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Topics - Ken S

General Tormek Questions / backlash
Yesterday at 09:44:07 PM
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Wolfgang makes a very important point in this online class starting at 13:45. (He mentions this in several other online classes.) He correctly states that it is better to start with the support bar a little too low and then adjust the support bar up. Unfortunately, he does not explain why this is important.

Gears and adjustment screws are designed to allow a little BACKLASH. This gives them a little breathing room in order to function. It is important to note that backlash is not limited to the KJ-45 jig; it effects all jigs requiring an adjustment of the jig and the support bar. It is also not limited to the Tormek; all machinery with screw adjustments (and gears) have some backlash. Nor is backlash limited to tools of lower quality.  Both a bargain and a Lie-Nielsen plane have backlash in their blade depth screws, although the Lie-Nielsen will have less.

Following Wolfgang's recommendation of always raising the support bar for adjustment insures that the microadjust is under strain, (no backlash) and therefore more accurate. It should become a habit.

"and everything in between"

I remember this distinctly from one of the Tormek online classes. (Unfortunately, I do not remember which class.
If anyone remembers and would reply with the class and time, I would be most appreciative.) The quote refers to the grit change with the stone grader.

The 220/1000 grit change with the stone grader is one of the sacred cows of Tormek technique. It is also not quite accurate. The stone grader is not like a light switch, either on or off (220 or 1000 grit). I first became aware of this when Stig told me about using "600 grit" to sharpen knives. "600 grit" is not an exact grit number; it doesn't have to be. It means a grit between minimum and maximum.

I do not find grit size of Tormek grinding wheels a meaningful number, beyond being a general indicator. I would expect a coarser grit number to cut faster. However, my 360 grit coarse diamond wheel cuts faster than my 220 grit SG. This seems logical to me;the diamond wheels are harder and the diamond grains are sharper. I think much more is involved than just grit size.

Instead of grit numbers, I think of using the stone grader in terms of more coarse to more fine. Like many of us, I was reluctant to use the stone grader for fear of "wearing out my precious Tormek grinding wheel". I gradually came to think of wearing my grinding wheel as a long-term consumable, like the brakes on a car.

When we compare the SG with superabrasive wheels, like diamond or CBN, we sometimes don't seem to get past the superabrasives not gradually losing diameter or needing truing with use. While this is true, we overlook the advantages of being able to change the "grit size" with the stone grader; reshape the stone; retrue the stone; or dress the stone to expose fresh sharp grains. These are serious advantages.

Wootz commented on Tormek leather honing wheels in one of his Knife Grinders videos. He noted that it was only described as "Swedish leather". I was poking around on the Tormek website and noted the current description of the leather used in the (T4, and presumably all of the leather honing wheels. It was described as "Tarnjo-Garveri" leather. Being curious, I did an online search.
I was impressed. The high quality was what I would expect from Tormek. Here is a link:

I have long been a fan of woodworker/writer Christopher Schwarz. I believe his newest book, Sharpen This belongs in the personal library of every hand tool woodworker. Although he primarily sharpens with a six inch high speed dry grinder and waterstones, the wisdom of this book applies equally to Tormek sharpening. Here is a link:

General Tormek Questions / December thoughts
December 30, 2022, 02:25:25 AM
For many years, I have enjoyed some quiet time around the end of December reflecting on the passing years and planning for the next. 2023 will be the fiftieth anniversary of the Tormek, an exciting year for our Tormek community. Recent years have produced numerous exciting Tormek innovations, both from Sweden and from the forum.

Recent years have seen several new grinding wheels and a new honing wheel from Tormek. The two 200 mm diamond wheels, originally designed for the T2, are now a full set of three grits, all fully capable of wet grinding and flat grinding with the outside face. This also makes the MB-100 fully functional with the T4.

The new CW-220 composite honing wheel increases the versatility of the "dry side" of the Tormek. Presently this is available only for 250 mm models, although I would not be surprised to eventually see it also available for the T4.

Jigwise, I believe the two new KJ knife jigs will prove a major change for Tormek. One project for 2023 should be becoming very familiar with the new jigs. Tormek knife sharpening has also seen the introduction of two new machines, the T2 and T1, in recent years.

What will 2023 bring? I have no inside knowledge or crystal ball. I will be very surprised if Tormek does not introduce some new fiftieth anniversary products. I anticipate more informative Tormek online classes.

Sadly, we have lost some very innovative members. Fortunately, we also have some innovative newer members filling in the ranks. I am encouraged and looking forward to this next year.

