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Messages - RichColvin

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Documentation on making the platform jig are on the Sharpening Handbook at

Kind regards,

General Tormek Questions / Re: New Video From Wootz
« on: March 22, 2020, 03:57:34 pm »
I've added this to the Sharpening Handbook knife pages:

Kind regards,

General Tormek Questions / Re: Tormek vs. Makita Sharpeners
« on: March 20, 2020, 06:33:00 pm »
I’ve decided to invest in a sharpener for my shop and have narrowed it down to the Tormek or the Makita. I’ve heard rave reviews for both from those who use them, but besides price (the makita is cheaper) and bevel (Tormek radiused bevel, Makita flat bevel) are there any characteristics that really makes one system superior to the other? I don’t mind spending the extra cash for the Tormek if it’s a superior system, but saving money is always a good thing whenever possible. I also heard of folks who’ve bought one or the other and then changed their minds later. I know I only want to buy once.

I am, as always looking for sage advice. I’m about sandpapered out.


Regarding the Tormek and concave bevel, there are a few notes :

1. The amount of “non-flatness” there is very minimal.  There have been a number of postings around this on the site, but the summary is that the use of 250mm (10”) diameter grindstone produces very little radius. 

This is especially true when the sharpened surface is thin.  I use the Tormek to sharpen my woodturning skews where the ground surface is 1/4” to 3/8” (measured from the cutting edge towards the handle, not the width of the tool), and I have not found this to be problematic.  On knives, this is often 1/8” or less.

2. Even where there is a concave bevel, I have seen that it really does not matter in most cases.  The best case for having flat grinds that I can remember seeing is from wood carvers who say that they have a strong preference for a truly flat (or convex) surface.  There is a discussion on the various profiles here:

3. If you do need a flat profile, the Tormek has an option using MB-100 multi base ( ).  This is designed for use on diamond wheels, but I have used it on the traditional grindstones, and it worked quite well.

What I really like about the Tormek is that it is a great all-around sharpening system.  I use it in my shop to sharpen a boat-load of stuff:
  • wood lathe tools,
  • rose engine lathe tools,
  • metal lathe tools,
  • wood carving tools,
  • stone carving tools,
  • woodworking bench tools,
  • drill bits (and that is something I do often as it is so easy to do),
  • knives, and even
  • my wife’s scissors.

I’ve not used the Makita so I can’t compare it to the Tormek.  But, I have been using a Tormek since 2002, and I’ve not ever considered that I made the wrong call.

Kind regards,

Thank you!

I’ve cataloged a number of options here:

Good luck.

Kind regards,

Interesting the Spain is missing from Tormek's International pages, do they not sharpen things in Spain?

 ;D ;D  You can be secure that there are sharpen knives in Spain...

I woul like to refer to one kind of knive concretelly:  HAM KNIFE
There are thousands upon thousands of ham knives in Spain. Only these types of knives should make to Tormek think about the possibility of adding the Spanish language to your website.  ;D
By the way. These knives have great difficulty sharpening. They are very flexible and this adds a lot of difficulty in maintaining the consistency of the angle. (Between 12 to 15 dps)
The SVM-140 is the appropriate jig for this kind of knives.

(excuse my joking tone)



I am so looking forward to getting back to Spain in October.  Can’t wait to have some more ham!  Last time I had it I was in Granada ... in 2016.

Kind regards,

Knife Sharpening / Re: stropping questions
« on: March 08, 2020, 10:01:28 am »
I use MDF to make woodworking jigs often.  Very stable base. 

In fact, I have an MDF (Rose Engine) lathe!  Here is more information on it :

Kind regards,


I think that you may be right.  The issues I believe that you will encounter using the TTS-100 is that there are only 6 combinations:
  • hole A, 55 mm projection,
  • hole A, 65 mm projection,
  • hole A, 75 mm projection,
  • hole B, 55 mm projection,
  • hole B, 65 mm projection, and
  • hole B, 75 mm projection.

This results in fewer number of options for angles.  Turning tools are generally sharpened to an angle which is a multiple of 5°.  Carving tools need increments of 2.5° or less, depending on the wood.

And also, even the B hole may make the universal support bar to be too far away from the grindstone for short tools (which many carving tools are, especially palm tools like FlexCut).

But you could use that idea and make your own version.  Check out what I call the HanJig ( ).  Combine that with various projection fixtures and you would achieve the same easy repeatability.

Kind regards,

Thank you again. Your words above and the links and videos have really helped me understand the available tools and where my needs fit in.

