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Topics - Ken S

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General Tormek Questions / Grit thoughts
« on: April 23, 2019, 03:28:19 am »

I find Tormek's grit designations puzzling. I have found that both 360 grit diamond wheels cut more aggressively than the 220 grit SuperGrind (SG) wheels. I suspect this is due to other factors than just grit size. Tormek recommends much lighter grinding pressure when using the diamond wheels. I think the diamond grains are sharper than the aluminum oxide of the SG.

Ionut, one of our most outstanding now inactive members, noted several years ago that the Tormek SG wheel has three grits (not two). In addition to stone grader coarse, supposedly 220, and stone grader fine, supposedly 1000, Ionut noted a third, coarser grit, the surface just after using the TT-50 truing tool.

Related to this, I have found that the stone grader is not limited to just two grits, full coarse and full fine. It has not entered into the handbook, however, there is a middle grit, often called "600". This name coincides with the 600 grit diamond wheel of the T2. With the SG, I find 600 grit an approximate number. I also find the two grit numbers assigned to the stone grader (220 and 1000) both approximate numbers. The TT-50 produces a coarser grit than the coarse side of the stone grader.

I did a simple test tonight. I have no way to accurately determine grit size. My not very scientific measuring system was to feel the surface of my SG wheels prepared in different ways. The freshly ground TT-50 surface was noticeably the most coarse. I divided my second SG in half with a black Sharpie. I used the coarse side of the stone grader on one half and a 325 grit diamond card file glued on a flat piece of steel on the second half. I found these two surfaces very close, with the diamond card file perhaps the tiniest bit more coarse. Even used very slowly for a smoother surface, the TT-50 was clearly the most coarse.

The file card may help keep the grinding wheel more true than the stone grader.

I place very little importance on exacting grit numbers. The SG wheel is quite versatile with the TT-50 and stone grader. I just think in terms of more coarse and less coarse.


« on: April 18, 2019, 04:14:44 pm »
I just noticed four new listings from China with no reviews and unbelievable prices, like $69.95 for a new T4. Buyer beware!


General Tormek Questions / Attn. T4 owners:
« on: April 06, 2019, 05:30:51 pm »

Attention T4 owners:

For many years, adding a magnet to the water trough was a common forum topic. Lots of Tormek users modified their water troughs to include a magnet, using various methods. I was one of the many who added a magnet to my water trough. I used black electrical tape, which never failed me.

In January of 2010, Tormek introduced the AWT-250, an advanced water trough for the T7. It could be substituted for the regular water trough of any 250mm Tormek. Gradually posts about using magnets died down. Since 2010, all new T7 and T8 Tormeks have had the AWT-250, which is larger, and includes both the built in magnet and the detachable long platform. This was great for the larger Tormeks, but did nothing for the T4.

The traditional homemade trough magnet remains an effective and low cost fix for the T4. I like the round flat magnets. I suggest holding the magnet to  the water trough with tape. A good grade of electrical tape will hold for years. Scotch tape and masking tape work well for "beta" testing for positioning. Be sure to make things permanent with electrical tape. (Electrical tape can be easily removed without damage.)

A small towel can be a workable stand in for the platform.

Don't forget a turkey baster to remove the majority of the water from the trough with minimal, if any, spillage.

I think the T4 is a terrific machine. Enjoy.


General Tormek Questions / EZYlock not jamming
« on: April 03, 2019, 10:53:01 pm »
Over the years, we have had a trickle of posts concerning the EZYlock jamming. Not a flood, however, enough to indicate an occasional problem. I have experienced this on a couple of occasions. We have had several suggestions, good possible solutions, however, nothing definitive. I have corresponded with support about this. Again nothing definitive, however, support did suggest galling, which seems like a good lead.

I do not recall reading any jamming reports from T4 (or T2) users. Why not? The reason may be that the T4 and T2 use plastic EZYlock locking nuts instead of stainless steel. At this point, I cannot make any definitive statements. Early on, I ordered a stainless steel EZYlock and a quick connect (the plastic locking knob for the leather honing wheel) as upgrades for my T4.

