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Messages - MikeK

Unlike others, I use the Tormek only for establishing the primary hollow grind on my chisels and plane irons.  I use water stones for the secondary bevel and final honing.  This is a system that works well for me, and I see no reason to change.  My instructor was David Charlesworth, and he posted a video about using the SE-77 for establishing a camber on plane irons, but in practice, he uses the water stones.  I could never get the SE-77 to establish a repeatable or satisfactory camber, so I don't even try now.  However, I use the SE-77 for all of my primary bevels because the small adjustments allow me to accurately dial in the grind across the iron or chisel.

My process for establishing a camber in a fresh plane iron is to grind a uniform 25-degree primary hollow bevel across the width of the iron.  I use a sharpie to monitor progress and ensure I'm still grinding square to the iron.  I'll stop when about 0.5mm of unground iron remains at the edge.  I use the water stones for this last bit.

To aid in keeping the camber even across the iron, I divide the edge into four sections and put an index mark at each quarter of the iron with the sharpie on the side I'm not grinding.  I also use the Lie-Nielsen honing guide during this process.

I use a freshly flattened King 800-grit water stone to establish the secondary bevel camber at 33 degrees (25mm projection on the LN guide).  I work the outer edges of the iron first, and then move into the inner sections when I'm satisfied with the outer edges.  A 1cm wide strip of 0.5mm thick shim stock along the edge of the water stone helps start the camber.  I'll grind one edge of the iron by keeping the other edge on the shim stock.  The water adhesion between the stone and the shim keeps in in place as I work the other side.  As soon as the sharpie mark is removed at the first index mark, I move the shim stock to the other side of the water stone and grind the other side of the iron.  When I'm done, the ground side of the iron will have two narrow wedges of freshly ground edge, with the widest part at the edge of the iron and the point of the wedge at the first index mark in from each side. 

For a new hollow grind, this process takes between 8 and 20 firm strokes on the 800-grit stone, depending on how firm my firm stroke is.  As the iron requires resharpening, this can take more strokes since the secondary bevel area is increasing with successive sharpenings.  After eight or so sharpening sessions, I go back to the Tormek for a new 25-degree hollow grind.  This takes less time than the initial hollow grind since the hollow is already formed.

I then flatten the water stone again, remove the shim stock and start on the inner portions of the iron.   I use firm pressure on one side of the iron, on the inner indes mark, and take four to eight strokes on the 800-grit stone for each side.  I check the progress of the grind to make sure the sharpie mark disappears uniformly and converges on the center index mark.  When I'm satisfied with the grind, I go to the 10,000-grit stone for the final honing bevel.

I use the nagura that came with the 10,000-grit stone to establish a fine slurry of paste on the stone.  I set the angle to 35 degrees (22mm projection on the LN guide) and make four to eight strokes down the stone.  I apply light pressure on the edge of the iron starting on the left and progressing to the right as I complete one stroke.  It doesn't take much effort for this and the rocking motion side to side is barely noticeable; however, it does make a difference on the iron.  I use a 10X loupe to check my progress and ensure the honing bevel is uniform across the iron.

When I'm satisfied with the final bevel, it's time for the Ruler Trick (only for plane irons...never chisels).  I use a 6-inch steel rule along one edge of the 10,000-grit stone and polish the back of the plane iron to establish a microbevel on the back.  You can search for the Ruler Trick to see the details.

As Ken wrote, my bench planes, with the exception of my LN #51 Shooting Plane, have cambered irons.
I am making a left and right skew chisel with a pair of normal 1/4-inch bevel chisels.  In order to get into those pesky corners on half blind dovetails, I want a skew angle of 10 degrees.  Based on someone else's set that I measured, the 10-degree angle works will with 1:6 and 1:8 dovetails.

I thought the SVS-50 Multi-Jig thinking it would be the easiest way to grind the initial skew angle, but after trying to set it up with the closed seat adapter, I can't get the small width of the chisel secured consistently.  I'm sure it's me and not the SVS-50, but if I can't get it to work, I'll use the SVD-110 Universal Tool Rest and just grind away until I get to a 10-degree skew.  Then I'll work on the hollow grind using the SE-77 as Ken recommended.
Quote from: Ken S on May 14, 2020, 02:45:41 PM
Rick, Good question. Please keep in mind that this reply is strictly my opinion. I have no official knowledge from Tormek.

