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Messages - Ken S

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General Tormek Questions / Re: T4 water spillage
« on: Yesterday at 07:29:55 pm »
Excellent question!
Here is a link:


Knife Sharpening / Re: Clamp Placement
« on: Yesterday at 02:15:01 pm »

Thank you for posting this. It illustrates one of my pet peeves with today's marketing, including Tormek's marketing. I do not mean to single out Tormek for this practice; Tormek is only conforming to the unfortunately accepted norm.

I resent the marketing stereotype that consumers lack the mental capacity or interest to watch a video longer than two minutes. Any experienced Tormek user watching this video would have noticed the clamp placement. Since the clamp placement was contrary to Tormek's established good practice and was not explained, one might conclude that the persons doing the video for Tormek were part of a video crew with no or limited knowledge of how to correctly use the Tormek. Could this be so? Possibly, however, I believe that a more likely scenario would be that, especially with a short knife, the placement of the knife is not so critical. In my opinion, if this is the case, Tormek has a burden of proof to explain it.

These cute little videoettes generally fall short of their educational potential. I have no problem with  Tormek following contemporary marketing fashion of facebook and instagram sound bite videos as part of their marketing. I do resent Tormek's persistent ignoring of their established faithful customers who want more than their soundbites. Using this video as an example, it would seem far more cost effective to me to also make a more in depth version than face the posdibility of several hundred individual support questions.


General Tormek Questions / Re: T4 water spillage
« on: July 22, 2019, 09:53:10 am »
If you look at the bottom of your T4, you will see many holes. This not only helps dissipate heat, it also allows any water to drain out.

Before stainless steel shafts were introduced in 2006, rust could be a problem with Tormeks.While improper care was not the only possible cause, many users, including members of this forum,unknowingly left their grinding wheels in their water filled troughs instead of draining and cleaning the troughs between sharpening sessions. Also, I suspect that many Tormek users have been negligent about regular cleaning and regreasing of the shaft and bushings as recommended in the handbook.
Stainless steel shafts and non rusting housings have been major improvements. Good housekeeping- keeping the grinding wheel dry and water trough clean between, as well as regular cleaning and regreasing are still essential.

With only routine care, your T4 should continue working flawlessly long past the seven year warranty.



Your comparison of sharpening the curved negative rake scraper with the Stanley 40 roughing plane is quite applicable. In both cases, we seem to have forgotten some useful ancient knowledge. Over the years we have become so fascinated with jigs. Sometimes the best and only practical way to shape and sharpen a tool is freehand.

I once watched a Tormek demonstrator fumble with trying to sharpen a small woodturning cut off tool. The tool was too small to fit in the prescribed jig. All he needed to do was rest the tool against the universal support bar and sharpen. The operation would have taken less time to do than to write this post.

I wish I could locate a video (movie) of Torgny Jansson using the original Tormek before all of the jigs were introduced. Do not misunderstand me. I like using the jigs whenever practical. Recreating the same sharp profile with minimal steel removal is the intelligent way to sharpen. I just think a well trained Tormek sharpener should also develop freehand skills.


General Tormek Questions / Re: T4 water spillage
« on: July 21, 2019, 05:23:02 pm »
You may be overfilling the water trough. I fill it only to the point where water starts to flow over the top of the grinding wheel. The wheel will quickly absorb some of this. With the motor still running, I continue to add a little water, each time stopping when the water just begins to flow over top of the wheel. Stop adding water when absorption stops. I do not use the fill level line.

Placing a small towel under your T4 (including the outboard area for long knives) will contain the remaining water. The Tormek is a hearty machine and designed to function as a wet grinder. The T4 is especially designed for this challenge with a stainless steel shaft and a non rusting housing. Your Tormek will survive; do not lose hope.


General Tormek Questions / Re: Broken delivery T8
« on: July 19, 2019, 11:42:51 pm »

For many years there was a very popular National Public Radio program in the US. "Car Talk" was hosted by Tom and Ray, two brothers who were both excellent mechanics and very funny. Many of their listeners never fixed cars, but enjoyed the show. One of my favorite lines from the show was, "It's the stingy man who pays the most". Yes, we have all done that. :)

Find a good local dealer and develop a good customer relationship.

Enjoy your Tormek journey!


Knife Sharpening / Re: Svm 45 self locking
« on: July 18, 2019, 02:14:00 pm »

Like you, I have multiple Tormek knife jigs. In my case only five at this point (2-45s;1-100, the predecessor of the 140; 1-140; and 1-00 small blade holder, plus two small platforms similar to Herman's).

I use them differently than you do. I designed a technique using a single kenjig where I can switch from paring to slicing or chef knives without any setup changes using the different jigs.

If I had your machinist skill, I would probably design and machine my own knife jigs. You and I have the advantage over the Tormek engineers; we do not have to design products to sell to X thousand customers to meet payroll. You and I, as well as several other forum members, just have to satisfy a few very opinionated, picky customers, ourselves.

