Tormek evaluation

Folks, Just in case anyone was thinking of a Tormek, I just bought a new unit.
Pros 1) Well built 2) Super book on how to use it 3) Simple to use 4) Following their guidelines will restore even the severely damaged knife easily. 5) The final edge is good, not great , but better than almost any normal household knife would have 6) The system lets you grind the edge either with the wheel moving away or towards the edge. Book explains the advantage of both approaches 7) No matter how aggressive you push the blade into the stone, the blade will not over heat
Cons 1) The method for "grading" the wheel does not truly make the wheel fine enough in grit 2) The water tray is almost impossible to lower and empty without making a mess 3) Setting the angle is very much a "art" the knife angle guide is useless on kitchen knives to set the jig angle up " This might be rectified if different instruction videos were provided" 4) If you try to restore a knife with a really worn edge, you must regrade the stone first. This process wears the stone down faster.
Redesign ideas.
1) The jig they sell for sharping joiner blades would be a better approach to straight knives such as carving knives. needs some rework to do this 2) Redo the water cooling tray mechanism. This needs to be easily removable without causing floods. Something a Jr designer engineer could do. 3) Create a video that shows CLOSE up how to set the proper angle for a kitchen knife. The very thin area that a kitchen knives has for the angle simply does not work well with the jig. 4) Include a light that is LED based (real bright, they exist) on a goose neck. This will solve the "being around water issue with a hot light" Without a really good source of light, you simply can not see what you are doing.
I really do not sharpen much else than mentioned. No lathe knives etc. so I can not offer a opinion.
Would I buy it again. Unlikely, There are other systems that work by keeping the knife fixed and moving the stone. This will allow you to use almost any grade stone, and is easier to set the angle to the blade. Hope this helps
Paul
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I seriously considered a Tormek and gave it a close examination. I really liked it...until I saw the price. I bought a Makita wetstone instead and it works well for knives, chisels, blades, most straight-lined cutting edges.
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I don't think that I would purchase again either. It was a gift a few years ago and I was really excited when I first received it. I noticed a lot of the same problems that you listed but the biggest issue for me is that I have found it hard to keep chisels and plane blades square to the stone. As a last try I just ordered the new straight tool jig that ships with the current machine.
I like the idea of the WorkSharp but a my wide chisels and plane blades are too wide.
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Snip
I have had the Tormek for about 6 years and have not had a problem with the grit grading, basicly it works fine for me.

Have they changed the design? You do have to be careful but since the grinding wheel generally puts water on the item being sharpened water naturally gets every where anyway. I have never spilled the water tray.

I don't feel the same about this. But like anything else you develope the knack and then it works great.

Yes it does wear the stone down faster but 6 yrears later I suspect the stone will out last me. ;~)

I susppect that few knives have a strait edge from one end to the other.

Just be careful. ;~)

Humm,, I typically use daylight as my source.

I do, plane knives, lathe gouges, etc, planer knives, kitchen, and pocket knives. I have no problems.

Would I do it again? Probably the Jet clone over the Tormek, it is cheaper.
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As long time Tormek owner, I would have to agree with all you "pro's" and could add a few others, but I will have to disagree with con 1 and 2. I can grade the wheel quite acceptably. You may just need to hold the grading stone to the wheel a little longer. It grades fine, just not super fast. Also, the cooling tray will works fine provided it's not past the "full" line. It could be better, but it works if not filled past the full mark. As far as redesigning, the water cooling tray could be longer. When using the planer knife jig, the water will run just about everywhere but back into the water tray. I just put some shims under the rubber feet on the right hand side when grinding so the water will run back into the tray. Somewhat of a PITA, but only a prob when grinding longer planer/jointer knives. Hey, a LED light would be great! Don't write your Tormek off yet, it really will do a great job at sharpening. Although I've never sharpened kitchen knives with mine, I have sharpened about everything else. Some things had a little learning curve to get right, but I can now put a scary sharp edge on damn near anything. Keep at it, the machine is a keeper in my book (and I'm picky about edge tools...) --dave
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I just put the whole machine on an old baking sheet to catch any stray water. What I liked as a beginning turner was that Tormek took most of the skill out of sharpening lathe tools so I could concentrate on learning how to use the tools. Learning both at once seemed a hard approach, especially since poorly sharpened tools make turning that much harder. John
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wrote:

I found that until I got a pretty good idea about how to turn and why different chisels had different angles, I really didn't have a clue on sharpening..
My wife used to sharpen my chisels, because she used to own a sharpening business.. As I did more and more turning, I realized that she might do a killer job on knives and saw blades, but she didn't know what I needed on the chisels.. Once I found out, a few experiments with shop made and purchased jigs got me going pretty well..
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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On Thu, 06 Dec 2007 23:46:22 GMT, John Siegel

Great idea. Consider it borrowed!
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That's on page 53 of the instruction book. :-) There's also a tip to prevent the water from dripping on the machine when doing planer blades: raise the other side up with a shim.
I've seen people have problems with the Tormek, and in many cases, they didn't follow the instructions. There's a lot of detail in the book, and it's easy to "skim" and miss something useful.
The forum is also useful, but I asked a question 3 weeks ago, and still haven't had it answered. :-(
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On Thu, 27 Dec 2007 10:42:39 -0500, Bruce Barnett

The only two posts from you on my server are the two Tormek posts.
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If you could spare the time to summarise, it would be interesting to know what they say.
Jeff
--
Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
email : Username is amgron
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Since this wasn't answered.....
Grinding towards the direction of the wheel is more agressive. The edge tends to "dig in" as the wheel spins. It reduces the risk of glazing the stone. The burr is shorted and stiffer.
A disadvantage is the greater risk of a blade digging into the stone. Doing it freehand (without a jig) is therefore riskier. At steeper angles, vibration can occur.
If you sharpen away from the wheel direction, it's slower. Use this for delicate tools (carving, small blades, etc.)
Best for free-handing.
The book describes which direction works best for certain jobs.
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