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Topics - Y-Not

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General Tormek Questions / Farmers Market update
« on: May 28, 2018, 01:40:41 pm »
Hey everyone...

I've got good news and bad news.

First off, the Farmers Market was an OUTSTANDING success.

We pulled in a really nice bit of business. While the weather report called for rain, not a drop fell. :)
We were talking to several other vendors and most all of them said that this was the biggest opening day for the market that they've had in the 10 years the market has been happening.

We were pretty much set up and ready for business about 15 minutes before the official starting time.  About 10 minutes before the opening, I started sharpening my first blade and was sharpening something, non-stop for the next 90 minutes. Which is sort of funny because I had told my wife that I needed to use the restroom before we got started...Damn good thing I was highly focused or I might have wet myself.   :P

We had one fella (older gent) wander by. Asked about the price. Then he said "for that, I'll just keep trying on my own".
Everyone else, was more than willing to pay.  One guy said that no matter what he did or who tried, he could not get an edge on his pocket knife. I told him to let me try. If I can't do it either, there would be no charge for my failure.  ;)

5 minutes later, I look over to my wife who is giving him his knife back. I saw him shave a 1 inch strip of fur off of the back of his hand. The look on his face was worth more than what he paid for the sharpening.  That was a beautiful thing and a hell of a confidence booster.

Another fella had a combo straight edge/serrated pocket knife. He said that he thought that serrated edges couldn't be sharpened. Again, I asked that he let me try it. We gave him a Tormek band-aid as he cut his thumb thinking it was still dull.  He gave us a tip.  :)

One guy was a retired military veteran and was awarded a very, very nice (and since very well used) pocket knife. Apparently whatever branch of the service he was in, didn't teach basic knife sharpening. He said that he's never been able to get an edge on it like it had when he first got it.
He left grinning like a school boy after his first kiss.  :)  Another happy customer.
We had a few Scissors. I cut myself a few times just cleaning them up. Job hazard I guess you'd call it.

The bad news...and I hate to bring it up due to present company (this entire forum) is that while the Tormek was present the whole time, it was never used. Not even plugged in. :(

While I love everything about the Tormek, it's simply not fast enough to keep pace at the market. It does a beautiful job. Edges are a delight to look at but it's not designed or capable of being used in a high volume environment. I needed really sharp edges and a really fast turnaround and the Tormek can only fulfill one of those requirements. :(

I've got a belt sharpener with various grit belts and a leather belt with honing compound. As I've grown up free handing on stones, the various angles were muscle memory. The biggest different between the belt sander and stones is the heat.  As long and I used a light touch and paid close attention to the blade temperatures (fingers always on the blade, sensing for warmth), it was the best and fastest method of getting the hair cutting edges I was looking for.
If a blade started getting warm, I'd quench it in a bucket of water and get right back to sharpening. It worked, it was fast and no one had to wait more than about 5 minutes. Most everyone had their blades done and waiting for them when they returned from shopping all the other vendors.

Everyone seemed to like the claim ticket concept. It made sense to them. Some of the guys didn't want to wear them around their necks. We told them to put'em in your pocket if you want. Just make sure to bring it back when you come to collect you blades.

I was a little sad (a lot really) to see the Tormek sitting on the bench, not being used. But I was happy to produce the edges I was wanting and to see the expressions on the faces of the customers when they came to collect their knives.

All in all, it was a fun and profitable day and I now look forward to doing it again next Saturday and the next, and the next, and the next...Until the last Saturday in October. :)

General Tormek Questions / Farmers Market test run...
« on: May 13, 2018, 06:26:59 pm »
Yesterday, my son, wife and I set up our canopy, tables, benches, banner and all, just as we might for the actual farmers market that'll be starting in two weeks.

For the past two weeks, I've been letting the neighbors know that I'd be doing this and that I needed input from them on what works, what doesn't and what they thought was missing.

I also wanted them to bring me things to sharpen. While this was not a requirement, I thought it'd be useful to go through the whole process for 4 hours just as if I were set up at the market.  We had a few folks come by. All brought me something to sharpen as well as sharing their thoughts on the whole set up.