I just placed the original plastic EZYlock on my T8. I don't know if this will prevent any future jamming or not. It seems worth a try. Comments?


ps Here is a link to the part. I may include another one in my next parts order. (I always try to combine shipping.)

Knife Sharpening / elastoplast (now tensoplast)
« on: March 23, 2019, 01:38:37 am »
After watching one of Wootz' knife sharpening videos, I ordered a roll of the Elastoplast heavy tape he uses to protect his knife blades from scratches. It finally arrived from the UK. Very nice stuff; worth the wait.

I have no problems with the product itself, although shipping first aid tape from the UK to the US doesn't seem logistically inefficient. The tape is made in South Africa. The name has been changed from Elastoplast to Tensoplast. I look forward to scratch free knives. Thanks, Wootz!


General Tormek Questions / TT-50 2019 model review.
« on: March 20, 2019, 02:22:42 am »
My new TT-50 (2019 model) arrived today. I used it to true up my SG-250.

When I review a Tormek product, Most fall into my category of "recommended for new purchase, but no need to replace the previous model if you already have one". A few products, most notably the SVD-186 gouge jig, I rate highly enough to recommend purchasing it even if you are already happily using the predecessor product. I include the new TT-50 2019 model in the recommended for new purchase category. If you are presently using the original ADV-50 truing tool, I recommend replacing it with the latest TT-50.

I am impressed with its design and quality of machining. Like most new Tormek jigs, it utilizes machined zinc. With the older version of the TT-50, some users were experiencing bounce. Ionut solved this problem by using two small electrical ties. Recently, Sharpco showed using a strong magnet to solve the bounce problem. I have never had the bounce problem. If I did, I would try one of these two fixes.

The redesigned TT-50 is priced the same as the older TT-50, $93US. It is essential. It should be among the first purchases for every T4 owner.

My usage recommendation is less aggressive than the included Tormek instructions. I favor very light passes, perhaps only half a microadjust number, especially when starting out. I also favor frequent truing. We paid for a Tormek, why not optimize it with a true wheel. True often and lightly.


Knife Sharpening / New book from Knife Grinders (our member, Wootz)
« on: March 14, 2019, 10:14:16 pm »
My highest praise for a sharpening book is my statement, "This book should be part of the reference library of every serious sharpener." Knife Deburring: Science behind the lasting razor edge, by Dr. Vadim Kraichuk, certainly deserves that recognition. For the record, while my photography and woodworking library is extensive, I can count my sharpening library on my fingers, with some fingers left over for future growth. Vadim's book is one of only two knife specific books in this group.

I first became aware of Vadim in 2015 when he joined Tormek forum.  (Tormek Community Forum Most of know him by his user name, "Wootz". From the start he has been very thorough and innovative. His book combines his innovative research with his practical working sharpener experience.

Mike Brubacher invented BESS, the Brubacher Edge Sharpness Scale. The scale, measured on Mike's Edge On Up testers, ranged from 50 (the gram weight needed to cut the test filament with a new double edge razor blade) to 2000 (the gram weight needed to cut the filament with the blunt edge of that razor blade when broken). To the great surprise of the members of the BESS exchange, Vadim not only reached "the sound barrier" of 50 BESS with knives, he obtained readings of half that number, literally sharper than a razor. He is the only one I am aware of who has broken this sound barrier. Vadim knows sharpness.

Vadim's book is a rare blending of scholarly research with high level workaday sharpening. Many of the illustrations involve an electron microscope. Yet, the innovative techniques he has developed can be applied in a typical home workshop with a Tormek. He has both risen the level of top level sharpening and made better sharpening available for the working sharpener and home sharpener.

