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the trouble with all Tormek knife jigs

Started by Ken S, October 10, 2022, 05:13:52 PM

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Ken S

We have become increasingly aware of the difficulties of using Tormek knife jigs. What is the problem and how can it be corrected?

I encountered a solution while working for the Bell System (the major US telephone network). When the Justice Department forced it to allow products made by other companies into its central offices (switching stations), the Bell System agreed, providing the other products were designed to function in their central offices. They would not modify their offices to accommodate other companies' products.

In Tormek's case, the real problem is the non standardization of knives. If all knives were made of the same dimensions, alloys, and grinds optimized for the Tormek knife jigs, we would not have these difficulties.
Admittedly this is not practical; however, it is the real root of the knife sharpening difficulties.

We also have the constraint of wanting only one jig to handle almost knives. Expecting just one jig to handle knives from cleavers and large chef knives to small paring knives and the small blades of pocket knives
plus both thick and thin knives is a very tall optimization order. Not to mention blade shapes from straight to inside and outside curves and large volumes of knives to be sharpened quickly.

What to do? Neither of these suggestions is a complete fix, but they should all help.
   1.   I have seen posts asking which jig (SVM-45 OR KJ-45) to purchase. In the Tormek System, knife jigs are among the lower priced jigs. My suggestion would be to purchase both. That covers the waterfront from knives which benefit from from adjusting the Projection with the jig to knives which are thicker than 3mm to thinner than 2mm. If money is tight, I would hold off on the longer jigs. (The only thin, flexible knife I sharpen is my boning knife. It is too short for the 140mm jigs and I rarely use it.)

   2.   Sharpen knives using the jig which works best. Sharpen all the knives which can effectively use the adjustability of the SVM-45 first. Using as much standardization as possible, these knives should take less time to sharpen. Get ahead of the time curve. Then do the very thick and very thin knives using the KJ-45.

   3.   With either jig, if you hone using the jig, having a preset second usb. If you expect to sharpen long knives, having a longer US-430 or two is convenient.

Until knife makers optimize their knives to fit the Tormek, we will "make do".


3D Anvil

Can't argue with the above. 

One thing I would say, though, is that adjusting the USB height for each knife with the non-adjustable KJ-45 isn't as time consuming as I feared it would be.  With experience, you learn to make course adjustments before measuring, which makes fine, measured adjustment pretty quick.  I'd guess on average I can now set the USB height in about 30 seconds on average, versus 2-3 minutes when I was more in "set it and forget it" mode with the SVM-45.

Ken S


As Ken noted, and I agree, there is no single jig for all scenarios.  I like having options.
Rich Colvin - a reference guide for sharpening

You are born weak & frail, and you die weak & frail.  What you do between those is up to you.