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Topics - RichColvin

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General Tormek Questions / VERY Old School Sharpening
« on: May 21, 2020, 03:14:05 pm »
André Jacob Roubo published a great picture on how the old guys used to make their own tool sharpeners.  I am SO happy we now have Tormeks!

I've been adding the Tormek Sharpening classes that Sèbastien and Wolfgang created to the Sharpening Handbook.  As each appeared, I've added it of the related pages (#1 to the knife pages, etc.).

As noted by others, these are really great for the beginner, and offer various nuggets of wisdom for even the experienced sharpener.  Thusly, I've also added them to the Resources page


These are worth cataloging so they can be quickly re-found and re-watched.

Kind regards,

Wood Turning / SJ-250 for sharpening ornamental turning cutters
« on: February 24, 2020, 04:08:26 am »
In ornamental turning, it is vital that the cutters be sharpened to a mirror finish. 

Jon Magill wrote a really great article for the Spring 2008 edition (Vol 23, #1) of AAW's "American Woodturner". In the article titled, Build an Overhead Drive (pages 30-31), he wrote:

Cutters must be sharp! You will never achieve a reflective cut off the tool, which is always the goal in OT, if your cutter isn’t sharp. I once read that you can never get a better finish off of your tool than the finish on the tool itself. In other words, unless your cutter has a mirror finish, you cannot expect to produce a mirror finish on your work.

The attached picture shows the results of sharpening my cutters with the SJ-250.  By the way, there is no sanding here -  this is straight off the rose engine lathe.

Kind regards,

General Tormek Questions / New "must have" for the sharpener (?)
« on: February 19, 2020, 04:53:40 pm »
Well, here is something that I am sure each sharpener will want to order soon ...

NeoScope JCM-6000 Benchtop Scanning Electron Microscope from Nikon Instruments

Wood Turning / Glenn Lucas’ picture on Instagram
« on: January 08, 2020, 03:04:32 am »
Glenn Lucas posted this picture on Instagram.  Really nice!


General Tormek Questions / Great sayings
« on: December 01, 2019, 01:30:47 pm »
Saw this in Ornamental Turning by J.H. Evans (1903)

Of all the tools in the workshop whether of the amateur or of the practical man, the absence of the grindstone would be the most severely felt, without it the restoration of the edges of the tools would be scarcely possible, and upon their perfection much of the practical success of cutting processes depends.

Sharp tools produce the least expenditure of time, surfaces so nearly finished as to require but very little polishing, whereas blunt tools leave the lines and moldings less accurately defined, and the additional friction or polishing employed to gloss over the defects makes a bad case worse, and obliterates all the keen edges that would impart to the work a defined and exact character.

General Tormek Questions / Retired my old SB grindstone
« on: September 20, 2019, 10:45:58 pm »
Today, I was resharpening some drill bits with the DBS-22 Drill bit sharpening attachment.  My SB-250 grindstone is so worn (lovingly used down to 180 mm) that I had to take off a knob on the USB’s base so the DBS-22 would not hit it.

It seems my old SB stone that has finally reached it’s retirement. 

SB, thank you for the great work over many years.  RIP my old friend.  Enjoy your days with my retired SG-250 stone.


General Tormek Questions / Tormek Part Number Reference
« on: August 01, 2019, 10:10:53 pm »
Quick Reference Guide to Tormek's Part Numbers

Tormek Machines - 200mm Stone Size

Tormek Machines - 250mm Stone Size

Tormek Jigs

Tormek Accessories

Tormek Grindstones - 250mm

Tormek Grindstones - 200mm

Wood Turning / Sharpening Nitrided Metals
« on: July 30, 2019, 08:08:34 pm »
Nitride treatment of steel has been around for 100+ years, and is often used for gun barrels.  There are great articles about it at these links: 

The picture above shows how the nitride treatment moves slightly into the base metal.  The Compound Zone has full treatment, and the Diffusion Zone shows how that is getting less and less so.  If I understand this correctly, the outer edge (the Compound Zone) gets treated to become quite hard, but that hardness only goes 0.002" or so into the metal.  Thusly, the underlying metal is softer, making it less brittle.  So, it seems much like the bonded metal process used by craftsmen to make Japanese chisels.

It is emerging onto the wood turning community, and has peaked my interest.  Robust recently introduced a line of turning tools they call "Turner's Edge" ( ), and these tools are nitrided M2 HSS.  Robust claims that their treatment hardens the edge to a 75+ Rockwell hardness.

So, what intrigues me from a sharpening standpoint is this question :  should nitrided metal be treated as if it were a Japanese chisel? 

I'd like to hear others' opinions.

Kind regards,

General Tormek Questions / Low Cost Computer for Your Workshop
« on: May 21, 2019, 04:04:51 am »
I am finding more and more that I need a computer in my workshop.  And, I'm finding that I really need it to jump onto the Internet to look up stuff.

Recently, there became available a very good, low cost option.  It uses :
  • a Raspberry Pi, with
  • Ubuntu MATE as the operating system.
Really fast performance, and cost me less than $100.

This can seem daunting to setup if you have never done it, so I've compiled the directions for you.  It is at :

Good luck.

Kind regards,

Wood Turning / Wood turning tool steel
« on: May 18, 2019, 01:43:29 pm »
Craft Supplies USA has this video on wood turning tool steels.  Nice summary, though not too much in the details.

Kind regards,

General Tormek Questions / Tested a New Roughing Stone
« on: May 06, 2019, 08:53:59 pm »
I have been intrigued for a while by Ken's reference to a low-grit stone on the Tormek, but wanted to try a 10-inch stone.  I ordered and tried this :

Shark 10-Inch diameter, 1-Inch wide Grinding Wheel, Grit-46 (#2035-46)

I found it on Amazon for less than $35.  It did not fit the 12mm Tormek shaft, so I had to make a bushing so it would fit properly on the Tormek.  I used aluminium as I had some 2" aluminium bar stock, but an oily hard wood would have probably also worked.

My quick testing, using it with water (not dry!) showed that this grindstone worked much quicker than the SB grindstone, and produced a surface that was quickly and easily cleaned up on the SB grindstone. 

I did not find that it was significantly quicker for carbide inserts on my metal lathe tooling.  Will have to stay with the typical, high speed bench grinder for shaping that.  (The SB wheel works well for sharpening carbide.)

Overall, I am quite pleased and it will be used whenever I need to re-shape tools, especially HSS.

Kind regards,

Knife Sharpening / Question for FVB users
« on: April 15, 2019, 12:52:21 pm »
For those using a front vertical base, I have the following question:  do you always keep it tight against the Tormek machine body, or is it ever projected out from there.  I ask as I wonder how long the shafts need to be which are attached to it. 

Kind regards,

Great video from Fine Woodworking's executive art director Michael Pekovich about using bench chisels.  Not about sharpening, but covers use of chisels and the effect such use has on sharpness.

Kind regards,

Drill Bit Sharpening / I love the DBS-22 !
« on: December 30, 2018, 12:48:31 am »
This week I was doing some metal working with aluminium, cold-rolled steel, and hot-rolled steel.  The operations I did required drilling using a number of different size bits; drilling on both the pillar press and the lathe.

What the Tormek grinder has accommodated is working far more effectively and safely.  As I have the capability, I sharpen my tools before use, and when needed. I no longer think or say, “sharp enough”.

The DBS-22 and SB grindstone make resharpening my drill bits easy and fast.  And working with sharp bits makes the job so much easier.  Thank you, Tormek.

Kind regards,

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