Author Topic: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions  (Read 3463 times)

Offline Ken S

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Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« on: December 22, 2014, 10:20:32 pm »
Initial impressions of the Tormek T4.

I have the rare opportunity of being able to compare the T4 and the T7 side by side in my home workshop. The T4 is a loaner kindly supplied by Affinity Tool, the US importer, for this review. The T7 is my own unit. I plan to do an extensive comparison and review of the T4 and share this review with the forum in several installments.

Opening and unboxing the new T4 was an unexpected pleasure. I had forgotten how nicely Tormek packages the units. It reminded me of unboxing my imac several years ago. Both Apple and Tormek provide the customers with a pleasant to begin their relationships with their products.

After opening the box on my dinette table, I carried the T4 down to the shop. What a pleasant surprise carrying such a light weight machine! The T4 is definitely a portable machine.

Several things struck me while examining the T4. I have been working with setting up the Tormek knife jigs and was curious to see how the T4’s universal support bar compared with the T7 support bar. To my surprise, either works in either machine. The only difference is the length of the long bar. The T4 bar is about a half inch shorter. The length of the “legs” as well as their spacing is identical. I was puzzled by the difference in length until a Tormek rep explained it to me. The answer is quite logical; the T4 bar is shorter so that the screw in end stop won’t fall off the more narrow grinding wheel. The grinding wheel is 50mm thick on the T7; it is 40mm thick on the T4.

While the T4 is definitely smaller and lighter than the T7, a lot of the “guts” of the machine are the same. The EZYLock stainless steel shaft is of the same diameter and has the identical left hand thread. It is slightly shorter. The plastic nut is interchangeable with the stainless steel nut of the T7. The plastic nut looks like it would go the distance.

One of my pet projects is figuring out how to sharpen my Chinese cleaver on the Tormek. With my T7. the support bar is not tall enough for the wider cleaver blade. If the support bar is not tall enough, how about trying a smaller diameter grinding wheel? The T4 grinding wheel slides on the T7 shaft nicely. The smaller (200mm) wheel is not as thick as the 250mm wheel. I removed the washer from the shaft of the T4 and placed it on the shaft of the T7 as a spacer. It was a perfect fit. I’m already starting to think a well equipped shop might have both a T7 and a T4.

After so many words, my point is the T4 is not a cheap toy. It is a Tormek. I have heard the two models described as the T7 being “industrial” and the T4 as being for the “home shop user”. I believe the Nikon camera marketing people have come up with a better description. They call their not quite industrial cameras “prosumer”. My Nikon D610 is considered a “prosumer” camera. It has a part metal, part plastic body. It is not designed for in the trenches NFL weekly photography. I an not an NFL photographer. It has a lot of firepower and is much more than adequate for my needs. I would classify the T4 the same way. My initial gut feeling would be to classify the T7 as “industrial” and the T4 as “light industrial”.

My feeling before examining the T4 was that it would be a good choice for someone wanting a lighter, smaller version of the Tormek for everyday use. Upon initially examining the T4, I am beginning to think it has a wider market.

I suspect many people who decide to start with a T4 have intentions of someday upgrading to a T7 may end up quite satisfied with the T4. If I had a knife sharpening business, I think a T7 might be the anchor of the shop, with a T4 being the traveling Tormek. That would seem the best of both worlds. All the jigs would be interchangeable. Only the grinding wheels are different.

When I purchased my first T7, the T4 was not an option. If it was, at that time in my life, I probably would have stayed with the T7. I had grand plans. Several years later and perhaps with a little more clarity and wisdom, in my case, I think I would now opt for the T4. I have invested much more in jigs than in the original T7. The only part of my inventory which is not interchangeable is the grinding wheels.

The housing on the T4 seems sturdy enough. It is part zinc and part plastic. Actually this seems logical to me. The parts which needs precision alignment is zinc, and very precise. The lower part of the housing, which would be more subject to rust, is plastic. It seems a good use of both materials.

I will know more about both the housing and the motor after I give the T4 a thorough workout. My gut feeling is that neither will be a constraint.

Today I would base my choice between the T4 and T7 on my intended use, including my personal limitations with weight and size. I think the argument of saving money by choosing the T4 doesn’t hold much water. When compared like for like, with the necessary accessories, there isn’t much difference in cost. Both are quality units designed for slightly different customers. Buy whichever unit suits your needs.

These are just my initial impressions. I plan to give the T4 a thorough test, both in the kinds of work and over a long period of time. I will continue to post. If my impressions change with time, I will be an honest reporter.

More soon,

Ken

Offline Stickan

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Re: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2014, 09:55:52 am »
Thanks for the review Ken, an update after using it a while will be very interesting.

Stig

Offline Ken S

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Re: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2014, 03:47:04 pm »
Thanks for your comment, Stig. I do have a question which I believe would be of interest to the forum:

"Precision improved by over 300%
This will improve your control of the sharpening – and the precision of your results."

