Welcome to the Tormek Community. If you previously registered for the discussion board but had not made any posts, your membership may have been purged. Secure your membership in this community by joining in the conversations.

Main Menu

Tormek Tips Tricks and Techniques Beginners Start Here!

Started by Ken S, March 11, 2013, 11:40:18 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Ken S

We will have to refer this to our Rob, our Resident Detective Chief Inspector  of the Yorkshire Vocabulary Constabulary......... :)


Bernard Calip

I hope this question is okay to ask?

My Christmas gift from my son is a Tormek.

Problem is I can't seem to find a company that bundles the Anniversary Model with,
HTK 705 Handtool kit, TNT 78 Woodturner Kit, SVH 320 Planer Blade Jig and SVM 100 Small Knife jig.

Any help will be appreciated. 
Hope to place an order on Monday.

Thank You Bernard.


I would suggest that you go to and use the information there to put together a list of what you want to purchase.

Then send an email to Wolfgang and ask what he can do for you for a package deal:


Could someone answer this question.
blades can be sharpened haircut on the Tormek ?



Quote from: Ken S on March 11, 2013, 11:40:18 PM
I am submitting this for forum evaluation as a start for our beginner advice sticky message.  I welcome constructive criticism, suggested additions, deletions, or changes.  I also welcome other posts. 

My suggestion would be to have this and other submitted posts available for forum criticism.  Once we feel comfortable with a reasonably "final" version (which can still be easily changed if necessary) I would give Jeff full moderator prerogative to edit, add or delete.

Please be part of the process.


Using a Tormek is like driving a stick shift car.  There is a bit of a learning curve, one which thousands of users have completed successfully.  Here is our advice to develop your "clutch foot".

Spend some time becoming very familiar with the videos on the abd websites.  You may have found them before even purchasing your Tormek.  Read your Tormek handbook; do not be afraid to make it your own by highlighting and flagging.  Keep it nearby.

Every Tormek user should have a Sharpie marker. The Sharpie marker, as shown in the videos and handbook, allows the user to quickly verify grinding angles.  It is an essential tool.

The first tool you should learn to sharpen is a chisel.  Regardless of what your intended use for your Tormek, if you can sharpen a chisel proficiently and fluently, you can learn other tools. A chisel is the  simplest edge to grind.  It is ground square, not angled.  The bevel angle of 25 to 30 degrees is an easy range to duplicate.  Unlike most knives, only one bevel is ground.  The full range of the Tormek is used in sharpening a chisel, initial grinding with the stone graded coarse; finer grinding with the stone graded fine; and finally, stropped with the leather honing wheel.

An excellent first chisel is the Irwin 3/4" Blue Chip chisel.  Why an Irwin 3/4" Blue Chip chisel?  During various posts on this forum, 3/4" has emerged as the most practical width chisel for learning how to use the Tormek.  The Blue Chip chisel has enough blade length to be a very usable first learning tool. The steel is good carbon steel. The sides are also ground square to the back of the blade with no rounding over (which would interfere with preparing the back for sharpening). Irwin acquired Joseph Marples, the fine company which had made these good chisels for a very long time.  And, on a very practical level, these chisels are very reasonably priced.  At this writing they are available on Amazon for $8.51.  A set of four (1/4 to 1" is also available for about $25 for those who would like several practice chisels.  They are also working standard tools in many shops.

Do not just sharpen this chisel once before moving on.  Blunt the edge with a hammer or file several times and restore the edge until you become proficient.  During these practice sessions you will learn a lot about machine.  Learn to listen to the sound of the grinding.  Learn to become sensitive to the feel of the  grinding.  Learn to be consistent in setting up your machine.  Learn what a truly sharp edge is, and what it can do.

Even if you do not intend to do woodworking, go through these exercises with your chisel.  And, keep the chisel nearby.  Should a day come when your sharpening is going badly, you can always return to sharpening your chisel. This will simplify your troubleshooting.  If you can match your initial sharpening, your basic machine and wheel are functioning properly.  If not, this exercise will point you in the correct direction to solve the problem.

Getting a mindset for the grinding wheel:

All too often, new users approach the grinding wheel with a sense of reverence and feel a need to preserve it.  While proper use is important, it should be remembered that the grinding wheel is designed to be worn away during use.  Look at the wheel as you would a set of good tires or brake linings.  Good care extends their useful life, however, they are designed to be worn out.

The Tormek wheel is designed to be used as either a coarse wheel or a finer wheel, depending on how the grading stone is used.  The wheel actually has a third grading when freshly dressed with the TT-50 diamond dresser (more coarse).   Do not try to squeeze a bit more life out of your wheel or a bit of time off the sharpening operation by skipping the grading operation.  Proper use of the grader is well covered in the videos and handbook.  Follow these instructions!

Be patient and persevere.  Your Tormek skills will quickly develop.  Please feel free to participate in the forum.  We welcome you.

First of all, I'm new to the forum and in using a sharpener. Joined the forum in the hopes of getting the basic do's and don'ts and I am amazed and surprised to see such a lively community of people devoting in this activity with so much detail and passion. Thanks for the read although I have to admit, most of what I've just read will be gone by the time I try to apply it.  Is there a section here in this forum devoted to just the basics perhaps?  I'd have my son do this but he's moved out a long time ago.  Would appreciate any help.   

