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Messages - Ken S

General Tormek Questions / Re: Stone Grader SP-650
January 22, 2011, 01:42:01 PM

You must be a faster sharpener than I am.  Polishing a chisel bevel to a mirror finish with Arkansas stones took me six weeks.  (Just kidding, but it was a very slow and painful, to my hands, process.)  The most annoying part was that after all that work, I had produced a skew chisel.

I believe the problem is operator error/inexperience.  I have since embraced microbevels and water stones.  Of the two I would say the microbevel is the more important factor. 

The main improvement I have found is the Tormek.

You might want to look into microbevels. Leonard Lee and Ron Hock cover them well in their books, as do the Lie-nielsen youtube series.

General Tormek Questions / Re: Stone Grader SP-650
January 22, 2011, 02:56:03 AM

The story of your grandfather is remarkable.  We can learn so much from that generation.  Like Dan, I believe you and I honor our grandfathers by following them in woodworking.  I believe we are links in a chain, benefitting from those before us and, hopefully, helping those after us.

The imp in me would like to place a useless, but intriguing, gadget in my tool box to puzzle my heirs.  They might even find a use for it!

This is a fascinating group post.  I hope more like it will follow.

Good luck building your shop; you have certainly paid your dues.

General Tormek Questions / Re: Stone Grader SP-650
January 21, 2011, 12:35:24 PM
Nice post, Dan.  I too, am fortunate enough to have some of my grandfathers' tools.  They are treasures.  Our grandfathers lived in an era when Stanley, Preston, and Record made quality products.  With our present day technology, makers such as Lie-Nielsen and Lee Valley have surpassed the older toolmakers, albeit at a much higher price!  That does not mean that our classic tools are not capable of fine work in skilled hands. 

I hope you (and others) will continue to post.  There is much to be learned from our combined experiences.
The woodworking portion of this forum could certainly use a dose of new life.

General Tormek Questions / Re: Stone Grader SP-650
January 20, 2011, 09:43:31 PM
It seems there are probably two groups on this forum: Older guys (like me) who have acquired their tools over the years and younger members who are actively acquiring tools.

Tools tend to be around for a long time, both good and not so good ones.  I think there is value in pursuing multiple blades for a plane.  However, before invested much in blades, I would make sure I had a first-rate plane for them.  I think Ionut is right on recommending low angle planes.  My first choice would be a Lie-Nielsen low Angle Jack Plane.  The plane comes with a low angle blade. A toothed blade is available, as is a scraper blade.  Lie-Nielsen will supply A2 blades in any bevel angle requested.  This plane is an outstanding tool, and can be made to function as several planes.

A large diamond stone would be very nice to flatten planes and chisels.  If one intends to flatten many tools, it would seem a good investment.  For a Stanley block plane, wet or dry sandpaper glued onto a piece of glass will do a very fine job for very little cost.  The cost of a large diamond stone and a replacement A2 blade would go a long way toward the cost of a Lie-Nielsen or Lee Valley plane.

I presently own one Lee Valley plane (the small plough) and one lie-Nielsen chisel.  The quality and engineering is outstanding in both.  If I had to replace my old tools I would go for this quality, even though it would mean a longer acquisition time.

General Tormek Questions / Re: Stone Grader SP-650
January 18, 2011, 09:34:24 PM

Your points are well taken. 

General Tormek Questions / Re: Stone Grader SP-650
January 18, 2011, 12:54:25 PM

I would not replace blades on a plane until you have skillfully tuned the plane and sharpened the existing blade to razor sharpness.  Concurrently, you should acquire the skill to use the plane well.  At this point, you may well decide to replace the blade, upgrade the plane, or start making things.

I have watched Ernie Conover do some amazing work with an old Stanley smoothing plane he had just tuned. 

General Tormek Questions / Re: Stone Grader SP-650
January 18, 2011, 02:16:58 AM
My most used chisels are a set of Stanley 60s, now almost forty years old.  If Japanese chisels are "the Ferraris of chisels", mine would probably be the Chevy pickup models.  They have served me well, and continue to do so.  I have used them for a few dovetails, mortise and tenons, fine paring, and a lot of not so genteel work.  I don't think they would benefit much from anything beyond the Tormek honing wheel.  Leonard Lee states in his sharpening DVD that most woodworkers really don't have the skill to benefit from finer honing that 4000.  I would agree with him.

I can also see the value in trying to push back the skill frontier be more painstaking sharpening for tools used in fine work.  I would not discourage anyone from the pursuit of excellence.  The Tormek can certainly handle the hard work of sharpening.  Whether or not one chooses to use other honing techniques, the Tormek is a trooper for grinding.