I'm afraid that they didn't feel like they could give me honest, constructive criticism. Everyone seemed to like how it was organized and how easy it was to drop off items and how it was set up so that every order was kept isolated from the others. They seemed to really like the knife sheaths (big thanks to Steve Bottorff for sharing his template)

I made a few bucks. Which was not really the primary goal.
Most importantly, I was able to sort out how I wanted everything arranged, how to work with another person or two milling about while I was working.
What items we didn't really need. What items we really needed (fan, trash can, cooler).

Most of the time was spent just sitting, waiting for someone new to arrive. That part felt like a waste of time. I expect that I'll have times like this at the market too. The biggest difference is that we'll have people to talk to as they pass by.

All in all, it was worth it.

I feel like I got a small sample of what people will present to me at the market.

I had to decline a couple of items just because they should have been tossed long ago or it would require more effort to sharpen than it was worth (broken and duct taped handles on shears being one).

Some of our friends (more my wife's than mine), dropped off a few knives, pickled up their claim tag (a lanyard with  logo and a number) then wandered about our yard/garden talking to my wife about whatever they talk about. My son sent a text message letting them know that their items were complete and ready for pick up.  15 to 20 minutes later they wandered back. I gave them the bin with their items (matched the bin number to the claim tag number). My wife collected the $$ and the transaction was complete.  :)

Again, all in all, it was a success without the pressure of hoards of people. We had time in between "customers" to rearrange things and discuss what we'd need for the opening day at the market.  Very, very low pressure event and the primary goal was obtained.  I'd give myself a "high five" but I'd look like some numb nut clapping for no reason.   ::)

Now to print up a bunch of sheaths and price lists (again, thanks to Steve for his ideas/templates).

General Tormek Questions / Tormek Bloopers anyone???
« on: May 09, 2018, 04:51:22 am »
Hey Folks,

A new member posted a comment that Ken S responded to that got me thinking that it might be fun (and perhaps educational) to hear about the various flubs/bloopers that we've experienced. Especially when getting to know our new machines.

While mine is not all that funny, looking back at it I have to laugh at myself so...I'll start it off with my lame excuse for a blooper.

As some may know, I'm about a month into my Tormek experience and I'm getting ready to be a sharpening vendor at a Farmers Market.
With that in mind, I'm wandering about my shop, garage, kitchen, neighbor's houses, etc..looking for things that I can try to sharpen.

I came across a Woodsman Pal. It's got a somewhat curved edge as well as a hook at the end.  The backside of the hood needed to be ground flat. Like you would with a chisel. No problem I thought. My mighty Tormek was made for this.

So I go to flatten the back of the hooked part of the blade. It's going along rather well. Albeit somewhat slow.  So I'm pressing a little firmer than I had with the chisels. It's progressing and finally it's all nice and smooth.

I go to wipe off the part of the blade that I was focusing on and there's this red substance on the blade.  What the hell?
I wipe it off again. And it's still there.

Bewildered, I go to grab a clean shop rag and when I reached for the rag, I see that my index finger was dripping blood. Not gushing. Just dripping a bit.
I guess for some reason I figured that my skin was tougher than metal and would be unharmed while the stone had other ideas and tried to sharpen my index finger between the first and second knuckle.

Oddly enough, it was never even the least bit uncomfortable while it was happening.  Just the cool water running over my finger.  Never even thought about it grinding away at my skin.

Like I said earlier, it's not nearly as entertaining as Ken's post but still...
It's been part of my learning curve.

Knife Sharpening / Shout out to Jan!
« on: April 25, 2018, 10:40:19 pm »
I wanted to thank Jan for not only having the ability to create but making the knife/jig placement template available to us.

As some may know, I'm new to the Tormek but have been sharpening by hand and recently, guided rod for years.
I'm gearing up to be the sharpening vendor at a local Farmers Market.  Thus far, everything with the Tormek has been nothing but 1st class.

I've done several chisels, scissors, plane blades, axes and a hatchet.  No problems what-so-ever.  The knives on the other hand were making me a bit nervous just because of the bevel width being inconsistent (insert newbie here).

The tip/point (stabby part) was making me question the Tormek (how dare I do such a thing).
Until last night when I re-read the manual and finally picked up on the placement of the jig in relation to the tip/point.  Then it all came together.

This morning I was re-introduced to Jan's template and I could not wait to leave work and give it a go.

