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Messages - Ken S

General Tormek Questions / different paths
March 01, 2023, 07:13:21 PM
Over the years, I have observed our members following different paths. I would like to share some observations on three of these paths. I do not think any of these paths is mutually exclusive. Also, I do not wish to imply that any of these paths is superior to the others.

One path is what I call the traditional Tormek technique. This is the path honed by Tormek for half a century drawing heavily on generations of orthodox sharpening. This method is designed to produce superior sharpening results for most tools using standard Tormek equipment. Most of us can use this method to quickly obtain good edges. With the handbook and the online classes, this path requires the least study outside of Tormek

The second and third paths are for those who enjoy exploring and solving special problems. One of these paths focuses on computer mathematics to develop  organized, precise ways to set bevels. This path requires that someone have a solid knowledge of computer mathematics. Fortunately, several members have generously shared their expertise, allowing "us mere mortals" to tag along with their expertise.

The other path involves designing, making, or purchasing custom jigs and accessories. Part of the skill set with this path is either having machinist skills or establishing a good relationship with a local machinist.(I recommend
most of us find a good local machinist.) While this path may require more expense, the results can be satisfying.

Most of us use a combination of these paths. The Tormek is a very versatile machine.


I don't know.I would suggest you talk with a couple machine shops and get estimates. You can always go with the plastic pipe option.

No. The Norton wheels have a one inch bore and are supplied with one onch to 3/4" and 5/8" reducing bushings. The wheels are also one inch wide, meaning that they also require additional spacers to fit snugly on the Tormek shaft.

This can be accomplished in two ways. Rick, with machinist skills and tools, turned an adaptor himself. This is the preferred method. Any local machine shop can make up an adaptor for you. Just show them your Tormek and the wheel you want to mount.
My "Plan B" was to drill out a short piece of 5/8" Outside Diameter (OD) plastic water pipe to 12mm with my home shop drill press. Lacking a 12mm drill bit, I actually used a 31/64" bit and reamed out the hole a bit. In hindsight, I should have purchased a 12mm bit. 12mm fender washers provided an inexpensive fix to fill in the gap. My homemade method is adequately accurate for initial grinding, although it probably wouldn't pass muster with Rick.

The 3X wheels are not a perfect solution. The best solution is a Tormek DC-250 coarse diamond wheel. For occasional use, a very inexpensive 3X wheel may prove adequate.

Knife Sharpening / Re: Greetings: Past Tormek Junkie
February 27, 2023, 02:16:06 AM
Welcome back, fellow Tormek Junkie, Daniel.

We try to keep the forum both informative and friendly. I look forward to reading about your experience and ideas.

Knife Sharpening / Re: Blackstone Wheel
February 26, 2023, 03:05:14 PM
Good sleuthing.

I usually fill my water trough until the water starts flowing over the wheel. I leave my Tormek running, adding just enough more water until the absorption has stopped and the water is just running over the top of the wheel again. This only takes a moment or two. I would think this would also be adequate with the King Deluxe wheels, also.


Hand carving gouges are generally made of carbon steel and have a small area to be sharpened. They are well within the comfort zone of the SG wheel.

I remember the debate about hollow grinding from back in the 1970s. Back then, the typical grinder had six inch wheels. The hollow grind was considered a desirable labor saver as only the tip and back of the bevel needed to be ground. I did a test comparing the "hollow grind" with my T4 and T7 with bench chisels. In theory, the T4 chisel has more hollow. With my naked (admittedly older) eye, I could not tell the difference, nor could I detect noticeable hollow with a straightedge. Some members may have keener eyesight.

You won't go wrong with the larger 250 wheels. In my opinion, you also won't go wrong with the 200 wheels either.

While you are saving, keep your eye out for a good used T4 or T7. Either of these models gets you a Tormek with a stainless steel shaft, plus all T4s have EZYlock and the machined zinc top. The later T7s have EZYlock. With any of the T7s, you won't need to replace a rusted shaft.

As for jigs, if you sharpen knives, chisels, and plane blades, all you  need is a regular knife jig (KJ-45 or SVM-45) and a square edge jig (SE-77 or SE-76).

You will need a TT-50 truing tool and a stone grader.

Time spent studying the Tormek online classes will be well invested.

Keep us posted.

