Tormek T-7 review (versus Scheppach versions)

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gidon

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Well you know that you can't leave a woodworking show empty handed and I didn't really need any more Bessey clamps ;) (did still pick up with of their mitre clamps though :oops:) well ....

I've never been 100% happy with grinding my primary bevels - I use a coarse DMT Duosharp or my bench grinder. The diamond stone is slow and I'm always a little nervous using the bench grinder with my better metal. I planned to try one of the Norton 3x stones but I saw a very cheap Tormek clone on the Scheppach stand at the Yandles show for £90 - the Tiger 2000s. Decided to give it a go.

Unfortunately my model was faulty - a phonecall to NMA and they kindly offered to swap it out. I decided to add some money for the German built Tiger 2500 (£159) - both the Tiger 2000 and the 2000s are made in China. This arrived next day and the 2000s was collected. Very efficient service from NMA - well impressed.

The Tiger 2500 was in another league all together (and £70 more expensive - typically it appears to be sold in the US as the Grizzly 10010 for $170 - arghh!!). Very well built with a larger 10" stone and a continuously rated motor.

Tiger 2500:
PICT1840.JPG


Scheppach square jig:
PICT1843.JPG


I wasn't having much luck though because although the support bar was square to the stone in the horizontal position it wasn't in the vertical position! So even if I paid another £40 for a truing tool it would always be off in the other position. I did consider fiddling about with the bushes to get things right but wasn't keen - felt this should work out of the box. Another phone call to NMA and reluctantly I returned the grinder to NMA for a refund (again excellent service from NMA). I did want to try another Tiger 2500 but couldn't face any more bad luck. It's a shame because although still pricey it's represents very good value against the Tormek (at about £100 less). I will do a few comparisons in the review of the Tormek below ...

I was a bit gutted - although a luxury I quite like the simplicity of grinding primary bevels on a wet grinder. No sparks , quiet, lots of fun jigs for the gadgeteer in me. So I considered alternatives. Axminster had 10% off so looked at the Jet grinder. Seems to have gone up in price - it's not much cheaper than a Tormek anymore. Can you see where this is going ;)?

I liked some of the features on the Jet but also read a lot of bad reports on the Amazon.com reviews. So somehow I persuaded myself to look at the Tormeks! With the 10% off the 2006 model was £90 more than the Tiger 2500. But by the time you added in the extra features of the T7 that proved better value. So onto the review ...

I'll start off by saying the T7 is complete overkill for me. It's a luxury pure and simple. There is no way I can justify spending this much just to grind a primary bevel! That said it's fantastic - it oozes quality. Plus I've always been quite fond of the Tormek story - as I write I've just had a personal response from the Tormek creator Torgny Jansson - that is impressive! How many times can you speak with a person who invented and continuously develops a tool like this? That attracts me to the Veritas and LN range too (unfortunately ;)).

The T7 is essentially the same as the later models of the 2006 - here are the differences (courtesy of Jeff Farris on SMC):

The differences between the 2006 and the T-7 are as follows:

T-7 includes the TT-50 Truing Tool as a standard feature -- the 2006 does not.

T-7 includes the SP-650 Stone Grader as a standard feature -- the 2006 does not.

T-7 includes the new SE-76 Square Edge Jig. The 2006 includes the old design SVH-60 Straight Edge Jig.

T-7 Interior packaging is designed as a storage tray.

Several other features of the T-7 would be found on late production 2006 models. Those would be improved motor isolation, cast and machined horizontal base, stainless steel shaft and stone hardware, and square cut threads on the Universal Support.

I knew I'd end up getting the extras that come with the T7 so with the 10% off I was betting off paying it up front. I also ordered the hand tool kit. I didn't realise this until after I ordered it but you get a free Swedish (Mora) chef's knife if you order these together worth 70 euros - I'll let you know what it's like.

T-7 grinder:
PICT1871.JPG


Chisel setup in new SE-76 jig:
PICT1872.JPG


Micro-adjust (patented so not available on the clones):
PICT1873.JPG


T-7 included accessories:
PICT1876.JPG


Hand tool kit:
PICT1877.JPG


Now this is a well built machine - probably about the most carefully engineered machine in my workshop. The jigs are also impressive - all appear to made in Sweden like the machine itself. All carefully thought out and with instructions that put the Scheppach to shame. Of course you can download and use the Tormek manual and the Tormek jigs work on the Scheppach and Jet machines - all have a 12mm support bar - so this is sort of a moot point. Checking everything all seemed well - the support bar is square to the stone in both positions.

