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Roger Hargrave

Tormek sharpening system

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Happy Birthday Roger!

 

Hard question to answer... I use and like the Tormek.  Still have one of the first Tormek grinders to find it's way to the states (I think it's going on 20 years old).  Still works, but showing it's age.  I purchased a new one for the Oberlin program, and although the machine has been updated, I was less than impressed by their new stone wheel.  Much prefer the old one.  I suppose I'll need to give the Japanese wheel a try.

 

The strengths of the Tormek is 1) the reliability the jigs provide.  Easy to adjust and maintain an angle, and easy to set up. 2) the size of the wheel is nice (width/diameter). 3) pretty sturdy machine.  Not fussy.  4) Nice system for truing the stone. 5) Parts easily available should you need them.

 

The disadvantage if 1) the price.  They are damn expensive and the jigs aren't cheep.  2) some of the jigs aren't terribly useful for our needs. (I use the table... which I've modified for knives, the right angle jig, and the truing system mostly).  3) The new stock stone cuts too slowly. 4) If you're used to grinding without jigs, there's a learning curve.

 

If you were closer, I'd offer to lend you a machine for a week or two so you could see if you liked it.

 

PS: Stay away from the Jet knock-offs.  Two colleagues have received and returned the machines.  Not as well calibrated as the Tormek (too much slop).

 

Cheers,

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I have one but don't use it any more.  It is ridiculously slow.  I agree with everybody that you need a coarse grinder to get the basic bevel and then fine stones for final sharpening.  Why bother with the Tormek?  

 

It has this unique feature that you are supposed to be able to scape the grinding wheel to make it a coarse grit, and then scrape it again to  make it a fine grit.  I've not found that to work too well.

 

Yes, it does not work very well. To rough up the stone properly so that it can cut again one has to use the diamond-head (I think) leveler. That of course wears the stone down quite quickly. I have the small Tormek, and I have to replace the stone every 3 years or so, but I can't imagine life without a Tormek.

 

One can make several of the attachments (and some that they don't have, like for fingerplane blades) oneself.

 

Happy birthday Roger. For myself I decided to stop having birthdays when I turned 60. It works.

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I use to have two Tormeks and ran a 1,000x grit Japanese stone on one, and a 4,000x grit Japanese stone on the other.  

The Tormek mainly did gouges, and it is for me the best system for gouges.

I had all the jigs, but found better ways of tackling other jobs.

 

The Tormek Japanese stone is quite expensive, so I have the aftermarket  SunTiger brand of stones.

I see now that Naniwa has stones which might actually be better since they wear better, so less waste dressing the stone.

 

What to do, when a grinding wheel is too large?

 

 

Now Tormek offer a 'Quick Change' system, so I only need one Tormek for both stones.

Stainless Steel Shaft with EzyLock MSK-250

 

msk250_170-2.png847355.jpg

 

When I started out with a Tormek years ago, the machine was fairly basic, and then the Patents expired and Jet Tools came out with their version.

This forced Tormek to redesign a lot of aspects, and come out with other wheels.

 

I use the Small Tools jig for my gouges, it handles regular sized gouges.

The other jig they sell for gouges is mainly for fingernail profile turning gouges.

 

t938.gif68m0123s1.jpg

Sharpening Short Tools, Jig SVS-32

 

I use the leather wheel with 1 micron diamond paste, and only very very lightly

The Tormek paste is a mix of various grits in the area of 3 microns.

I also would recommend to anyone getting the Tormek to get the inside leather hone.

 

Profiled Leather Honing Wheel LA-120

146034.jpg

The problem with leather is that it can 'dub' an edge if you make a small mistake.

So I only lightly touch, so I do not compress the leather, to keep it from snapping back and rebounding into the cutting edge.

I also just give it a very quick touch, so not much time spent on the hone.

 

The wheel does hollow grind the gouges, but the amount of hollow on a 10" diameter stone is so small it is almost neglible.

 

I only use the stone that comes with the tormek if I have to reshape an edge and so remove a lot of metal.

They claim that it goes from 220x grit to 1,000x grit with the stone grader, but I find some benefit in following up with the 1,000x grit Japanese stone iafterwards.

So this leads me to think that the Tormek stone is prbably less that 1,000x grit when fine graded.

 

I use the 'Magic Marker ' trick to check my progress, and use a light reflecting off the cutting edge.   Any reflection from the cutting edge, and it's back to the 4,000x grit stone.

A magnifying lamp is handy for checking the edge.

 

Also should note that they now have a system that will use Tormek jigs on a power grinder.

t1196_395.pngtormek-BGM100b.gif

 

So very handy to make double use of the jigs.

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Happy birthday Roger!

 

There are some great posts, so I will just add a detail.

