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Tool and cutter grinding

An extremely important form of machining where metal is removed from a “workpiece” is where the “workpiece” is a cutting tool. Since cutting tools  have to be very hard to cut other workpieces it means the most commonly used process is grinding.

There are roughly two types of cutter grinding problems. The first is to make the cutter in the first place, the second is to sharpen it.

It is quite possible to make and sharpen some cutters on an ordinary double ended bench grinder. Some of these can be done by holding the cutter on the rest on the grinder without any other aid. The results this produces can be improved by adding various means of holding the cutter at the correct angle. Most grinders have some sort of rest to support the workpiece but these are often very rudimentary.

A simple but better rest is shown at

Steve’s workshop

More complicated rest that can be used to produce accurate results are the rests designed by Harold Hall.

see Chapter 3 of  “Tool and cutter sharpening” by Harold Hall

Sharpening drill bits is an art in itself. Various devices are available to do this using a simple bench grinder. Well known makes of these are Picador and Reliance.

see Chapter 2  of “Tool and cutter sharpening” by Harold Hall


drill sharpening on Harold Hall’s website

Many cutters can only be sharpened by using a grinding system with the appropriate attachments. These system are commonly called “tool and cutter grinders”.

There are several design for making tool and cutter grinders. Examples of these are:






There are several commercially made tool and cutter grinders. One of the most common is the Clarkson one.


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