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Thread: Sharpening System Comparison

  1. #1
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    Sharpening System Comparison

    I've got 1 CBN wheel I've added to my 1800 RPM Grinder. An inexpensive Sheppach model sold by Craft Supplies for a short time. Almost bought into the Sorby belt system and briefly considered a Tormek. So, the starting assumption is the turner will only have one system. Here's a list of comments to hopefully start a couple of dialog's about all this stuff. Anyone have any comments on the Sorby belt system. Does the 1 inch belt grinder require any rewiring to get it to run in the right direction (a belt sharpener should run up, rather than down like a wheel, is that right, or is that just the Sorby version?) Special belts for HSS tools? I've heard if all you have is the Tormek it takes forever to sharpen a tool, but gets it really sharp. Love to hear comments on what you guys use and really like. Regarding my CBN, I've got the 180 grit, 2 inch wide version and it really is much easier to sharpen a tool. Zero bouncing around, wider surface to roll a gouge around on. I'd really like to have the 80 grit for a bit faster grinding when doing a bit of shaping rather than sharpening. I've seen the Sorby demo'd and it looks just as easy with the advantage of changing grits and materials (I think they make CBN and Diamond belts.)

    thanks in advance,
    Ken

  2. #2
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    To add to the questions, do those of you with a belt sharpener does it have a platten behind the belt?

  3. #3
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    It's true the wet grinders are a lot slower, it gets even worse with tools that are cryo, or something like the Thompson tools. But it's also true that they give an incredible edge. That said, I usually go top the slow speed dry grinder for speed....but I keep the Tormek handy just in case. I have CBN wheels on my shopping list, but I have to find some that will be short enough to fit my grinder's arbor; 1 1/2" might be too wide. I think D way sells some that are cut back just a little for shorter arbors.

  4. #4
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    The Tormek is the wrong tool for reshaping. It could easily take several hours. Mine is set to 800 grit so it will polish to a finish fit for a shave.
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  5. #5
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    I did get a tormek style tool holder and added it to my variable speed dry grinder. Using the tormek setup tool, I can use all my tormek style jibs on it for reshaping, and then duplicate that angle exactly on my tormek clone for final, fine sharpening.
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  6. #6
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    Brent, which tool bar setup did you get...I've often thought about that and haven't yet did anything about it. The Tormek jigs would be great on a dry grinder.
    Last edited by fred hargis; 03-25-2015 at 05:35 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred hargis View Post
    Brent, which tool bar setup did you get...I've often thought about that and haven't yet did anything about it. The Tormek jigs would be great on a dry grinder.
    I believe it was the TOR-BGM100 mounting kit. Looks like they may come with a mounting bracket now? When I got mine it didn't come with that so I just made up a stack of wood and used that to attach it to the grinder platform. Here's a picture of it with the setup jig and the thumbnail gouge jig.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Burr View Post
    The Tormek is the wrong tool for reshaping. It could easily take several hours. Mine is set to 800 grit so it will polish to a finish fit for a shave.
    I'll echo this. The Tormek is slow to reshape a tool, but once you have the profile you want, it's very fast to resharpen during a turning session.

    My ideal setup would be a dry grinder with a CBN wheel and the Tormek jig holder for it, in addition to the Tormek itself. The dry grinder would be for rapid reshaping*, and the Tormek would be for day to day sharpening.




    * Realistically, I can count on one hand the number of times I've wanted to reshape a tool. I like the profiles I've established on my gouges, and don't plan to change them. But if and when I buy new gouges, it'd be nice to have a faster way to shape the initial profile.
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  9. #9
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    It seems every national demonstrator has there own way of sharpening. Hard to know what way to go. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that which tool, which jig, which grind, which lathe, don't matter as much as just having a sharp tool. I'm trying to refine that process to make it as easy and fast as possible. That's why all these questions. I want to set up my last sharpening station. At least until the next technology comes along. (Laser sharpening maybe?) So, a couple more questions.

    How do the Tormek jigs compare to the wolverine in use? Better? Same? And still no comments on the Sorby system. Maybe it's just not that popular? A couple of years ago the American Woodturner Magazine had an article on turning a Harbor Freight belt sander into a sharpening station. I then heard that it didn't really work. Anyone try this?

    Anyone regularly hone tools on a leather (or other type) wheel?

    I think if the Tormek jigs are alright, that combo Vaughn mentioned sounds like a winner. Still two systems though. And both of them somewhat expensive.

  10. #10
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    To be honest, I think it's hard to pick a loser between the Tormek and the Wolverine jigs. They are both good, though the Tormek may offer a little more precision (on some of them). I can do a curved edge on my skew with the Tormek, not so with the Wolverine (not saying it can't be done, but I can't do it). All the Tormek jigs grip the tool above the handle, and on some tools the Wolverine lets the handle sit in a cradle, to me waving the handle around while sharpening can be sometimes awkward. They are both good, just different. I don't have a leather wheel for my turning tools, but i do have a leather plate for my Worksharp that I use on my bench chisels regularly while I'm working. I think it helps a lot. Sorry I don't have the Sorby sharpener. I think Brent's's combo might be the best compromise (maybe add a CBN wheel), I still have the tool bar holder on my shopping list. But let me add, I'm far less experienced at sharpening turning tools than the others so my opinions are still being shaped on a daily basis.
    Last edited by fred hargis; 03-26-2015 at 05:32 PM.

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