Harbor Freight Tormek Clone

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I had a coupon in my pocket and they had one left in stock, for 67 bucks how bad could it be?
Turns out it's not bad at all. Sure, it's cheap and chintzy and you have to be careful with setup, but it cranked up and ran fine out of the box and can produce a decent edge fairly quickly. Not a superb edge mind you, but one that a few passes on a hard arkansas stone can finish up nicely.
The stone holds a lot of water--I put a small nalgene bottle full in the tray and the stone emptied it in about 30 seconds (note--I don't mean it splashed it out, I mean it soaked it up). The second bottle full filled it to the mark and the level pretty much stayed there.
Overheating the tool is _not_ an issue--the edge is completely immersed in water the whole time that sharpening is going on.
I put some pictures of of it in operation and of the results at http://www.flickr.com/photos/39383723@N00/sets/72157608992163168 /.
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personal with a chisel before. :)
That looks like a pretty good unit for the price.
What camera, etc. did you use to take those pictures?
And, what I really want to know is, how did you grind that chisel and take those close up photos at the same time? And extra arm maybe? :)
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The Tormek is the same.
I'm 99% sure some of the Tormek attachments are patented. They also have some slick features. But I assume one can use Tormek's add-ons on the HF clone.
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Nice review, John. Thanks for taking the time to take the pics and post them.
I have wondered about that machine, but never had nerve/dough/interest/ need all intersect at the the same time.
I have heard a lot of buzz about that sharpener, but no one really wants to own up much to proudly using a Harbor Freight item to do anything.
Like you, I am thinking "for $67, how bad could it be?" If it's not bad at all, sounds like a winner to me. Even the "cheap" Tormek is now $350 - $360 or so at Woodcraft these days. And I <think> but don't <know> but I do believe I had heard from a WC employee that the Tormek accessories do work this machine, as well as some of the Jet stuff from their slow speed sharpener.
Did it come with any polishing compound? And just as a note of interest, can you tell where the actual grinding wheel was made? Robert
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Harbor Freight is kind of like Radio Shack. 80 percent of their stuff is pure crap. 10 percent is decent, but needs some modifications to get it great. 10 percent is actually great quality.
One example of an item that falls in between those 10 percent categories, is their router fence. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber385 I bought it for 40 bucks, just for giggles to try on my new table. I was looking for some decent L-angle and some slotted aluminum to build my own and ran across this thing by accident.
It's actually really nice and functions very well out of the box (after a little wax on the sliding stop rods).
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-MIKE-

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-MIKE- wrote:

router table in favor of a shop-built table. What's the fence made of? How substantial is the base and is the 90 degree angle true? TIA
Larry
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The L-angle part is 3/32" steel. The extension rods are solid steel. The t-tracks sections and stop block are aluminum. Mine is perfectly square, as checked with my engineering square. I added a couple mods. I added UHMW plastic fences to the front of the aluminum fences, because I like plastic ones and to move the fence back to accommodate big-ass bits. I also added a long piece of aluminum channel (scarfed from a 4ft, clamp) to the L-angle, so I could clamp it at the ends of my 36" wide table. If you're going to put t-track in your table to clamp the fence down, it will work fine with no mods.
So far, I'm very please with its quality and performance. I noticed that there is no view of the L-angle portion on the website. I'll see if I can take some pics of mine and post them.
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-MIKE-

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-MIKE- wrote:

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Then you won't see this until you get back. :-)
Check under the display shelves. My store didn't have them anywhere in sight. It was under the display for those horrible little tile saws and whatnot.
Either way, buy it and check it out. They have a very liberal return policy. Besides...if you do return it, the next guy who looks at it will be thankful that someone who's actually used a tool before, had put it together. :-)
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Got it. Got the new insert on e-bay for $20. A hunk of miter track and I'll be all set. Looked at the Tormek clone, but they wanted $105 for it at my store. Hasn't been on sale for a couple of months, according to the clerk.
-MIKE- wrote:

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TD Driver wrote:

You need a coupon, which, unfortunately, expired on the 10th. There should be another one along eventually--they seem to have a coupon for it fairly often.
Note that Harbor Freight has two Web sites--http://www.harborfreight.com for direct ordering and http://www.harborfreightusa.com for the stores. The second site has an "Extra coupon savings" button that gets you to the current coupons (I'm not giving a direct link because it changes every week).

