Tormek vs Waterstones

I know some respected woodworking professionals who sharpen their planes and chisels with a Tormek machine. I need a really high quality edge for musical instrument building and I have always succeeded with my age old oilstones. The Tormek only has a 220 grit wheel-then one presumably skips everything in between and jumps to the leather wheel. My stones are of course much finer. I reached a decision to buy water stones thru 8000 grit, but I am curious why the Tormek receives such acclaim. I can't imagine it's 220 wheel procuring results better than an 8000 waterstone. Any comments on this appreciated
Fritz
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On Sat, 1 Dec 2007 06:52:46 -0800 (PST), Fritz

I have a full set of stones, and still bought a Tormek after using the stones for a few years. The stones technically make a "sharper" edge, and I still use them to shape new tools and flatten backs.
The edge left by Tormek stone is much than my 220 grit Norton stone, more like my 1200 grit King. A Tormek user will use a "grading stone" to make the wheel coarser and finer.
A 4000 grit stone also sits near me, if I'm doing a lot of hand work, for quick touch-ups.
Quite simply, the Tormek very fast and works great! If I were starting over, I'd probably buy the Tormek first, and use Scary Sharp for flattening backs.
If you do it every day, you'd probably develop better sharpening skills than me, so the stones would be fine. I use machines and hand tools, so I don't sharpen that often and therefore don't really have "the touch". <G>
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On Sat, 01 Dec 2007 17:18:06 GMT, "Bonehenge (B A R R Y)"
Sorry about the English...
Lots of coffee and spraying today! <G>
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Danke! your English is quite fine, but I understand what you mean about getting "spray drunk". I am usually careful about this but I restored a few fabric airplanes a few years back and was able to save on my after work bar bill-I got intoxicated for free <g> You answer concerning the Tormek makes perfect sense to me and was very helpful. I think I will persist in using a 8000 stone for my small planes as they need to be razor sharp. I have an old Delta 220 grit Wet grinder which serves a similar purpose to the Tormek and has usually done justice to my lathe tools.
Fritz
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On Sat, 1 Dec 2007 14:32:45 -0800 (PST), Fritz

Ahhhh... The dope! <G>
My airplane mechanic was recovering a Cessna 170 in the hangar while mine was in for annual. No extra charge for the buzz while we buffed out plane! <G>
Actually, I was spraying a WB finish all morning. It's not as bad as NC lacquer or butyrate dope, but it adds up with the coffee. Lots of folks think WB is safer than solvent, but it's often not. It's just non-flammable, and can still sneak up during the times the respirator is off.

Glad I could help!
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I have the Tormek and did sharpen with water stones. I am sticking with the Tormek. If nothing else it is FASTER than the water stones. As Barry mentioned the stone can be regraded to a finer grit and the leather wheel will put a mirror finish on the edge.
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This reminds me of just how little of the mirror finish on the edge matters at all. As you concluded, I think which is better just depends on your priorities.
-Bill
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You think? I was under the impression and or felt that the mirror finish on chisels helped to ease friction when the waste slides up the polished bevel.
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It almost sounds like you are asking for "tear out".
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There is also a 8000 grit stone available. I have not used it yet.
The standard stone produces a very fine finish. In my other post, there is a mention of the grading stone. One side is coarse, and the other side is fine. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison, but after using the fine grade, the surface is extremely smooth. It's not quite a mirror finish. The leather buffer improves the surface more.
I suppose it's a preference thing. The Tormek is fast for touching up. If you really want a mirror edge, it takes longer to follow up with the 8000 grit flat waterstone. You have to decide if it's worth your time.
I haven't compared the surface of the Tormek vs a 2000, 4000, 6000 or 8000 waterstone. I'm not sure where it fits in the scale.
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I own a Tormek T7 with a 4000 grit Japanese Waterstone Wheel. http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=2053
I use it to sharpen grooming and beauty shop shears.
If you need a high quality edge, I highly reccomend spending the $170.00 for the Japanese Waterstone Wheel.
As slow as the Tormek rotates (90rpm) in is next to impossible to damage a tool.
Richard

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The Tormek will do the bevel - but not the back of the chisel or plane iron. You "can" use the sides of the wheel to "flatten" - but it doesn't do a very good job of it. The One Wheel Does Both Coarse and Fine thing is a bit deceptive. They say it'll go to the equivalent of 220 grit but it'll actually go finer - if you don't use the coarse/fine "stone" on the wheel. The leather stop wheel I got wasn't flat - or round. Tormek recomends taking a file to it to make it flat and round but I never was able to get mine either flat or round. Their "accessory" carving strop seems to work better when I use it's flat side to polish with. But both leather "strops" are too soft for my liking - and can round the edge because of their give. If I want sharp and shiny I use a flat, smooth piece of shoe leather - sole leather - and some aluminum or titanium oxide. The leather has almost no "give" to it so it's harder - though not impossible - to round my sharp edge.
As noted by another responder, you can get a Japanese Waterstone for the Tormek. But since it's the slurry that makes them work best, and since the Tormek's wheel runs through a water bath on each revolution, I'm not sure how much slury stays on the wheel. And, as you know, Japanese Waterstones need to be flattened often as the finer ones wear pretty quickly. While Tormek's diamond dressing tool sort of works on the regular wheel, I don't know how they dress the japanese waterstone wheel. I don't think I'd want to use a diamond dressing tool on a japanese water stone. Keeping the wheel flat - AND parallel to the jig support arm is critical to wheel sharpeners/grinders.
For smaller (under 1 1/2" width) flat chisels and plane irons there's the Lap-Sharp (tm) which is the heavy duty, precision high end lapping disk system. Definitely pricey.
http://www.lapsharp.com /
It's less expensive, not as heavy duty nor as precise clone is the WorkSharp which will also handle turning and carving gouges and chisels using slotted disks with the abrassive on the bottom. That lets you sharpen from below while seeing through the disk. Lets you see what you're doing - as you do it rather than the grind-chek-grind-check method.
http://www.worksharptools.com /
Both will do the bevel AND the back. The guy who invented the Lap-Sharp (tm) is a precision phreak and carries a little 100x pocket microscope with him to show customers the difference between "shave hairs off your arm" sharp and a truly sharp - polished to a mirror finish - cutting edge.
The "consumables" for these lapping disk set ups is a potential issue. The Lap-Sharp (tm) uses some pretty high end 3M abrassives which, because they're "single source", are not cheap. The WorkSharp can use any PSA abrassive 6" disks.
But, given your described uses, I supect that the japanese waterstones you have and know how to use are your best bet.
Here's some stuff I put together on my WorkSharp
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/Sharpening/JoolTool/JoolTool3.html
charlie b
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