This is quoted from the tormek.com T4 description. I have also seen it mentioned other places. I have a guess as to its meaning, but would appreciate it if you would provide some more specific information.

What is being measured in the T3? How is this different in the T4? And, why is this important?

Further research in my T4 review is ongoing.

Ken




Offline Fineline

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Re: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2015, 07:19:21 am »
The thing that irks me about the T4 is the half hour duty cycle. A novice like me can easily spend 1 hour non stop getting even bevels, stone grading, honing and perhaps sharpen a knife and scissors back to back. A novice needs more practice more than anything else. Maybe at a later stage, it will reduce to minutes but until then, having to stop at 30 minutes interval breaks the flow. Perhaps Tormek can develop a motor for continuous use with the T4.
The water trough, magnets, etc I can improvise but not the motor, at least not for me.
Incidentally, can the T7 motor fit the T4 machine? Asking out of curiosity.

Offline Stickan

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Re: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 11:38:35 am »
The difference of precision between the T-3 and T-4 is in the way it´s designed. T-3 had a plastic housing witch was not as stable (compared to the T-4) with its vertical and horizontal sleeves.
Since the T-4 has a solid Zink top witch the motor, shaft and sleeves are in one piece, the tolerances is way much better than the T-3.
The T-3 was a good machine but during the years we felt that we could do it even better.

The motor in the T-7 can not be used in the T-4, its bigger and would not fit. If there is a need for sharpening hours a time, the user should buy a T-7.

It´s like buying a car, if you have 5 kids, you don´t buy a VW beetle :-)

But to be serious, I understand the question. Even if you are spending 2 hours in the shop and need to sharpen many tools, you will find time to stop the machine for some minutes between hanging up the tools and so on.

Stig

« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 12:04:53 pm by Stickan »

Offline SharpenADullWitt

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Re: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2015, 05:23:31 pm »
That makes me think about duty cycle.  Is the duty cycle loaded or unloaded?  By that what I mean is, is it in the electrical (run the motor for 1/2 hour then off for 1/2 to cool down), or more in the bearings (where your pushing against it, and then when your not it is resting, even though the motor might be on).
I see this as a question that others might wonder in the future, so better to have it out asked and answered for the search index.
Favorite line, from a post here:
8)

Yeah you know Tormek have reached sharpening nirvana when you get a prosthetic hand as part of the standard package :/)

Offline Stickan

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Re: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2015, 10:03:09 am »
Hi,
With load or without load, that's the question :-) The answer is that it does not matter.

The limit of 30 minutes is recommended. If you use it 40-45 it will manage that too. The motor runs faster in the T-4 than the T-7 so it will get warmer.
Personally when I sharpen, and I do that a lot, I never have the machine on for that long, not even the T-7. If I have to shape a lot of tools, I can´t stand constantly for 45 minutes without getting neck pains. And when I sharpen my own tools and knifes, it takes 15-20 minutes when its tools I sharpened before.

A Tormek machine is made for being used and built for it. That´s why we can offer the Warranties we do.

Stig



Offline SharpenADullWitt

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Re: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2015, 06:39:19 pm »
Thanks, that means it is in the motor and not in the bearings.  Temperature related, means it needs off time to cool, where pressure related, means it would be find running, if one didn't use it (time between tools while running).
Favorite line, from a post here:
8)

Yeah you know Tormek have reached sharpening nirvana when you get a prosthetic hand as part of the standard package :/)

Offline Ken S

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Re: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2015, 11:42:58 am »
I did find one thing disappointing about the T4. I thought it might get hot enough to keep my coffee mug warm. Not even close. Back to the glue pot!

Ken

Offline RobinW

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Re: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2015, 04:35:40 pm »
Moderator please feel free to delete this diversion once members have had a chance to have a read:

I do not wish to divert this thread but Ken's comment about the glue pot takes me to another subject  - nothing to do with sharpening. ( I could write a lot about duty cycle and rating on large motors  - but not really applicable here.)

A few years ago I was after an electrical glue pot for heating Scotch glue (still one of the best for certain types of woodwork). The only one on the market cost hundreds of pounds, made in USA. The glue manufacturers were not interested in how someone heated their product - so how they hoped to have their product used in the market was beyond me.

As recently I had a project best suited for Scotch glue, I investigated the wax pots as used in beauty salons for waxing your legs or other bodily areas, and purchased one from a well known online retailer £15 (approx $20); variable temp control included. Used a thermometer to check what was happening, and bingo I have a perfect set up!

Offline Ken S

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Re: Review and Comparison of the T4, initial impressions
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2015, 10:08:02 pm »
Welcome back, Robin. It's good to read your posts again.

This post is a treasure. Very useful idea, plus it's funny. With my athletic body build, resembling Horace Rumpole, I wonder what kind of looks I would get when trying to purchase a wax pot!

Ken