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Topics - grepper

My apologies. 

I had used and recommended to members of this forum to use Photobucket for third party hosting of images in forum posts.  Photobucket used to be free.  Now Photobucket has changed their policies and are demanding payment.  If you don't pay, all previously linked to images in forum posts are blocked.

I have many posts in this forum that are now ruined.

Photobucket's excuse?  From their website:

"Moving forward, new and legacy free account users will NOT have third party hosting available."

Additionally, it appears that even if you were a paying member but let your account lapse and don't continue paying indefinitely, your linked to images will be blocked:

"If you were a Plus Account subscriber in good standing as of June 1, 2017,
you will continue to have all the privileges you have enjoyed including 3rd
Party Hosting until December 31, 2018 as long as you maintain your

Here is an example of what Photobucket has done.  I remember making that post and it took a considerable amount of time and effort.  Now ruined by Photobucket.  I posted this more than two years ago.  Now Photobucket is demanding a ransom payment???  Ironically it is a post I made attempting to assist fellow members on how to post images:

And check this out:

>:( :o
General Tormek Questions / Good find!
June 01, 2017, 06:41:26 AM
I recently ran out of knives for testing and started having to use my regular knives.  So I went to my local thrift store and picked up a bunch of knives for a total of $6.83.

That little paring knife is currently available for $39.95:

It's in excellent condition, it was just dull. Obviously it is no longer dull and is reborn and back into use in my kitchen.  :)

Gotta love thrift stores!
Knife Sharpening / Sharpness testing
February 03, 2017, 09:01:26 PM
I was a bit reticent to post this as it has been discussed here before, and at this point I'm more than fashionably late in joining the party, but the Cliff Stamp stuff got me interested enough in edge retention that I needed some way to measure edge sharpness.  So, finally, I ponied up and bought an Edge On Up sharpness tester.  I had delayed because at my age I'm trying to shed rather than collect stuff, and I thought I'd test a few edges, get a feeling for what it meant, and it would become yet another closet dust collector.

I had suffered the same misgivings about getting a microscope, but now I use it all the time.  I am finding the same to be true of the sharpness tester.  In just a few short days, it has joined the microscope as simply part of my regular sharpening routine.

One aspect I hadn't really appreciated was how informative the thing is in experimenting with what does and does not work in various sharpening procedures.  Things like how more or less pressure when honing affects the sharpness.  Did additional honing increase or decrease sharpness?  And this can vary from blade to blade, with different edge angles, steel types and amount of burr present.

I'm finding its accuracy and repeatability good enough to provide real, useful information, especially in conjunction with a microscope.  A sharpness tester does not provide visual edge assessment, and a microscope does not test sharpness, but together they provide a pretty broad picture of what is happening down there at the cutting edge that isn't readily apparent without instrumentation.   Cool tools.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting enough that, even though I'm late to the party, I'd chime in too.   :)
Interesting study on how the fine and coarse grit finishes of an edge relates to edge retention.  I was surprised by the results.

I think it may be particularly applicable to general use and kitchen knifes where probably more slicing is done than straight push cutting.  When sharpening knives for someone else, it might be a good idea to ask exactly how the knife is going to be used.  Without that information, for a general use knife, maybe shoot for much less than 1000 grit.

I generally do kitchen knives to about 600 grit, but just for grins it might be interesting to half that and see how the longer term results pan out.

Interesting stuff:,37143,37143#msg-37143

USB microscopes are fun to play with, but I have found the images they produce can be so crappy as to barely be useful or informative.  I was curious as to why, especially considering the pretty good image quality produced by the current crop of even inexpensive digicams.

One of the limitations of the scopes is that they are point and shoot, with no manual control of exposure time, f-stop or shutter speed.  That said, the one I have does have circuitry that attempts to maintain reasonable exposure by adjusting for the amount of light entering the thing.  For instance, when a bright light is directed at it the display will white out, and then over a period of several long seconds the sluggish electronics will back off the exposure.  Of course, like any programmed exposure mode in a camera, this can be useful at times and frustrating at others.

