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Topics - Ken S

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General Tormek Questions / learning curve revisited
« on: Yesterday at 07:46:57 am »
We have frequently discussed the learning curve in the past. I believe the flexibility of the Tormek allows the user to choose the amount of learning curve to suit his needs and wishes.

A Tormek user who wants to keep his home workshop chisels and planes sharp using the standard SG grinding wheel has only a short learning curve to master. Adding the family kitchen cutlery, his pocket knives and scissors adds only a little more learning.

Adding a larger variety of tools, including tools with different steel, adds to the learning curve. Adding the more stringent customer expectations and volume of business definitely increases the skill level required, as does using multiple grinding wheels.

Harnessing the exciting potential of the three diamond wheels and multi base will certainly require more skill. We will have to learn new techniques as well as developing a lighter grinding pressure. We will have to factor in flat grinding in addition to our traditional shallow hollow grinding.

We have choices. A sharp tool is a sharp tool, whether it is sharpened using the latest diamond wheel or the standard SG. The basic technique and SG grinding wheel have served Tormek users very well for decades, and will continue to do so. While this path remains a viable option, it is no longer the only path. Today's Tormek user has choices which were only imagined not too many years ago. We live in interesting times.


Knife Sharpening / Advice from a Tormek knife expert
« on: March 17, 2018, 09:00:40 pm »
Part way into this video, you will recognize a Tormek knife expert with some solid advice.

General Tormek Questions / Tormek, as told by an expert
« on: March 17, 2018, 08:42:28 pm »
I found Terry most informative.

The old reliable Tormek SuperGrind (SG) wheels can tolerate a lot of abuse. Many are still in service even though being rusted to the pre 2006 non stainless steel shafts. Many are still running which have not been kept true and dressed.

These old troopers are like the phoenix; a session with the truing tool can restore trueness and expose fresh cutting grains to the surface.

As we enter the world of Tormek sharpening with diamond wheels, we also enter another learning curve. We must unlearn our aluminum oxide (SG) habits. Reexamining how I used the DWC-200, which I really like, I realized how deeply engrained my aluminum oxide habits are. With AO, the surface finish is visibly improved by using a very light touch with the last few passes. With diamond, the entire grinding process should be done with light pressure. Diamond is both hard  and fragile. Used carefully and correctly, a diamond wheel should be a lifetime purchase for most of us.

In my subconscious mind, I can visualize Jeff Farris lifting one side of his SuperGrind with grinding pressure on his chisel. “Don't be afraid to really lean on it!” This works with AO wheels like the SG. No doubt it also appeals to the younger, macho, prospective buyers. (To keep this comment in context, I must add that Jeff also stated that the Tormek also works very well with a light touch, such as someone with arthritis might use.)

Once the AO grains eventually became dull, the truing tool can remove them and expose fresh new (sharp) grains. Granted that the diamond wheels have exceptional endurance, perhaps more than the operator, if the diamonds are dulled due to misuse, there are no new fresh grains to restore the wheel.

We must learn diamond thinking. We must let the extreme sharpness of the diamond grains gently do the work. My DMT diamond flattening plate is a constant reminder of that. It was hyped as being able to flatten any stone in the shop. The hype is almost true. It excels with waterstones. It not only flattens AO oilstones such as India stones, it restores the sharp cutting surface, making them cut like new again. However, it is no match for crystalon stones (often an alternative for AO, especially in coarser grits). An old crystalon stone ruined my $200 US diamond flat plate.

The plate is a good and useful product. I give it high marks. I do not extend these high marks to the company marketing department or the enthusiastic reviewers who did not shout the caveat. (I have not used my plate for several years; marketing may have corrected this situation by now.)

I do not want Tormek diamond wheel users to fall prey to the same lack of knowledge. In fairness, I have seen the grinding pressure quietly mentioned by Tormek. However, this is not enough to counteract long developed SG working habits. This caveat needs to be bold and frequent. My initial use results with the DWC-200 and DWF-200 have been very positive. They are wonderful new tools which will revolutionize the Tormek. However, retraining is essential for these fine products to shine.  I hope Tormek will have outstanding video training on the website before these wheels are available in June.


I contacted support (Stig) yesterday with some questions for the forum. Stig promptly replied that he would have the answers for me today, which he has delivered.

My first question was how suitable the new diamond wheels are for sharpening carbide. The blackstone is considered carbide compatable for touch up only. This would fit carbide drills which are dull. Diamond is the ideal material for grinding carbide. This is a definite step forward.

I asked about a break in period for diamond wheels, like CBN wheels. The answer is the same for both materials. I did not notice this, although I was comparing a 360 grit diamond wheel with a 180 grit CBN wheel.

I asked about diamond wheels needing cleaning. Tormek always recommends using the diamond wheels with water to keep them clean. Presumably, "water" means water with the recommended dilution of their anti corrosion compound.

