In the Shop > General Tormek Questions

Tormek Tips Tricks and Techniques Beginners Start Here!

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Ken S:
I am submitting this for forum evaluation as a start for our beginner advice sticky message.  I welcome constructive criticism, suggested additions, deletions, or changes.  I also welcome other posts. 

My suggestion would be to have this and other submitted posts available for forum criticism.  Once we feel comfortable with a reasonably "final" version (which can still be easily changed if necessary) I would give Jeff full moderator prerogative to edit, add or delete.

Please be part of the process.

Ken


Using a Tormek is like driving a stick shift car.  There is a bit of a learning curve, one which thousands of users have completed successfully.  Here is our advice to develop your “clutch foot”.

Spend some time becoming very familiar with the videos on the tormek.com and sharptoolsusa.com websites.  You may have found them before even purchasing your Tormek.  Read your Tormek handbook; do not be afraid to make it your own by highlighting and flagging.  Keep it nearby.

Every Tormek user should have a Sharpie marker. The Sharpie marker, as shown in the videos and handbook, allows the user to quickly verify grinding angles.  It is an essential tool.

The first tool you should learn to sharpen is a chisel.  Regardless of what your intended use for your Tormek, if you can sharpen a chisel proficiently and fluently, you can learn other tools. A chisel is the  simplest edge to grind.  It is ground square, not angled.  The bevel angle of 25 to 30 degrees is an easy range to duplicate.  Unlike most knives, only one bevel is ground.  The full range of the Tormek is used in sharpening a chisel, initial grinding with the stone graded coarse; finer grinding with the stone graded fine; and finally, stropped with the leather honing wheel.
 
An excellent first chisel is the Irwin 3/4” Blue Chip chisel.  Why an Irwin 3/4” Blue Chip chisel?  During various posts on this forum, 3/4” has emerged as the most practical width chisel for learning how to use the Tormek.  The Blue Chip chisel has enough blade length to be a very usable first learning tool. The steel is good carbon steel. The sides are also ground square to the back of the blade with no rounding over (which would interfere with preparing the back for sharpening).  Irwin acquired Joseph Marples, the fine company which had made these good chisels for a very long time.  And, on a very practical level, these chisels are very reasonably priced.  At this writing they are available on Amazon for $8.51.  A set of four (1/4 to 1” is also available for about $25 for those who would like several practice chisels.  They are also working standard tools in many shops.

Do not just sharpen this chisel once before moving on.  Blunt the edge with a hammer or file several times and restore the edge until you become proficient.  During these practice sessions you will learn a lot about machine.  Learn to listen to the sound of the grinding.  Learn to become sensitive to the feel of the  grinding.  Learn to be consistent in setting up your machine.  Learn what a truly sharp edge is, and what it can do.

Even if you do not intend to do woodworking, go through these exercises with your chisel.  And, keep the chisel nearby.  Should a day come when your sharpening is going badly, you can always return to sharpening your chisel. This will simplify your troubleshooting.  If you can match your initial sharpening, your basic machine and wheel are functioning properly.  If not, this exercise will point you in the correct direction to solve the problem.

Getting a mindset for the grinding wheel:

All too often, new users approach the grinding wheel with a sense of reverence and feel a need to preserve it.  While proper use is important, it should be remembered that the grinding wheel is designed to be worn away during use.  Look at the wheel as you would a set of good tires or brake linings.  Good care extends their useful life, however, they are designed to be worn out.

The Tormek wheel is designed to be used as either a coarse wheel or a finer wheel, depending on how the grading stone is used.  The wheel actually has a third grading when freshly dressed with the TT-50 diamond dresser (more coarse).   Do not try to squeeze a bit more life out of your wheel or a bit of time off the sharpening operation by skipping the grading operation.  Proper use of the grader is well covered in the videos and handbook.  Follow these instructions!

Be patient and persevere.  Your Tormek skills will quickly develop.  Please feel free to participate in the forum.  We welcome you.

Elden:
Like it. To the point, not so long to go beyond most people's zone out point. Maybe mention that there will be other such instruction topics for easy browsing (to come).

grepper:
Anyone think it might be a good idea to have the first sticky be called something like:

GSM: Stage

For Getting Started Manual staging area.

If there is not some way to organize ideas up for review, if that is the process, they could easily slip beneath the waves into the abyss of deep history.

Ken S:
Thanks for the comments, Elden and Mark.  I like the Getting Started Manual idea.

Ken

grepper:
Ken, you may be interested in:

Lesson 4: Sharing, Collaborating and Publishing a Document

A wonderful feature of Google Docs is the ability to share your work with others. You have many options to do this. You can give access to a document where the viewers are only able to read the document and not make any changes. You can also give access to a document where people can collaborate with you by making changes. You will be able to see the changes that each person has made to your document. In this lesson you will learn how to share your document with others and publish the final version.

http://edutech.msu.edu/online/googledocs/googledocs.html

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