I was ready to grind my first chisels in minutes after letting the wheel soak up a fair bit of water. The new SE-76 jig is very nice - it references from the back the blade when clamping to ensure a square edge. The first thing I noticed was the stone on the Tormek cut quicker than on the Scheppach, plus I could put all my weight and not stall the motor or notice any significant slow down - which really speeds up grinding. The angle guide is so much better than the one that comes with the Scheppach - again you can purchase it seperately. It can be adjusted to work with any wheel size including the honing wheel. It's also much easier to use. The Scheppach one confused me - that could just be me!

Straight off the coarsely graded stone I went to my bench stones and went through my normal honing procedure in about 1 minute. It's very easy to freehand hone the nice big bevel if you feel so inclined and both freehand and with my Veritas MKII jig I had a razer sharp edge in a minute or two.

I'm going to come back to this review if there's any interest - after I've played around with it more and I'm interested to compare a complete edge created on the Tormek against my benchstones methods. Sorry Adam - I am one of this people that spends far too long sharpening and not enough time woodworking ;). What can I - I enjoy it - I found it such a revelation when I got my first truly sharp edge it's engaged me ever since!

I realise I've done this Tormek thing in reverse formation - I think most people buy one first then try other methods later on. I don't regret for a minute buying one after I've been woodworking for 10 years - I've learnt a lot about sharpening in that time.

It is very expensive for what it is but it should last me for a long time (so gutted I missed the free stones for life offer :(). Never has the addage you get what you pay for been more accurate. But that's not to say you couldn't get excellent results using the Scheppach Tiger 2500 (I'll reserve judgement on the 2000s) - I'm pretty sure I was just unlucky.

I know people criticie the Tormek for being slow but they can't have tried grinding on bench stones!

Cheers

Gidon
 

wizer

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thanks Gidon, will be interested to hear your comments on the quality of an edge just formed on the Tormek.
 

gidon

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Will do Wizer.

Forgot to mention Tormek are coming out with two additional stones this summer - in the US at least. A 4000 grit stone designed for tool touch-up and small carving tools and a similiar grit stone to the original but more hardwearing and with additional cutting speed. Martin do you have any additonal comments / information on this? This stone sounds good if you use the Tormek mainly as a grinder.

Cheers

Gidon
 

LarryS.

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gidon":9y81o7kd said:
Will do Wizer.

Forgot to mention Tormek are coming out with two additional stones this summer - in the US at least. A 4000 grit stone designed for tool touch-up and small carving tools and a similiar grit stone to the original but more hardwearing and with additional cutting speed. Martin do you have any additonal comments / information on this? This stone sounds good if you use the Tormek mainly as a grinder.

Cheers

Gidon

Gidon,

Can you use a chisel straight off the Tormek or do you then need to do mroe work on it (using stones e.t.c.) ?
 

gidon

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Paul
I'm mainly got it for grinding my primary bevel.
But the Tormek is designed as a sharpening system. You first create the bevel using the stone at its 220 grit. It then comes with a stone grader which you apply to the stone for 30s or so - this is meant to reduce the grit size by 5 to about 1000 grit. With the same settings this refines the bevel further. Then you move to the honing wheel. You apply a polishing compound (about 6000 grit) and using the support or freehand you polish the bevel. All this assumes you've flattened the back first. You can do this on the side of the grinding stone (better to use bench stones). The final step would then be to remove the burr on the face (flat back) of the chisel again the honing wheel. You have to be careful here to make sure the chisel is exactly tangent to the wheel so you don't round over the edge.
So short answer yes you can - that's how it sold. But the general consensus is you can get a better edge through bench stones / flat strops.
The thing is if you only have the Tormek for sharpening as soon as the tool is a little dull you'd have to go through the whole sharpening process to get a refreshed edge. With stones or whatever you can hone a small secondary bevel and just refresh that until you need to grind again.
Cheers
Gidon
 

tnimble

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What Gidon said Paul.