This pile of videos have not been hiding; they did not exist. The knowledge and experience has developed over the years. It has mostly remained at the factory. Tormek has not kept it secret; they just have not shared it on a large scale basis. Support will gladly share parts of it on an individual basis.

The marketing emphasis of the woodworking/sharpening/knife industry centers around large shows. Unless one happens to live in one of these places, we are off the knowledge grid. Even those fortunate enough to live in an area with an annual show, only have access to this knowledge one weekend a year.

Until the present pandemic, Tormek has generally been content to rely on social media sound bites and a few well done videos featuring the SuperGrind. Present travel restrictions have caused the shows to be cancelled. I think switching to online classes at this time was a very sound management decision. It is long overdue. I hope it will continue.


Are you talking about the most recent nine videos or the entire channel?  I've been a subscriber to the Tormek channel ever since I bought my T8 last year.
Mine didn't come with an insert, but I made one using two 3cm sections of Kaizen foam to fit the drawer of my Tormek cart.  My DBS-22 insert is 38cm wide, 28cm deep, and 6cm high. 
To add to the open discussion, and provide another point of reference, the Festool Owner's Group (FOG) is provided by Festool in what appears to be the same manner as the Tormek forum.  The FOG membership is free, there are no advertisements, and the only tracker is Google Analytics.  The FOG administrators are Festool employees and the Moderators are volunteers.  In addition to a wide variety of discussion areas, there is a "Classified" forum for members to sell or solicit Festool products, as well as a Dealers forum for authorized dealers to post.

If I was in the market to buy a used Festool item, I would be comfortable buying from an established member of the FOG as opposed to taking my chances with eBay or any other online market.  I prefer to buy the latest and greatest from my favorite dealer, but I understand circumstances are different for everyone and perhaps "gently used" or "well treated" is perfect for the budget and application.

Quote from: Ken S on February 15, 2020, 04:54:24 PM
To sum up my two cents, I would not want to jeopardize this forum so that a few members could save a few dollars. The forum's product is experienced based advice. I will be meeting with a Tormek representative next weekend. I will mention this and request an answer. If Tormek decides to allow this, which would surprise me, I will insist that buy and sell posts be done on a new, separate subforum with a different moderator.

The forum's product might be experienced advice, but the forum is the membership who comes here for the advice.  My first Tormek purchase last year was the T4.  I bought it, but had to go on a business trip and didn't have a chance to open the box.  While waiting in the airport lounge for my connecting flight, I found this forum and started reading up on Tormek.  I realized I really wanted the T8 and not the T4.

When I returned to Germany, I took the unopened T4 back to the dealer for a refund and bought the T8, plus a lot of accessories.  The same dealer previously sold me about €30K in Festool and SCM Minimax tools, so they didn't mind the exchange.  Had I opened the T4 and used it prior to finding this forum, I don't know if the dealer would have taken it back.  If not, I would not have purchased the T8 and would have learned to live with the T4 because I can't be bothered with eBay or other online sales. 

I have no doubt that in time I would want the T8, or which ever model was the newest, but would be reluctant to upgrade without some way of passing on the T4.  I didn't see the two questionable posts, so I don't know if these were intended to bypass established distributors for new equipment sales or to sell used equipment that was excess.

I hope your meeting next weekend goes well for the primary tasks and you phrase the discussion a little more neutral than "if you agree to this, find somewhere else to put it and find someone else to run it."  I have been in too many meetings where new topics are introduced in a similar way, or even "who else thinks this is a waste of time and money?"  The resulting votes are easy to anticipate.

