Tormek vs Bench Grinder

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Larry Whitted, May 20, 2010.

  1. Larry Whitted

    Larry Whitted

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    I have read several articles that indicate slow wet sharpening is better than high speed on a bench grinder. I don't have any first hand knowledge, but my question is: if you use a Tormek, the majority of the sharpening is done with the tool's edge facing the same direction as the rotation of the stone, and the bench grinder is just the opposite, so, if you start out by getting your initial edge on a bench grinder, do you still have to go against the rotation if you tried final sharpening on the Tormek? Sorry for such a long winded question, but I don't know any way to make it shorter.
     
  2. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Larry Your overthinking it. :) Just sharpen and turn and everything will take care of itself. I know top turners who sharpen only with 60 grit wheels and other turners who sharpen with 600 grit strip sanders. Both turn out a quality product. It's obviously mostly about learning to use what you have. Just my opinion of course and I do enjoy thinking about questions like you ask. These discussions always lead to my learning something new.
    I sharpen mostly on a 100 grit white wheel standard grinder. I also have a Sheppach wet wheel grinder that is at least similar to the Tormek. I have swapped back and forth between the two to try and learn the difference. I cannot tell the difference in the direction of grind. The Sheppach does produce a finer edge if I use the fine stone grader and certainly if I use the strop. I save it mostly for sharpening my plane blades and flat wood chisels. I still prefer the grinder for turning tools.
     
  3. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Higher speed means you can take off more metal in the same time period. Period. Not really our objective when we sharpen. Slow speed wheels are also less sensitive to balance issues - just look at Roy Underhill and his wheel - at the same diameter as high rpm spinners.

    Wet wheels or wet flat stones provide water to cool the edge, hardly necessary with HSS, which is alloyed to resist losing hardness. It also helps clear the swarf, though we want to generate as little as possible because it wastes stone and steel. Also keeps a tub of water in the shop where it can inconveniently gather dust and shavings for papermaking activity, or spill and get everywhere we don't want it to go.

    Stone moving toward the edge curls the wire edge upward, away not so much, which means it's usually not necessary to use a slip to remove it, even if we want to. Wet stone running away hydroplanes a bit, so we tend to press a bit more to hear the grind. Since it's wet, no problem with heat, and we can tolerate irregularities in the roundness a lot better. Wet stone toward grinds a bit faster with less pressure. Dry and away tends to float on the air a bit, so we want to be careful not to press and heat.

    What you do with the edge determines how coarse you can go and get by. If the wood draws along the edge, which is to say perpendicular to your grinding scratches, it looks pretty much the same at 80 as stuffing the nose in with the scratches parallel to movement on a 220 or below. Those of us who carve hone and strop over and over, because we can't always slide sideways and sever, but are forced to push and curl. Don't need to do this when the work keeps running toward us under power, though if we wanted to we could hone over and over with turning tools, getting the same result from our diamond stone as from the wet powered one.

    So, pick your poison. If you're new to turning, which your post suggests, concentrate more on presentation before you go out and blow the bucks on something so expensive you'll feel obliged to do everything including file your toenails on it to justify the expense.
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I never thought about doing my toenails on my belt sander, although I have inadvertently done a fingernail or two occasionally. :D
     
  5. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Sorry, I was just balancing the checkbook earlier, and it included SWMBO's momma's day present of a pedicure. Had I offered to use the shop equipment, I imagine I'd still be in traction.
     
  6. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Grinding

    Guys, do you remember the scene in Dumb and Dumber where they are trimming toenails with a grinder? Funny.
    OK, sharpening- I use a fine oilstone to touch up edges, very carefully, as I work. I wipe off the oil before turning.
     