I appreciate support's prompt response. I believe this will be one of the best ways to have our questions answered.


ps, In my email to support, I included "for the forum" in the subject.

General Tormek Questions / Forum and Tormek thoughts
« on: March 09, 2018, 11:03:03 pm »
I would like to reply to some recent comments made by Stig. Stig and I have become friends over the years and have exchanged numerous emails. Every email seems to come from another country. I don't know he maintains his travel/work schedule for Tormek. His assistance has been invaluable for the forum. With that in mind, I want to do everything I can to make his forum related time flow efficiently. The forum is essentially self running, needing only occasional expert advice from Tormek. If that is through support (, that is fine with me.

I will start sending my questions to support, when I feel we need expertise from Sweden. Just so that there is no misunderstanding, I will note in the emails that I intend to share the answer, when appropriate, with the forum. While many support requests are individual, and should remain that way, more general questions of interest to the forum should be shared. I would certainly continue to respect any privacy requests.

I understand that for better or worse, we live in a social media world. That is how business functions. Any company, including Tormek, would be foolish not to include it in its marketing strategy. Social media for business is like a daily newspaper or the news; it needs regular submissions even on slow or no news days. Doing that well requires dedicated marketing personnel.

With the forum, marketing has already completed its job. We have already invested in Tormek, many of us quite heavily. Many of us have invested in multiple Tormeks; multiple grinding wheels; and even very expensive jigs and accessories like the DBS-22 and work station. Although we may be a minority of Tormek owners, we are well invested, and will continue to do so. I suspect a substantial number of the new diamond wheels and multi bases sold will be to forum members. (We already know our intended next Tormek purchases without any persuasion.  :)

Although many of our posts may be beyond the knowledge and interest level of beginners, we all began as beginners, and we routinely welcome new beginner members. We may have answered a new member's beginner question fifty times, however, our replies are always helpful and encouraging. We have no prima donna members and are always eager to extend a helping hand.

We believe the Tormek is a more useful tool than is understood by beginners. We try to squeeze all the versatility we can; many of us are successfully using these Tormek innovations, both from Sweden and from the forum members, professionally.

As Moderator, I want to make as much useful information as possible readily available to our members. I want our relationship with Tormek and its personnel to be cordial and cooperative. I  respect the time constraints of our Tormek friends.

I look forward to the forum continuing to benefit both our members and Tormek.


Wood Turning / Nick Agar spindle gouge sharpening/using video
« on: March 09, 2018, 01:53:31 pm »
I found this well done video. I believe he has done several others. It shows several sharpening methods, including both the Tormek and the BGM-100.


Drill Bit Sharpening / an earlier thought
« on: March 09, 2018, 12:33:55 pm »
I watched all three videos as a refresher. At first glance, Jeff's suggestion of rotating the bit slightly and grinding it until it becomes parallel seems very good. I will try it. It may be the key to getting parallel primary facets.

I like to spend quiet time sneaking up on the adjustments to learn what tweaking can do. With the DBS, this sneaky, peaky, tweaky time can save much over grinding and consequent regrinding time. Grind a little and observe the effect.

With so many Tormek operations, the jig sets the angle. Perfect sharpening depends on both the jig and the amount of grinding. Included in the amount of grinding, the right grinding pressure is essential, especially with the blackstone and diamond wheels.Mastering grinding pressure will move a Tormeker well along the learning curve. The curve is more quickly mastered with frequent observation.

I find sharpening tools, used primarily for practice and learning, essential. No customer (or spouse) wants a fine kitchen knife or tool greatly reduced in size because the sharpener was experimenting or learning. That's the beauty of having practice tools. Being left handed, I reground a santoku knife with only a left bevel. I find I can cut very thin slices with it. I reground a utility chisel bevel from 25° to 30°.  While it is not as suitable for fine paring, the edge holds up very well for knockabout duty. I have learned a lot about the Tormek and how different wheels cut from using my collection of 3/4” bench chisels. (See the tips and techniques topic locked at the top of the general section).

For anyone planning to do much drill bit sharpening, spending some quiet time with practice bits will be well rewarded, as will study time about bits and drilling. In skilled hands, the DBS-22 can be an incredibly versatile tool after it is mastered.


Knife Sharpening / sharpening a Morakniv Eldris
« on: March 01, 2018, 10:41:10 am »
Rick recently sent me one of his very nicely machined modified stop collars. In order to effectively work with it effectively, I need a knife with more edge curve. My knives are essentially traditional kitchen and pocket knives with straight or gently curved edges.

I found a knife I believe would be an ideal match for Rick's jig:

It is about 4mm shorter than the minimum length of the regular Tormek knife jig. Two solutions come to mind. I have the Tormek small blade holder, which I am sure will work well.