This is a serious book for sharpeners with a genuine interest in sharpening beyond the common level. I do not believe that even Tormek AB ever dreamed that the Tormek was able to produce edges like Vadim produces with his Tormek. It is a book which will serve as a long term reference, absorbed slowly with repeated readings. Vadim has put much serious research into this book. It will not disappoint the reader. I first read the partial online version ( I have read through the printed book, and will read it at least a couple times more by this weekend. After that, I will keep it very handy to help absorb various parts. The effort will be well repaid.

Of special interest is the first part, which discusses various myths about sharpening. Vadim discusses methods to make edges very sharp and, just as important, methods to keep those edges sharp, based on real world testing.

The book is available through Vadim's website, for $60AUD for new customers and $40AUD for existing customers. It is also available on Amazon and at no cost to unlimited Kindle members. Shipping is expensive from Australia, however, anyone who has purchased an SJ wheel, diamond wheels, or a Magnum kit should not think the book expensive. (The conversion to US dollars translate to fewer dollars.)

LATER EDIT: I rarely use Kindle. I did not realize that the Amazon website has an option to download this book into the Kindle appfor $10US. As much as I like printed books, considering the cost of postage from Australia, I think the Kindle download is the lost logical choice.

As stated earlier, this book should be part of the reference library of every serious sharpener.


EDIT: I have been advised by a trusted forum member that my review failed to mention that although Vadim's technique is centered around the Tormek, he has added non Tormek accessories, including several grinding wheels, paper wheels, honing compounds, and a VFB (Vertical Front Base) of his own design. While the Tormek can produce very sharp edges using only Tormek equipment, users should not expect to equal Vadim's results without his experience and special equipment.
I would note that Vadim has shared a very usable path to success. My sharpening technique will benefit from his work, and so should yours.

Wood Turning / turning in the UK
« on: March 12, 2019, 05:27:04 pm »
I found thid fascinating, and thought you might enjoy it, also.


Knife Sharpening / New well done knife repair video from Tormek
« on: March 05, 2019, 03:12:25 pm »
Tormek has an impressive new knife repair video:



Knife Sharpening / sog traction tanto knife sharpening video needed
« on: March 03, 2019, 02:30:19 am »
I just received an email from a friend looking to find a video about sharpening a sog traction tanto knife with a Tormek.
Thanks in advance your your help.


Knife Sharpening / T2 videos by Affinity Culinary
« on: February 28, 2019, 12:12:37 pm »
I just found a well done video covering the T2. Here is the link:

In general, I find one minute quickie videos frustrating. I dislike the marketng community notion that consumers will lose interest after two minutes. This video is twelve minutes, enough time for me to digest the message.

We have had several questions wanting to use the T2 knife jig and a diamond wheel with the T8. I am not convinced that that would be mechanically or cost effective. However, after watching this video, I am more open to the possibility of a farmers market sharpener having a T2 in ready reserve for higher volume days.

My kitchen knives are getting near the need to be reTormeked. I think I will run them through my T2.

Affinity Tool, the US Tormek importer, has set up a separate website for the T2. It is worth checking out.


General Tormek Questions / Metric and customary measuring systems
« on: February 20, 2019, 01:13:10 pm »
We have had discussions in the past about which system of measurement is preferred on the forum. I found this video fascinating, and hope you enjoy it.

For the record, even though I live in the US and live in an area dominated by US Customary Measurement, the Tormek is a metric machine. My preference for Tormek related forum measurement is Metric. (Enough 304mm, actually ten onch, odd size grinding wheels!)


General Tormek Questions / pick of the litter videos
« on: February 19, 2019, 03:36:08 pm »
We get frequent requests for good training videos. Here is my short list and reasons for choosing them:

For an introduction to and overview of the Tormek:

This is an excellent and extensive interview with Tormek's Stig Reitan ("Stickan" on our forum). There is no better introduction to the Tormek and Tormek values.)

For anyone wanting to start a knife and scissors business, in my opinion, there is no better guide than Steve Bottorff, also a forum member and my knife sharpening mentor. His Sharpening School DVD is a very good facsimile for the private instruction class he taught for many years before retiring. Check his business ( and his you tube channel.

