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The Society of American Period Furniture Makers  |  Tools and Techniques  |  Power Tools and Shop Safety  |  Topic: Tormek sharpening machine « previous next »
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Author Topic: Tormek sharpening machine  (Read 7204 times)
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
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« on: February 28, 2011, 02:12:22 PM »

Does anyone have the Tormek T-7 or T-3 sharpening machine?  If so, what are the pros and cons for each machine?  I might be in the market to buy one.

Dennis Bork
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Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years.
John Cashman
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 03:12:08 PM »

I don't have the Tormek, but I do have the Jet machine, which is a clone of the original Tormek. I like it very much, but only for certain things. I use it for all of my turning tools, and it works very well. The gouge jig is easy to use, and gives a nice consistent grind on regular and thumbnail shapes. I use it on some vee carving tools if I'm doing reshaping. You can't burn an edge on this sharpener. But I don't use it on regular chisels and plane irons. It is very slow. If I have a lot of metal to remove I'll use a bench grinder or benchtop belt sander. I actually use that for a lot of grinding -- I don't like grinders and avoid them is possible.

I hope this helps, a little. I know this isn't specific to Tormek, but there is little difference from what I could tell when shopping. If there is anything specific you'd like to know, I can add a couple more cents worth.
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Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 04:52:17 PM »

Grizzly also makes a clone of the Tormek machine.  So if anyone has either of these machines please let me know your pros and cons.  I would mostly use it for plane iron sharpening.

John, thanks for your input on the Jet clone.  Do you have any rusting on the parts?

Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
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Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years.
Ed Griner
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 05:30:53 PM »

I own the Grizzly grinder and would suggest you eliminate it from consideration. Have no experience with the others,so no help there.
                                                 
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John Cashman
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 05:35:52 PM »

The only rusting or corrosion I've noticed is on the nut that holds the grindstone on the arbor. I've had no need to remove it, and at the rate I've used it, i will likely never wear the wheel out.

If you have a badly nicked iron, it will take a while for this machine to remove a lot of metal. If you are looking to get a sharp, ready to use edge directly off of the machine, this won't help either. You will still need bench stones or some other method to get a finished edge. But I'm sure you knew that.
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Phil Hirz
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 06:54:09 PM »

I bought a Tormek (the green one) a few years ago when I found it randomly on sale from amazon.com for over 100 dollars less than its original price.  At first I liked it and used it a lot, but it is really slooooow.  Now I use the blue Norton 3x wheels and I am really happy with them.  The Tormek hasn't seen the light of day in at least a year, maybe two.  Dry bench grinders are so much faster.

-Phil
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albreed
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2011, 07:28:23 AM »

I have a 5 yr old or so Tormek. As John said, the nut holding the wheel on is rusted. I use it to get nice sraight edges on plane irons and chisels, but not for initial shaping due to the speed. I like it because I can really lean on the tool, it will cut pretty fast and you don't have to worry about burning. They do seem to make a lot of noise and always seem to be struggling somehow, although the power seems to be adequate.-Al
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Allan Breed
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2011, 08:32:56 AM »

Phil - what is the blue Norton 3X wheels?  I tend to live in the past when it comes to new inventions.

I thought I saw somewhere that you can hold a diamond tool against the wheel of the Tormek and change the grit of this wheel.  Am I right or did I just have a nightmare?  I was not aware that you still have to take your plane iron to a bench stone after the Tormek.

Dennis Bork
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Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years.
Phil Hirz
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2011, 10:36:01 AM »

Dennis,

Here is a link to a site selling the Norton 3x wheels:
http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/Merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=toolshop&Product_Code=NO-WHEEL3X.XX&Category_Code=&Search=norton 3x

The 3x wheels are just normal grinding wheels that tend to run a lot cooler.

As for getting a useable edge off of the Tormek - yes this is possible, but not off of the 10" grinding stone.  I don't know the exact grit of the grinding stone but I think it is slightly coarser than a 1000 grit waterstone.  While this edge may be useable it is probably not sharp enough for most applications.  You can buy an optional leather wheel with your tormek and stropping paste which can produce a keener edge.  The question then becomes a matter of sharpening preference.