  7. Daniel Costigan

    Daniel Costigan

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    Wet vs Dry Grinding

    The other day we had a fire in our woodshop caused by a slow speed dry grinder. We use both wet grinding/sharpening and dry grinding/sharpening. Wet grinding/sharpening has proven to be safer, more accurate and less expensive in the long run. Both systems side-by-side are about the same price, only slightly more for wet grinding/sharpening. Out-of-the-box ready to go are wet grinding/sharpening systems. Time is required to become comfortable and familiar with either systems. More time probably for dry grinding/sharpening, mistakes are dangerous and less forgiving. Considering Wood turning tools and the expense wet grinding/sharpening is less expensive because less steel is removed. Considering a 46 -- 120 grit dry grinding/sharpening stone (even with hand honing on a diamond stone) and a 200 -- 1000 -- 2000 wet grinding/sharpening stone the (via approximately 1000 grit wet stone) clearly will cut (our experience) cleaner and smoother. Similar to the analogy of using a 60 grit piece of sandpaper and a 400 grit piece of sandpaper the finish is finer the higher the grit. A finer edge tool when used for "bowl turning" will require less and sometimes no sanding with sandpaper. Counting all the paraphernalia and setup time dry grinding/sharpening systems need to be started from scratch, there are many hidden costs, and set up, jig purchasing, extra stones and no one person to talk to. Wet grinding/sharpening is more controversial however, after 20 years of wood turning our conclusion is wet grinding/sharpening is more effective, safer, easier, and we think faster than dry grinding/sharpening. A sharper more finished cutting-edge will always last longer and be more efficient and therefore safer. Wet grinding/sharpening systems can usually be used for all cutting edges in a woodshop to include lawnmower blades. Please do not get us wrong we do use dry grinding/sharpening however, usually to remove steel quickly or to shape the tool not necessarily to sharpen the tool -- -- we have found the tool edge is not as sharp or long-lasting as a wet grinding/sharpening system results. Clearly just our limited opinion we are by no means an expert however if we were to get another dry grinding/sharpening system we would purchase 8" Baldor slow speed dry grinder
    with sharpening jigs installed. This would be more expensive than our wet grinding/sharpening system.
    http://www.woodturningvideosplus.com/dry-grinder.html

    Very respectfully,
    Daniel Costigan
    Soldier of Infantry/Special Forces
    US Army
     
  8. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    I will say this, in woodturning, you can live without a wet grinder, you can't live without a dry grinder.
    Anyone who has tried to radically change the angle of a tool, or take the chip out of a dropped skew will tell you how laborious it is with a wet grinder, sometimes a 1/2 hour or better.
     
  9. Don Geiger

    Don Geiger

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    Jigs for switching switching back and forth

    In 2009, I developed a version of my sharpening system that enables me to switch from a bench grinder to my Tormek in about 10 seconds and get precisely the same results (except for a slight difference in the hollow grind). It has a very high degree of repeatability. It also enables you to use conventional jigs (such as the Ellsworth or Vari-Grind-etc.).

    I have found the Tormek very useful in maintaining my 85 degree side-ground bowl gouge. Due to the very steep bevel it is extremely dangerous to grind on a bench grinder, but very safe on the Tormek (because of the direction of the rotation of the wheel).

    Also, Tormek came out with a way to use their bowl gouge jig on a bench grinder. I haven't used one, but I wonder about the repeatability.

    Mine includes a gauge to set the distance to the wheel which also compensates as the wheel gets smaller. I'll have it at my booth at the AAW Symposium in Hartford if anyone wants to see it.


    Don Geiger
     
  10. Daniel Costigan

    Daniel Costigan

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    Wet/dry grinding/sharpening

