View Full Version : Tormek...quality?

mike hanyi
02-20-2007, 02:20 AM
I am happy to say I dont own a tormek but all the places I have worked have them, yes indeed they do a great job and with some skill you can master a good edge. The problem I see and I hope Im not alone is the quality or lack of that the bloody thing has.
It costs a hell of a lot of money compared to the componants that make it up and it does not take an engineer to figure out the problems it has. We are going to rebuild 2 here at school in the following month,and better then new. I hope Tormek would make a new model for the same money as they must be getting rich of the dambed thing.

1. AXLE, chrome plated steel mounted in a plastic bushing,
the chrome wears off, rust pits form and chews a hole thru the
bushings-causing the stone not to be square.
solution- stainless shaft mounted in bronze oilite bushings.
2. HOUSING, powdercoated steel, the coating gets chipped and rust
just takes off under the skin, an ugly affair.
solution- while you are waiting for the custom new stainless
shaft to be made send it out to be blasted and galvanized.
if it was stainless in the first place this wouldent happen.
3. PLASTIC TRAY, every time you move it up or down feeling for the
notches you spill water which is causing the rust in the first
place,and making a mess of your bench, eventually the tabs break
off also.
solution- make a new tray on a sissors lifting device so you dont
need to use the notches.putting a magnet under the tray helps
collect the muck also.

Some people let the machine run for half hour after sharpening so the stone drys out equally, I have seen egg shaped stones caused either by forgetting to lower the tray or water in the lowest part of the stone- A simple timer would be easy to install so you can set and forget.

I hope Im not the only one that can see faults in this overpriced device, if anyone has any other good improvements please post away.

Mike Hanyi

Bob Smalser
02-20-2007, 08:53 AM
... they do a great job and with some skill you can master a good edge.

If you are restoring dozens of old tools at a time, I can see a use for these. If you are builder or woodworker with moderate to considerable experience who rarely grinds but hones frequently, you may not like these at all. If you are a newcomer who still uses jigs to sharpen, these will do more harm than good.


Besides being expensive with all the jigs, slow-speed grinders are exactly that - slow. Anyone with minimal experience can freehand hone using stones several times as fast and almost as well, and can hone any shape or size cutting tool out there without buying another jig. Plus stones travel easily and are much more likely to be set up next to the work for touchups...frequent touchups being severalfold better than once-a-day perfection.

But wasting shop time and using dull tools aren't the big problems....using a crutch in place of essential hand-eye skills is.


If you can't duplicate a consistent angle while sharpening and need a jig, how do you expect to duplicate one with a spokeshave, rasp or drawknife on wood?


And if you can't see the flat you made on the bevel using the stone and correct for it in your next pass, how do you expect to do the same with any hand tool on wood? Yes, even saws.

Newcomers get entirely the wrong idea about sharpening. Freehanding is an essential skill that becomes the foundation for all other hand tool skills. As results in wood using hand tools will never be absolutely perfect....but that's the charm of hand-made pieces....neither will your sharpening. But we're working in wood, not aircraft machine parts, and your sharpening doesn't have to be anywhere near as perfect as mechanical jigs will produce.

Your sharpening will get better as you use your hand tools, and also vice versa. Those who've come to believe that they can't begin to do fine work without a perfect Tormek edge have it entirely backwards.

Plus nobody will ever make a reasonably-priced jig to hold the larger, heavier boatbuilding tools. ;)


Tom Robb
02-20-2007, 02:31 PM
I guess Bob and Jim have settled the matter and we can move on;)

02-20-2007, 02:52 PM
In our shop we use an older version of the Veritas Mk II Power Sharpening system.


It has more than payed for it self in time savings and is extreemly easy to produce and maintain a shaving-sharp edge. If you want to get precise edge angles, the jigs are easy to use, but most of the time we freehand against the rest bar. It's especially nice for working the backs of chisels and plane irons. And, we do sharpen large slicks and drawknives on it as well.

Developing skill using bench stones is certainly an essential part of woodworking though. I've never liked having an oil lube, or cutting fluid, system around finish woodwork (or my skin) so have mostly used water stones. Still, some steel seems to do better on a good hard arkansas stone.

mike hanyi
02-20-2007, 04:13 PM
Well I think I started discussing the tormek and maybe I will just leave the subject alone.

I have my King wetstones-my wetstones. But as there are 12+ students on a daily basis using and sharpening tools I am not about to share them as would you all. I have 2 Barr chisels, and a 150 year old laminated blade slick which I spent over a day getting back into useable condition from the 15 dollars I paid for it, I dont have tools for the sake of collecting them but use them, and the demand on students everyday blades is the reason we have several tormek's, its just a pitty that they cant last is a true high production atmosphere.

Hopefully the hair on my arms will grow back also as im runing out of it there.

so ok now the thread can be put to rest.