Author Topic: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.  (Read 4004 times)

Offline Ply

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Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« on: March 11, 2015, 05:05:41 pm »
Hi - I am a new Tormek T7 owner and these are a stream of comments after my very first use of the planer jig. 
While this jig proved to be much more difficult and required far more TIME than I had hoped - I do believe that is simply due to my inexperience.

I have RAPIDLY sharpened my skews and chisels to a level of sharpness I am completely unfamiliar with and delighted about.    So I believe in the tormek system....though I am yet to be convinced of this jig.  Most woodworkers justify the purchase of this machine and jig partly based on the economics that they could sharpen their planer or in my case jointer blades in house.  Time spent sharpening in my case was left out of that equation.  I will return to the forum to update progress (read: the time it takes to sharpen (3) 12" blades, 1.125" x 0.125" thick) as I learn to use this particular jig and improve my technique.

Setup was pretty straightforward and seemed sort of clear according to the instructions.  I was a little unsure how to best set the angle most effectively for converting my straight ground blades to the curve of the wheel...I fell victim in the beginning to having the gap between the angle set screw and the carrier....which from the forum seems common.  I thought this at first was the transition necessary from flat to curved bevel....and the sharpie pen test agreed.

I tried at the beginning to sharpen the full 12" of my blades by adjusting the stops.  I found the cantilever design flexes quite a bit - so I am unsure how much pressure to use with the jig.  The carrier and base of the jig have quite a bit of play between them.  My stone is flat but its kind of funny to stress about your stone being flat while the entire jig flexes?  For the first and second blades I only sharpened 10" but then switched back to trying for the whole 12".     

I also found that that it was easy at the far right edge to have the carrier push off the base at an angle - once in my case the blade chipped a 1/4" out of the right edge of my stone in the first five minutes when the carrier slipped off (I realize now this was because I had uneven pressure).  But its actually really easy to do if you are sharpening for about 8 hours like I did on this set of (3) knives.  I had this problem (falling off the base) a few other times when the carrier started to stick a bit.  That stickiness has since been remedied with a drop of mineral oil (per the forum recommendations).

Why 8 hours:  My knives had small nicks from a nail hit - and I believe this was also due to me not grading the stone frequently enough.  Now I regrade the stone every 10 passes ...does this seem excessive?  Doesn't all of that regrading take the stone out of true...I found my setup had changed due to the wheel diameter / and or uneven grading shifting from my first to my third blade.
It cuts much faster without the stone being loaded....trying to touch the stone often to get used to the feel.   

What is the best technique for regrading the stone?  I wish there was a way to re-flatten the stone (because its quite course) without removing the planer jig.  I was tempted to leave the planer jig attached and regrade the stone with the truer attached to the horizontal support...

It makes me nervous to aggressively regrade in front of the base of the jig - I have visions of the grader catching and rotating up into the angled edge of the planer jig base.

Is there a rule of thumb for lateral traveling speed at which to move back and forth that I should follow?

It felt like with less water in the trough that it cut faster also...or maybe that just meant the stone was dirtier....
I have removed the roller pin so I can do the whole 12" but am a little nervous about running off the edge now - perhaps I did this too soon. 
Mine had to be filed down..rather than pulled out.  It is still possible for the carrier to fall of the base of the jig even with the pin in...so why not do the whole thing.

I'm surprised by how unflat the leather wheel is...and also don't really have a clue how to hone the burr properly.  In the holder or out?  I see for the disposable blades it being recommended in the holder - but for a wider blade?

After 8 hours I gave up (too early) and put the blades back on the machine with a few remnants of the previous nail nicks too...need to work.  The $15-20 I routinely pay to have a service do a mediocre 80 grit flat sharpening seems like a bargain at the moment...but again this is my first marathon. 
I will check this again and will leave comments after I have a bit more experience. 
My third blade went much faster than the first two thanks to increased regrading...I am optimistic. 

A secondary bevel seems like a good idea.

Offline Ken S

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2015, 02:35:11 am »
Welcome to the forum, Ply.

I can't be much help. I have a planer jig, but have never used it. I intended to use it with my jointer blades, however, when it was in the shop for some bearing work, they had the blades sharpened.

I think you are smart to keep the wheel graded frequently. I have read about sharpening planer blades taking many hours. This seems a real problem to me. I can't imagine Tormek producing the jig with this kind of time in mind. Unfortunately, I don't believe there are many active forum members who use the planer jig regularly enough to comment intelligently on its use. We could benefit from more training video material from Tormek with this jig.

My gut feeling is that removing and reinstalling pointer and planer blades is enough hassle that most of us postpone the job too long. A chisel or kitchen knife is easy to prepare and sharpen. hopefully, we sharpen them early and often.