Knife Sharpening / Re: BESS Tester
January 30, 2020, 03:39:51 PM
Thanks, Ken!  I received an email from Mike and will wait until he returns. I'm not in a hurry.
Knife Sharpening / Re: BESS Tester
January 30, 2020, 08:40:09 AM
Thanks, Rick.  I sent an email to Mike before I posted here.  I hoped someone would be able to test the ecommerce link to see if it worked for them.  If so, then this would rule out a bad link and would likely indicate a problem with European IP addresses.  Not to jump to conclusions yet, but some U.S. vendors block European IP addresses because of the GDPR compliance requirements.  It seems to be easier to block than conform.
Knife Sharpening / Re: BESS Tester
January 30, 2020, 06:53:35 AM
I was considering ordering the PT-50A, but the ecommerce link on the edgeonup website returns a "Page Not Found" error for me.  I would appreciate it if someone could verify that this link works, as it might be due to a block of European IP addresses.
General Tormek Questions / Re: A month with my new T8
December 31, 2019, 09:46:13 PM
Quote from: Ken S on December 31, 2019, 11:03:45 AM
Three thoughts on plane and chisel backs:
If you are not already using it, do an online search for "david Charlesworth ruler trick". This is a major time and labor saver.

Great advice, but one small correction...the ruler trick is never done on chisels...only plane irons.  I've taken two one-week courses from David at his north Devon workshop, with two more scheduled for this Spring, and he stresses repeatedly not to put a micro bevel on the back of a chisel.
Quote from: Ken S on November 15, 2019, 03:25:32 AM
I did not mean to imply anything negative about David Charlesworth or his sharpening technique. I respect both him and his technique. Here is a link to the only post he ever placed on the forum:;area=showposts;u=16

Although the post is from many years ago, I do not believe that his technique has changed. While he makes good use of the Tormek, his technique is not the traditional Tormek method. He very intelligently uses the water cooled, dust free Tormek for his initial grinding (sharpening). He does not state if he uses the stone grader and the second Tormek step, the fine grinding. As he uses both 800 and 8000 grit water stones, I would guess he uses his SG-250 only as a coarse wheel. This is the most labor intensive part of sharpening.

Where he differs from traditional Tormek technique is by using water stones to create a secondary or micro bevel. This well respected technique is typical for bench stone users to reduce the time and labor involved in sharpening the entire bevel. I used this technique for years until I purchased my Tormek.

The Tormek technique involves fine grinding and honing/polishing the entire bevel. The Tormek does the work. Both methods work. Both take around the same time. Personal preference carries the day. The Tormek performs well either way.


I attended David's week-long Tool Tuning course earlier this year, followed two weeks later with his week-long Dovetailing course.  I had the additional benefit of being his only student for both courses and shipped all of my chisels and three of my bench planes to his shop for use during the courses.

David uses the T7 and a diamond wheel (I think it was the DC-250) to hollow grind the 25-degree bevel on chisels and plane irons.  From there, he uses the 800, 1200, and 8000 grit water stones for the second and third bevels.  There were the 6000 and 10000 grit stones available, but they weren't used.
General Tormek Questions / Re: General Concern
October 12, 2019, 09:06:52 AM
I was concerned about the effects of the AC additive on the SG stones when I eventually buy some diamond stones. To avoid the cross contamination, I'm going to buy another water tray and keep the systems separate. This might be overkill, but the cost of a second tray is minimal.
Quote from: chaywesley on October 02, 2019, 05:19:20 PM
So now you've got me thinking about how to use the SE-77 for non-cambered, square edges like chisels.  My approach has been to use the jig with the two adjustment knobs tightened firm, so it won't allow any angular deviation.  The challenge with this technique is the initial setting of the two knobs... the index mark on the jig isn't nearly fine enough (for me) to hit dead square on first (or second, or third) try.

Now you've got me thinking that another approach might be to leave the adjustment knobs a touch loose to allow for some play, and just grind for square based on feel / muscle memory.

Does that make sense? How to you guys do it?

Although it took me a few attempts to figure it out, I like the SE-77 jig for establishing the primary bevel on my chisels and plane irons.  Here is my procedure for establishing a 25-degree bevel on a chisel using the T8 and the SE-77.

1.  Set the USB 9mm above the grinding wheel.  I use a wooden spacer and adjust the height of the USB until it just contacts the spacer that is resting on the wheel.  This assumes the wheel and USB are parallel, but minor differences can be eliminated during the grind since the SE-77 can be adjusted.

2.  For the 25-degree bevel, I set the projection of the chisel to 38mm from the front edge of the SE-77.

3.  Completely blacken the bevel area with a permanent marker so any fresh grinds are readily visible.  This will be important to determine the direction to rotate the adjustment knobs to ensure a square grind.

4.  Start with the SE-77 index marks aligned and the adjustment knobs tightened.  I always keep all of the knobs tightened.