I found the online Grinding Pressure class a refreshing change. The typical advice offered to Tormek users wanting more speed is to spend $1000 or more on a set of superabrasive grinding wheels. All too often this path is chosen before or instead of really understanding how to optimize the performance of the SG-250 (or SG-200).

The video class provides too much information to be covered in one forum post.Therefore, I will only mention several points in the hope of starting a forum discussion.

In my opinion, the most solid, valuable advice from the class is for new users to learn sharpening, including how to use pressure, with the standard SG grinding wheel. Learn to use the stone grader and truing tool to full effect. Learn to make the most of varying grinding pressure. Yes, as the stone wears the diameter will gradually change. All abrasive material will eventually be consumed, even diamond and CBN. The overlooked advantage of stones over superabrasives is that stones can be restored and repaired.

I agree with the advice of changing the trough water before using the SJ 4000 grit stone. Good practice with honing wheels is not to cross contaminate different grits. Why do we do this with the SJ? I would carry this a little further and suggest having a separate stone grader reserved for the SJ. Stone graders eventually wear out. Let the stone grader reserved for the SJ eventually become the general purpose stone grader and replace it for the SJ with a new one. If changing water for the SJ seems a hassle, why not use a second water trough? If one is doing enough of this high dollar sharpening, the expense of a second water trough should easily be absorbed.

I don't want this post to become overly long. I will stop here and save further comments for replies.


Tormek just posted this. It is an important topic and should not be missed!

Live Sharpening Class: Sharpening Pressure
Join us for the last live sharpening class of 2022! In this sharpening class we will discuss pressure. More precisely, we'll learn how to use pressure for different applications when sharpening and honing different tools and how to work with pressure on different grinding wheels.


We'll answer questions such as:

- How much pressure should I use when sharpening?

- How much pressure should I use when honing?

- How much pressure can a Tormek machine tolerate?

- Will the amount of pressure affect how fast the sharpening goes?

- How much pressure should I use on diamond grinding wheels?

- How much pressure should I use on grindstones?


And as usual, we answer any of your questions on the subject. Prepare your questions and tune in to the live on Thursday, for one last live session before the holidays! 😊


Thursday, December 15th, 3.30 sharp!😉

Choosing a favorite Tormek class is a bit like having to choose a favorite child. As much as I appreciate the fine classes by Sebastien and Woofgang, I have a warm spot for the class Sebastien did with Stig. I like Stig's practical approach to sharpening. Here is a link to the class:

I am sure my preference is biased by my good fortune in meeting Stig in 2014.
Since then, I have tried to see him whenever he is demonstrating in Ohio.
I have watched him sharpen many knives and chisels. His technique is refreshingly simple: SG-50 coarse, then fine, followed by the leather honing wheel with PA-70. Very traditional Tormek. Very sharp, very skilled without fanfare.

I intend no criticism of those who use more complicated methods. I have followed the amazing innovations by our members with interest and appreciation. I only wish to encourage our intrepid pioneers. I am concerned about our beginning members. Aspiring to the stars is noble. Mastering and enjoying the original Tormek techniques is also noble. Stig has mastered this technique. I find his enthusiasm contagious and have enjoyed his video. I hope you do, also.

I just learned a hard lesson with the new upgraded forum. I started writing a reply when I got up at 4:00 this morning. I completed it at 5:20 and was going to preview it. It was gone. When I logged in, I had used the default log in time of one hour. How frustrating!!!!

"New and improved" is not always better. I will be more diligent in the future. I wish I could reset my default time to all day. There is an all day option; however, it is not the default. Maybe I should still do my longer posts with my word processing program.

Knife Sharpening / thoughts on SVM and KJ knife jigs
November 29, 2022, 05:44:44 PM
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.

Good news. Tormek is doing another online class this week:

Drill Bit Sharpening / why four facet grind?
November 13, 2022, 07:47:48 PM
This video by mrpete22 starts with a very well done illustration of the reason for a four facet grind. The initial illustration shows the common large chisel point bit. Mr. Pete explains the importance of using a smaller bit with a diameter of just larger than the chisel point for accurate drilling. The four facet point eliminates the chisel point and reduces the need for initially drilling a smaller hole.

Mr Pete is a retired shop teacher and a wealth of information. Here is the link:

I discovered William Collins' you tube channel tonight. He has some interesting, thoughtful ideas on knife selection, grinding, sharpening and use. I have watched several of his youtubes. I found this video about the history of the scandi grind at Morakniv and how it relates to rumors about convexing fascinating.

As is typical, there are numerous ways to do things. Collins' ideas made me think.


We have become increasingly aware of the difficulties of using Tormek knife jigs. What is the problem and how can it be corrected?

