Guild of Oregon Woodworkers

7634 SW 34th Avenue Portland, OR 97219

Power Sharpening of Carving Tools with Larry Wade 20-1

  • 15 Feb 2020
  • 9:30 AM - 1:30 PM
  • Multnomah Art Center, Room 7 (near west entrance)
  • 3


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Power Sharpening of Carving Tools with Larry Wade 20-1

Please note that the date of this class is Saturday Feb 15, not Feb 18th as sometimes advertised.

This four hour workshop focuses exclusively on motor-assisted sharpening, not by hand, using the systems that the Guild owns and are available in the Annex to use in the Guild shop whenever you have access there.  However, we will cover grinding by hand as a way to make errors more slowly.

It will take you years to become good at sharpening so limit your expectations on what you can learn and do in these four hours.  There will be an additional two hours of open carving time tacked on if you care to stay and still have the stamina.

The Guild has two motorized systems, one called The Burke system that Chuck Rinehart grew up on and uses.  It will be available to you during and after the workshop but there will only be a few minutes spent on comparing and contrasting it with the other system, which consists of a half speed (1725 rpm) grinder with two special wheels, one rigid for honing and one floppy for polishing.  In addition there is a 1" belt/5" disc sander used when serious metal needs to be removed.  The focus of this workshop is on these last two pieces of equipment.  There will be at least two and perhaps three grinders and two sanders.  You are welcome to bring any motorized system you have.  You will also learn how to make your own grinder-based system - it isn't hard, but will probably cost you about $100 for the half speed grinder and another $75 for the wheels and two sticks of honing compound (green and white).

The class is limited to six students because of limited equipment and safety.

Calling this a workshop instead of a class means you will spend a lot of time hands on.  There will be demonstrations and short lectures, but plan to be doing a lot of work, and working on a few of your own tools as much as possible.  It is likely you will only have time to practice on up to four tools - a straight #1, a shallow sweep like a #3/4/5, a V-tool (#12) and a steep sweep like a #9/10/11, maybe fewer tools.

Grinding steel away is and should be a rare occasion but you need to know how to do it without ruining your tools or losing the steel temper.  You will learn to use the belt/disc sander.  The disc is used to straighten the edge and to remove nicks.  You will have access to a box of practice tools so you don't have to learn on your own tools right away.  That said, it is worth having some practice tools of your own and if you don't have any, I recommend buying a cheap set of carving (not turning) tools from Harbor Freight, usually no more than $15.  If you have a choice buy the version with longer handles.  

Larry Wade has four years of experience carving and sharpening so is hardly an expert, but has enough practical experience to help beginners.  Chuck Rinehart has twenty five years and sometimes says he is getting pretty good at sharpening.  

No experience is necessary; lunch is not provided but snacks and common liquids are.

You are encouraged to bring your carving tools, even dull or questionable ones.  Leather strops and honing compound will be available to use during the class, but bringing your own is an option. 

For questions contact the class coordinator, Larry Wade, at or 503-312-7745.

Please register online and pay using PayPal or by check made to the order of the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers. Reference the class title on the memo line and mail it to: GOOW-Registrar, C/O Julie Niemeyer, 20282 SW Inglis Drive, Beaverton, OR 97007



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