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Tormek v 'Scary Sharp'

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Mikegtr

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Anybody tried both a Tormek water cooled sharpening system and the 'Scary Sharp' grit abrasive way of sharpening chisels / plane irons / knives? If you have does the 'Scary Sharp' method win over sharpness?
 

Ttrees

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A real faff those sharpening machines are, have the Jet one at the folks.
Tis good for the kitchen knives and that's about it for me...
I don't do turning.
I would rather a bench grinder with a CBN wheel for that craic.
Awfully messy I had to make an additional aluminium shroud as water goes everywhere, still does.
You really need a drip pan underneath it, as a plane iron spoons the water off the wheel.
You would need it set up, have your 5 litre water bottle handy when the stone drinks it all,
and don't even think of putting it away unless you like pumping iron like Arnie..
probably a 15kg deadlift with one arm...it feels heavier as you cannot lift it close to your body due to delicate drip tray and awkward toolrest.

Are you referring to using the "scary sharp" with abrasive rolls
or are you just referring to an eclipse or similar guide?
If the latter then..
Look out for those Ultex diamond hones when they're at that annual half price sale, if your looking
for a surface that won't become higgledy piggledy.

Tom
 

Cheshirechappie

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Yes.

They are different techniques to achieve different things, so not really comparable. The Tormek is a grinder, Scary Sharp is a honing method.

Sharpening is a three stage process, not all of which are necessary at each sharpening. That's grinding, honing and polishing.

Grinding is a way to remove bulk metal to establish or repair the gross shape of a tool's edge, often called the primary bevel. It can be done on a high-speed bench grinder, a water-cooled slow-speed grinder such as the Tormek, a hand-cranked grindstone, or even by rubbing the tool on a coarse abrasive of some sort. Each method has it's pros and cons; the high-speed bench grinder is quick, but can overheat tools and spoil edges if care isn't exercised, the water-cooled and hand-cranked grinders are slow and sometimes rather messy, but allow easier control of metal removal, the rub-stone is cheap but very slow and labour-intensive.

Honing is the way of establishing and maintaining the working cutting edge. Oilstones, water stones, ceramic stones, diamond stones and abrasive papers and films (scary sharp) are the methods, and again, all have their advantages and disadvantages. All can be used either freehand, or in conjunction with honing guides. Everyone has their own preferences, sometimes very trenchantly expressed, but they all work.

Polishing is the means of refining a honed edge when an extra level of sharpness is desired. Again, fine oilstones, water stones, ceramic stones, and abrasive films serve well - there is some debate about ultra-fine diamond stones, but some people do use diamond lapping pastes on laps. Again, they all work.

Oilstones have been around a very long time, can be obtained at a range of prices from quite cheap to very expensive, need nothing but a bit of light oil to work, and are therefore 'bench friendly', and leave only a fine film of oil on tools so don't encourage corrosion. They generally cut quite quickly, wear very slowly, and many generations of fine craftsmen have needed nothing else. However, they struggle to cut some of the more modern 'fancy' tool steels.

Water stones are quick-cutting and available in a large range of grits from very coarse to very fine indeed, so any level of sharpness desired can easily be obtained. They do, of course, need water, so are best used on a separate sharpening bench away from the main workbench. Some wear very quickly, and need means of keeping them flat enough for use is necessary - a flattening plate or abrasive paper on a flat surface. They vary in first cost from not very much to very costly.

Ceramic stones are expensive in first cost and not freely available everywhere, but have very slow wear and cut moderately quickly. They can be used on the bench, and take up very little storage space, which might be a factor for some.

Diamond stones are available in a range of grits from coarse to pretty fine, and will abrade pretty well anything, including all the modern 'fancy' tool steels. Bench friendly, but quality does vary a bit - cheapest isn't necessarily best. Many people have turned to them, and sing their praises.

Scary sharp is cheap in first cost, but can be expensive over the long term in replacement papers or films. It has one big advantage for odd-shaped edges, in that abrasives can be glued to shaped sticks to make custom 'slipstones'.

Polishing stones (of all the above types) tend to be very expensive relative to work-a-day honing stones, but you only need one!

Hope that helps a bit.
 

AJB Temple

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I had a Tormek after going on a turning course. Sold it almost straight away. Extremely slow and messy. Did I mention slow?

I now use a Robert Sorby finisher for all sharpening of chisels and plane blades. Plus a simple diamond hone. Scary sharp is a daft name for something engineers have been doing forever, and it works fine. Linisher is basically a motorised version of it. I can touch up any of my chisels in seconds.