Using the belt sander, I flattened all of my cheap/disposable testing knives.
Using the template, I was able to not only re-grind the edge to a razor sharp edge but the bevels were BEAUTIFUL!  Even bevels from tip to heel on every knife!

Tonight I think I'm going to take my least favorite but still high quality kitchen knife into the basement and give it a go.

Haven't been this afraid since being caught by my father while sneaking out of the house as a teenager. 

THANK YOU Jan!   :)

Your template has shaved more minutes off my sharpening time and given me the confidence that I'm not going to jack up someone's knife at the market in just over 4 weeks.  ::)

Knife Sharpening / The learning curve...
« on: April 19, 2018, 09:06:03 am »
I've had my Tormek T8 for a week now. So far, so good.  I'm getting geared up to sharpen knives and tools at a local (to me) Farmers Market and needed something with precision and something faster than using stones and elbow grease.

I bought about a dozen cheap, disposable knives from Goodwill and started seeing what damage I could do.
They all turned out rather nice. Very sharp. Except the tips were sort of wonky. This was from my lack of proper technique.
The more I dorked with it, the better I was getting.

Then I re-read the thread regarding the Homemade Knife Rest (HK-50) by Herman Trivilino.
That got my gears spinning again.

So I recreated Herman's design and thus far, I'm liking it.  It's almost the perfect marriage between using a jig and free handing.
And it shaves a few seconds or minutes off the sharpening time because I don't have to mess around with putting the knifes in the jigs.

Just set the sharpening angle and go.

So I'm sending a shout out to Herman for creating and sharing the idea.  It's working out well for me. :)

Just wondering.
Mine has some chalk looking stuff on part of the grinding surface.  I can't feel it and it didn't come off while soaking the wheel (while spinning).

General Tormek Questions / New to Tormek but not new to sharpening
« on: April 11, 2018, 02:58:18 pm »
Hey Folks,

With a little luck, my Tormek T8 with the Wood Turners kit will arrive on Friday the 13th.  I'm hoping this is not a bad omen.  :P

I've been sharpening by hand with stones and leathers for about 40 years. For the past 10 or so years, I've sort of become the guy in the hood that'll sharpen just about anything.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to become the sharpening vendor at a local Farmers Market and I knew that I had to speed up my sharpening process.
It's one thing to have someone drop of 5 or 6 knives and be willing to pick them up a few days later.  It's a whole different creature if they are expecting to get them back within 30 minutes or so.

After reading, researching, reading some more and finally pulling the trigger, I bought a T8. I've used other systems like the Tormek in the past with very favorable results. But I've never owned one nor have I been put on-stage and expected to produce results on the spot. Much like I expect to be at the Farmers Market.

Assuming my T8 arrives on Friday, I'll have exactly 6 weeks to become comfortable with the Tormek before the opening day of the market.

I'll be sharpening mostly knives but I also expect to get axes, scissors, chisels, carving tools, etc. All of which I've sharpened successfully before, by hand.
But as most of you know, doing all those by hand can be a VERY time consuming chore. Thus the need for something that will speed up the process and still yield the same, if not better results.

As I mentioned before, I've been reading and researching as well as watching all of the videos on how to set up and use the Tormek systems.
Thus far, none of it has been bewildering. Most of it seems like pretty much the same as what I've done in the past. I do not foresee there being too much of a learning curve and I expect (hope) that I'll be whipping out fresh sharp edges in short order.

From my understanding thus far, I should start out with some chisels.  I've got some REALLY cheap chisels as well as a number of high end chisels.  Of course, I'll start out with the cheap ones before trying my hand at the more expensive ones.  Once I get those hammered out, I'll consider sharpening my Grandfather's chisels.  Maybe... I have a great deal of respect for my Grandfather and I don't want to screw up his prized chisel set.   :-\

Then I'll start with my cheapo knives. The ones that have been banging around in a drawer somewhere. Most have not seen daylight in 10+ years. Again, once I feel good about those, I'll move up to my more expensive knives.

What I'd like to know from those with hands-on Tormek experience, is what surprises you encountered when you first started using your Tormek (or Tormek like devices).

I'll listen to anything and everything.  I'll sort out the useful bits and give them a try during the upcoming weeks.

Thanks in advance!

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