I believe continued practice should help you become more proficient. You have already witnessed this with your third blade.

I hope you will keep us posted with your progress.

Ken

Offline Elden

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2015, 03:12:15 am »
   I do not have a planer attachment nor a planer. Considering the above mentioned length of time for sharpening, I believe $15 -$20 would be reasonable. Probably your sharpening shop ground all 3 blades with one set-up. Very possibly their bed knife grinder also has auto feed transverse versus manual transverse feed. The result is they don't have to baby sit the machine. A fairly slow feed is used with a light grind and with 36" of blade, heat is not a factor.

   In my opinion if you are removing knicks, I think I would consider having it sharpened at shop set up for handling such more easily than the Tormek. For touch up sharpening, I believe the planer blade attachment would have its place after determining cost effectiveness.

   As far as the wheel loading problem, I can understand that being a major issue. Reshaping a chisel causes more loading of the wheel than I like. :(
Elden

Offline Rob

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2015, 09:57:51 am »
I really feel your pain.  I also spent many many hours getting nowhere with that completely useless jig.  I resolved to have one more go after my marathon and if I ever do I will put a micro bevel just on the edge to make it go faster.  The only trouble is that the trauma from the first 10 hour extravaganza has put me off to such an extent I doubt I'll ever summon up the courage to try again.

In my opinion the planar jig is bordering on taking money under false pretences....it really is that bad.  Tormek should be ashamed of themselves in this regard since its out of character for them to produce such badly designed rubbish when you consider how brilliantly designed many of their jigs are and how genuinely decent the attitude is most of the time.

The primary problem with the jig is that the wheel just doesn't cut enough metal fast enough.  In order to get it to cut, you need to regrade the wheel constantly, that then throws out the fine setup needed to operate the planar jig effectively.  It's a downward cycle of hell!!
Best.    Rob.

Offline Stickan

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2015, 11:38:30 am »
Hi,
what kind of metal are your blades made of?
The hardness is between 60HRC to over 70HRC on most planerblades and that makes a significant difference.

Stig











Offline Rob

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2015, 11:36:40 pm »
I'm not sure Stig.  My planar/thicknesser is a Startrite SD300 with foot long blades in a 3 blade cutter block.  I've also got the silicon blackstone wheel to help with HSS but I lost the will to continue because what was happening was the wheel kept glazing and even using the rough side of the stone grader VERY frequently wasn't enough.  The only method that allowed the stone to keep cutting was a full diamond true to really open up the stone.  That then throws out the fine adjustment in the jig since it reduces the diameter of the stone sufficiently to break the fine tolerance of the setup.

The engineering idea behind the jig is brilliant, it's just that the stone is unable to cut such a huge amount of steel fast enough (large surface area of the planar blades).  Of all the Tormek universe, this was the operation I found most frustrating.  At the end of it I felt my money had been wasted.  What surprised me was how out of character this experience was from my previous operations with all things Tormek.  I had experienced very positive results (sometimes very slow if much metal was to be removed) up until the planar blade jig.
Best.    Rob.

Offline Herman Trivilino

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2015, 04:00:14 am »
If I recall correctly, Rob, the other thing that really drove you away from the Tormek's utility was the reshaping of your turning tools.

I don't own any turning tools, planar blades, or the jigs to sharpen them.
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Offline Stickan

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2015, 09:51:22 am »
Rob,
I canĀ“t find any info on those blades more than "Heavy duty". I did contact a company who measured their planer blades in HRC (Theirs where 72HRC) and they even sell our jig with no complaints during all these years.
But the quality and hardness is the most important factor in this, a hard steel takes time.


Stig

Offline Rob

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2015, 12:03:15 pm »
If I recall correctly, Rob, the other thing that really drove you away from the Tormek's utility was the reshaping of your turning tools.

I don't own any turning tools, planar blades, or the jigs to sharpen them.

That's right Herman, but I wasn't meaning that in this case (though I can see how I've badly worded it to give the view you've got from it).  In this case I meant it was what put me off the planar jig specifically, not the whole of the Tormek as a concept.  The turning tools experience was as you rightly point out all about shaping rather than sharpening and shaping High speed steel specifically.  The Tormek excels at sharpening and in fact if I want to put a really fine egde on my bowl gouges before I do the final cut in a bowl interior for example, I will still use the T7.  But for skews chisels and scrapers,I use alternative means where the jigs are much faster to setup.  My only beef with the Tormek was it's ability to remove a lot of hard steel quickly, that's it's primary weakness.