5.  Make one or two passes on the wheel and inspect the quality of the grind.  If you are lucky, the fresh grind will be uniform across the width of the chisel.  If not, make small adjustments with the two small knobs.  I loosen one about an eighth of a turn and tighten the other until it is snug.  You can blacken the bevel area again between adjustments as required to see the effects of the changes.

Trial and error will tell you which knobs to loosen to square the chisel in the jig, but it's important to do this early in the process while only a little area of metal is being removed. 

The next time I grind a chisel, I'll document the process and post the images.
Quote from: Ken S on September 16, 2019, 09:31:33 PM
Leaving a .5mm blunt edge is a wise precaution with a high speed dry grinder. That last very thin .5mm is where the edge is most likely to overheat. With the water cooled Tormek, this precaution is unnecessary.

I've never used a high speed grinder for my chisels because I was never good enough to judge when to quench in order to retain the hardness.  My few trial and error efforts were not good and resulted in discolored edges, much to the dismay of my instructors.  Prior to the Tormek, I created the primary bevel using a honing guide on various grades of paper on a flat glass or granite surface.  This was especially time consuming when reconditioning used chisels or plane irons with edges that had been abused and had to have fresh metal on the cutting edge.  The Tormek reduced this time considerably and was well worth the purchase.

I stop at the 0.5mm edge with the Tormek not because of heat, but because there is no return on time investment in taking the primary bevel to the edge.  I'm going to put two more steeper angles on it anyway, and doing this with stones is much faster for me.  If the edge is chipped, or otherwise not square, then I will continue to the edge with the Tormek.
I think if you ask five people how to sharpen chisels and plane irons, you'll receive eight answers...and they are all correct if the results work for the user.  For fine woodworking, such as dovetails, I would never use the Tormek to sharpen my chisels or plane irons, but might use it to sharpen a chisel used for carpentry.  I use the Tormek to establish the primary bevel angle, but then use the Lie-Nielsen honing guide on either water stones or DMT diamond plates for the secondary bevel and honing bevel.

The first 25-degree primary bevel will usually last seven to eight sharpenings before I have to go back to the Tormek and re-grind.  Each touch-up widens the secondary bevel a bit, and this adds to the amount of time on the stones. The slight hollow grind from the Tormek ensures I'm not wasting time sharpening and honing the part of the chisel that doesn't do any cutting.

All of my bench chisels are Lie-Nielsen and Blue Spruce, and they get at 25-degree primary bevel using the Tormek.  The exact amount isn't important, since I put all of my effort on the next operations.  When grinding on the Tormek, I'll leave the final 0.5mm of the edge since I'm going to address that part on the stones.  A Sharpie (or any permanent marker) on the bevel gives me a clear indication of the grinding process and when to stop.

The next operations are on the stones, starting with the 800-grit water stone.  I set the projection of the chisel at 30mm, which gives me a 30-degree bevel with respect to the back of the chisel.  A few swipes on the stone are all that is required for a wire edge to form for a fresh grind.  The number of swipes increases with each sharpening, and when I get to the point where it takes 20 to 25 swipes for the edge to form, it's time for a fresh grind.  By that time, the 30-dgree secondary bevel is large and dominates the cutting edge.

I then change the projection to 25mm for a 35-degree bevel for the honing.  I use a 10,000 grit water stone and it takes no more than four swipes for the wire edge to fall off.  One swipe on the back of the chisel holding it flat against the stone, and I'm done.  The four swipes on the honing is constant during the touch-ups, and I don't remember ever having to do more.

I don't strop my chisels and have never seen a reason to do this.  However, others recommend touching up only by stropping.  My chisels are razor sharp (maybe sharper  ;D) and the A2 steel at RC60 takes a beating while retaining an edge for a long time.  I have a couple of new Two Cherries chisels that seem to lose an edge just by moving through air.  I can use them on ash for a couple of minutes before the edge is gone, while the LN and BS chisels last much longer.

Find the rhythm and process that works for you and have fun.
Quote from: schipperke on September 07, 2019, 02:45:43 PMHell of a lot of money to be broken out of the box.

I agree and would take Ken's advice about contacting Tormek customer support.  If you bought it at a brick and mortar store, I would not hesitate to take it back.