Sharpening gear - it's changed a lot in recent years!

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LancsRick

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My last encounter with a proper sharpening setup was a Tormek Supergrind 2000 for my turning chisels. I loved how forgiving it was due to the combination of wet wheel and excellent jigs. Setting up my own workshop requires my own sharpening solution, and I see that things have changed a fair bit...

- Tormek has always had a premium but now they seem to be after silly money for a machine that is fundamentally very simple
-clones of the Tormek seem to have mixed reviews but exist from many sources (Scheppach, Axminster, Record Power etc) at much cheaper prices
- linisher-type solutions now seem available at a middling price point in the form of the Sorby Pro Edge
- lastly, slow speed grinders with CBN wheels seem to have become a viably priced option, coming in around or slightly cheaper than the Pro Edge

So, to summarise all of that...
-hobbyist level use
-wood turning only
-jigs essential

Based on those criteria and the options out there, what would be the advice from here please?
 

Jacob

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For turning grind on a sanding disc (mine's 12" dia on my lathe) or a linisher. Get used to not using jigs.
 

Phil Pascoe

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A disc on a lathe is brilliant for chisels, plane irons etc. but very wasteful for gouges. For perfect, quick repeatable grinds you need a jig. I don't much like the idea of using up £50 -£60 gouges two or three times faster than necessary.
 

D_W

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dry grinder, inexpensive imported CBN wheel. All of the CBN wheels are probably made in china, so you might as well buy one directly from china for about $75 if that's the way you want to go.

The sorby pro edge is at least as relatively overpriced as the tormek, and intentionally made so that you're captive for the belts. If you want to use a belt grinder, you might as well find an inexpensive belt grinder with a platen in the 2x36, 2x42 or 2x48 size (inexpensive is relative, but there are some) and devise a grinding jig on your own by bolting down the belt grinder and creating a substantive rig for orienting the tool.

It's possible to grind turning tools freehand without too much trouble, though I get that a lot of folks watch this or that method and then want very specific gouge profiles and secondary bevels and such to match a certain person's technique. I try to do most of my turning with a large oval skew and a parting tool, and not much else if possible (obviously don't do hollowforms).

The dry grinder and direct-from-china CBN wheel is a very viable option and should be doable for something like 150 quid. lightly stone whatever the grinder does with a freehand stone if you want a little more. I hone the large HSS oval skew on a pair of oilstones (turning tools are generally tempered a little soft and sharpen fine on normal stones).
 

Sideways

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I agree with David that the pro edge is overpriced for what you get, but it's a robust thing, not at all badly made and belt linishers are pretty versatile.
It takes a 2" wide belt. Nothing "captive" about that. There are vendors who will make any size belt for you. I've bought belts for the ProEdge made from Sia's ceramic abrasives. Better than the Sorby branded ones and substantially cheaper.
If you own any cheap and cheerful 4" belt sander for wood, you can have belts made to fit it in ceramic or zirconium and it will do perfectly well for metal sharpening. The ProEdge just has a more robust build and a more rigid tool guide.
 

D_W

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The last I looked, most of the sources here are pretty high (there's a 600 grit trizact belt on amazon for about $33.

But I did find a place in the US (strangely enough, in the small tourist town where I was born) that has ceramic belts for the pro edge for $4.15 and 600 grit silicon carbide (for the folks needing fine cutting) for $2.50 each.

So it can be accommodated here - hadn't seen that source before - woe be to the person who goes to rockler or woodcraft here to buy the belt for five times as much as supergrit.

There are direct drive 4x36 belt sanders here that are pretty good for about $200 (they actually tension a belt and have about 600 watts of true power with no drive belt robbing power), but one would need to make the rest.

The proedge price has gone up here, but we often get hosed on stuff that originates from England (as in, your price is well less with vat than ours is before tax is added - the proedge right now on amazon is $650- or nearing 500 pounds pre-vat comparison).
 
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Sideways

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Ouch, D_W !
You're sharing the experience we commonly have with US products. At that price I would looking into US made 2x72 machines :)
But good find on the belts. $4.15 is about the same as £3 each I last paid for the Sia ceramics.
 

Lons

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I agree with sideways, there is absolutely no need to buy Sorby branded belts for the pro-edge, I don't and can get all the various grits I want at a much more reasonable cost from other suppliers, the belts can last a long time btw and I use old ones for shaping metal when needed. The OP lives in the UK not the USA so the cost over the pond is completely irrelevant.
I own both a pro-edge and a Tormek T7 btw as well as dry grinder and the usual hand sharpening necessities and I use them all at different times.
 

D_W

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My apologies from working on the thought that the machine is $650 - I forgot about the oddball markup that we get from distribution (sometimes we don't, sometimes we do). Not that long ago, I recall (maybe they "upgraded" the model type with accessories) the machine being about $450.

Now it's a "plus" kit. The price is "plus", too - I guess it's the lucky lottery of who gets distribution rights and if something lands at woodcraft in the US, it will always be expensive.

Also not advocating that nothing expensive is worth having. If anyone things tools are expensive, wait until you want to make things out of nice wood.
 

Lazurus

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Slow grinder and white or CBN wheel and Sorby jig all I have used for two decades.
 

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JobandKnock

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The sorby pro edge is at least as relatively overpriced as the tormek, and intentionally made so that you're captive for the belts.
That's not completely true. Providing you are willing to buy 10 belts at a time most industrial abrasive belt suppliers will supply in same grits (including Trizact and blue zirconium) as Sorby. As others have said there are also a number of suppliers doing their own belts to fit, available as singles and much cheaper than Sorby-sourced belts
 

Inspector

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Ouch, D_W !
You're sharing the experience we commonly have with US products. At that price I would looking into US made 2x72 machines :)
But good find on the belts. $4.15 is about the same as £3 each I last paid for the Sia ceramics.

You have several UK based makers of 2x72 belt sanders in fully assembled and weld or bolt together kits that would fall in the Sorby price range. There are also Eastern European makers that might be cheaper depending on what is getting out of that region. Very versatile machines for metal and wood. I want one myself, since you can never have enough tools. 😊

An 8"/200mm grinder with CBN wheels and a Wolverine jig system or copy is what serious woodturners are playing with. You do need a stronger grinder to spin the heavier CBN wheels though. Half horse ones are not enough.

Pete
 

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