Knife Sharpening / Re: Blackstone Wheel
February 26, 2023, 02:38:24 AM

Your observation that the Sun Tiger is probably aluminum oxide is very astute. I agree. I wish you could have been with me during the weekend woodworking show when Stig Reitan was demonstrating for Tormek. Stig is a master with the Tormek. He has always sung the praises of the SG and the stone grader. He does not have glazed stone grader problems. Using the traditional Tormek technique, SG graded coarse, SG graded fine, and leather honing wheel with PA-70 honing compound, Stig consistently gets very sharp edges.

I remember when Vadim started using the Sun Tiger wheel. I believe he may have been influenced by Ionut, one of our most innovative former members. Being also influenced, I also purchased one. I used it for a while, but decided that I preferred my SG.

I think the stone grader is a good tool with the SG. I am less convinced with the SB. One of Vadim's last videos shared his thoughts about the composite honing wheel. He liked the combination of the SB graded coarse with the TT-50 and the composite honing wheel. I think that combination would give you faster cutting.

Keep us posted.


Here is a link to of my favorite Vadim videos which fits into this conversation.

Knife Sharpening / Re: Blackstone Wheel
February 25, 2023, 11:02:52 PM
"I will likely get one and use it extensively.  I am torn between this and the Sun Tiger 800 at the moment which will be the next purchase as I cannot get both currently.  You have given me quite a bit of good info here to justify giving it a try."

What do we know about the Sun Tiger 800? 800 grit. The SG is made of aluminum oxide; the SB is made of silicon carbide, designed to cut harder alloys and cut more quickly. I did a quick Internet search on the Sun Tiger, and could not find the material. You should know the material of a grinding wheel as well as the grit.

I am not saying anything negative about the Sun Tiger wheel, only suggesting that you might want to learn more before investing that much.

Welcome to the forum, JC.

Your grinding wheel should be fine. Unlike diamond wheels, the aluminum oxide abrasive grit material runs all through the SG (SuperGrind) wheels. These wheels are designed to be gradually worn down with normal use, exposing fresh sharp cutting grains. In fact, it is good practice to use the coarse side of the stone grader to put a small radius on both corners of the wheel. (Be sure to watch Tormek's online classes on their youtube channel. This radiusing is demonstrated in several of the videos. The videos also show proper use of the truing tool and stone grader. Both are essential parts of Tormek sharpening.) You should have many years of remaining good service left in your grinding wheel.

A commonly asked question is will today's jigs and accessories work with older Tormeks? The answer is yes. They are fully compatible with your 2004 SuperGrind. Incidentally, "SuperGrind" is Tormek's marketing term for the manmade aluminum oxide grinding wheel. The SG replaced the original natural sandstone grinding wheels used originally. The SG wheels are faster cutting.

You will soon gain some experience using your Tormek. The more you use it, the more versatile it will become. As you will see on the online class you tubes, the SG is the favorite grinding wheel of the Tormek instructors.

Please keep us posted and do not be shy about asking questions. That's how we all learn!

Knife Sharpening / Re: Blackstone Wheel
February 23, 2023, 05:54:49 AM
We are thinking along the same lines. Borrowing the idea from Wootz, I purchased a set of three DMT diamond file cards, one each of three different grits. At the time, I recall the set costing around $25 USD, not much more than Wootz' "cheapest available" and DMT quality. I purchased a piece of aluminum 2' x 2" x 1/16" and cut it into three equal 8" lengths. I epoxied one of the diamond cards to each length. This arrangement was considerably less expensive than using a plane blade and was easier to clamp. These will eventually wear out. I consider them medium term consumibles.

Through personal communication with Tormek, I have become aware that Tormek technique has evolved since the handbook was written. These advances have largely remained in Sweden. Tormek is not intentionally secretive; they just lacked an efficient way to share this information en masse. Culturally, videos have become the preferred method of learning. Covid forced Tormek to cancel attending shows and start the online video classes. They have been invaluable learning tools. Using the edges of the stone grader is an example of the subtle improvements shown in the online classes. I hope we can combine perhaps a dozen of these simple improvements into our daily work habits. I believe these simple changes would substantially diminish many of our difficulties.

As a retiree, my schedule generally permits me to participate in the live classes. I try to carefully prepare topic appropriate questions. Wolfgang, Sebastien, and the other presenters have been quite good about answering these questions. Included have been the T4 "thirty minute" myth; using water with the T1 composite honing wheel; and the effect of varying the amount of swing with the SVD-186R. They have even included questions I previously emailed to them. They have really done a fine job of interacting.

