with a diamond stone. However, eventually they will need grinding - a subject rarely mentioned in other texts - and Mick covers ways in which to achieve this.

He even demonstrates how to sharpen the Robert Sorby spiralling and texturing tips on a grinder, though there is a prominent warning on the video that this should not be attempted by anyone inexperienced. As Mick states repeatedly, the DVD is not meant to be a tutorial on sharpening generally, but rather a demonstration of how he, as a professional woodturner, sharpens his tools. It's left up to the viewers to decide what handy tips are worthwhile incorporating into their sharpening regime.

Mick prefers to use his tools ground but not honed. However, he does hone the skew chisel and carving tools. This is demonstrated on a Cruesen reverse-running grinder, ie. a machine that has the upper quadrant of the wheel spinning away from, rather than towards, the operator.

In his own workshop, Mick uses an alternative to the reverse-running grinder - he mounts a honing mop in his lathe. If you don't have a reverse speed setting on your lathe, then the same effect can be achieved by standing on the opposite side of the machine.

Whether you agree or disagree with Mick's techniques, Stay Sharp! is different in subject matter to other sharpening books and DVDs and in this reviewer's opinion, well worth watching.

Duration: 1hr 40mins, 1 disc

DVD - English