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Topics - Herman Trivilino

Scissors Sharpening / A Different Technique
October 13, 2021, 05:45:14 PM
This video shows what appears to be a quick and easy way to sharpen scissors using only a vise and a file.

I cannot imagine that this technique would work with anything other than a slightly dull pair of scissors that had no nicks. And you'd need a really fine file.
General Tormek Questions / Drive Wheel
April 04, 2019, 06:01:33 AM
I have the SuperGrind2000, which is basically the T-7 only older and the color is green instead of blue.  ;)

The machine was purchased in the year 2002. The drive wheel has a side-to-side wobble. If I recall correctly this drive wheel is made of plastic whereas the ones available now are made of metal.

I'm seeing a price of just under $72.92 plus $9.95 shipping.

The sound of my machine undulates at the same frequency as the wheel spins. And the drive shaft doesn't get a very good grip on the drive wheel.

Has anyone else had a similar experience?
I finally managed to wear out a grindstone, from the original diameter of 250 mm to 190 mm. I learned a couple things installing the replacement.

First, the old grindstone barely submerges its edge in the water, but of course a new one submerges a lot further. I realized that I don't need to put as much water in the trough with the new grindstone, which reduces the chances of spilling.

Second, I'll keep the old grindstone for sharpening wide blades like cleavers and mower blades. This is an alternative to a custom made universal support with longer legs.
I got an email message this morning from Advanced Machinery announcing that the T-8 is now available for shipping. The price is $699.

They are also announcing the SVS-38, which a newer version of the SVS-32, the Short Tool Jig. The price is $33.
General Tormek Questions / Spatula
July 22, 2016, 10:25:15 PM
Anybody ever been asked to "sharpen" a spatula?

These are used in a restaurant to flip burgers. Apparently the tip works much like a wood chisel to separate the burger cleanly from the surface of the grill. These were not working correctly. My son brought them to me yesterday and said that the burgers weren't separating from grill surface properly, leaving behind a large amount of residue stuck on the grill. This ruins the appearance of the burger, leaves behind some of the tastiest parts of the burger, and makes clean up a chore.

The best way I can describe the situation is by comparing it to a wood chisel. The upper surface of the spatula has the bevel, and the bottom surface is flat. If you can imagine that somehow the corners of your wood chisel were mushroomed, this is the best way I can describe what they looked like. I had to flatten the backs to remove the mushrooming on each corner. These apparently prevented the knife edge of the spatula from making contact with the grill, thus causing the reported problem.

After flattening the backs on the side of my Tormek grindstone I used my homemade mini-clearance jig to restore the 25° bevel on the tops. I didn't grind away enough material to raise a burr because I didn't think it wise to create a sharp knife edge. For one thing it would be dangerous (people expect knives and chisels to be sharp, but not spatulas!) and for another it would quickly fold over and that might cause a performance issue.

Anyway, any advice on technique? How much would you charge?

I also sharpened two grill scraper blades. They were rather like jointer knives, but shorter and wider so again I was able to use my homemade jig. I otherwise sharpened them in the same way I would a wood chisel.

Again, and advice on technique would be appreciated. And how much would you charge? The blades are about 4 inches long.

If they perform well I may get a lot of business from the company my son works for. Apparently they have a machine for sharpening spatulas but he said his employees weren't using it right, or something. I suspect the issue was the mushrooming I described above. You could dress up the bevel on the top all you want, but with those mushrooms on the bottom the spatula will never make good contact with the grill's surface along the cutting edge.
As I've mentioned before, I'm a fan of the PBS series Cook's Country. They have good recipes and product recommendations, including recommendations for kitchen knives. They're all about testing, so they run their recipes through taste tests, and the products they review through tests that involve volunteers performing regular tasks.

