Lathe tools are often made using an electric grinder. While working with an electric grinder, it is important to wear safety glasses and follow all necessary safety protocols. One of the best tips for grinding lathe tools is to refer to the user's manual to ensure proper operation. Besides safety, the best tips for grinding lathe tools are to adjust the tool rest, to keep water nearby, and to determine which tool design is necessary. Other important tips might include approaching the workpiece from one side at a time and finishing lathe accessories appropriately.
Many of these tips also can be applied to the process of sharpening previously formed lathe accessories. A lathe tool grinder has a number of requirements, such as making adjustments to the machine layout, that nearly always apply to electric grinders. These adjustments can help with successfully grinding lathe tools.
Adjusting the tool rest, for instance, can prevent the metal workpiece from slipping off the grinding wheel. For certain tools, it is necessary to set the tool rest at an appropriate angle to achieve the desired design. Especially in the early stages, it might be necessary to rest the metal workpiece while grinding an initial shape or flat surface.
When forming or sharpening lathe tools in this way, one concern is that the metal may heat up. While many modern tool steel blanks are not easily damaged by overheating, it still might be a good idea to cool down the piece throughout the process. Depending on the type of tool being formed or sharpened, cooling may be more or less necessary throughout the process.
One tip for grinding lathe tools is to think ahead and plan out the process based on the desired tool design. It is often necessary to form the specific angles of a lathe tool in an optimal order. A lathe tool grinder will form flat surfaces, so it might be necessary to finish forming one side at a time. Many of the cutting edges must be perfectly flat, so it might be necessary to apply enough pressure to make this happen.
Finishing options vary depending on the design of the tool. Grinding lathe tools often requires a combination of formation with a rough wheel and honing with a fine wheel. In many cases, it might be beneficial to use a whet stone to hone the final edges of the lathe tool. Other final sharpening tools might include fine files of extremely fine grinding wheels.