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Tormek Slow Speed Wet Grinder (2000)

The Tormek SuperGrind 2004 slow speed wet grinder. Expensive but great. I still use the Scary Sharp method from time to time, but this is my workhorse sharpener.

This is the one tool I'd think twice about purchasing again. I'm not sure if it doesn't meet my expectations because my expectations are too high or what, but for the high price I expected more. Don't get me wrong - it does a good job quickly. But I just can't get that razor sharp edge that you could split a hair with.

Not only is the initial purchase price high, but every accessory you'll need is quite expensive also. Want to do gouges, shell out another $60. How 'bout jointer/planer knives - then fork over another $160. Scissors - you'll need another $59 jig. Check out the link on the picture above for all the attachments and their prices. The one advantage of all these jigs though is that you can sharpen just about anything with this grinder. If you've got the cash, you can sharpen it with this tool.

Heres's a picture of my sharpening station that includes the Tormek and a traditional 6" variable speed grinder. The station is very handy since I keep all my Tormek jigs in the drawers underneath the benchtop. It's great to have all my sharpening needs in one place and permanently set up and at the ready.

Update: Here are a few comments I wrote in late 2004 about my experience with the Tormek.
The review on my web site needs a bit of updating, but it reflects the mixed emotions I had in the first year or so of owning this thing. At that time I was getting acceptable edges, but I could almost do better with scary sharp or stones. Since then I've gotten much more time on the Tormek, and I now can get great edges on whatever I throw its way.

I use mine for all the edge tools in my shop except for jointer/planer knives, and I'm now saving my pennies for that jig too. Plane irons, scrapers, turning tools, knives, chisels, etc. I've got mirror edges on all that stuff.

I think the thing that I've learned with the Tormek is to not be shy about using pressure - on the stone but especially on the honing wheel. That's the key (for me at least) to getting great mirror edges - spending a few seconds doing a thorough job on the honing wheel. And don't be shy about using the stone grader and the diamond truer jig to expose a fresh cutting surface on your stone wheel.

You can no doubt get even better edges with stones, but for me the Tormek is so much easier and more repeatable and quicker (yeah, I said "quick" - one of the common misconceptions about the Tormek is that it's slow - not if you're doing things right). There is a point of diminishing returns with degrees of sharpness, and for me the Tormek balances speed and quality nicely.

Update2: Here is a link to a page about my sharpening station.

© Copyright 2006 Chris Billman