 

I have liked the Tormek ever since I came across it more than 20 years ago. I think it is essential to have a water grinder if one uses tools from Japanese steel. Tormek sells a jig, which makes a nice hollow area on the knifes. I run my knifes about once a year on the Tormek to make them hollow.

It takes just a few minutes per knife, and subsequently sharpening and resharpening on the Japanese stones becomes very easy and quick.

 

12176190323_8fc4d6c670_z.jpg

 

12176265453_11bae85c21_z.jpg

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Some weeks ago I managed to get stuck in my old Scheppach wet grinder. The band in my hoodie got stuck around the shaft and reeled me in. I instinctevily jumped backwards resulting in a lap full of rusty water and a broken machine on the floor. Long story short I decided to order a new Tormek T7 as a replacement, and have not regretted it so far. The build quality is just far better than the old cheap machine. There is an anniversary model offered now that includes a rotating base for the machine. I ordered from Gunther Schmid werkzeuge in Germany.

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Happy Birthday!

 

I also love my T7. I was able to test it at a local woodworkers' club before buying it and have found it useful ever since. I agree, as well, that further sharpening is beneficial on a 4000 and 8000 stone. Very useful, especially if it has enough room to be available to use at any time.

 

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I got one of these years ago.

What I find is that even with the 'Supergrind' wheel its very slow to grind a big plane blade or something.

Its like the surface has got smooth and it will not cut any more.

Its fine for chisels and gouges.

The Tormek is slow on removing heavy amounts of metal.   The idea of the drive mechanism on a Tormek is that the harder it is leaned on, the more the drive shaft hooks up with the rubber drive wheel, which is inside the leather hone, giving more torque.

When the surface becomes smooth after a course stone grading, you need to re-grade the stone again, which is time comsuming and abrasive consuming.  

 

So they now offer the BGM-100 that allows you to use a power grinder.   I would get the grinder at the slower 1800 - 1725 rpm setting, with an 8" wheel, so it is closer in diameter to the 10" Tormek wheel.

The Tormek wheel starts out 10" and slowly approaches 8" as the wheel wears.

 

Here is a video of the BGM-100 system and you can see how you can easily go from one machine to the other with the same tool jig.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j46grxNMsmo

 

When I bought my power grinder, I was looking at getting a 10" diameter whell, which would match the Tormek wheel, but I wanted the slower speed to reduce heat and chances of burning/bluing the edge of the tool.

After doing the calculations though, even at a slow rpm of 1725, the 10" wheel has a high amount of surface feet per minute, so you are back at square one.

The tormek wheel wears fast, and so it would only be 10" for a very short time.

I also put on my 8" grinder the Lee Valley stones that run cooler than the stock grey wheels that most power grinders come with.   They are much better!   They also wear much faster, which is why they stay cooler.

 

Cool Grinding Wheels

 

I see that there is now a Norton product that may be good too, but I have no experience with them.

 

Norton 3X™ Grinding Wheels

 

So I do not see the Tormek as the be all and end all machine for all sharpening needs.

Instead I see it as a tool in a chain of tools I use to accomplish the end goal of getting a sharp tool .

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I found another unexpected use for my Tormek.

 

Brian Mc Carthy gave me an old Startrite bandsaw that needs a bit of work, but will be fantastic when it's done. The wheels had been used without tyres at some point, and had deep grooves in them, so I needed to true them up before the new tyres go on. My lathe is a bit too small, so I put them on the shaft of the grinder, and used the stone truing jig with a carbide cutter clamped on, and they're perfectly round and flat across the rim. Bingo!

post-30909-0-30880300-1394286268_thumb.jpg

post-30909-0-82872400-1394286281_thumb.jpg

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A happy belated birthday to you Roger!

 

I have no experience with the Tormek product, but generally any tool that speeds up and simplifies mundane, time consuming tasks on a regular basis is worth having in the shop.This frees up time that can be applied towards more important tasks.

 

Take some of your tools that need re-grinding to a nearby tool dealer for a demo. Seeing any machine in action is worth far more than any sales propaganda.

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I found another unexpected use for my Tormek.

 

Brian Mc Carthy gave me an old Startrite bandsaw that needs a bit of work, but will be fantastic when it's done. The wheels had been used without tyres at some point, and had deep grooves in them, so I needed to true them up before the new tyres go on. My lathe is a bit too small, so I put them on the shaft of the grinder, and used the stone truing jig with a carbide cutter clamped on, and they're perfectly round and flat across the rim. Bingo!

Most bandsaw wheels I've seen have a crown towards the back side of the wheel to keep the blade centered on the wheel. I hope you didn't machine this flat?

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Brian Mc Carthy gave me an old Startrite bandsaw that needs a bit of work

Bit of work sounds like an understatement, you've had to practically rebuild the danm thing :( Great idea using the tormek to true the wheels.

