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thoughts on SVM and KJ knife jigs

Started by Ken S, November 29, 2022, 05:44:44 PM

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Ken S

Over the years, I have accumulated around a dozen Tormek knife jigs. As I only sharpen my own primarily kitchen and pocket knives, my logical self knows that my personal sharpening needs going forward can easily be met with a single
KJ-45. (I do not own a filleting knife, nor do I plan to purchase one.)

I started adding more jigs while developing the kenjig. I use five jigs with the kenjig, adding five jigs to my basic set of SVM jigs. This group included three out of production longer jigs (pre 2002 available only used). These specialty jigs allowed me to easily standardize on one Projection setting for all of my regularly sharpened knives.

I was preparing to have several of my jigs modified just as the Covid lockdown happened in March of 2020. Although several things have changed since then, I now have two jigs at the machinist to be modified (.5mm and 1mm milled jaws as originated by Vadim of Knife Grinders).

I am also leaving one SVM-45 as is, except for adding protective pads from Boot Hill Customs. In addition to scratch protection, the slight extra thickness may help to center thinner knives.

I presently use a combination of Dutchman's Grinding Angle Tables and CB's Calcapp for setting up my kenjigs. I have accumulated four extended support bars over the years as new models appeared. One US-1430 would suffice.
I use a combination of freehand and jig controlled honing. For the jig controlled honing, I use socket set screws or the more convenient FVB.

This collection is certainly overkill for my own needs. I have most of it for my own curiosity and to answer forum questions.

When I purchased my first T7 in 2009, knife jigs consisted as just one SVM-45 and one SVM-140. This combination can still provide yeoman service, although many of us have become pickier. Technology and technique have evolved over the years. Today's latest and greatest will eventually become tomorrow's "yesterday's news".

I welcome continuing innovation, both from Tormek and from the forum.




That's an interesting summary of your extensive experience with Tormek.

I have spent some time last weekend sharpening 5 standard kitchen knives. My workehorses (rather long chef/gyutos), plus my wife's favorite one (a short gyuto). That allowed me to confirm my initial thoughts about the KJ/SVM conversion : while I have few knives thick enough for centering to be a real issue, having to reset USB height between each knife is a major step backward.

I ended up with selecting carefully which knife to put in the KJ then adjusting the four SVMs (with the help of a pin pivot collar for one of them). Then I set up my USB/SG combination, make quick work of the five knives, ditto for honing. I also only have to play with my phone/PC once, while my hands are clean.

I also still happen to put the short stop of the KJ against the USB instead of the main one, but I guess it's more of a muscle memory issue.

So I'm really glad I have five SVMs, because that makes my sharpening sessions shorter. I guess I'll save the one KJ for knives where centering is a significant issue.



Ken S

Interesting post, Nick. I think it is essential to remember that we have had decades to become cozy with the SVM-45. The KJ-45 is the new unknown kid on the block. We must also be aware that many of us no longer use the SVM as intended by Tormek. There was nothing wrong with Tormek's plans; we just had other ideas.

Beginning with our own Dutchman, we began to expect very high standards of precision and repeatability in setting our SVMs. We followed different paths. Some of us designed intricate computer programs. Some us wanted simple, automated settings for efficient repeatability. Some of us modified the SVM to expand the range of acceptable centering. I believe this diversity benefitted all of us.

At this early stage, the lack of adjustability in the end stop of the KJ seems like a major constraint. Some of us will take the logical path and stay with our souped up SVMs. A few of us may look into the darkness and see what the new kid can do.

I believe that as we become more familiar with the KJ it will become the dominant knife jig, at least until the next generation knife jig arrives.


Sir Amwell

I appreciate previous comments but there is a glaringly obvious issue here. And we should not be afraid to call it out. The new KJ 45 jig is really good for centring most everyday knives be they thin or thick on the blade stock. But it is really compromised for its lack of adjustment on the jig protrusion. The old svm jigs were great for adjusting jig protrusion and no good for centring thin or thick knives. And they are knife jigs. Remember that.
So why not the best of both? Let's challenge Tormek to do the right thing and produce a self centring jig with the ability to adjust the stop. It isn't rocket science surely?


Quote from: Sir Amwell on December 01, 2022, 12:26:16 AM... snip
I appreciate previous comments but there is a glaringly obvious issue here. And we Let's challenge Tormek to do the right thing and produce a self centring jig with the ability to adjust the stop. It isn't rocket science surely?
Hurrah. I fully support that!


I think this is something deliberate - and probably smart - on Tormek's part.

We are surely just a handful of knife nerds and/or sharpening professionals who care about speed, consistency and some degree of precision. I would think most of Tormek's customer base sharpens one or two knives on occasion, and they don't mind the anglemaster being ill-suited for the job, the fact that the standard USB is obviously too short, etc.