Another problem is the very nature of the subject itself, in this case a shiny steel blade.  A steel blade, especially the bevel which is the area of interest, is highly reflective and even with diffused lighting it's easy to have overexposed, blown out spots in the image.

Additionally, apparently steel is not only reflective but also refractive.   Depending on the direction of the lighting, this causes a rainbow effect that produces a very deceptive image.  Tiny scratches are greatly exaggerated, there appear great chasms where none exist, and smooth edges can appear very toothy.  The resulting image can be oddly aesthetically pleasing, but not informative or useful for bevel/edge evaluation.

Anyone with an interest in photography knows the importance of lighting and how it can make or break and image.  Ends up, it is extremely important here.  Due to the point and shoot nature of the scope, the only control the user has toward the resulting image is the manipulation of lighting and the subject background in an attempt to regulate the exposure, shadows and contrast of the image.

I struggled for a long time without success attempting to get acceptable imagery out of the microscope.  The scope has an internal ring of adjustable brightness LED lamps surrounding the lens.  I found them to be a horrible illumination source for close proximity blade photography and it was only after turning them off and using external, directional lighting that I was able to produce useful images.

Anyway, to illustrate the point, I stuck a knife under the scope and took the following images.  The images are crops of about the same area of the blade, without moving the blade under the scope.  The blade is extremely sharp, with a super smooth edge and a highly polished bevel.  It's the same blade that I used in this post and has not been altered since:

The only difference in the following images is the direction, intensity and amount of diffusion of the light source, and the color and reflectivity of the background.  I have found that with a little bit of playing around it is possible to greatly improve the image quality, and actually produce useful imagery from a cheesy little USB microscope.

Some of the best SEM microscopy of a blade I've seen.  Pretty much tells the story of what's going on.  All it takes is 5K X – 10K X magnification.  If you guys send me enough donations, I'll buy one and be more than happy to post pics.  :)

Part 3 is quite entertaining and shows how sensitive human skin is. "Shaving with a razor with such a foil edge burr generally results in extreme levels of skin irritation."

Edge-leading and edge-trailing honing:

What is a burr?:

Role of the strop material:
This is not Tormek related and I wrote it to post on a machinist forum, but it's a sort of a nifty little trick you might find useful sometime.

I am machining a new handle for the compound slide on my lathe.  I hate the tiny little handle that comes with it.  Every time I turn it another layer of knuckle epidermis is removed, and the handle part is fixed to the cross piece that bolts onto the screw.  So I'm making a new, longer one with thrust washers in the handle for smooth and knuckle bashing free operation.

I need to drill two holes in the cross bar, (1) for the bolt for the handle, and (2) for the hole for the bolt to attach it to the screw.  I don't have a X/Y table for my drill press, so I need to draw a line straight down the side of the cross bar so the holes are perfectly aligned. 

Seems simple, but it proved more difficult that I thought.  How to hold a ruler against the surface and know it goes perfectly from center to center down the length of a bar?  If it's off just a little...  I know, I could put a protractor on each end... But one end is rounded, making that method difficult.  I could try to carefully measure it – problematic.

It's night here, and I was sitting on the couch next to my wife while she watched some used episode of Criminal Minds.  The living room was mostly dark, save for a light on a table at the end of the couch.  So I was sitting there holding the part pictured here, scratching my head and puzzling over how I could accurately draw the line, when I noticed something. 

Did you see it too?

So, I shined a flashlight down the length from one end.  Bet you see it now.

The orientation of the light does not matter.  As the light is moved, it just moves the reflection around the circumference of the bar. Of course the reflection is still perfectly straight down the length of the bar.

Anyway, it's a super quick way to get a perfectly straight line down the side of reflective bar stock.  I thought it was cool.
Not Tormek, but it's a little quiet around here and maybe somebody will find this useful and save some time.

The compound slide on my metal lathe has about ~.002 vertical slop in a v-way and ~.004 runout in the screw that I've been meaning to deal with.  The way to fix this is with very fine shims. 