Two other forum members, Wootz and Sharpco, have done exceptional you tubes. Both show outstanding methodical technique. You will note that Wootz uses the computer applet and VFB (Vertical Front Base) he designed and sells. I consider both to be essential components of accurate work, and would purchase both before acquiring the Japanese 4000 grit wheel so many lust after. Check out Wootz' you tube channel, starting with this:

Pay attention to Sharpco's very solid, controlled technique. (His technical quality is outstanding, also.):

For learning to use the DBS:22 drill bit jig, Alan Holtham's video is the head of the class and pick of the litter. I watch it every time before sharpening drill bits. Access it from the DBS-22 page of

For sharpening turning tools, my "pick of the litter" vote goes to Jeff Farris and the Tormek Woodturner's Instruction Box. Although this was made many years ago, the information is solid and still relevant.

These, in my opinion, are the best of the best. Feel free to venture beyond these, however, I strongly recommend these as your instructional foundation.


General Tormek Questions / TT-50 truing tool video
« on: February 10, 2019, 08:50:42 pm »
I recently found this TT-50 you tube. I would classify it as somewhere in the middle of the pack. It is not terrible, nor is it very good in my opinion.

As is typical of so many you tubes about the Tormek, fact checking seems lean. The cutter is diamond, not tungsten carbide. This should have been checked beforehand.

I am not a fan of a lot of background in technical you tubes. In this case, the background music obscured the sound of the wheel grinding. Listening to the grind sound is a key element in judging if the depth of cut is correct. I found the technique a bit rough for my taste. I prefer the extra control obtained by using both hands to advance the cutter. Unless I specifically want a rougher stone surface, I use a slower pass for a smoother surface.

The depth difference between the first pass and second pass looked excessive. I would have made several shallow passes and achieved the same result with less stone removed.

I do not mean to single out this you tube. As I stated in the beginning, I consider it in the middle of the pack, not the bottom.


General Tormek Questions / US-400 available
« on: February 08, 2019, 12:17:28 am »
Wolfgang Derke of Advanced Machinery sent me an email today that Advanced now has some US-400 support bars. Here is a link to their listing:

These have been hard to find. They were originally supplied with the T4000, an elongated stainless steel predecessor of the T2. As I recall, Wootz was the first member of the forum to use one. His postings generated interest. Forum member andó longtime Tormek dealer, Steve Bottorff, ( was able to find twenty of a small number of reissued US-400 units. These quickly sold out to interested Tormek users, including me. Until I received the email from Wolfgang, I thought the twenty that Steve had located were the last. I do not know how many US-400 units are available through Advanced Machinery.

The longest knife I sharpen is my eight inch (200mm) chef's knife. I have had no difficulty with the standard issue US-105 universal support bar with this knife. I gather the extra length of the US-400 is designed to handle longer knives. I have found the extended length on both ends a good place to rest my hands for better control. Having an extra support bar is also a time saver for heavy grinding situations which may require frequent wheel dressing tith the TT-50. There is no need to reset the Distance between the bar and grinding wheel. Just swap preset support bars..

Soon after purchasing my T7, I purchased a second US-105 support bar. Having a second support bar is convenient. Priced at $49 US, the US-400 is not much more expensive than the standard US-105. I have found the US-400 useful enough to purchase a second unit through Advanced. I chose the option for eight dollars more to include a microadjust for it.

One might compare the US-400 with the extended support bar designed and sold by forum member, Robin C Bailey. Each is useful in its own way. Robin's support bar is both longer and taller than the US-105. It is the ideal tool for sharpening cleavers. It does not have (or really need) the microadjust. I have and use both bars.

The video recently cited by forum member, Sharpco, shows the US-400 in use.

I am not trying to sell this product to anyone. I just remember some disappointed members who missed out on the first batch of twenty.


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