For my Japanese kitchen knives I use Waterstones exclusively and a leather polishing hone.
 

Eric The Viking

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Not to detract from Cheshirechappie's comments above, but...

... Tormek do position (sell) their product as both a grinding and honing tool. Their videos show people getting extremely sharp edges on chisels and plane irons.

I have a copy. The stone isn't great quality. Once only have I achieved an edge capable of dry-shaving a forearm. It may be better with a genuine Tormek (their wheels are pretty pricey!), but I only use mine for grinding and/or sharpening kitchen implements. The "stropping" wheel does get a bit of use, but even that is capable of dubbing over an edge, back to "start-again" level.

I'm genuinely not sure if I'd buy one again now. It is great to have a slow-speed wet grinder (and it is controllable - no destroying the temper accidentally), but I still use scary sharp for the "proper" tools. The latter is (for me) fast, reasonably clean, and gets a superb edge consistently.

Also consider that for curved edges, both concave and convex, all bets are off. Those are difficult. I mostly freehand my kitchen knives on a cheap diamond plate now, as that is less faff for daily touch-up honing. The edge isn't the best possible, but they get abused (cutting onto melamine surfaces, for example), so I am happy with 'sharp enough' in that context.

Final thought: if you get a "copy" machine it's worth checking that you can get replacement wheels for it. I understand the shaft diameter and the wheel width often differs from Tormek. Mine has ground down surprisingly quickly, even though it gets little use - the dressing blocks (fine and coarse cutting) increase the wear rate substantially, as does the diamond dressing tool - you need to use this if you are careless enough to get a hollow in the stone's surface.

CBN wheels are available for Tormeks, and in well quality-controlled grits too. Those aren't cheap, but there's a firm in Australia that sharpens for the food industry, to very high standards, who use exclusively Tormek machinery, with CBN wheels for the finer grit stages of the process. They measure sharpness objectively (well, as objectively as possible), so are a good indicator. But their setup is commercial and the kit is far from cheap. Can't remember the details but try "commercial knife sharpening Australia" on YouTube.
 

Woody2Shoes

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I think that diamond wheels are also available for Tormek.

I have a CBN wheel on a low-speed grinder for grinding and diamond plates (or 'scary sharp' wet&dry sheets on marble - or a timber profile for 'odd' shapes) plus a leather for honing.

I think that Tormek is a very expensive option - and very slow without diamond/CBN.
 

--Tom--

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Chisels and plane irons - rough in on a high speed grinder then finish on stones.

Knives - just stones

Scary sharp if you aren’t going to be doing it often, otherwise stones win out

With all sharpening it’s skill over equipment for a working edge. Just pick something and keep doing it, you’ll get better, the mystery will evaporate, and you can spend the money on more fun tools
 

Rorschach

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I have a tormek clone with 1000grit wheel. I like it and I do use it but not nearly as much as I should. Main use is putting a super fine edge on lathe tools. I used to do kitchen knives on it as well but now I have faster options. Planes and chisels are done on a diamond stone and MDF strop, just does a better job for that style of edge.
 

sunnybob

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I've said this so many times I'm about to give up.
Tormek, or Jet wet sharpeners DO NOT SPILL WATER EVERYWHERE (hammer) (hammer) (hammer) (hammer) You dont need trays or towels.
People seem to decide that they dont need to read the instructions/ watch the video, or follow advice, and they use the machine backwards. :shock:

The blade should be facing you with the handle back and up. Its that simple. No water is spilled in this operation.

As far as sharp, there is a grinding tool that changes the stones grit from coarse to fine, and if used, will produce very sharp edges. Admittedly, this tool removes a fair amount of the stone so swapping back and fore will greatly reduce the life of the stone.

I dont need scary sharp, so I use the Jet and it is more than adequate for me set on the coarser of the two grits.
 

Rorschach

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sunnybob":lcdt9g1d said:
I've said this so many times I'm about to give up.
Tormek, or Jet wet sharpeners DO NOT SPILL WATER EVERYWHERE (hammer) (hammer) (hammer) (hammer) You dont need trays or towels.
People seem to decide that they dont need to read the instructions/ watch the video, or follow advice, and they use the machine backwards. :shock:

The blade should be facing you with the handle back and up. Its that simple. No water is spilled in this operation.

As far as sharp, there is a grinding tool that changes the stones grit from coarse to fine, and if used, will produce very sharp edges. Admittedly, this tool removes a fair amount of the stone so swapping back and fore will greatly reduce the life of the stone.

I dont need scary sharp, so I use the Jet and it is more than adequate for me set on the coarser of the two grits.