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Anyone else's HF 95236, wetstone grinder arrive missing one of the two bushings (http://www.harborfreight.com/manuals/95000-95999/95236.pdf part number 11, clamp?) from the chisel/plane iron jig ? This results in the jig being a very sloppy fit on the 'tool support' rod. I'd read several comments about "poor quality" of the HF jigs and wonder if this was the cause. Otherwise, I thought that the overall fabrication quality of grinder and jigs looks pretty good.
I also noted that the user manual makes no mention of the accessory jigs shown on the packaging and, notably, no mention of the grinding wheel 'stone grader' which is necessary to condition the wheel surface for finish grinding prior to honing on the leather wheel. I thought that was the unique feature of the Tormek-type wet grinders.
David Merrill
Nice review, John. Thanks for taking the time to take the pics and post them.
I have wondered about that machine, but never had nerve/dough/interest/ need all intersect at the the same time.
I have heard a lot of buzz about that sharpener, but no one really wants to own up much to proudly using a Harbor Freight item to do anything.
Like you, I am thinking "for $67, how bad could it be?" If it's not bad at all, sounds like a winner to me. Even the "cheap" Tormek is now $350 - $360 or so at Woodcraft these days. And I <think> but don't <know> but I do believe I had heard from a WC employee that the Tormek accessories do work this machine, as well as some of the Jet stuff from their slow speed sharpener.
Did it come with any polishing compound? And just as a note of interest, can you tell where the actual grinding wheel was made?
Robert
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I forgot to mention that there is another 40 percent off in-store coupon, good thru 11-24-2008, at http://www.harborfreightusa.com/html/wkend1124/usa_cpnsave.html (scroll way down).
The local Harbor Freight store didn't stock any of the accessory items so these would apparently need to be ordered online from HF (or use Tormek, Jet or ? jigs if indeed they fit).
Stone grader and jigs http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber330
'Rough' chisel jig: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber333
'Curved' chisel jig: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber332
Lathe chisel jig: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber329
Scissor jig: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber3321
David Merrill

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There's a pretty good discussion of this unit on this forum. You all might want to check it out - good reviews and a few tips on tuning it. http://www.bt3central.com/showthread.php?tA589
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It appears to have the honing wheel also, is that true? If so, how did it work?
Any idea how it would work for turning tools such as bowl gouges? I will probably get one just for skews, but it wood/would be nice to freshen the edge of bowl gouges on it if practical..
Thanks for taking the time & effort to review it and post some really good shots..
mac
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I have a version of this: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber5098 I use it with the Wolverine Grinding Jigs and it does a great job.
--

-MIKE-

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-MIKE- wrote:

Out of the box it wouldn't do so well for bowl gouges.
There's a lathe chisel jig http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber329 and a curved chisel jig http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber332 that don't come with it.
Also the Tormek Universal Gouge Jig and the Jet Gouge Jig will in principle work with it.
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I took a look at this thing at my local H-F, a few hours ago. I suggest being very discerning if you decide to buy this thing. The display model was falling apart.... which is par for the course at H-F. :-) Just check out the box and all the parts and make sure it's all ok.
I've noticed at H-F, that there can be a significant in quality for the same item from box to box, part to part. The original poster surely did this or else he got a "good apple."
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-MIKE-

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<snip>

Thanks, John... For $30 plus shipping, I think I'll make the jig..
mac
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wrote:

I bought one of those HF wet grinders. Which Wolverine Grinding Jigs do you have and how do you position it to work with the wet grinding wheel?
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