So in the end, I suspect the default wheels (leather and SG-250) are probably mostly sufficient for my needs. I can definitely see circumstances where the SJ could help - and I'll keep that option open - but for now I'll see how far the stock ones go. When I originally opened this thread I was expecting to discover that getting the diamond stones were borderline essential (giving the improvements) but it's good to know I don't have to budget for that :)


I think that you are making the best choice.  If you find that you later want to add the SJ grindstone to your process, you can do so without having to change any of the jigs that you are using.  It is an additive process, not a replacement one.  In fact, I have only replaced a few jigs over the years, and that is because the new ones are so far superior to the one it replaced.  The SVD-186 is one example. It greatly overshadows the SVD-185.

Good luck with the new Tormek.  I know that you will like it as so many others do.  (That is why there are so few on the used market.)

And do reach out to the forum if you have questions or difficulties.

Kind regards,


My apologies :  I should have spelled out USB = Universal Support Bar ( ).  That is the bar on which all the jigs ride.

The original Tormeks shipped with natural grindstones.  For some reason, probably a well-reasoned and good one, they switched to a man-made grindstone.  That is the SG grindstone.  It is really good for most tool steel, but not as good for high speed steel.  Thus the SB grindstone was introduced.

I have found the SB grindstone works better for harder steels, but that the standard SP-650 stone grader ( ), used to deglaze or change the grit on the SG grindstone from 220ish to 1000ish, doesn't work too well on the SB Grindstone.  I have since purchased a diamond plate for that purpose (DMT D8X 8-Inch Dia-Sharp Continuous Diamond Extra-Coarse).

Those who sharpen many knives have reported that the SB grindstone gives a longer life than the SG.  I can't speak to that directly, but I did purchase my Tormek T-2000 in 2002, and I've only replaced the SB & SG grindstones in the last 2 years.  So, I got 15+ years life from them.

But, whilst the SB grindstone is amazing for harder steels, I have found that the SG grindstone is better for higher carbon steels like those used in carving.  That is the reason for my recommendation.

I find the Japanese grindstone to be excellent when I need a very exacting sharp.  For example, the fly cutters I use on my rose engine lathe ( ) need to have very polished and exacting surfaces to end up with the finished product surface desired.  The SJ grindstone does this superbly.

The SJ grindstone also provides a more even surface on the tool.  It truly looks like a mirror.  In contrast, the honing wheel can give a nice hone, but one can still see a bit of waviness to the surface.  It is not extreme, but would not fit the needs for my fly cutters.

When I hone my woodturning tools (rarely) or my knives, I use diamond paste or jeweler's rouge on a paper wheel in a high speed grinder.  There is a lot of information about this approach to honing on Knife Grinders' site ( ).  Dr. Vadim Kraichuk is the owner (Wootz on this forum), and has really done great work on finding the best methods for sharpening knives.  His book ( ) is worth the read.

A quick comparison of the grindstones and which one is recommended for types of steels and purposes (e.g., shaping vs. sharpening vs. honing) is at

As a final note, there is an icon on the Sharpening Handbook for each section of tools.  This icon is a link to where one can see the process and grinding media I recommend for that type of tool.  An example of that icon is below:

For carving tools, that takes you to

Hope that helps.

Kind regards,


I haven’t used the WorkSharp system, so I cannot compare the two.  But, as it regards the Tormek, I can answer many of your questions. 

As it regards the grindstones, I’ve compiled a lot of information at

I compared the diamond stones to the traditional grindstones in this posting

For my carving tools, I use the standard SG-250 grindstone and the SJ-250 Japanese grindstone.  They work well for me, but I am an amateur.

As to the robustness of the diamond wheels, we have not had anyone post on this forum that they have worn them out.  I can say that Tormek makes high quality products.

Regarding the use of the various jigs, I posted information on the Sharpening Handbook, but it is organized by tool to be sharpened, and not by jig.  The link is

The SVS-38’s range of motion is quite big, and it can be used where it spans the USB or up against it.  The second option should not allow the retaining screw to stop the motion, giving you 360° of rotation. 

The SVD-186 will do as you ask. 

Please let us know what you decide to do.

Kind regards,

General Tormek Questions / Re: Tormek bgm 100
« on: February 24, 2020, 11:40:40 am »

I followed the instructions ( to the letter for mine, and didn’t find any issues until I had worn the grindstone wore down significantly (e.g., the 8 inch grindstone was under 6 inches).

That said, adding a block of ½ or ¾ inch plywood should not be a problem. 

I was using it on my 8 inch bench grinder.  I just switched to a OneWay Wolverine platform, and welded a piece together to enable using the XB-100 base.  That is working better for me, but I need a new 8 inch grindstone for the B setting to work. 

The worn grindstone is just too small.  And Ken taught me to accept that grindstones are like brake shoes:  consumables that have to be used and replaced on a regular basis. 

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 / Re: Tray for Tormek
« on: February 21, 2020, 02:44:46 pm »
I use a dish drying tray as the ribs keep the machine away from any spilled water.  I use this one.

It is rubberized so I can’t spin it easily to turn the machine around, but I use the Tormek RB-180 Rotating Base so it is not an issue. 

Kind regards,

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