Today's episode featured a review of knife sharpeners. I'm a paid subscriber to their web site so after watching today's episode I went there to read the text version of the review. Unfortunately it's not posted there yet, but I did find a similar one they did in July 2015. I'm posting this here, not because of what they say about knife sharpeners, but because of what they say about knife sharpening. Specifically, the bevel angles. Here's an excerpt ...

QuoteJapanese bladesmiths have long favored chef's-style knives with blades that are ultraslim—that is, sharpened to about 15 degrees on either side of the blade—and for good reason: In addition to being thin and lightweight, these blades have a supernarrow cutting edge, which helps make them razor-sharp. We've also come to favor a thinner edge. After years of testing dozens of knives, our repeat favorite is from Victorinox, a Swiss-made knife that is sharpened to 15 degrees on either side of the edge, allowing it to push and slide through food more easily than do more traditional European blades sharpened to at least 20 degrees.

To maintain that narrow edge, we use a tool specifically designed to sharpen a blade to 15 degrees. Our favorite models, both from Chef'sChoice, are a manual and an electric sharpener that each do a fine job of restoring an ultrakeen edge to an Asian-style knife. But in recent years the trend toward slimmer knives—and slimmer knife sharpeners—has spread west, as European manufacturers including Wüsthof, Henckels, Messermeister, and Mercer have launched their own 15-degree knives and sharpeners. (In fact, Wüsthof and Henckels have discontinued their 20-degree knives.)

So this verifies that the Victorinox knife I bought a few years ago on their recommendation is indeed ground at a bevel angle of 15°. The blade is so thin that I was unable to verify that by measurement with the Angle Master. And for the same reason, unable to verify it with the marker method. The blade is so thin that the bevel is not wide enough to be seen clearly except under magnification, and even then I had difficulties.

By the way, today's episode also included magnified high resolution photographs that verified their testing methods. I'll leave out the details except to say that they didn't test the Tormek. The machines they did test performed well and would be easier to use, but all they'll ever sharpen are knives!
Knife Sharpening / Adjusting the Angle of Western Knives
February 10, 2016, 03:25:12 PM
I'm sharing this article from Cook's Country (a popular PBS television show):

Adjusting the Angle of Western Knives
The 15-degree cutting angle on Eastern knives offers more precision than the 20-degree angle on Western knives. Will sharpening Western knives to a 15-degree angle improve their performance?

To find out, we passed our favorite inexpensive chef's knife through an electric Asian knife sharpener shaving its 20-degree cutting angle down to 15 degrees. The transformation was impressive: With the newly sharpened knife, we noticed less drag on foods as we cut them and enjoyed more precision with the blade.

But before you start altering your knives, keep the following points in mind: Western knives are generally made with a softer variety of steel that is more forgiving to the high-impact style of cutting we do in the West, rendering them too soft to hold a narrower 15-degree angle for very long. Thus, if you change their angle from 20 degrees to 15, they will require more frequent sharpening. (Japanese knives are made from a harder, more brittle steel that holds a narrower edge for longer.) What's more, you will inevitably end up removing a considerable amount of metal from your knife over time. The bottom line: If you want the feel and performance of a 15-degree angle on your blade, you're better off buying a Japanese knife than altering a Western one.
Knife Sharpening / My Bread Knife
April 14, 2015, 06:13:38 PM
My old Echo brand 8-inch bread knife has seen better days. I've posted about it before here in this forum. The conventional wisdom (we learned this from Jeff) is that these knives that are scalloped on only one side are sharpened by grinding the flat side. Well, I had done this so many times to this old Echo knife that it just wasn't working any more. Ken S and others encouraged me to take a round file, or a wooden dowel and diamond paste, and grind away at the scallops. Not having any diamond paste on hand I decided to glue some wet-o-dry sand paper to a wooden dowel and give that a go. The sand paper quickly wore out and then it tore.