Ever try to find a small amount of shim stock?  A lot of searching around results in web sites with pictures of satellites and giant jet engines with the only option being to "Contact our engineering staff for a quote", or minimum orders of 5,000 washers or 10' of stock for $268.00, or some Chinese manufacturer on Alibaba saying they can supply you with 500,000 units per week.  That kind of stuff.  Or even sites that require that you buy 70 shims of the same size for $35.00.  For me, even that would be a lifetime + supply and what if you want several different sizes?

I found it oddly difficult to find various types of shims in small quantities.

<End rant>

Then it dawned on me:  Suffix searches with "hobby".  Like: ".001 shim hobby".  It ends up the word "hobby" is the magical search word for finding small quantities of all kinds of stuff.

So, if you ever need small quantities shims, check these out:
Hey Stig,

One of the most frequent questions I've seen here over the years is how to properly prepare a new honing wheel.  It is difficult to explain in words and a constant source of uncertainty for your new users.  I would be really useful to have a Tormek factory made video that we could point users to that would finally and authoritatively show and explain the process.

The video should show how much oil to use and how much compound to apply when breaking in a new wheel.  Take users through the process.  Then it should show the exact same thing on a nice, black, broken-in wheel during normal use.

It would also be useful, possibly in a part two video, to show/explain what not to do.  It could show what happens with too much oil and how the wheel becomes rubbery and slippery and does not hold compound.  Then it could show not enough oil and how dusty the compound can be.   It could also demonstrate too little compound, as well as how too much compound just makes a mess and does not cut well.

The video could contain a wealth of educational commentary explaining the effects of how oil works, how the compound works and what it feels like with a properly functioning wheel.  It could be very interesting, informative and helpful.


Scissors Sharpening / Lap line on pinkers
June 17, 2015, 02:42:20 PM
On the top (cutting edge) of pinking shears, there is a dark layer metal called a lap line.  It is written that if this does not exist, has been sharpened away, don't bother to sharpen them because they will never get sharp and cut well.

I thought surely, with careful sharpening, that even with a missing lap line they should cut!  Even minus the lap line, the whole thing is steel right?  Of course it would get sharp and cut.

My wife had an old pair of Wiss pinkers that were dull and didn't cut well at all anymore.  Only portions of the lap line were left as they apparently had been sharpened many times before.  So, I had at them.  When I had established  an even edge with each tooth evenly ground, the lap line was completely gone, just leaving shiny steel with nice sharp edges.

Looking at the results I thought, how could that not work?  It looks very sharp!  I've sharpened other pinkers with great success. 

Guess what.  They cut like crap.  Material just tore and folded between the blades.

More honing.   More sharpening.  More honing and sharpening...  No luck.  No happiness.

I can attest:  If the lap line is missing, don't bother trying to sharpen them.  It won't work.  If the shears are not yours you might get blamed for wrecking them even though you were just trying to get one last sharpening out of them.

Basic paints are just ok, but I've never really been all that impressed.  I'm looking for more of a super hard surface coating, but something other and TiN or Ni plating, etc.  I have an electrolysis tank so Ni plating is doable, but only for small parts and it's a little pricy.  TiN doesn't look possible for home application.

Norell's is easier to apply, but Cerakote wins on toughness and corrosion resistance, while being more fussy about application.  It's also two part so you have to pitch any not used.  Good thing is that that both can oven cured, but there is air cured Moly Resin too.  I'm too impatient to wait for five days for something to cure!  Both require more prep than slopping on some Rust-Oleum, but the results look great and not a thick coating like paint.

I'm going to get both and give them a try. 

Any of you guys have personal experience with the application and/or durability of these products?  Might be just the thing for refurbing an old T4 or customizing your T7.   :).

Torture tests:

General Tormek Questions / Sharpening pinking shears
February 13, 2015, 02:55:37 PM
My wife cleaned out her sewing room and found a box of 10 or so scissors and shears, most in need of sharpening.   Among them a pair of Wiss CC7 vintage pinking shears:

I had previously cut up an old, well-worn flannel shirt into small rags I could use around the shop, and used that material for testing.  The shears were so dull they couldn't cut the old, soft material.  If just folded between the blades and left little holes at the apex of each tooth.

Visually they did not look that bad, so I decided to have a closer look-see. 