Yes I have to admit I don't have any issues with water getting everywhere, the only exception to what was when doing longer kitchen knives, the water would sometimes track along the blade and dribble at certain points when sweeping across the stone, not a big deal though.
 

AJB Temple

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I agree that water does not get everywhere, until you need to move the thing out of the way after spending an age sharpening. Then it spills. And you have to change the water which is a messy performance. I just found my Tormek to be a faff to use and I don't miss it at all. The linisher is a lot more useful. I do also have a proper grinding station and pair of polishing mops on another motor. This other grinder is essential as my wife wrecks the edge on gardening tools - all gardening tools - as if metal was free.
 

D_W

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AJB Temple":113hqn4q said:
I had a Tormek after going on a turning course. Sold it almost straight away. Extremely slow and messy. Did I mention slow?


Same, except I bought one of the sheppach cheapies first and it didn't work that well, so I bought a brand name tormek used here off of CL. When the original wheel was really slow, I bought a silicon carbide wheel..

....it was also really slow and needed to be graded by diamond.

I gave the tormek away to a friend when I broke one of the wheels switching them back and forth and got too frustrated to try to list a tormek on ebay with a broken wheel (had the stainless steel upgrade kit in tow to put on it, too, but the wheel broke trying to get to it as it was frozen on the older plated and rusted shaft).

dry grinder and CBN wheel now.

The only place where I can see a tormek making sense is sitting in a tub in a shop where any airborne metal dust is absolutely intolerable.
 

Ttrees

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I don't know how you folks are keeping the thing from soaking everything with the Jet sharpener.
You don't have the option of changing the orientation of the tool, as the tool rest is not on centre.
An iron would have to be close to vertical for that to work.
I must have assembled the wheels on backwards, I can't remember now.
No wait, there is defiantly only one way it goes, as the machine has tabs for the tray.
Maybe the motor is running backwards :lol:

Come to think of it, even cranking the speed up and not using it at all seemed to soak the bench.
Must have a look again at it, the folks knives must be getting dull by now.
Don't know if I've ever sharpened a chisel with it, wouldn't have the time to get it all set up doing odd jobs and that when I'm over there.
Much faster to use the crummy poundshop stone and the end of me belt, than taking near 10 mins to get ready and tool sharpened.
I'm curious now though...

You sure all that water didn't divert into your swimming pool SunnyBob 8)
 

sunnybob

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I've just grabbed the first video I came across. lots of waffle, but cut to 9 and a half minutes in and see the CORRECT way to use the jet. 8)
The machine came with a full colour manual and even a dvd that went on at length on how to use it properly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmTzhUqv2i4
 

AESamuel

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I haven used my tormek clone since I made a jig for my high speed grinder, and I haven't used scary sharp since I got my ceramic waterstone.
 

D_W

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AESamuel":22c0fl1j said:
I haven used my tormek clone since I made a jig for my high speed grinder, and I haven't used scary sharp since I got my ceramic waterstone.

I think these are rational steps that most will take once they've waited too long for the tormek a couple of times, or sliced some abrasive paper a couple of times and got tired of changing it.
 

Tony Zaffuto

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Slow speed 8" grinder and 180 grit CBN wheel, the hone edge on your favorite stone/stones. Very quick.

Back in the 80's, Delta came out with a grinder in a wet bath. I bought one and it was horribly slow. Everytime I think of a Tormek, a little voice in my head says "remember the Delta".
 

D_W

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Tony, enough of those sold here on CL that I almost bought one, but after I gave away the sheppach tormek clone, I found an old carpenter in greensburg who was selling a supergrind for 2/3rds of new price. He was a nice guy and after he retired, he went down the hobbyist rabbit hole buying and playing with things, but liked the worksharp better.

I did everything I could to make the tormek usable, but it just seemed like it needed more speed. And twice i had wheels freeze to the shaft (they've fixed this by now). In reality, the $40 ryobi grinder with aluminum two piece rests that I started with was a better grinder than the tormek, and any number of things is a better strop than a low speed leather wheel. I bought the black wheel, and then the waterstone wheel when I found them for sale deals, and when the black wheel was the second wheel stuck and it broke, I got so fed up with the whole thing that I took the stainless arbor replacement kit, put whatever I had left in a box and shipped it to George. George had a jet sharpener that was flakey about running and the wheel quality wasn't as good, so I said "here, you're retired, so you can waste your time with it, and I give this to you with no obligation to actually use it, so don't feel guilty"

:D

There is a group of folks somewhere who will make use of a tormek and really like the way it works, but I am far too lazy and impatient.
 
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