Mark Jenkins

I am looking for someone in the Los Angeles area to give me instruction on how to use my new T-7. I will be sharpening chisels, plane irons and knives. Please let me know what your fee and availability is.
Sincerely,  Mark Jenkins

Ken S

Welcome to the forum, Mark.

I hope you can find a Tormek coach in your area. In the meantime, I suggest you simplify. I started this topic with the intention that it would be a short, very usable guide to first steps with the Tormek. Learning the basic skills first will speed your mastery of your Tormek.

Spend a couple minutes placing and removing your water tray. Start with it dry and before you install the grinding wheel. This may seem rediculous, however, it will save you from fumbling later.

Make a label for removing your grinding wheel with the EZYLock. I have described this in another post today. If you can't locate the post, ask.

Do not start out with chisels, plane blades, and knives. Begin with just a three quarter inch bench chisel. Ideally, it should be of reasonably good quality and not part of a set. If you spend a lot of time working with this one chisel, you will save much more time.

The width of the chisel is important. Do not begin with a narrow chisel. It is a much more difficult tool to sharpen. Stay in the three quarter inch range.

Study Jeff Farris' videos on chisel sharpening.

Spend some time using the stone grader. Practice with it. The wear on your grind stone will be minimal.

Make sure you have a good working hieght and very good light.

All of this is covered in the handbook. Study it carefully, thiroughly and often.

Good luck and keep us posted.



Hi Ken,
  I'm grateful that this topic has come back to light as I hadn't seen it before.  I'd just like any Brit newbies to know that I just placed my order on for an Irwin Blue Chip Bevel Edge 3/4" chisel and a selection of Sharpie chisel edge and fine permanent markers.  All here tomorrow!
All the best,

Ken S

Welcome, Gerald.

Your Irwin chisel should serve you well with learning the Tormek. I have, in fact, followed my own advice. I just ordered several Irwin chisels from Amazon. I am reviewing the T4 and experimenting with some alternative honing methods. The three quarter inch chisel is as basic a tool as possible; it lets us focus on learning the machine.

That same chisel may continue serving you well if you want to experiment with things like different bevel angles.

I worked in my home photographic darkroom most of my life. I liked to keep one negative which I knew would easily produce a good quality print. If I had the odd printing session where things were not going right, I could make a print from this negative. If the print matched the "known good print", I knew that my enlarger, paper and chemicals were all working properly. That narrowed down the problem suspects considerably. If you ever have a bad sharpening session, resharpening your chisel will indicate if your Tormek is working properly.

Too bad the Irwin chisels no longer say Joseph Marples and Sons, Made in Sheffield. The world is changing.

You may be able to provide a valuable service for this forum. Just like Squanto, who translated the native languages for the English settlers in Plymouth, you may be able to translate our frontier dialect for the Brits back home. The Brits are easy to spot. They all seem to be named Rob or Robin (although one Kenny snuck in). The real giveaway is that they all seem to have uncles named Bob. We enjoy good natured fun being of divided by a common language. I hope you will join in both the Tormek part and the playful banter.



Ken,  I've wondered how close the footprint chisels are to the old Marples?

I understand getting a new chisel, but to me, I still prefer to find and use a garage sale one.  I've seen them in various conditions from a user, to used to open paint cans.  That also gives me practice on refurbishing tools (one of the reasons I wanted a Tormek).
Favorite line, from a post here:
Quote from: Rob on February 24, 2013, 06:11:44 PM

Yeah you know Tormek have reached sharpening nirvana when you get a prosthetic hand as part of the standard package :/)


Quote from: Ken S on January 21, 2015, 12:34:11 PM
Welcome, Gerald.

The Brits are easy to spot. They all seem to be named Rob or Robin (although one Kenny snuck in). The real giveaway is that they all seem to have uncles named Bob.

Lol!  In fact, you are not quite right.  It is not we who have the uncles, it's you (those whom we advise).  As in "and finally, just wash that slurry from your water bath somewhere other than down the sink and Bob's your uncle".  In extremis, may be stretched to "and Bob's your dad's brother".


Ken S

Point well taken, Gerald. (If it was your uncle, his name would be Rob.)



Quote from: Ken S on March 12, 2013, 09:02:51 PM

Using a Tormek is like driving a manual gearbox ("stick shift" for us on this side of the pond) car.  There is a bit of a learning curve, one which thousands of users have completed successfully.  Here is our advice to develop your "clutch foot".

Be patient and persevere.  Your Tormek skills will quickly develop.  Please feel free to participate in the forum.  We welcome you.

So, I found this 'stick shift' analogy. What relevance.

Putting the knife on and taking it off the wheel is like letting go the clutch.
Reminding oneself to push down on the jig against the USB is like reminding oneself not to rest the foot on the clutch pedal.
The transition from straight to curve is like judging when to shift gears when taking a corner.
Watching the water flow is like watching the traffic/speedometer in the midst of doing everything else.
Flipping the knife 180 degrees to grind is like driving a left and then a right hand 'stick shift' car.
No wonder using the Tormek (knife jig) is like learning how to drive a car.
Hopefully, once you 'get it', everything falls into place.  :)
And no, I haven't got it but for now, it's fun and frustrating.


Best.    Rob.

Ken S

Mine must have been the Americanized version; it came packed in a cardboard box.