I sharpened them first with the grinding wheel pretty coarse, and while I probably didn't need to, again somewhat less than coarse. 

Before sharpening I was surprised to see that even under closer inspection they still did not look all that bad with only minimal rounding of the edges, but were dull to the point of uselessness nonetheless.  After sharpening they cut perfectly smoothly and evenly from the first to the last tooth.  In the "after" picture you can see there is a little bit if burr visible on the edges.

While it's impossible to know exactly using my USB microscope, I suspect this is about 100x magnification:



General Tormek Questions / How to Post an Image
January 20, 2015, 03:05:34 PM
I've noticed folks have difficulty learning how to post images.  Hopefully this will be helpful.

Posting  images is easy.  Simply put the link to the picture between two image place holders (called Bulletin Board Code or BBC)  like this.  This tells the forum software that what is between the two BBC's is an image.  The BBC's are NOT case sensitive.  Note: there is a "/" in the ending BBC:

Note: Pressing the Insert Image button in the post editor will type out the BBC's for you, but you can just type them in yourself.

Here is an example.  BTW, if Tormek changes their web site in the future this particular image will not work, because it is a direct link to an image on the Tormek home page.  But there is still enough information here to get the idea across.

Try it yourself!  Open the forum post editor and type in the above text.  Then press the Preview button.  You will get this:

Note: for this forum, a link to an image is a simple, direct link that begins with "http" and ends with the "image name".  You do not want it to begin with URL or "a href".
Note: It begins with "http" and ends with the "the name of the image".

If you are using PhotBucket, you want to select the Direct link.  Other image hosting sites may have a different name for it, but in PhotoBucket it is Direct link:

Scale your images to 640x640 pixels or LESS before posting.  640x640 is a big image for the forum.  Images straight from a camera may be 3000x2500 or larger, and are HUGE when posted without downsizing.   For instance, this image is 396x275:

I was given an old pair of hedge trimmers to sharpen.  I was a little surprised because I didn't think anyone used giant scissors anymore to trim their bushes, but then I suppose if you just had oh, maybe one small shrub, you could use something like that.

Anyway, the poor things condition was pitiful and heart-wrenching to see.  Not only were they suffering from debilitating rust, but someone had apparently been doing "things" to them, probably late at night down in the basement with the door securely locked behind them so no one would hear the painful screams of the torture they were inflicting.  I suspect this was an attempt at sharpening, but with what?  A chain saw?  A wood rasp?  Oh, the horror. 

I know for some, the following images may be disturbing, so I will understand if you must turn away.

Oh my. 

Is this sharpening?  Those grooves are as deep as they look.

It was obvious that the beleaguered tool badly needed some time to relax and recuperate.  So I threw together a little hot tub for it to soak in for a couple of hours.

Double, double. Toil and trouble.
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Round and round the cauldron goes,
now in the poison entrails go.
Eye of newt, and skin of toad,
deep into the cauldron goes.
Wool of bat, skin of snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake.
Double, double. Toil and trouble.
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Look at the pretty colors!  I think it's really quite beautiful.  It's art!

Two hours later...

Moral to the story:  Got rust?  Not a problem!  Just give 'er a little bath for a couple of hours, and Bob's yur uncle.  If you haven't tried it, when you do, you'll be gobsmacked!
I have some plastic safety glasses that had scratched spots on each lens from setting them down on the bench. The scratched areas were about 1/2" around. Very annoying.

So, I took some of the wonderful Tormek Honing Compound together with a little water and some Windex, and buffed the area.  Scratches gone!  I wouldn't call it optically perfect.  If you shine a light on them at an angle there is still some very minor scratches still there, but not enough to notice when wearing them.

Has anyone tried this on oxidized headlights?  I suspect it would work great.  Mine are glass so I can't try it.  If anyone has cloudy headlights, I'd be interested to know if it works.  Just try it on a small area.

1.  Wet the rag and apply compound.
2.  Spray the rag and area to be polished with soapy water.
3.  Buff.
4.  Rinse well.  Buff a bunch again with a soft buffing cloth.