I typically use my grinder to grind the primary bevel and then I hone a microbevel on the cutting edge using waterstones.  When the microbevel gets too large I go back to the grinder.  Hopefully this provides you with a better understanding of why I prefer the Norton 3x wheels.  With how I work any grinding wheel will probably do, but the blue wheels seem to give me a little extra leeway in terms of heat generation.

-Phil
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John Cashman
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2011, 02:21:59 PM »

I'll second the motion on the Norton blue 3x wheels. I really dislike grinders, but the 3x runs considerably cooler than any other wheel type I've tried. It's still possible to burn a cutting edge with it, but you almost have to try.

I didn't mention the leather wheel on the Tormek-type machines, as I really don't like them. It has been easier for me to strop by hand than to use the powered wheel. But it is possible to get a sharper edge than with the ten inch wheel alone.

There is a dressing stone that looks like a double-sided india stone. If you dress the wheel with the coarse side, the grinding wheel is coarser. If you use the smooth side, it gives a finer grit. In reality, I haven't seen too much of a difference between the two. There is a diamond tool, but it is used occasionally to remove any canals you may have cut in the wheel by leaning on a narrow tool too long in a single spot.
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David Conley
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2011, 10:30:49 PM »

Dennis,

Like a lot of people, I have more money invested in sharpening equipment than any other single piece of equipment in my shop.

I really like the Veritas Power Sharpening System.  It is basically a motorized scary sharp that uses 8-inch PSA sandpaper disc.  Their jig and system is great for straight plane blades.  But they only have one jig and it is for straight blades.

I like the Tormek's jigs, but hate hollow grounded blades.  

And, I get the sharpest edges from hand sharpening on an 8000 grit Japanese waterstone.

I now have my own hybrid sharpening system.  I use the Veritas for all powered grinding.  I ordered a spare Tormek "F" frame and holder and mounted to my workbench next to the Veritas.  Now I can use Tormek's jigs on the Veritas.  (I have a lot of money invested in Tormek jigs.)

-   For straight blades, I use Veritas's jig.
-   For curved blades (Stanley #40, any scrapers for lathes, ?) I use Tormek's adjustable angle jig
-   For jointer blades, I use Tormek's jointer jig.

The blade sharpness off of a slightly worn 9micro paper (finest grit in the system) is about equal to a 6000 grit Japanese waterstone.  It is very quick, fast and easy.  

For my smoothing planes, I add a final step of hand sharpening them on an 8000 grit Japanese waterstone.

That is my system.

Cheers,
David
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 05:10:58 PM by David Conley » Logged
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2011, 11:45:29 AM »

Thanks for the insight regarding the Tormek and its clones.  I think I will just buy the blue Norton 3x wheel.

I was all set to spend some money to help keep the economy going...now what do I do!

Dennis Bork
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Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years.
ttalma
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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2011, 09:07:03 AM »

David, Actually you can get paper down to 1u.
http://www.riogrande.com/MemberArea/ProductPage.aspx?assetname=337306&page=GRID&free_text=polishing+paper

It's for polishing jewllery. I purchased some and find it to be excellent and puts a great edge on a blade.

I use scarry sharp for just about all my shrapening. I find it real fast. I use a wide white stone to take out knicks on a high speed grinder.

I only go up to 2000 for 90% of my sharpening. I will go up to the 1u paper when I plan to do difficult grain and on my planr I use for final surfacing.

For my carving gouges I have a 6" hard felt wheel on a high speed grinder. I charge it by spinning the wheel by hand. If you hold the compund on the wheel it melts the clay and is a pain to clean up. But for me those mwthods work the fastest.

With Scarry sharp I can renew an edge in about 30 seconds (600 grit - 8000). And if you watch grizzly they seem to have one of there granite surface plates for 50% off about every 3 months. I bought one this past January, and while no flatter than the glass I was using, the mass is great.
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Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2011, 09:14:57 AM »

What is "Scarry Sharp"?

Dennis Bork
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Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years.
HSteier
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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2011, 09:21:58 AM »

"Scary sharp" is a term coined (I think by Mike Dunbar) for sharpening with a sequence of sandpaper down to 2000 grit. To me, the technique and the results are not any scarier than any other sharpening method.

Howard Steier
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