Recently I purchased a Victorinox as a replacement. When I showed it to my wife she commented that we'd had that old Echo knife since before we were married. So I figured I'd take it to my local hardware store. They have a guy from Greater Houston Sharpening come and pick up stuff on Mondays, then return it sharpened the next Monday. They charge $3 plus $1 per inch, so that's $11 for this knife. They have a warning on their flyer that the depth of the scallops gets reduced with each sharpening, so I had my doubts. I figured that maybe they too only grind steel off the flat side. One way to find out is to give it a try.

I picked it up last week, bought a loaf of bread to celebrate, and headed home to surprise my wife. I was immediately disappointed by the first slice. Tried my new Victorinox and it cut much much better. Out to the shop and a look with the magnifier revealed that they had indeed ground on only the flat side, and their grinding marks didn't reach all the way to the edge! So I called the sharpening service and they had me leave it at the hardware store. Yesterday was Monday and I got a call from Mike at Greater Houston Sharpening. He said my knife was waiting at the hardware store to be returned to me with a refund of my $11. He's a really nice guy and explained that they hire teenagers and family members to sharpen, that he does the final inspection, and that somehow this one got by him.

I've talked to Mike before about sharpening in general and Tormeks in particular. He's sharpened a few of my table saw blades and a hand saw or two over the years. He confirmed that Jeff's method of grinding only the flat side is the correct method. He said that there's a new machine that costs $5000 that sharpens three types of scalloped edges, but he declined to buy it.

I asked about the wooden dowel method and told him that a 1/2 inch dowel matched the curvature of the scallops pretty well. He said that in that case you want to use something smaller so you can grind at the valley of the scallop and then roll the tool out towards the tips of the scallops as you sharpen. He recommended a round file made for metal and said that that Echo knife will have very hard steel.

He also mentioned that the Nicholson files are not being made any more, and that the alternatives from China are a waste of money. So, when I pick up my knife at the hardware store I'll be looking for a round Nicholson file. 3/8 inch. 
I have a kitchen knife that I could no longer sharpen with a steel. Looking at it with my 40X scope I saw that it had a micro bevel on it where the steel had been applied. I estimate the bevel width to be about 0.5 mm. To get rid of it I had to prepare the grindstone coarse and it took quite a few passes to raise a burr, even though it appeared I had created a new bevel all the way to the edge.

My technique with this knife was to test its sharpness by sliding it over my thumb nail. Whenever it got too dull to pass this test I'd sharpen it with the steel. I found that as this process was repeated I had to apply ever more force with the steel to get it sharp again. I purposely waited until the steel could no longer sharpen it before I took it out of the kitchen and into the shop for sharpening.
Knife Sharpening / Victorinox Knife
November 18, 2014, 07:09:32 PM
I bought this knife almost two years ago and have used it in my kitchen on a regular basis.

I saw it recommended on the PBS television show Cook's Country.

When I first got the knife I was impressed with how sharp it was. Cut through paper better than any knife I'd ever sharpened. I tried to use the Angle master to measure the edge angle but the blade is so thin I couldn't do it. The other day I noticed how dull it had gotten so I finally had the excuse I needed to see how sharp I could get it. I chose a bevel angle of 15o and used my homemade HK-50 jig. I wasn't able to sharpen all the way to the heel using that jig as the handle gets in the way. I got it almost as sharp as it was when it was new.
General Tormek Questions / Kitchen Scissors
June 10, 2014, 11:50:56 PM
I have this pair of KitchenAid brand kitchen scissors.  I don't know what the model number is, and I can't find an exact match based on appearance to show you, but they have red molded rubber handle covers.  They're very well made.  I've had them for a few years and I'm thinking about sharpening them, but I'm not sure about a couple things.  Both blades are thick, and there's a primary bevel making them thinner as you approach the cutting edges.

But at the cutting edge itself there is a secondary bevel that appears to be ground to about 90o.  It has a thickness of about 1 mm, and one of them is serrated with very narrow serrations.  I'm thinking the way to sharpen them is to grind on the other blade only (the one that's not serrated) using the scissors jig.

