How to Sharpen Metal Lathe Parting Tool

How to Sharpen Metal Lathe Parting Tool? 2 Easy Methods

Has your parting tool gone blunt? Are you having difficulties cutting blocks with your parting tool? Now you’re thinking about how to make it sharp.

So the question arises how to sharpen metal lathe parting tools?

Well, you can use different methods for sharpening your metal lathe parting tool. The conventional and the most used one is to use a grinding wheel. Another popular and feasible choice in comparison to a grinding wheel is a belt sander. And you can also use hand sharpening if you want but that won’t be quite effective.

Well, this was just a walk-through of the types of methods. To know about the procedures read along

The Right Time for Sharpening

You should know the right time to sharpen your metal lathe parting tool. Plus, you have to maintain your parting tool with enough attention more than any other tool

Generally, parting tools do not require a whole regrinding of the wheel when they get blunt. They would only demand a little do-up and retouch using a sharpening stone. You can also make use of a diamond hone.

Honing alone will suffice to get your parting tool in shape. Only if your cutting edge is not in a very poor condition. As it only includes a small portion of your surface, honing is effectual and potent.

Are you parting a block and figure your tools is requiring a high amount of pressure? That’s when you should know it’s time for sharpening.

Parting tools are very easy to sharpen because of their symmetrical cutting edge. Basically, you can utilize a belt sander or a grinding tool. For the finished part, you would require some honing.


Do not go on using grinding too in the first place. You should only make use of it when you know honing is not enough for you. Honing is all you need when you can see that a proper edge has been found.

How to Sharpen Your Metal Lathe Paring tool: 2 Effective Methods

Lathe parting tools need to be sharpened and provided with a quick touch-up once in a while. The edges that are going to be used in the workpiece should be retouched. It will help to prevent them from going blunt. 

Bits with blunt edges will not provide a good outcome while you’re parting a block.

Here are the 3 effective ways how to sharpen the metal lathe parting tool-

Method 1: Using a Grinding Wheel

A concave surface will be generated by using a grinding wheel. This is because the grinding wheel is round in shape. If you want a flat surface on the bevel you should hone your parting tool after sharpening. A popular example of a grinding wheel will be the bench grinder.

Now, let’s get into the basic preparations. 

Step 1: Basic Preparations

Firstly you need to start with basic preparations. You need to wear your eye protection. Protection gloves are also compulsory while using a grinding wheel.

Before sharpening, make sure that the bench grinder is immobile and not moving.

Step 2: Dress the Wheel

The grinding wheel needs to be dressed properly. A diamond sharpening tool is a popular choice for this purpose. 

Massage the grinding wheel’s outward edges continuously. It will help to get rid of the debris and make it sharp

Step 3: Use the Correct Angles

It is highly essential to ensure correct angles when parting with metal lathe tools. The cutting edges mainly range between 7 to 30 degrees. 

90 degrees is the highest a metal lathe tool can use for cutting. Otherwise, the machine will be scraped and damaged.

Step 4: Maintain Minimal Contact

You need to put the lathe tool in a specific position and move it forward slowly. Make sure that the blade is not pressing hard against the wheel. Contact should be limited and proper. 

Here’s a video that explains the process of grinding the lathe tool in detail-

Are you confused about which blade you should use you? Then you can check out our comparison between joint and dado blades.

When the angle is not correct the blade will most likely generate high-pitched vibrations. As a result, you will start losing your grip on it.

Step 5: Move the Lathe Tool from Side to Side

Place the lathe tool against the grinding wheel. Keep it in contact with the wheel for only 10 seconds. Sparks will be seen if the correct angle and posture are maintained.

Move the tool sideways in a slow manner and carefully. The tool should be moved gently in ways that produce the sparks along the edges.

Step 6: Cool the Tool

The 10-second sharpening should be continued at intervals. When the tool is sharpened enough you need to put it in cold water. 

Cooling is highly essential for this process. It makes sure that the sharpening process can be continued without difficulties. Now the same process should be repeated for the other sides of the tool.

Method 2: Using a Belt Sander

A belt sander is a very popular choice when it comes to sharpening metal lathe tools. It helps to produce a flat surface on each side. By using this method the user is able to maintain a sharper edge longer.

Step 1:  Install the Belt

A two-inch belt should be used. The 1-inch belt would not fit the purpose of this process. Because it grinds the turning gouges unevenly, it would be unsuitable.

The belt should be installed in a way that is not too tight, not too loose.

Step 2: Sharp the Lathe Tool

Place the lathe tool on the belt sander gently. While sharpening, minimal contact should be maintained to keep it away from the cutting edge.

The tool should be turned slowly so that all the sides can be honed in the process.

Warning: Don’t put pressure on the tool. Otherwise, the belt sander would eat up parts of the metals.

Keep a check on the tool. Make sure that the tool is not turning too sensitive.

Step 3:  Cool the Tool

The tool will turn hot with time due to friction. So make sure the tool is cooled down after the process. You can dip it in the cold water. If not cooled the tool might get damp in the long run. It’s similar to the situation when a chainsaw faces difficulties to start because of heat.

Step 4: Cross-check the Results

After the tool is sharpened enough, test it on something to check the results. For example, you can check it on walnut.

Make sure you’re maintaining all the safety measures while following the process. Wear eye protection and gloves at all times while sharpening. Metal pieces flying through the air can burn your skin over time.

That’s all about the effective methods you can utilize to sharpen your metal lathe parting tool.

Which Method is Better? Grinding Wheel Or Belt Sander? 

Are you wondering now which method should you follow to sharpen your parting tool? 

Well, in my opinion, a belt sander is a better choice for sharpening metal lathe tools. The advantages of a belt sander are too many a better alternative to a grinding wheel.

Here are the reasons.

  • The belt sander is cheap in comparison to the grinding wheel. A bench grinder is also effective but is costly for sharpening once in a while.
  • The grits can be easily replaced in a belt sander.
  • Belt sander generates less friction than bench grinder while sharpening.
  • The belt sander cuts really fast than the grinding wheel. Therefore, it is easier to sharper tools.
  • You do not need to dress the belt sander as frequently as a bench grinder.

According to the above points, it can be seen belt sander is a better choice for sharpening. But bench grinder is also highly effective when it comes to serving the purpose.


What is the perfect angle to sharpen lathe tools?

The perfect angle to sharpen a lathe tool depends on the material which is being cut. When you are cutting a small material, you will need to make use of smaller angles. And for cutting hard materials, you will have to use a larger angle, mostly 30 degrees.

What is the ideal speed for sharpening lathe tools?

The speed for sharpening lathe metal tools depends on the material used in the machine. The ideal speed ranges from 115 rpm to 130 rpm. It also depends on the lathe’s specification.

How do you sharpen lathe tools using hand sharpening?

This process can be accomplished with a diamond file or sharpening stone. You should keep the point and heel of the bevel touching the stone. An edge can be maintained on a parting tool by doing just this.

Final Words

That was all our take on how to sharpen metal lathe parting tools. We hope now you won’t face any problems while sharpening a metal lathe parting tool.

A quick tip for you. Opt for belt sanders as it generates less friction. Moreover, it is also affordable compared to the bench grinder.

Good luck!

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