The second, more radical solution would be to grind down the width of one of my knife jigs. With a modified knife jig and Rick's collar, I would have a dedicated jig for this one knife. While this might work very well, it seems cost ineffective for one knife for a home sharpener like me. The small blade holder seems more practical.

Any suggestions from the knife people for this old chisel sharpener?



Knife Sharpening / T2 insights
« on: February 17, 2018, 06:02:17 pm »
Working with the DWC-200 on the T4 have given me some insights into what I believe is the role of the T2.

I believe the variable we have not discussed is frequency of sharpening. Under ideal conditions, how much edge dulling occurs before the knife is resharpened? The same two axis graph I imagine for wheel truing comes to mind. The vertical axis is either wheel trueness or edge sharpness. The horizontal axis is time. A knife or tool regularly sharpened at the first indication of dullness will produce a graph resembling a saw with many teeth. The sharpness will fall only a small amount before the blade is resharpened and the sharpness is restored to optimal. The average sharpness is almost optimal. Downtime for sharpening is more frequent, but quicker.

With the more typical sharpening schedule, the edge is allowed to become considerably more dull. Downtime for sharpening is less frequent, but sharpening sessions require longer times and may involve coarser methods. On our graph, the line resembles a saw with fewer teeth and deeper gullets. A calculated average cutting efficiency would yield a lower number.

With this graph in mind, I believe the T2 is designed for more frequent sharpening. By using a dry diamond wheel, it does not require the set up and cleaning of using water. Setting up the built in knife jig is essentially automatic. There is no need to reset from using other jigs because, by design, there are no other jigs. There is no need for honing compound. There is no truing of the wheel.

Unlike other Tormeks, which are advertised to sharpen "every blade in the shop", the T2 is designed for a very small part of the sharpening universe, the restaurant kitchen. And, within that limited sphere, it is designed to be used on demand. I think the "on demand" factor is critical. Tormek wants the cook to have optimally sharp knives, which require less effort to use. In order for the 600 grit diamond wheel to be efficient, the knife must be almost sharp before it is sharpened. The finer grit wheel restores optimum sharpness efficiently. It is not efficient at making a very dull blade sharp again. The time involved is too long for most people. (This provides a good but unwanted lesson to not allow one’s knives to become so dull.)

The conventional Tormek and sharpener have the advantage. The SG and SB grindinging wheels efficiently restore very dull edges to sharpness. The conventional Tormek sharpener is well equipped with these tools. I believe a sharpener whose work includes being mobile would be well served to include a T4 with a DWC-200 in his kit.

Another small part in this kit, ideal for long knives, would be the parts for the shaped honing wheels. These can be used to add another three inches to the distance between the leather honing wheel and the grinding wheel, a very neat dodge for clearance with long knives. I don't immediately recall who posted this idea quite recently. Whoever did wins an honorary membership in the "Popular Mechanics Home Workshop" society for clever thinking.


General Tormek Questions / DWC-200
« on: February 15, 2018, 10:48:24 pm »
My DWC-200 arrived yesterday. Tormek offers two diamond wheels. The DWF-200 (Diamond Wheel Fine, 200mm diameter, 600 grit, is standard with the T2, or as an accessory. The DWC-200 (Diamond Wheel coarse, 200mm diameter, 320 grit is available as an accessory. 

Although they are designed primarily for use with the T2, they are an exact plug and play fit for the T4. They can also be used with the T7/8, although an extra spacer washer washer is necessary, and the 200 mm diameter does not allow full clearance. (They work as well as any 250mm diameter grinding wheel worn down to 200mm.

The DWC is decidedly faster cutting than the DWF. I was pleasantly surprised.

I prefer to do my testing using chisels. I find the single bevel easier to work with and definitely easier to see. I used a previously sharp 3/4” Irwin chisel, one of my sharpening chisels. I started by grinding a flat on the edge, more or less .25mm. This was decidedly "duller" than most chisels or knives. With the DWC in my T4, I sharpened the bevel to 25° with the chisel in the SE-77 jig. It required several minutes. I experienced no overheating at all. (I used the DWC dry.) The DWC left a distinct, but orderly scratch pattern.

I switched to the DWF. Its feel and sound sre considerably smoother than the DWC. It reduced the scratch pattern considerably.

Finally, I switched to the rubber wheel. I had expected it to only remove the burr. I was pleased to see that it also worked on the scratch pattern and did some polishing as sell. For the BESS users, I measured 150. I would not want to dubmit this tool for a journeyman exam, however for an initial quick sharpening job, it is not a bad score. Considering my limited time, I was pleased.

Initially, I just wanted to wear in the diamond wheel. It does not seem to need to wear in as much as CBN.

I have more testing to do. How does diamond compare with the SG? Dry or wet (with Honerite Gold)? Effect of very light pressure with final passes?