That shows up in two aspects of my world, one was with the planar blade jig which as Stig has mentioned, may be simply to do with my Startrite blades being Rockwell 900 billion!  It also showed up when I was trying to reshaping grinds on HSS turning tools.  In particular grinding the wings on factory set bowl gouges and regrinding large skew chisels that were badly dinged.  Both have large surface areas of hard steel and those two conditions are not favourable for the Tormek.  However, for refined sharpening, its difficult to beat and I would argue that only hand finished bench stones would give a better hone, which 99% of the time is overkill.  The other niggle that related to turning is the setup time for the large variety of jigs.  Trouble with turning of course is the tools come in an alarming variety of shapes.  I mean just think of a skew one minute and a gouge the next, followed by a round nose scraper, the range of jigs necessary to accommodate all of those geometries is wide.  What comes with that is tedious setup time which interrupts the "flow" of the turning.  The turning is a weird combination of wood work, engineering and art and when you're just about to finish a piece you really don't want the "flow" to be interrupted because that's part of the art.  So fast sharpening is a real holy grail.

My T7 is still part of my sharpening station and now its permanently setup for a specific bowl gouge grind for my favourite 3/8" gouge.  But I do shaping, skews and scrapers on other tools.
Best.    Rob.

Offline Stickan

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2015, 01:02:16 pm »
Rob,
Have you seen the BGM-100 kit? Works perfectly for shaping on a dry grinder and easy to transfer to the Tormek for final sharpening.

900 billion... ;D

Stig

Offline Rob

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2015, 06:20:40 pm »
I've had one for two years Stig :-)  My Torlok toolrest is permanently installed on it for round nose scraper grinding on a beat up old bench grinder.
Best.    Rob.

Offline Herman Trivilino

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2015, 12:03:09 am »
If I recall the sequence of events, Stig, Rob did try to use the BGM-100 on a dry grinder with some success to solve some of his problems reshaping high speed turning tools. He eventually added another sharpening tool to his shop.

Out of respect for our host (we are all guests here and appreciate Tormek sponsoring this forum for us) we won't mention the name of that "other tool".
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Offline Rob

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2015, 11:35:17 pm »
spot on Herman.

The BGM was a step forward because of course it allows one to re-use the existing investment in jigs (which in my case is considerable).  It takes the user away from the slow grinding process of the Tormek (slow but refined) to a fast grinding process (fast but less refined) on a none water wheel, with all the attendant problems associated with overheating the steel.  However it did allow some reshaping of High speed steel.

Ultimately I've found that the best compromise for removing a lot of steel fast without too much over heating is with a linisher style approach.  I must say I'm not entirely sure why that technology should dissipate heat better than a dry grinder although I imagine it's to do with the fact the belts are longer than the circumference of a wheel so "give up" more heat to the surrounding air as they traverse their cycle.  It's not foolproof and when regrinding a 1/1/4" skew chisel, its sure going to heat up but at least with a 60grit belt you'll be done in 5-10 minutes.  On the Tormek, you'd be there many times longer because of the huge surface area of very hard metal to remove.

All 3 now have their place in my sharpening repertoire but for HSS, the linisher is my preferred approach for efficiency.
Best.    Rob.

Offline Herman Trivilino

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2015, 02:44:34 am »
I must say I'm not entirely sure why that technology should dissipate heat better than a dry grinder although I imagine it's to do with the fact the belts are longer than the circumference of a wheel so "give up" more heat to the surrounding air as they traverse their cycle.

And there's a place for the heat to go because there's air, rather than solid material, just below the grinding surface. Air can carry heat away faster because it's a fluid, the process known to all as convection. But I suspect there's more yet to the story. The newer abrasive materials on the belts may be thinner. They certainly last much longer, which is the key to their success. No one would want to change belts every few minutes!

Why can't that same abrasive material be bonded to a wheel and submerged in the Tormek water trough to keep it cool? Is it the need of a water proof bonding agent? Or does the abrasive itself deteriorate when wet? It could be both.

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Offline Elden

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Re: Planer Jig sharpening - A first experience.
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2015, 04:49:07 am »
Where did the tried and proven method of having a water dipping tank disappear to? It still worked in Kansas the last time I tried it (about 2weeks ago). Things that start to get too warm for the touch are easily cooled by a few seconds dunk in the water. This can be utilized with the the BGM-100, belt grinder, or the old work horse bench grinder. The drill bits, I am presently using the DBS-22 to 4 facet grind, were ground to a 2 facet grind using a bench grinder while having a dip tank handy. Some of those bits had to have 1/2 - 3/4" taken off due to extreme abuse by the previous owner (I got them at an auction).
Elden