    Not sure we would like to live without both systems, wet and dry, they both have the purpose of helping us to practice both the function and art. The function of wood turning is far different than the art of wood turning. We have an obligation when young people or new people ask about our experiences to speak the truth as we experience it. We have not experienced long times shaping or removing nick's from the edge of turning tools. Our experience from many of the vendors is that dry grinding systems have a very high level of costs associated and extreme high level of profit margin for these companies. We do not think we will ever wear out one of our turning tools which we use on a daily basis when using a wet system because wet systems remove such little material from the tool. We have experienced what we consider long times shaping a tool with a wet system even at the lowest grit level of 200 -- 250 grit -- -- no more than 5 -- 15 minutes even when changing the shape of a tool drastically. Realizing, most bowl makers have only learned using the dry system and are somewhat reluctant to change also, this subject is very controversial and usually brings about strong opinions many of which are just not true. We are only trying to offer what we have experienced and when we share our experiences, strength and hope with other turners who use a wet system most will not go back to the dry system. We rarely use our dry system however, we would not get rid of it. We also experience a real joy and serenity cutting wood with a really sharp cutting tool. We have not seen many professional turners using a wet system however there are also many new systems toolmakers are proposing such as belt grinding which is also wonderful and usually cool temperature wise, this is true however, a tool sharpened at anything less than 100 grit will give you a cut at the same level -- -- whereas a tool sharpened and honed at 1000 or above cannot be adequately compared. One needs to experience this phenomenon to be able to speak about the experience. The obligation we feel strongly about is to help new people safely get started and at least understand that there may be other ways to cut wood and sharpen tools and bring satisfaction to artisans, recipients of the art and users of the art on a daily basis. We think the question asked of this new person is certainly a valid question and can only be answered adequately by artisans who have used these sharpening systems. While we have only seen knife makers and carvers use a belt with diamond honing wheels system is another method that does have some merit. We have actually heard an instructor say one time he would not have a wet system in his wood workshop. We on the other hand are open and are curious about the methods and results others are able to obtain and how they do it. Our experience is wet grinding/sharpening is superior to dry grinding/sharpening and really does not take more time using a wet system. Especially, when considering how long does a sharp tool remain sharp, the sharper the tool cutting edge of longer will it remain sharp unless of course you cut a nail -embedded in the wood -- -- our attempt at humor. This is an interesting discussion we thank you. We hope it is of some help to the new people. A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still and we certainly did not want to change your opinion. We were of the opinion that dry grinding/sharpening was the only way for quite a while until an old wood worker told us about their experiences with wet/sharpening/grinding and we were able to try it. It has improved our results remarkably so. And when we get together and show him our work, even though, his eyesight is failing he can tell immediately how sharp our tools are just by the feel. As an aside we have noticed we use sandpaper much less than before.
    Very respectfully,
    Daniel Costigan
    Soldier of Infantry/Special Forces
    US Army
     
  11. JRutten

    JRutten

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    Dry vs. Wet

    Don't know if you have figured it out yet Larry but wet vs dry sharpening is one of those questions that has no right answers. Just pick a system and go with it. There are people who turn on regular grinders that wouldn't think of doing anything else. There are people who turn on wet grinders who think it is the best. Me? I sharpen my gouges on my Tormek and my skews and scrapers on a grinder. I started with a dry grinder and a wolverine system and then someone in my woodturning club was selling his Tormek so I got it. I love the edge that comes off the Tormek for gouges, but that's me. I guess what I am saying is buy a Tormek or like system or buy a grinder and the wolverine system. You really can't go wrong either way.

    Daniel,

    Just kind of wonder why you say "we" and "our". Do you work in a woodturning factory or something. It might give more credence to your opinion and people may certainly be interested in the difference between an individual shop as opposed to a factory setting. For instance, you mentioned a fire started by the dry grinder. Was OSHA involved in any way in this? Just wondering.
     
  12. Mark Warden

    Mark Warden

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    I have both systems but other than skews I like the dry grinder for turning tools.Yes you can get a much sharper edge with the wet grinder and stropping wheel looks beautiful and cuts great I use it for all my flat work chisels,planer and jointer blades.But when it comes to turning tools I find if i sharpen and hone too much I burnish the wood while riding the bevel.This in itself can leave a nice finish but has to be sanded if you want to add any other kind of finish.That and the fact I don't have water running out to my shop make the wet system not as convenient so when I do setup the wet I usually make it a sharpening day and do everything I can find.:)
     
  13. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    This is not true at all, it is all based on who's hand the tool is in and a huge misconception.
     
  14. Daniel Costigan

    Daniel Costigan

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    Dry vs. Wet

    And here is an article that may help with the understanding of this subject.

