Grinder advice needed.

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24 Aug 2015
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Whenever a sharpening thread comes up a lot of negative comments get posted about the Tormek, particularly on how slow it it. I wonder how many people posting these comments have actually used one!

I had the sheppach version and then also a supergrid 2000 - got various fixtures for it, the silicon carbide wheel and the japanese 4k wheel at the time (I didn't know any better).

They have solved one of the problems that I had (the plating coming off of the arbor and freezing the wheel to the arbor with rust - sometimes resulting in very expensive broken wheels). Unfortunately, instead of just providing a stainless arbor, they wanted to sell the kit to us. So, I bought it, anyway. The last time I was going to take a wheel off to change the arbor, the wheel (black silicon carbide) broke trying to get it off.

That was the end of that. My friend George had been talking about how he wished he'd have bought a tormek instead of the jet version, and I put it in a box and sent it to him with the arbor and fortunately, one good remaining stone.

It's slow, it's expensive, it's limiting, it can't do basic dry grinding to make tools. I paid about the same for a cheap bench grinder and a huge bench grinder with a 5000 foot per minute 2x48 belt attachment. If anything needs to be ground cool, a ceramic belt on the belt grinder will turn the metal into spark and you can still hold the tool. I ground two paring chisels today with ceramic belts out of 26c3 (like white steel).

If you like what the tormek does and it fits your regimen (especially if you have airborne dust issues or no spark allowed due to commercial use in an insured shop), then it's probably fine. I was glad to see it go. I don't know what I thought I'd find with the tormek after thinking the sheppach was no good. I'll give the tormek the fact that it did have better build quality and the wheel in it is very good quality. But it's a reflection of what it costs to build basic consumer market goods (don't kid yourself that it's aimed at the pro market - even the belt grinder that I got isn't - it's a stopgap contact wheel grinder for people who won't spring for $3K for a burr king or something of the sort) in the western world and distribute and sell them in really overpriced woodworking supply stores.

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