I have an old tormek and a 1x30 (maybe 32"?) whatever it is belt sander.
They're completely different tools, with basically no overlap in
The tormek system is nifty, but does get expensive, and it has some really
bad design issues too- but it's probably the best wet stone system out
there. It will sharpen most kitchen knives with some practice to a great
edge. It's really good for wood chisels too. I've cut some HSS tooling it
mine as well, but keep in mind this can get real expensive if you wear
down their wheels trying to remove material. use the belt sander for that
and finish the precision edges on the tormek.
The leather stropping wheel the key to the system if you ask me. You will
need the diamond trueing device at some point, there's not way around it
as the wheel is fairly soft. With the black grading stone you can sort of
change the effective grit of the cutting wheel.
The clamps are just pure trash though. They get in the way, have goofy
knobs and levers to clamp with. Something always seems wrong with the
amounts of travel you have to set on all the adjustments too, but again,
it's about as good as it gets.
A Drill Doctor is way harder to use than a tormek.
Wow! Pretty much dead on. Yes the 1x30 belt grinder is by far the most
useful tool. I have a Harbor Freight 1x30 approaching end of life that
I've been using in my shop for years and its done a tremendous amount of
work. I have a Tormek wheel in the garage on the house, and I use it
once in a great while to finish a knife, but I grew up using large oil
stones, and I feel like I can get a working edge faster and more
accurately on a big oil stone.
A nice long triple stone with built in oil bath filled with mineral oil
is my reflexive tool of choice for knives, but I currently do not have
one. (I do have some nice oil stones.) I can use the coarse stone for
all but the most egregious ham hand damage, and put a near polished
working edge on a knife with the fine stone. Growing up working in my
parents grocery store I used to resharpen all the knives in our meat
department once a week, with boning knives occasionally requiring a mid
week touch up. I happened upon a Tormek at an estate sale a couple
years ago with tons of attachments that I found were mostly just awkward
to use at best.
Now I mostly use diamond bench stones with a cardboard and diamond paste
lap in the shop, and when I sharpen kitchen knives for the house I'll
sometimes correct misuse with the Tormek... free hand. I think the only
attachment I use on it is the diamond dressing tool. LOL. I suppose
for some other tools all those attachments might be ok, but there are
better tools for chisels and plane irons, not the least of which is a
heavy glass plate and some wet or dry sandpaper and of course my diamond
Anyway, they are all very different tools, and my opinion and my
experience may not lend itself to the operation of your hands to sharpen
your tools. Ultimately people do use different methods for sharpening
tools and get good results with the experience they have.
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"Bob La Londe" wrote in message
I learned hand sharpening in Jr High from an old Swedish cabinet maker. It
wasn't that difficult but we needed to be personally shown how and practice
maintaining the proper hand positions, especially to sharpen a plane iron
straight and square. To pass that lesson the edge had to be nearly
light-tight against the blade of a try square. Years of amateur abuse of the
oilstones didn't help, and he had no replacement budget.
See how little wood planes changed from the Roman era to the 1800's:
Can you fit a scotchbrite abrasive belt on your HF sanding machine? I
found them too thick to fit on my machine (kalamazoo, or something bright
yellow)- there just isn't enough clearance unless I modify to make a new
table or rest for whatever you're sanding to rest on.
Unfortunately no. I just tried a surface conditioning belt on it a few
days ago. Since mine is approaching end of life due to a hard life in
my shop (its not after all a real commercial machine) I've been thinking
of making my own more configurable version to replace it.
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I played with a Burr-King 2" belt sander (I guess they prefer the term
grinder) at the Fabtech show in Chicago last week.
It was able to grind away a some sort of mill or bastard file with no
effort at all. It was up there with an aggressive angle grinder, but with
no spark shower, no vibration and no noise. Real solid machine.
Specs were 8000SFPM and price is something like $1700, so proably not
getting one of those anytime soon.
I noticed a changing of the guard of sorts for the smaller "family" run
firms. The usual faces were not manning the booths, but a younger crowd
was, some were the kids for sure. So it's good some of these specialty
tool and manufacturing companies will continue to run.
I know someone that has an old Tormek and it sort of destroyed itself. I
had a look at it with a view to repairing it and wasn't impressed with
the design considering the price asked for them. The shaft was just
chrome plated steel and it had rusted and wore through the bushes which
IIRC were moulded as part of the housing. It could have been repaired
but he wasn't that bothered and bought a cheaper lookalike which does
the job for him.
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