Big Ceramic Store Blog

How To Sharpen Ribbon-Trim-Sculpting Tools

One of the most important things to know about your pottery tools is how to keep them sharp and at the ready. Dull tools produce poor results, while sharp tools can be the difference between an ordinary pot and a masterpiece!

If you're anything like me, I forget how often I've used a particular tool, and don't think to sharpen it until it is producing uneven and rough results. So how do you clean up the results? Simple, take your tools to a professional for sharpening, or learn how to sharpen them yourself.

In today's post, we will go over a few ways to sharpen your pottery tools. Although we encourage you to give it a try... we don't recommend trying this on your most expensive tools first, start with the cheapo's in your toolbox.Here are a few things you can use to get started:

  • Sandpaper (coarse and fine grit)
  • Sandstone
  • Files
  • Bench grinder
  • Belt sander
  • Dremel tool or drill with a good Diamond Sharpening Burr


Diamond Burr Diamond Sharpening Burr

If the tools aren't real dull, you can probably get away with some sandpaper or a sandstone. The worse the condition of the blade, the more aggressive sharpening tool you will need.

When using a sandstone or sandpaper, I find it easiest to work the tool over the stone or paper on a table, instead of holding both the tool and sandpaper or stone.

A round file is exceptionally beneficial when you are filing loop tools and such with a curved blade. They fit nicely into the curve of the tool, and are easy to handle.

Using a diamond burr on a Dremel or drill is fairly easy. I put the burr in my drill, lay the drill on the table, and work the blade over it.

Using a bench grinder or belt sander is a little more challenging, especially with ribbon tools that have small blades, and they take a bit more skill and patience. I personally don't use either for sharpening my blades. If the blades are that bad, I send them to my local machine shop, or buy new ones.

No matter what method you choose for sharpening, it is critical that you follow the angle of the blade. The angle of the blade is designed to give you maximum trimming power, with the least amount of fuss, and most importantly... quality results.

If you'd like to share your ideas, projects or submit a post for our blog, email us at! We look forward to hearing from you!

13 thoughts on “How To Sharpen Ribbon-Trim-Sculpting Tools”

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