My first use reaction is that the DWC is a very useful grinding wheel for the T2 and beyond.

Stay tuned........


General Tormek Questions / T2 diamond wheels and rubber honing wheel
« on: February 09, 2018, 05:22:00 pm »
I have been watching to see when the DWF-200 and DWC-200 diamond wheels and the rubber honing wheel will be available as individual items. I found them recently on the website of a major US Tormek dealer. In the description, it was stated that they were not compatable with any other model than the T2.

I sent an email to the dealer inquiring if the incompatability included the T4. The reply stated that they were not compatable with the T4.

As the shafts and drive wheels of the T2 and T4 are identical, I was not convinced. I went to my shop and removed the DWF-200 and rubber wheel from my T2 and put them on my T4. As expected, they are totally plug and play. The diamond wheel, like the SG-200, also works on the T7/8. Either of these wheels require an extra spacer washer, like the one which comes with the T4, to fill the gap between the 40 and 50mm thick wheels. The smaller wheel should work as well with the larger Tormek as well as any wheel worn to 200 mm. It just won't wear any further. Perhaps someday we may see Tormek diamond or CBN wheels in 250mm diameter.

I have left the diamond wheel and rubber honing wheel on my T4. I believe they may be more useful to a Tormek sharpener used with the T4. I appreciate having the choice and will keep you posted.


ps The DWF-200 has a really nice steel bushing!

pps For anyone placing a parts order, I recommend purchasing a spare spacer washer. I use different wheels, like the Norton 3X, which are thinner. Having a spare spacer washer or two is very useful.

General Tormek Questions / a new generation of Tormek user
« on: February 06, 2018, 11:25:43 am »
Wootz' recent comment about "professional" and "commercial" sharpening equipment in the knife section meshes well with some of my thoughts. The two categories are growing closer. A clever camera marketing person coined the term "prosumer" for digital cameras. My Nikon D610 falls into this category. I want the full format, large mega pixel image quality it provides, as well as the high ISO low noise, superb viewing, and many other features. I did not want to carry a brick designed to survive professional NFL torture. Nor did I want the brick's price tag. I wanted some professional features and some consumer features.

Some of the present generation of Tormek users, especially forum members, want a similar mix with their Tormeks. We want higher accuracy in our bevels than is really needed. We want more versatility, and we want higher speed, even if we only sharpen a few tools. And, as Tormek owners, we have demonstrated that we are willing to make the investment to achieve these things.

Over the years, the Tormek engineers have been diligently working on upgrades and expanding the scope of the Tormek. The stainless steel EZYlock shaft has eliminated the shaft rust pronlem and made using the new interchangeable grinding wheels efficient. Zinc machining and rededigning has made dignificant steps forward. The list goes on.

There is one area where I do not believe Tormek is up to speed. In my contact with Tormek over the years, I am continually amazed with the knowledge Tormek has acquired over the years. I think the handbook by Torgny Jansson is the gold standard for instruction manuals. The information in it is as useful as when it was first written. I hope it will remain intact as part of every new Tormek.

I also feel that there is much knowledge gained over decades of use which is not included in the handbook. Tormek has this expertise. They are not hoarding it. As an individual user, I have asked the support staff many questions. Through these contacts, I have become aware of some of the more subtle possibilities in areas like using a lighter touch on the final passes and getting middle coarseness grades with the stone grader. The support staff is very helpful. While this information is freely available to individual users, it is generally not included in the company videos.

I am not faulting Tormek or anyone working there. The videos it has produced are generally head and shoulders above what most of the industry offers. My issue is that, with some notable exceptions, the videos seem to be done by marketing expectations. The general marketing environment today is that the consumer has been dumbed down enough to only respond to short, almost soundbite length videos (ads). I am not a dumbed down soundbite person; I am a serious Tormek user. I want to improve my skills through deeper understanding. Tormek's turning video DVD provides that insight. It is in depth and excellently done. The Tormek video with Alan Holtham on using the DBS-22 drill bit jig is essential and very well done. The poor carvers have never gotten much of a video from Tormek, which is sad because the machine and jigs are a good fit for carvers.

There are a lot of Tormek knife sharpeners who have never seen an in depth Tormek video focused on knife sharpening. I believe there are many Tormek users, as well as potential Tormek users who would benefit from more in depth video instruction.


Knife Sharpening / Welcome, Mark Reich
« on: February 02, 2018, 11:13:58 pm »
I would like to welcome our newest member, my friend, Mark Reich. In addition to being a really good guy, Mark is an expert knife maker with an encyclopedic knowledge of steel.

I have one of Mark's platens on my Kalamazoo belt grinder. I was totally amazed when I received it. I just held it and looked at it for quite a while. I had to decide whether to display it in the parlor or install it on the Kally. The Kally won, although the voting has close.


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