What I would add to that comment on that and / or the tormek in general:
- flattening a back on the side of a rotating stone is very dangarous (the higher the speed the more dangerous). A collegue of mine was fately hit when the stone took the tool done and fractured.
- stropping on a round wheel does not only polish but also rounds over the sjarp edge.
- when sharpening you should not push down at all might to speed up the process.
- a graded stone does not exact a ungraded stone with the same grit.
 

Paul Chapman

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Thanks for that, Gidon - an excellent review. Often wondered whether the Tormek was worth the extra money. It clearly is.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

gidon

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Thanks Paul - glad you found it useful :).
tnimble I've only had a short time to play with the Tormek - but in spite of many criticisms of the system for honing there's no denying that in a very short time you get a sharp edge on your tools that certainly newcomers to sharpening may never have acheived. And that edge will be plenty sharp for a lot of woodworking.
Cheers
Gidon
 

Harbo

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There's some Tormek "How to do it" video clips on the web which show the use of the grading stone.

The minor beef I have with honing on it is that you have to move the support rest and readjust the settings as the honing wheel is a smaller diameter. Because of this I tend to hone "freehand".

For woodturning tools I use the Tormek through all the stages but for plane irons and chisels I use various combinations:
If the tool is badly damaged or in need of a regrind I use my Norton 3X (for speed). For gentle touch ups or complex shapes I use the Tormek and would complete the process on that. For subsequent honings or if I am after "scary sharp" I will use a combination of Diamond stones and abrasive papers.
I never flatten the backs on any grindstones - apart from the danger more likely to cause more damage than good? For that I always use diamonds and papers.

Rod
 

ndbrown

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Gidon, Thanks, a very good and thorough review. I also considered the Tormek but went onto buy the Jet about a year ago, which has been excellent and well worth the money spent. I am sure most people would be happy with a good Tiger/Tormek/Jet system. As regards reviews on web sites like Amazon, these need to be treated with some degree of caution.
Manufacturers sometimes have been rumoured to have a helping "hand" in good and bad reviews (I am NOT suggesting Tormek have been involved in these Jet reviews) but you have to be careful sometimes.
There was a huge amount of negative comments from some quarters after the introduction of the Jet. Tormek have now released a lower price version so it all adds to the competition and hopefully in the current spending squeeze gives us a better deal whatever we decide to spend hard earned money on. These machines certainly save time and allow us to get on with the important business of making things rather than sharpening tools. Its a nice skill to be able to sharpen by hand as well though!
Nigel
 

gidon

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Thanks Nigel. Tormek have had their lower priced version the 1206 for some time (as long as I've had my eye on them) in the UK at least. I think in the US they only have the 2006 / T7. You're right and I'd hoped I made it clear in the review that I was unlucky with my Scheppach - the 2500 at least. I know of many happy users on this forum. I've not tried a Jet - I was just explaining my reasoning (excuses ;)) for spending the extra for a Tormek. Again I know there are many happy Jet users.
Cheers
Gidon
 

NeilO

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I have the older Tormek 2006, And to answer LarryS, I have used chisels straight of the tormek for rougher work , ie garden furniture, and are sharp enough for the job, but fine work I would need to be desperate to use them straightoff, considering a quick fettle across a diamond stone brings them to near perfection..

thanks for the review gidon, did you get the wheels for life promo??
 

NeilO

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bad luck, gidon...but if my wheel is anything to go by I wouldnt have needed to claim a free wheel for at least 10 years, they really do seem to last forever..

I dont think you wil regret buying a Tormek :D
 

gidon

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It was a good offer while it lasted. Quite pleased with the free knife offer if it's any good because was after a decent chef's knife. But not quite the same!
Cheers
Gidon
 

wizer

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Have you tried sharpening a kitchen/chefs knife on it gidon? I have quite a collection which on ever get sharpened on steels which are ok but most of them have lost their optimum edge.
 

gidon

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Wizer
Yes I have - it's a little harder than I thought it'd be but but my results are improving on each try. I have a diamond steel as well as a normal steel and find I can usually get a pretty decent edge off these too but nice eto be able to grind a new edge.
Scissors are much easier on the Tormek and turned a few scissors ready for the bin into some of the sharpest scissors I've used in minutes!
Cheers
Gidon
 

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