I encourage our members to do the same thing. If, quite understandably, work schedules conflict with participating in the live presentation, email support ( and ask support to forward your questions to Sebastien or Wolfgang. Tormek makes these classes to benefit us Tormek users. Let's maximize their benefits.

Knife Sharpening / Re: Blackstone Wheel
February 22, 2023, 12:37:08 PM
I have always felt that the SB-250 has been the overlooked other child of the Tormek grinding wheels. The SB was introduced around 2009 at the the same time as the 4000 grit SJ Japanese wheel. The two shared only one paragraph in the handbook and had very limited product video coverage. Of the two, the SJ has always been the glamour choice. Beginners who had hardly mastered the SG clamored to purchase the SJ, even though it was the most expensive accessory in the Tormek lineup.

The SJ has been touted in the online classes as the wheel to give knives "that extra love" of a high polish finish. There is nothing wrong with this; however, while the extra love polishing stone grabbed the best of show headlines, the workhorse SB was overlooked.

As seen in forum posts years ago, the SB had problems with glazing. I'm not sure how much of this was due to design problems and how much was due to poor technique (using too much grinding pressure). Several posts mentioned poor performance in sharpening thickness planer blades, admittedly among the more challenging tools to sharpen. I believe many users, including me, put the SB back in the box on the shelf.

The SB has had a few notable advocates, perhaps the most notable being knife expert Steve Bottorff. Steve, who has worn out many grinding wheels over the years, switched to the SB because it lasted longer.

The SJ remains the extra love glamour wheel. The new glamour choices in the workhorse category seem to be the diamond wheels, with the SB being overlooked. Even hss woodturning tool sharpening and reshaping, a logical choice for the SB, has been overshadowed by the diamond wheels.

I was encouraged to see the late Wootz mention the SB very favorably in one of his last videos. He paired the SB with the new composite polishing wheel. I believe this combination has a lot of potential. I also like Wootz' idea of dressing the SB with a diamond stone. The coarse side of my stone grader became glazed by the SB. As I said, I believe the problem may actually be in the technique rather than the product. I would like to see the SB finally receive more extensive coverage in the videos and more than half a paragraph in the handbook.

Here is a link for the Norton 3X grinding wheels.

The 3X wheels have both pros and cons. They cut fast. They work wet or dry. (I use them wet with my Tormek. I also have a six inch 46 grit wheel in my dry grinder.) As you can see in the link, they are inexpensive. On the con side, eight inches is the largest diameter. In reality, these eight inch wheels work with the T8 as well as any wheel worn to eight inches (200 mm). Norton supplies a set of reducing bushings from one inch down to 5/8". I cobbled a piece of 5/8" OD plastic pipe and drilled the ID from 7/16" to 12mm or an enlarged 31/64". While not toolmaker accuracy, it is within tolerance for initial rough sharpening.

The 3X wheels are not a perfect choice; they are very workable choices at low cost. They need a finishing wheel like the SG-250 to do the whole job. They will do "the heavy lifting". You don't need both grits. I started with the 80 grit.

Tormek T-1 and T-2 / Re: Why no Water for T2?
February 21, 2023, 04:36:49 AM
Using your T2 to quickly sharpen your neighbors' knives sounds like an ideal application for it! Leave the jig set to your standard angle setting (or use the black marker), with no need for water, the setup is fast! I even trimmed a bolster with mine. The T2 is very versatile.
Keep us posted.
Tormek T-1 and T-2 / Re: Why no Water for T2?
February 20, 2023, 11:19:01 PM
Good question, Stovepipe.

A couple thoughts:
The T2 does not actually rotate at a much slower speed. The motor and power train is the same as the T4. The listed motor speed for both is 120 rpm, as opposed to 100 rpm with the T8. Surface Feet per Minute is Circumference times RPM. The larger circumference of the T8 wheel increases the SFM; however, the difference is not very significant.

The T2 is the latest incarnation of Tormek's specialized machines for the food industry. The earlier version did use water. It was in the era when the only Tormek grinding wheel was the SG-250. That is a wet grinding wheel only. The T2 is specifically designed to be used by restaurant staff with little sharpening training and without water or honing compound. It is designed to use Tormek's diamond wheels. These are designed to be used either dry or wet with ACC solution. They are also designed with light grinding pressure. These facts, plus my faith in Tormek, convince me that overheating is not a problem.
I have never noticed any overheating with my T2.