I think some of the newer Tormek jigs and accessories are really stellar. The new 186 gouge jig and TNT-100 setting tool are, in my opinion, Tormek's most advanced combination and truly world class.
I find the DBS-22 drill bit jig a versatile marvel. The SE-77 is the cat's meow for grinding controlled camber with plane blades. The Tormek Rubber Work Mat gets my vote for the outstanding accessory for everyday use.

While I give these products gold stars, I would rate the knife jigs only bronze. Switching to machined zinc with the 45 was a minor improvement. I am neutral about switching from the locking screw to the O ring. Based only on nine years' observation as a Tormek user, I would not be surprised if Tormek was working on a new design for the knife jigs.

I do not envy the Tormek engineers this task. We want the jigs to be self centering. We want them to lock securely. We want them to be designed not to scratch knives. And, oh yes, we want them to be "reasonably priced" and quite precise. I suspect meeting a price point is probably the main constraint.
This would be compounded by much smaller market demand for a knife jig priced at $200 US than for the present jig priced at $40 and included with the Bushcraft T4.

I believe we may eventually see a gold rated knife jig from Tormek. In the meantime, some of our members, like you, have been doing remarkable innovative adaptions.


General Tormek Questions / Re: Truing Procedure
« on: July 18, 2019, 01:16:54 pm »

When the T4 was introduced in 2014, I had the opportunity to meet personally with the Head of Tormek Support and a representative of the US importer. In our conversation, I asked some polite but very pointed questions about the T4 and warranty service. My main concern was the "thirty minute limitation" with the T4's motor. I asked them point blank what Tormek would do if my T4 motor burned out after six and a half years (of the seven year warranty).

Their answer was quite clear. If this should happen:
1) Contact support
2) Support would send me prepaid ((by Tormek) shipping label
3) Tormek or the importer would replace or repair whatever was necessary (except normal wear to the grinding wheel) and promptly return my machine fully restored to me at no charge.

I believed them at the time. That believe has been reinforced by the few posts over the years which require warranty service. Tormek is a solid company which stands by its products with excellent customer service. Incidentally, I do not recall a single post about someone burning out the motor of a T4.

I should note that Tormek gets few warranty repairs. The product is solid and manufacturing standards high.

I do not mean to give the impression that Tormek gets special treatment with me. Whenever I recommend Tormek support, I always encourage the member to post his results, whether favorable or unsatisfactory. I would not delete a fairly written legitimate complaint. In fact, I have posted some very negative complaints about some of the deceptive online pricing I have encountered. Many of our members are just starting to consider purchasing a Tormek. I want purchasing a Tormek to be a happy experience for them. I want them to receive good, honest advice from the forum to help make their Tormek experience positive. I consistently recommend that new inexperienced buyers buy new machines from an authorized dealer to get the benefits of Tormek's warranty.

In my opinion, the market for used Tormek equipment is generally overpriced. However, like many of the longtime forum members, I would not hesitate to buy an older Tormek at the right price. I want this forum to be the best resource for Tormek users and buyers for both new and older products. Please note that we are not a swap meet. What we swap is experience.


General Tormek Questions / Re: Broken delivery T8
« on: July 18, 2019, 12:28:34 pm »

Don't apologize. I feel the same way that you do.


General Tormek Questions / Re: Broken delivery T8
« on: July 18, 2019, 12:28:57 am »

I have two suggestions for you. First, you should inform Tormek support of how you have been treated. I don't know how much support can do, however, it is important that they be informed. Good or bad, the way you as a customer are treated by a Tormek dealer reflects on Tormek's reputation.

Second, I just checked on Tormek's Austrian site. I know enough German to know that Händler means dealer in English. I counted sixty eight Tormek dealers in Austria. For future business with Tormek products, I suggest that you find a Tormek dealer near you. You might want to check out several until you find one where you are very comfortable. You want a dealer who is knowledgeable, makes you feel welcome, and gives you excellent service. Where I live in Ohio, I am most fortunate to have three dealers I trust. One dealer is a trusted personal friend. Two are located in Amish villages. I have been a customer in one of these stores for more than forty five years. In the other store, I enjoy listening to the customers and clerks speaking the Amish German dialect.

I rarely get such happy feelings shopping online.

I hope you will finally get a good resolution. Do keep us posted.


General Tormek Questions / Re: Broken delivery T8
« on: July 17, 2019, 10:09:58 pm »

The issue of poor shipping is industry wide. The shipping companies are all too often blamed for poor packing on the part of the vendors. How many packages have we all received without adequate packing to keep the contents from moving?

In an earlier post, one of our members astutely noted that in the journey from the wholesaler to the dealer, products are usually shipped on skids and delivered in big trucks. In the journey from the dealer to the customer, products are shipped individually, and must rely on the dedication of the packer. This is a good reason to purchase directly from a dealer whenever possible and avoid the risky last leg of the journey.

Unfortunately, it is often the heaviest and largest items which are most at risk. My inadequately packed Tormek Work Station was damaged in transit. It was packed in a double box, however, there was no padding between the boxes. Until this issue is resolved, we must keep complaining.


General Tormek Questions / Re: Truing Procedure
« on: July 17, 2019, 12:21:13 pm »
Well done, Antz!!!