    Perhaps, we were not clear and made some grammatical errors and even misspoke. The cut surface of wood especially the curvature of a wooden bowl is directly proportional to the sharpness of the cutting edge of the cutting tool and skill of the craftsmen/artisan. A sharper tool, the sharpest tool will produce a smoother cut. It is very similar to sandpaper which cuts the wood surface- the finer the sandpaper the finer the finish. The art of the craft is different then the function, this we agree, all things being equal a skilled craftsman, an artist can usually produce better results and almost always better results than we can produce. Sometimes we produce fine looking and very functional wooden bowls of some use for the people we share with our work. We would love to tell you that even with sharp tools we always produce wonderful works of art that bring joy to others, this is not so but we can tell you that we do produce consistently sharp easily reproducible cutting edges on our tools and we have found that this is important to us. A Japanese craftsmen once told us that when cutting wood with a very sharp tool you can hear the former birds chirping in the trees. Most Japanese craftsmen will almost always use wet stones to sharpen their wood cutting tools. They would not think of overheating their edges of the cutting tools unless they are forging the material in the beginning of production and toolmaking. We like to think that overheating a tool should be for tool production. Usually the only time we allow a cutting tool to become hot is when cutting dry versus wet wood even then we still can touch the edge of the cutting tool without branding ourselves and a very sharp tool will produce less friction and usually less heat. As an aside and an attempt to become humorous to lighten this subject -- -- what is the only other job a wood turner or stonemason or stone Carver can do other than their trade or profession? They can become good burglars because they usually do not have any fingerprints left. We hope you enjoy our humor more than our truth, our experience, strength and hope. At this stage of our career the Limited currency left is only our integrity and this we hope to leave with you. We refer you to this article and perhaps you might have some comments. We did not know this gentleman who wrote this article however, we found it helpful.



    http://www.morewoodturning.net/articles/sharpen.pdf

    Very respectfully,
    Daniel Costigan
    Soldier of Infantry and Special Forces,
    U.S. Army-r
     
  15. Dave Peebles

    Dave Peebles

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    Daniel,

    I would also like to hear the details of the fire started by the dry grinder. Were there some house keeping issues going on that contributed to this event?

    I also am interested in who we refers to. Do you work for a large turning shop?

    Truth be told, I think both methods work just fine. But I am a Prohibition sharpener... dry all the way. I don't even use DNA. ;)

    Best wishes,

    Dave
     
  16. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Ah yes, Lynn. He never could understand why what he wrote was untrue. It's presentation, primarily which determines surface, not some fracturingly thin blindingly bright edge. Save them for carving where you can't side-slip, and must faithfully reproduce not only the tool shape, but every irregularity in your edge.

    If you require a demonstration of why/how you can cut cleanly with coarse edges, run a piece of wood through your tablesaw, or pick up a nice ryoba and set to work by hand. Then take what you learned to the lathe, and present the tool so the wood runs down the edge not into it as it passes.
     
  17. Chris Stolicky

    Chris Stolicky

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    I have evolved over the past few years in my sharpening challenges....

    I use both a dry grinder and a Tormek. The past few months I have found myself sharpening my bowl gouges and scrapers on the dry grinder and my skews and spindle gouges on the Tormek.

    There are unique advantages to both systems. Lately, the largest disadvantage I have had is balancing the Norton wheels on my dry grinders (2). Truing the wheels only helps so much. I may try to invest in steel bushings for the wheels and see if that helps. I attempted to make some bushings out of a scrap of hard maple but they never made it off of the lathe in one piece :rolleyes:

    I actually find that the Tormek is much neater to use. The dry grinder always throws dust all over the place. Plus, you don't want to be breathing that stuff!
     
  18. DOCworks

    DOCworks

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    Tormek vs Bench Grinder vs ....

    This is a little late, but I was wondering if others have an experience with belt grinders? I have a dry grinder and a Tormek, I like both for different reasons. I use the dry grinder mostly for my turning tools and the Tormek for kitchen knives. I have never been really happy with the balance of my grinder wheels on either machine. The Tormek isn't much of a problem as it's speed is so slow. The honing wheel has a bump in it that I've never been able to get out. I making a 2" x 72" belt grinder for some of my tool making and am going to try using it for sharpening my lathe tools. I wish I had all the money I've spent on sharpening equipment over the years, I think I could have a right nice Oneway.

    Bill
     
  19. allen jay

    allen jay

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    tormek truing attachment

    tormek makes a very good truing attachment
    and if you have the wolverine system for your dry grinder they too have a wonderful truing attachment
     
  20. Dick Sowa

    Dick Sowa

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    OK...good points on all sides. Here's another. Applying a tool to a 2†dia spindle, at 2,000 RPM for one minute, will cover nearly 1,000 feet! Now, if you sharpen your tools with a Tormek, is the edge that razor sharp one you expect with a bench chisel? If so, within seconds, your sharpening effort will be dulled by your turning. If you can slap your tool in the Tormek, get a sharp (reasonably sharp) edge within 20-30 secs, and continue turning, then maybe it will work for you. Frankly, I lean toward just not bothering to mess with a "perfect" edge, and just want to get on with turning.
     

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