Then I used it on a plastic knife handle.  Was dull, now nice and shiny.

Great stuff, that wonderful Tormek Honing Compound.
Knife Sharpening / Kitchen knife hardness comparison
November 03, 2013, 02:41:58 AM
A couple of question for everybody: Does anyone have a kitchen kife with SG2 or ZDP-189 (MC66) steel, Rockwell 62 or greater?  Probably Zwilling or Shun.  If so, what do  you think about it?  Does it maintain its edge significantly better?  Do you have a problem with chipping?

I noticed that my kitchen knives dull pretty quickly.  When freshly sharpened they hang on the back of a thumbnail and are very sharp.  But, even after just one session of vegetable chopping, the edge loses its super sharpness, and won't hang on a thumbnail etc.  Still sharp, not just super sharp.

I love to sharpen, but I find this tiresome, so I started looking into the comparative hardness of different brands of kitchen knives.  It quickly became obvious why most of my knives perform similarly.

This research took a surprisingly long time and I find it tedious.  I tried to glean information from the manufacturer's web site as often as possible.  When I could not find the information there, I tried to use as reputable a source as possible such as Sur La Table etc.

Obviously  this is a very incomplete list, but you soon get the idea.  Most knives are Rockwell (HRC) 55-60.  A few are above 60, fewer are 62 and one that I found was 66.  A 6" Zwilling Twin Cermax Utility knife is currently available at Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon, etc., for about $160.  I'm tempted. I love its edge profile and handle shape.  So, hence my questions I asked earlier.

BTW, I struggled to get the following to format correctly.  Frustrating.  I give up.  It's close enough to be useable.


Manufacturer                           HRC          Steel

Bob Kramer - Euro Carbon          61    Carbon 52100
Bob Kramer - Euro Stainless       63     Blade core SG2 powder steel, embedded in 100 layers of steel of two varying grades of hardness.
Zwilling Damascus                       61       160 layers
Twin 1731                                   60      Cronidur 30 - Stainless
Zwilling Cronidur                         60       Cronidur 30 - Stainless
Zwilling Profection                       60        Rust resistant
Zwilling Pro                                 57       High-carbon, rust-resistant stainless steel
Twin Cermax                               66       ZDP-189 (MC66)
Twin Cuisine                               57        High carbon - Stainless
Twin Four Star                            57       High carbon - Stainless
Twin Four Star II                         57       High carbon - Stainless
Twin Select                                 57       High carbon - Stainless
Twin Five Star                             57       High carbon - Stainless
Forged Synergy                          57       Stainless
Classic                                        63       SG2

SG2 knives                                 61-62   SG2 Stainless
VG-10 knives                             60-61   VG-10 Steel knives

Calphalon                                  54-56   High carbon - Stainless

Global                                         56-58     Molybdenum/Vanadium stainless steel

Kasumi                                        60           VG10

MAC                                           58 or 60     Stain resistant

Messermeister Japanese                57-58       Stainless

Mora Cook's Knife 4216PG        58-60            Possibly Sandvik 12C27, Mora uses Snadvik, high carbon or laminated.  All HRC 58-60

Nenox                                       60    Nenox - Rust resistant

Rachel Ray (Furi knives)            56        Stainless

DP                                             60-61    VG-10
Pro Nickel Damascus                    63        VG-10

Wusthof                                    58       X50 Cr MoV 15
Say you started stropping by laying the knife flat on the wheel so the edge was nowhere near the wheel.  What would happen?  The side of the knife would become polished, but of course it would have no effect on the edge at all.

If the blade was slowly rotated towards the edge, the polished part would get closer and closer to the edge. But it still would have no effect on the edge performance as the cutting edge is still untouched.

At some point the angle of the blade on the honing wheel is the same as the angle it was sharpened to and the strop and honing compound touch the edge.  This will further grind the edge and work whatever incredibly thin wire edge still exists on the blade.  Because the honing compound is actually a steel cutting abrasive, it will further sharpen the edge, as well as smooth areas higher on the bevel that were previously ground with a coarser abrasive.