Two of the things I find commendable about Tormek are 1) their willingness to go the extra mile with product support and 2) their willingness to redesign a product which was the state of the art. I will cite several examples of this: The most obvious example is the new 186 gouge jig. When I reviewed the new 186 design, I recommended it even for users presently quite happily using the earlier 185 design.

The new SE-77 square edge jig incorporates adjustable, controlled camber. This is a game changer for hand plane blades.

Tormek felt that the quite reliable TT-50 truing tool could be improved by reducing potential chatter. The new design accomplishes this. The state of the art has been advanced.Tormek continues to evolve.

Keep posting, Antz.


General Tormek Questions / Re: Grit thoughts
« on: July 15, 2019, 08:08:41 pm »
This conversation reinforces my belief that an increasing group of Tormek users have become increasingly sophisticated and demanding. This is demonstrated by you tubes by members such as Wootz and Sharpco. I see this as a very positive development. This group, far from abandoning the Tormek, is using the Tormek to produce increasingly sharper and longer lasting edges. This is happening with a combination of more disciplined technique and increasingly sophisticated tools and materials. (This broad group includes new grinding wheels; more precise set up charts and applets; and more precise set up tools from the kenjig to the Front Vertical Base.)

I am convinced that this forum has been instrumental in the development of many things, from placing built in magnets in the water troughs (Remember the early posts recommending taping or gluing magnets to the water trough.) to diamond wheels after some of us had been using CBN. I believe the recent improvement of the TT-50 resulted from posts recommending the use of electrical ties. The list goes on.

I believe the stone grader will soon be upgraded. Today's Tormek users do not remember the difference between the natural and manmade stones of decades ago. Today's users want to use the blackstone and the Japanese stone as well as the original SG. We also have become more demanding of trueness. We expect to be able to sharpen newer alloys.

Ionut posted using diamond cards to clean up his SJ several years ago. Wootz began the more recent movement of using inexpensive diamond plates as a substitute for the stone grader. This struck me as a most promising idea. I purchased twenty inexpensive 1000 grit diamond plates and gave them to forum members. My own observation was that the diamond plate produced a smoother surface than the stone grader.

My next experiment was gluing a set of three different grit DMT diamond file cards onto three flat pieces of aluminum, trying to equal or exceed the grit range of the stone grader while keeping the grinding wheel quite flat. So far, this has produced mixed results. The fine grit works well. The middle and coarse grits do not seem as effective. Neither the coarse diamond plate nor the coarse side of the stone grader seem near to being as effective as the truing tool. This is a work in progress. Rich Colvin has been having better results with a coarse diamond bench stone.

Experiments with leather honing wheels and other compounds have a history, also. Based on an idea by Ernie Conover, I acquired a second leather honing wheel to use with valve grinding compound. VGC is more effective that the Tormek PA-70 with coarser polishing and scratch reducing. It also removes surface rust and staining more effectively. The drawback is that it does not offer as smooth a finish.

The constraint to using any of the diamond compounds is how willing one is to purchase one or more extra leather honing wheels and more expensive compounds. For those willing to make the investment, the rewards are promising.One must factor in the kind of sharpening one does. I see two groups interested in making this kind of investment. The first group is dedicated (obsessive) amateurs like me who are more interested in sharpening than in many other expensive activities. The second group, typified by Wootz and Sharpco, are professionals who have developed a clientele willing to pay premium sharpening prices for premium sharpening. I do not see this kind of sharpening cost effective for sharpeners with overly cost conscious customers.

We have much of this iceberg to explore. The Tormek engineering team has produced many fine innovations over the years, and will continue to do so. The target market of any successful business must be its typical customers. Unfortunately, the typical Tormek customer does not have our advanced interests. The typical Tormek customer will benefit from our innovations, however, he will not explore.
This means we must continue to be innovative. This can be a satisfying duty. We have none it before and we are doing it now. I look forward to future innovations.


General Tormek Questions / Re: Belt grinder for use with Tormek
« on: July 15, 2019, 02:22:42 am »

I remember your belt sander from early posts when you were restoring your grandfather's mortise chisel. It was a well done labor of love and those warm feelings were obvious.

I believe a creative craftsman has his choice among many tools. In my case, the first belt sander I used was my grandfather's 1930s vintage Sears Companion 3x36” sander. I used it incorrectly and destroyed a new belt. (I could use it more successfully today.)

As much as I like the versatility of my Viel, an imaginative worker like Jan will do good work with a variety of tools. In my opinion, one of the common traits of the Tormek and belt grinders is their versatility.


Knife Sharpening / Re: an easy alternative for odd thickness knives
« on: July 13, 2019, 05:57:02 pm »
Good point, John.

Ever the old kenjig thinker, it seems to me that this process could be streamlined. Attach the riser board onto a base. Have the paddle with the sandpaper run back and forth in an adjustable backstop track to keep it equidistant. Using your phone calculator once, I suspect all the needed information for different knife thicknesses and two or three practical bevel angles would fit on a 3x5 card.

For day to day regular sharpening, this would certainly not be a match for a Tormek. However, for the once in a blue moon knife which did not fit the standard profile, it might be a good, inexpensive backup.


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