Anyone have any experience or thoughts on what might be a better approach?
General Tormek Questions / Time for a New Finish
June 02, 2014, 04:15:36 AM
Purchased in 2002, my SuperGrind 2000 has been well used and is in need of a refinish. 

After complete disassembly, this is what the frame looked like.

The powder coat, or whatever the original finish is, flaked off in big pieces.  Especially near the bottom of the frame, and on the side where the grindstone is mounted.

In the next photo you can see the damage caused by the type of neglect described in my rusty main shaft adventure (read about it here:

General Tormek Questions / Bench Height
May 23, 2014, 05:14:01 AM
For years now my table saw has done double-duty as the bench top for my Tormek, at a height of 1020 mm (40").

I had to rearrange some things and ended up having to build a new bench for the Tormek.  I decided on the maximum height for the new TS--740 Sharpening Station of 830 mm (32 2/3").

That's a huge drop in height, about 20%.  I can't wait to find something with a dull edge so I can try it out.   :D
General Tormek Questions / Ready for the Tormek
March 28, 2014, 02:08:14 AM
All this guy needs now is a Tormek  ...

He makes his own knife out of pry bar!  (7:20). 

Excellent craftsmanship and video editing skills.  This is easily the best diy video of a diy project I've ever seen.
General Tormek Questions / Happy Carving
November 28, 2013, 05:39:27 PM
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, even if you don't live on this side of the pond and celebrate like we do.

I hope we're all carving that turkey with a very sharp knife!
General Tormek Questions / Bargains
July 07, 2013, 07:09:29 PM
Here are some pocket knives I bought the other day in Jean's Antiques just outside of Wimberley in the Texas Hill Country.  It's a little tourist town with lots of shops, but this one is far from the town center and the prices are much better.

One of the store's crannies had a display case full of knives.  Mostly pocket knives.  Some were both sharp and new, and those were the expensive ones.  Some were used and very much in need of sharpening.  They had the lowest prices so I picked up a couple.  The one in the upper left hand corner has a "ASPEN" logo in its plastic handle and the words "STAINLESS STEEL JAPAN" engraved in the bolster.  It looked like maybe the very tip had been broken off at some point in its life.  It has one blade.

The knife in the upper right hand corner has two blades.  There's a small metal oval inset into the handle but whatever logo was on there has completely worn off.  The bolster of the larger blade has "JAPAN" engraved on one side and an interesting logo on the other.  It's a triangle with the letters "X" and "L" engraved in its lower two corners, and some kind of sunburst looking thing in the upper corner.  Engraved below the base of the triangle is the word "CUTLERY".

The other four knives shown in the bottom of the picture were bundled and bargain priced so I picked those up, too.


The three in the bottom right hand corner seem to be new.  You can still see the grind marks on the bevels, but they were never properly ground to a sharp edge.  Maybe they are some kind of rejects or factory seconds.  Or maybe primary retailers were unable to sell them because they weren't sharp so they were unloaded at wholesale prices.  They have no markings on them other than the "MADE IN PAKISTAN" labels stamped on the blades.

The knife centered on the left side has the words "FROST CUTLERY" and "STAINLESS STEEL" engraved on the bolster, along with a logo that looks like an eagle with its wings poised for a landing.  It also has a belt clip.
General Tormek Questions / Utility Knife Blades
April 08, 2013, 04:07:47 AM
I've never had any luck sharpening utility knife blades.  I looked at a new one under the 40X microscope and it has a micro bevel on it that's maybe 0.1 mm wide and has a more refined scratch pattern.  Once you know it's there you can see it as a shiny strip along the cutting edge using magnifying glass or even with the naked eye.
General Tormek Questions / 40X Magnification
April 04, 2013, 08:17:20 PM
Dissecting microscopes have a magnification that typically varies from 10X to 40X.  Recently I was examining some small pocket knife blades that I had sharpened at 40X magnification.

