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Topics - RichColvin

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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 Grindtones - 250mm

Tormek Grindtones - 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,

General Tormek Questions / Using 250mm stones on the T-3 / T-4
« on: December 21, 2018, 05:38:30 am »
Dan @ Exact Blade has provided two great ideas on getting more life from your grindstone investment, and I've cataloged them on the Sharpening Handbook.  Here's a link to the page where it is documented :

What I find most exciting are the pictures he provided.  These show his use of old 250mm grindstones on his T-3, grindstones that no longer worked on the T-7 / T-8.

Now I just need to buy a used T-3 or T-4.  Maybe there is a guy nearby who has one in his basement, possibly gathering dust in a bowling ball bag....

Kind regards,

Wood Turning / Great article: what steel gets sharpest
« on: December 16, 2018, 12:58:07 am »
Read this recently:

Nice mix of experience and measurable data.

Kind regards,

I am so ever grateful to Ken Schroeder for loaning his diamond wheels to me.  I am posting my initial comments below about them.

The summary is this :  I don't see the value to them for me.  What it appears to be is :

Advantages of the diamond wheels
  • When reshaping a tool, the coarse wheel works well, even on tough metals.  It is probably a better choice than using the same jig on a traditional, high-speed grinder (via the BGM-100).  Indeed, I found I was able to easily clean up some past grinds (that were functional, but not that pretty).
  • Swapping out the course wheel for the finer ones keeps the shape consistent across the grind (makes the grind nicer looking on tools with large bevels, especially tools like skews -- though it doesn't necessarily make it cut better).
  • Moving between wheels is convenient as I don't have to re-adjust the universal support bar when grinding a tool with finer grits.
  • Unlike CBN wheels, these can be used for sharpening high carbon steels.
  • They are probably cheaper in the long run.
In summary, the diamond wheels seem great for production sharpening shops.

Advantages of the traditional grindstones
  • It is very easy to use the stone grader to go from a coarser grit to a finer one, and I didn't have to change the grindstone.  In turning, this is something I need to do often.  I rough turn using the course grit, and change to a finer grit as I approach the final shape (for softer woods, I even hone the edge).  Being able to use the stone grader is faster as I don't have to swap stones.
  • This is especially useful when changing which tool I am using (this is very common with my turning approach on the lathe).  Some tools, like the spindle roughing gouge are fine when using the course grit, whilst others like the parting tools greatly benefit from a finer grit.
  • The finer graded SB grindstone seems to produce about the same surface as the DF (fine) diamond wheel or possibly even the DE (extra fine) diamond wheel.
  • The SJ stone gives a better finish than the EF stone.
  • I can swap out the grindstones between the SG, the SB, and the SJ without having to swap out the water and clean out the tray.  I get back to work faster.
  • If I get too aggressive, I can always fix it by using the truing tool.
  • I don't have to mess around with special water additives.
  • They are cheaper in the short term.
In summary, the traditional grindstones seem great for the all-around woodworker.

What I especially like is that Tormek has the right option for what works for many different sharpeners. 

I'm interested in others' thoughts.

Kind regards,

General Tormek Questions / MB-100 Tests
« on: November 12, 2018, 02:37:42 am »
Today, I had to resharpen a standard old chisel (after finishing up some honey-do items).  This chisel doesn't have much sharpening life left.  In fact, I was not able to sharpen it to 25º in the traditional manner when mounted in the SE-77 jig (or even the older SVH-60 jig).  The only options traditionally were:
  • increase the angle, or
  • buy a new chisel.

Fortunately, we now have a third option: the MB-100 Multi Base!

So today, I took this fortunate opportunity to test the MB-100 Multi Base (and diamond grindstones) that Ken Schroeder so graciously loaned to me. 

The results of using the various grindstones are below.  Please ignore the burr on the edges :  the pictures are simply to show the faces after use of differing grindstones.




This tool was then sharpened on the SB and SJ grindstones (still using the MB-100 ... with the same setup). Mainly, I wanted to see how well it would work.

SB-250 - Graded Course

SB-250 - Graded Fine


Then the angle was increased to allow for a micro bevel.  This worked quite well !  (The micro bevel is quite a bit bigger than normally put onto an edge, but this enabled the picture to show well.)

SJ-250 - Micro Bevel

And finally, the tool was honed on Razor Sharp paper wheel.  (Yes, that's the iPad's camera reflected in the edge.)

Honed on a Paper Wheel

My take-away is this :  Whether using the diamond or traditional grindstones, the MB-100 is a worthwhile investment.

General Tormek Questions / Diamond Wheels vs. Traditional Grindstones
« on: October 15, 2018, 09:50:19 pm »
I recently re-read a Tormek posting regarding the diamond wheels :

If you want to have an easy set up and save time by not having to true your wheel, a Diamond Wheel is perfect. ... If you want to be able to change the grit size during the sharpening, the Original Grindstone is the best option.

It seems to me that the diamond stones come with some upsides :
  • the diamonds can be used to sharpen harder metals (like carbides),
  • consistent wheel diameter makes for faster sharpening when changing wheel grinds (seemingly especially useful for a shop which sharpens for income), and
  • the wheel’s sides offer some flat-grind options where concave grinds may be problematic.

But it also seems to have down-sides (relative to the traditional grindstones) :
  • care must be taken to not damage the wheel (as you can’t use the TT-50 Truing Tool to fix a damaged spot),
  • they are a bit more expensive than the traditional wheels, and
  • there is more special care needed for the water additive.

I’ve seen no real limitations with the traditional grindstones, especially ones that can’t be offset by using the BGM-100 attachment with my traditional grinder (e.g., to sharpen carbide tools).  I’ve not seen the need to move to CBN wheels either, and these are widely used in the wood turning community.

I’m thinking of not moving to the diamond wheels.  Am I missing something ?

Kind regards,

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