I encountered a solution while working for the Bell System (the major US telephone network). When the Justice Department forced it to allow products made by other companies into its central offices (switching stations), the Bell System agreed, providing the other products were designed to function in their central offices. They would not modify their offices to accommodate other companies' products.

In Tormek's case, the real problem is the non standardization of knives. If all knives were made of the same dimensions, alloys, and grinds optimized for the Tormek knife jigs, we would not have these difficulties.
Admittedly this is not practical; however, it is the real root of the knife sharpening difficulties.

We also have the constraint of wanting only one jig to handle almost knives. Expecting just one jig to handle knives from cleavers and large chef knives to small paring knives and the small blades of pocket knives
plus both thick and thin knives is a very tall optimization order. Not to mention blade shapes from straight to inside and outside curves and large volumes of knives to be sharpened quickly.

What to do? Neither of these suggestions is a complete fix, but they should all help.
   1.   I have seen posts asking which jig (SVM-45 OR KJ-45) to purchase. In the Tormek System, knife jigs are among the lower priced jigs. My suggestion would be to purchase both. That covers the waterfront from knives which benefit from from adjusting the Projection with the jig to knives which are thicker than 3mm to thinner than 2mm. If money is tight, I would hold off on the longer jigs. (The only thin, flexible knife I sharpen is my boning knife. It is too short for the 140mm jigs and I rarely use it.)

   2.   Sharpen knives using the jig which works best. Sharpen all the knives which can effectively use the adjustability of the SVM-45 first. Using as much standardization as possible, these knives should take less time to sharpen. Get ahead of the time curve. Then do the very thick and very thin knives using the KJ-45.

   3.   With either jig, if you hone using the jig, having a preset second usb. If you expect to sharpen long knives, having a longer US-430 or two is convenient.

Until knife makers optimize their knives to fit the Tormek, we will "make do".

Enjoyable and informative.

Knife Sharpening / Morakniv/scandi grind
August 26, 2022, 02:50:43 AM
I found this interview with the Head of Production at Morakniv very interesting.

General Tormek Questions / 8% price increase Sept 1
August 17, 2022, 11:55:00 PM
I received this today as part of an email from a Tormek dealer:

"Tormek has announced that due to increased raw material and shipping costs all Tormek prices must increase by 8% on September 1. For example, the T-8, available at $800 now, will cost $864 on September 1. If you've been looking to buy Tormek products you can beat the price increase when you purchase now."

If you are already planning to purchase a Tormek, jigs, grinding wheels, or accessories, August is better than September.


I have long been interested in the possibilities of self centering knife sharpening with the Tormek. The advent of the KJ-45 has brought this forward for me.

Like several other members, I have purchased several SVM-45 jigs intending to have them modified as demonstrated by our late member Wootz (Vadim of Knife Grinders). In his video about knife jigs, Wootz stated that the unmodified SVM-45 produced acceptably centered bevels for knives of 2 to 3 mm thickness. My kitchen knives, which are essentially all the knives I sharpen, fall into that range. They require no jig modification or self centering jig.

I decided to venture into outdoor knives. As a starting point, I read the thickness specifications of several Mora knives. These fell into a range of 2 to 3.2 mm thickness, most of which would be acceptably sharpened by the unmodified SVM-45. For the few knives many of us might encounter outside of the 2 to 3 mm thickness range, I prefer the one jig KJ-45 with automatic self centering. I believe I will probably use this feature more with thin paring knives. In fairness to our friend, Wootz, it should be noted that unfortunately he passed away before the advent of the KJ-45. I am sure his keen mind would have had thoughts on the new jig.

Hand Tool Woodworking / good SE-77/camber video
July 26, 2022, 03:00:36 AM
This struck me as a well done basic camber video:

I recently watched two YouTubes on using CBN wheels dry and keeping them clean. (One was by  professional sharpener and one was by a vendor who sells dry only CBN wheels.)The cleaning procedure puzzled me. I always use diamond wheels wet with ACC. Before Tormek introduced diamond wheels, I used CBN wheels with Honerite Gold.I have never needed to use cleaning agents on either of these wheels. This makes me think that the need for cleaning comes from using the wheels dry rather than from the wheels themselves.

I have often seen diamond wheels criticized because they work best with "expensive" ACC and "messy" water". These critics never mentioned needing to clean CBN wheels when used dry with PB Blaster and Slick Stick. Nor did they particularly mention the metallic dust from dry grinding.

While dry grinding with CBN wheels works very well with higher speed grinding, in my opinion, dry grinding with a Tormek defeats one of the main advantages of the Tormek, namely dust free grinding.
Yes, CBN wheels do grind cooler than conventional grinding wheels; however, dry grinding still produces dust.

Food for thought.