Wood Carving / Re: Pfeil #9/50
January 17, 2011, 10:51:07 AM

Two thoughts:

Would your gouge possibly fit in the multi jig if the handle was pushed through instead of going front first?

The second thought is to make a pocket similar to the Oneway jig for roughing chisels.  King Heiple has described a good homemade version. 

General Tormek Questions / Re: Stone Grader SP-650
January 16, 2011, 11:12:23 PM
Steve, Tormek does not sell 8000 grit wheels.  The Norton 8000 waterstone sells for about a third more than the 4000 grit stone.  Would you pay close to $400 for an 8000 grit wheel for your Tormek?  I doubt there would be sufficient market for Tormek to develop and market such a stone.

General Tormek Questions / Re: Stone Grader SP-650
January 15, 2011, 12:40:28 PM
My 220 grit stone is one of the main reasons I bought my Tormek. I had to flatten the backs of a set of chisels and foolishly started with and 1000 grit stone.  The 220 stone remains like new; the 1000 stone is about a quarter inch thinner; and my hands and wrists were sore for about a week.

I now use the flat side of the Tormek wheel to get the backs flat and most of the way ready. (I use a pneumatic foot switch to help keep the chisel flat against the stone.) It isn't any faster than the 1000 stone, but is much easier on my hands.  Then, like Ionut, I switch to the 1000, 4000 and 8000 grit stones for the final polish. The Tormek does the hard work.

General Tormek Questions / Re: Clean-up
January 15, 2011, 12:26:31 PM
My shop is an unheated Ohio garage which shares space with the family car.  I keep the Tormek on a shelf, so the water is always drained and the trough removed and cleaned before putting it away.  I add the water and sludge to my stone driveway.  The driveway has a variable grit of about 8, but the finer slurry has not been a problem.

Like the cliche about the Chicago voter, I tend to clean and change the water "early and often".

Wood Carving / Re: Tormek jigs
January 15, 2011, 12:14:11 PM
Ignatius,  does your Kalamazoo belt grinder have its own motor, or will you be using the sewing machine motor?  The real question is, is the motor you want to use compatible with variable speed?  if so, no problem.

If not, you might switch the pulleys to slow the speed.  That's what I did with my old Dayton belt grinder.  It came with a 3" drive pulley and an 1 1/2" driven pulley.  I switched both to 2 1/2" which slowed the belt speed to about a third.  It is slower to use, but more controllable.

Your belt grinder rig would be more apt to overheat your chisels if not used carefully.  However, changing grits would be very fast.

Steve Bottorff ( shows a belt grinder modified to slow speed with a DC motor.  The rig is designed to sharpen celery cutting knives in the field.


Wood Carving / Re: Pfeil #9/50
January 15, 2011, 11:55:08 AM
Hi, Howard.  Welcome to the forum.

You seem to have hit the flat spot on the forum wheel.  Your two questions represent almost a fifth of the thirteen on woodcarving.  You may single handedly make this a banner year for woodcarving on this forum.

My carving chisels are quite sharp.  They were last sharpened by my grandfather during the Truman administration, so I claim no expertise.  A google search on pfeil 9/50 confirmed my thought that this was a number 9 sweep 50mm width gouge.  The Amazon photo shows it as an out cannel gouge.  Is this correct?
If so, I would think it could be sharpened like a roughing gouge using the multi jig. My thought would be to use the Tormek stone graded fine and use light pressure.  If it just needs to be "refreshed", you might even just use the leather honing wheel.

Keep us posted.


ps Leonard Lee shows some interesting small gouge honing techniques with wood and green honing compound in his excellent sharpening book.  His book and DVD should be part of a sharpener's library.

General Tormek Questions / Re: Clean-up
January 13, 2011, 09:31:55 AM
Whether it works or not, (it should work), the idea of using slurry as a lapping agent is clever.  Good thinking, Ionut.

One of my photography instructors had a favorite saying (from a Chinese fortune cookie); "When you are in a hurry, dress slowly".

We have probably all heard the story of the high school wood shop teacher who made his students endure countless hours handplaning a board until it was perfectly square and parallel.  It is tempting upon opening a new Tormek to gather all the chisels, plane blades, etc. for a long awaited sharpening.

The idea of spending much of an initial sharpening session concentrating on one blade painstakingly checking it with a Starrett square probably doesn't sound very exciting.

Shawn, I think you are wise to want to get your block plane blade dead on.  By the way, how did it go?