I doubt there are many users who care about projection length outside of this forum. So probably a few dozens, out of the many, many more users of Tormek's knife jigs. If you care about projection length, you probably also use a calculator (either software or the locally famous hardware version of it : the KenJig). And Tormek somehow said in their advanced sharpening class something along the line of "Absolute precision doesn't exist, knives are a complex issues, so there's no point in a calculator".

No calculator => No projection length => No problem with the KJ.

Most of us will stick to their beloved Tormek anyway, so why bother ?

I think they will add a couple of USB holes to the T9: the FVB is solid hardware and a much better solution than the "spacecraft", dual-MB100 setup they presented in a fun fashion in a recent video. For those of us who want to serialize at the cost of centering, we'll buy Ken's now-disused SVMs ;)


Quote from: tgbto on December 01, 2022, 12:12:50 PM... snip
so why bother ?
Whatever you use, the anglemaster (probably most users as you said), Dutchman's tables, Kenjig or sophisticated software, once you've set up the USB you can use the same setting to sharpen a wide variety of knives. by simply setting the projection distance to the original value with the adjustable stop.
But then that adjustable stop must be available.


Dutchman, you're (once again) right.

I guess I hadn't thought of someone who would use the Anglemaster and care about projection distance, but that actually makes some sense : you could even set it up with a ca. .5 mm thick flat piece of stainless steel, with parallel sides so the AngleMaster and SVM-45 work as intended, and the right projection distance.

Wow, I just realized I can actually  :o use my standard issue anglemaster in (the unlikely) case I have no calculator available.

3D Anvil

I'm finding that the benefits of the KJ jig outweigh the negative of being unable to adjust the projection distance, but obviously in a perfect world we would have both self centering and adjustable projection distance.  It's certainly possible, so hopefully Tormek will revisit the KJ or offer an additional jig ... perhaps one without the convexing feature but with self-centering jaws and adjustable stop.

It appears that the latter option is being used by AMK with their sharpening-centric 1x30 belt grinder: 
I imagine that their clamp could be used with Tormek, but I don't see it listed as a separate item.  I'd also like to see a wider stop collar.


Quote from: 3D Anvil on December 02, 2022, 06:51:31 PMIt appears that the latter option is being used by AMK with their sharpening-centric 1x30 belt grinder: 
I imagine that their clamp could be used with Tormek, but I don't see it listed as a separate item.  I'd also like to see a wider stop collar.

Nice! Im actually working on a cheapo setup with my small belt sander and the MB-100 so I can grind at a controlled angle, then finish up on the Tormek.


I have just acquired my first Tormek grinder (an old 1200).
Amongst other uses, I plan to use it for knife sharpening.
Can I assume that the best and easiest option is to buy the KJ-45 jig?

Ken S

You will receive different opinions regarding "the best and easiest option" in Tormek knife jigs. For what it may be worth, here is my opinion:

The SVM-45 jig has been the standard Tormek workhorse knife jig for decades. Many of us have long experience with it. Some of us have several of these jigs and/or have modified them. We are just getting to know the new KJ-45 jig. We may forget that for most of the years with the SVM-45 we did not have most of our Projection control methods beyond the adjustable stop.

In your case, you probably have no experience with either. I believe the future of Tormek knife jigs is with the KJ-45. In my opinion, if I was in your position, I would start with the KJ-45. Unless you sharpen knives which are both thin and longer than 160 mm (fillet knives), I see no need to purchase the KJ-140.


3D Anvil


  * The stop/handle can be screwed in and out, allowing one to adjust the distance between the stop and apex of the blade.  This is useful for setting edge angle
  * Mostly metal construction; possibly more durable.
  * Not self centering.  The jig is optimized for typical kitchen knives, but blades with thicker or thinner spines will not be centered, causing unequal bevel width.


  * is self centering, so you don't have to worry about spine thickness;
  * has a forward stop which can be used to create convex bevels;
  * forward stop can also be used to pivot short/medium length knives.

  * Handle/stop is fixed, so you can't adjust projection distance;
  * More plastic than SVM jig ... possibly less durable.

Ken S


You have posted a well done, balanced comparison. I do have some thoughts on comment: " * Handle/stop is fixed, so you can't adjust projection distance".
I agree somewhat; the end stop is not threaded and cannot be adjusted. However,
the amount of insertion in the clamp jaws can can be varied from 2 to almost 13 mm. That is a range of almost 12mm. Most kitchen knives fall in the range of 12 mm to 50 mm. This translates to four or five kenjig style Projection settings. Admittedly, one pre 2002 SVM-45 jig can handle this entire range.

I do not intend to imply that the KJ-45 is as convenient to adjust as the
SVM-45. I only want to state that the KJ-45 is not entirely "fixed" in Projection.


3D Anvil