What an eye opener!

This is going to have an affect on my sharpening skills, I just know it, because I'm seeing mistakes that I thought I wasn't making.  I thought that I was maintaining the same bevel angle all the way to the tip.  I thought I was grinding the bevel all the way to the edge.  Not in all cases.  And tiny nicks in the edge that I was missing with a magnifying glass are easy to find.  Once I locate them and know where they are, I can then find them with the magnifying glass and can feel them as I slide the end of my thumbnail along the knife edge.

It's been discussed here that with certain steels it's hard, or maybe impossible, to see or feel the burr develop.  If I can't do that I don't know if I've ground the bevel all the way to the edge.  I'm going to see if I can train myself to see or feel the absence of burrs by verifying with the scope that they aren't there.

Supposedly with good light, shining down from above and behind, the burr is visible to the naked eye if the blade is held at the right angle.  I'll see if I can teach myself to find it.

And by the way, even when I do get the bevel right, I still see parallel scratches presumably left behind by the 1000 grit wheel, but not removed by the honing wheel.  I'll have to see if I can work on that, too.

It'll be interesting to look through this scope at some new knives and some new razor blades.  I don't have either available right now, but I will look at some new utility knife blades, they should be the same as the old single edge razor blades like the type you might put in a scraper.
General Tormek Questions / Table Saw Woes
March 25, 2013, 02:59:15 AM
Last night I was making another pair of the HK-50 jigs from that same piece of oak that I used the day before to make a pair.  I wanted to do it while I still had the table saw out as my shop does double duty as a garage and when both cars are in there the table saw is rolled off to the side, covered up, and used as a platform for my Tormek.  (I found a way to keep this post on topic!)  :)

Link to table saw literature:

I made a cut, then when I went to switch it on to make another cut there was nothing.  I checked that it was still plugged in to a powered source.  So, I flipped it over and checked the switches.  Both were good.  I hooked it back up and it worked.  So. I flipped it back upright.  Then it didn't work, then it did.  One time I had to give it a spin to get it started.  I noticed a lot of sparks flying out of the motor towards the blade.  So I took the blade off, blew compressed air into the motor housing, put a blade back in it and was able to finish up my work.  This morning I made the final cross cuts that turn the single piece into two jigs and finished them up.

I flipped the table saw over again, but this time onto a pair of saw horses so I wouldn't have to work on the floor.  I took the base off, and removed the motor.  I took the fan pulley housing off and removed the brushes.  I blew compressed air into the motor from both sides and also through the two holes where the brushes go.  Put the brushes back in and bench tested the motor.  No more sparks.  Blew some more compressed air into it while it was running.

Link to motor literature:

I wanted to replace the brushes so I went searching in vain for them at Lowe's, Home Depot, and Sears Hardware.  I looked at photographs of the replacement brushes on the web and they don't look much longer than the ones I have. 

Link to brushes:

So, I used this opportunity to clean and lubricate all the linkages that adjust the blade height and miter angle, put it all back together and I think I'm good to go. 

Could it be the sparking was due to an accumulation of dust inside the motor?  Back in the day when I was a carpenter and doing trim work (2nd fix) the boss regularly cleaned his table saw motors by blowing compressed air into them while they were spinning.  It's not safe to do that to this saw unless you've got the saw upside down, so I never did it.  I did blow the dust out on occasion, but not while the motor's running. and not in recent memory.

I've been working on this jig for a couple of weeks now.  The original thread is here:

I'm starting a new thread in honor of the new name I've come up with for this jig.

I'm calling it the Homemade Knife Rest (HK-50).

This is a platform for supporting knife blades.  It sits atop, and is attached to, the base of the Tormek Scissors Jig (SVX-150).  The end of the platform nearly touches the grindstone so that the edges of knife blades of all sizes, from small pen knives to large machetes, can be ground.