But what happens if the blade is further rotated so that, even on a microscopic scale, the blade starts to scrape perpendicularly to the wheel?  What happens is the extremely thin edge that makes the blade sharp, bends over in the direction of the rotation of the wheel.  Tiny portions of the edge are torn away.  The abrasives in the honing compound form micro scratching on the bent surfaces of the edge, and essentially start to from a new bevel angle.  The edge becomes duller.  Carried further and eventually you get a free butter knife.

It seems to me, the only possible way stropping can negatively impact edge performance, (unless your idea of performance is a "toothy" edge), is if the edge is stropped at a greater angle than the sharpened angle, or if stropping at a coarser grit than the original sharpening, as the dude who wrote the Canadian article documented in amazing detail. 
General Tormek Questions / Abrasives and edges
July 13, 2013, 07:57:20 AM
A jig was used, set at a twenty degree angle in order to insure consistency. The edge images are approximately 200X.

I designed version two of the beautiful knife rest that I built for the Tormek, and stuck it on a belt grinder.  I then sharpened using the following abrasive belts.  In order:

150 grit   aluminum oxide
400 grit 3M Trizact "Gator" aluminum oxide
800 grit silicon carbide
1200 grit (9 micron) 3M Microfinishing Film
Smooth side of leather stropping belt using Tormek honing compound

With each abrasive I attempted to get the blade as sharp as possible.

Here's a picture of version 1 prototype beautiful knife guide and version two stuck on the belt grider:

Version 1 beautiful knife guide:

Version 2 knife guide stuck on a belt grinder:

Here is the knife.  It's an Oneida that I subject to all sorts of torture.  So please no complaining about the edge profile.  :)  Note the blue line. This marks the area we will be viewing in all the following images. 

Here's the edge through the succession of abrasives:

150 grit:  This basically destroyed the edge.  I could not get it sharp.  Touching the belt formed an immediate burr on the opposing side. Further attempts just ground away metal.  If lightly honed at this point, it would basically be a saw:

400 grit:  Getting a little sharper.  Barely hangs on nail.  Saws well through paper.  If lightly honed at this point it would be useable for any type of situation where a very toothy, aggressive edge would be useful.

800 grit:  Getting very sharp.  Still a little toothy.  Chop cuts paper pretty well, but somewhat grabby.  Slices paper nicely.  Honed now would be very generally useful.  Nice edge.

1200 grit:  It's very sharp.  Chop cuts paper, hangs well on nail.  A very useable edge.  Still some tooth, but very sharp.  Accidentally bumping against your hand and you will bleed.  The next step is honing.

Honed using Tormek honing compound:  It is extremely, flesh slicing sharp.  When handling this knife it demands the respect due when handling a scapel.  Chop cuts and melts through paper.  Be careful around fingernails.  It is extremely sharp and rather dangerous. 

This is an interesting edge.  The image doesn't due justice to the mirror finish.  It would be great for a cleaver, or probably woodworking tools, or if you wanted to cut non sinuous flesh. .  While very sharp, it suffers limitations in normal use.   I've used knives like this on overly ripe tomatoes with tough skin, and oddly, even though they are razor sharp, they just ride on the surface and smash the tomato.  You need to first break the surface of the skin and then they melt through the tomato like butter.  For an everyday kitchen knife, I'd knock it back down to 800 or 1200 grit to give it just a little bite.

The next version the knife rest I plan to fabricate completely of metal and use a 180 degree articulating ball camera mount head from a tripod for easy, infinitely adjustable rest positioning.

One interesting thing about the knife rest:  It's easier and faster to just do it freehand, and freehanding achieves just as fine of an edge.  A rest is necessary however, at least for me, if the requirement is to match an existing bevel angle.

Hope everybody finds this as interesting as I did  :)

With mention of the Tormek honing compound.  The results may surprise you.
General Tormek Questions / Paper cutter blade?
July 10, 2013, 03:02:10 AM
I was asked if I could sharpen a paper cutter blade.

Can I?  Anyone ever do it?  Any tips?

The problem I have with the Tormek is how to hold long blade steady.

I have a belt grinder with grits from 80 to 1200.  Maybe that is the way to go.

Thanks for any assistance!