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Hi All - just to return to the original topic.

 

Back in Aug 2007 in Brian's violin class there was this Tormek 2000 Supergrind. The stone showed signs of excessive play - so the engineer in me soon had in apart to have a look-see.

 

What I found was a mild steel shaft running in plastic bushes.

 

i) The shaft showed signs of corrosion under the bush at the grindstone end - clearance - 0.9mm. Most of this wear was within the plastic bush.

 

ii) the shaft was solid in the stone and resisted all "gentle" efforts at removal.

 

iii) The  nut and washer retaining the stone we mild steel and had rusted.

 

iv) Also the Honing wheel was centred by means of an angled spigot that mates with an angled recess in the Drive wheel.. When you tighten the Locking knob this spigot does its best to expand the recess in the plastic drive wheel. The presence of the slot for the drive pin is a perfect stress raiser - it came as no surprise that I found that there was  crack running from the centre of the Drive wheel to the circumference. I contacted Tormek and suggested that if they reversed the arrangement there would be a compressive stress on the plastic element and it wouldn't fail.

 

My original plan was to turn up a bronze sleeve to bridge the worn length of the shaft and machine a new bush with a matching dia. However since the wear on the shaft wasn't too severe, I eventually just turned up a new set of plastic bushes. The one nearest the stone was bored to the worn diameter of the shaft and a press drove it over the unworn section of the shaft and into position. Seemed to be OK - the shaft spun freely and there were no signs of looseness.

 

I resisted removing the shaft from the stone and just replaced the rusted nut and washer with stainless steel items.

 

Comes Dec 2008 and I'm tired of struggling to clamp plane blades into the sharpening jig and adjusting the blade to match the wheel. A square doesn't work because the outer edges of some blades aren't parallel - and grinding the edge square to one side makes it a right b*****d to fit it into the plane and adjust it for a good cut. So I sat at my little milling machine and made up a jig that fits the Tormek plane blade holding jig but registers on the slot in the centre of the blade.

 

post-98-0-66575300-1394373390_thumb.jpgpost-98-0-10898600-1394373488_thumb.jpg

 

Worked like a charm.

 

The Tormek gouge-holding-jig was too small for the larger gouges and I knocked up a larger version using 25mm angle iron and 52mm washer from the inside of an a pre-ww2 Armstronb-Siddeley pre-selector gearbox. A bit fiddly to use as it didn't have a retaining flange on the wheel side of the horizontal guide bar - intended to add one - but it did the job. Always meant to take a pic...after the upgrade that is.

 

Everything worked well for the next few years but in Sep  2012 the shaft developed serious play in a matter of a couple of weeks.

 

On stripping the drive I found that the mild steel shaft had rusted up solidly inside the grinding wheel-side bush and seized things together. The bush was now turning with the shaft and it didn't take long for the  2mm thickness of the casing to cut deeply into the plastic - giving a clearance of about 2mm!

 

post-98-0-55503700-1394374084_thumb.jpgpost-98-0-28261400-1394374331_thumb.jpg

 

First thought was to extract the mild steel shaft and turn up a stainless steel replacement. However I wasn't prepared to risk breaking the wheel and the shaft remained where it was.

 

So - I returned to the original scheme. Cleaned up the shaft, machined an extended bronze sleeve (incorporating an integral flange to ensure that things were square), epoxied the bush into place, machined a new plastic washer from a rod containing MoS and rebuilt the machine. Good as new.

 

post-98-0-33868400-1394378241_thumb.jpg

 

Brian is with you guys in Californai, the Tormek in in the wilderness of the Karroo (in Nieuw Bethesda - where it's so dry that the trees run after the dogs) and I have a couple of 10" diameter truck brake drums that have been cluttering up the workshop - waiting to be turned into a slow speed grinder/hone. 

 

On using the Tormek.

 

One should see the stone only as a "one-time" use gadget to establish the geometry of the cutting edge.

 

Great care should be excercised to clamp the plane blades, chisels and gouges in the exact position that they had for the previous sharpening. This greatly reduces the amount of metal to be removed during sharpening. Overuse of the grinding wheel shortens (literally) the life of the blade quite dramatically.

 

Once established, the edge is then got to razor sharp by using holding jigs & waterpaper-on-glass. (To return a plane blade edge to hair splitting sharp would take me something like 50 - 70 seconds - from unclamping blade to the next cut.)

 

During frequent use, the edges of chisels and gouges can be kept "singing" sharp by use of the leather honing wheel. The secret is frequent visits and a light touch. Takes all of 20 - 20 seconds from last cut to next cut. I judge when to dress the edge by the loss of that "zzzh" sound when cutting.

 

Hope that all helps - cheers edi

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