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Thread: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

  1. #1
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    Default Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    Picked up a new toy today
    Let me start by saying I'm quite happy getting a hair splitting edge on tools and knives by hand sharpening
    The reason for getting this is the time reduction and drill sharpening, as I now work from home and don't have the full workshop facilities of a large engineering company at my disposal and, more importantly, I was bored today.

    The Pro Edge come in two flavours, the basic (this one) and the deluxe. The deluxe comes with some attachments for grinding wood turning tools (not needed).
    It comes with two aluminium oxide belts 60 and 120 grit, a ball end T allen wrench and two pins for adjusting the tracking.
    The above is all you need to get going with sharpening chisels, plane irons and drill bits

    I also purchased two Trizact belts, 600 and 1200 grit and the large knife sharpening jig

    The pics below are as it came out of the box

    PC031001a.jpg PC031002a.jpg

    PC031005a.jpg PC031006a.jpg

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    Sorby is an excellent brand with a lot of history. https://www.robert-sorby.co.uk/media...of_booklet.pdf
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    Impatient as I am to have a play
    I quickly scanned the instructions, they were clear and concise and decent sized text for eyes of a certain age

    After flipping over the belt tension lever at the top and plugging in the power lead at the socket and the machine.
    The first thing to check was the belt tracking which is adjusted on the top pulley, as it was the tracking was perfect, but I had a play with the adjustment just to see how easy it was. The two pins fit in the locking nut and adjustment shaft, the adjustment was quite fine enabling an accurate setting of the belt to the right of the backing plate.

    Attachment 27474

    I then set the tool rest at 20 degrees (as shown on the front plate mounted to the motor). Setting the tool rest is a very simple operation of undoing a bolt, with the attached spanner, and putting the setting pin in the correct hole for the angle desired, you can set any other angle if you leave the setting pin out.

    PC031018.jpg

    Next up was adjusting the angle of the belt, which is done via a couple of machine screws on the lower housing, again very quick and easy to do.

    PC031016.jpg

    Time to have a go at a "well used" chisel
    PC031037.jpg

    And a minute or two later

    PC031038.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    A quick adjustment of the tool rest to 25 degrees and a thirty second belt change to the Trizact 600 for the secondary bevel
    The side plate comes off after removing a couple of wingnuts, flip the belt tensioner over and off the belt comes.

    PC031048.jpg


    Trizact belt fitted
    PC031050.jpg

    And the result of a bit too much time spent grinding, secondary bevels take a few seconds at most
    PC031053.jpg

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    I don't like a secondary bevel on a chisel, plane irons yes but not chisels. I like to be able to flip them over for working into confined corners. A secondary bevel makes controlling the cut difficult when you do that.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    Next up the knife sharpening jig
    I chose the large knife sharpener set, as this is going to be used on the kitchen knives, which aren't well looked after show pieces

    PC031058.jpg

    And in the box
    PC031060.jpg

    For the knife sharpener you have to fit the raised back rest

    PC031067.jpg

    Followed by a quick change of the tool rest for the support arm and securely clamping the knife in the holder, allows you to set the adjustable stop for the desired angle

    PC031076.jpg

    The knife wasn't too bad so just a quick lick with the Trizact 600 and it was done
    A little bit of care and attention is required to get an even grind along the entire edge but gave a good result

    PC031079.jpg

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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    I tend to have a variety of grinds on my chisels depending on the application, but the secondary bevel in the picture is much more than I would normally do. The 600 Trizact was much more aggressive than I was expecting, so much so that I didn't use the coarser belt on a couple of chisels or the knife.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    I don't like a secondary bevel on a chisel, plane irons yes but not chisels. I like to be able to flip them over for working into confined corners. A secondary bevel makes controlling the cut difficult when you do that.

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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    I dressed up a couple of axes with the 120 grit belt, using the tool rest as a guide for the angle, it took a bit of attention to get an even grind due to the uneven profile of the axe heads, but easily achieved a good result (no pictures)
    And finally a bit of drill sharpening, only one as it was getting late.
    I set the tool rest to 60degrees as a guide and ground the drill "freehand".
    I tried a four facet grind but I need a bit more practice with the set up to get a decent grind.
    Considering the drill was heavily chipped on the corners the grinding was as quick as I could do on a standard grinder, but achieved a much finer finish

    PC031008 (2).jpg

    That's all for now

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    Interesting machine. I suppose one could go into the sharpening business with one. $525+ makes it an expensive toy, though.

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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    I guess the exchange rate has been inflated, they are 300 (around $380) over here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    Interesting machine. I suppose one could go into the sharpening business with one. $525+ makes it an expensive toy, though.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    Thanks for the review, a nice addition to the workshop!
    Not criticising, but is there a curve at the edges of the chisel?
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    There is a slight curve, but put that down to operator error. The 600grit Trizact belt worked a lot quicker than expected.
    There are a couple of guides available that will hold chisels/planes at 90degrees to the belt that will eliminate any user errors like that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stiletto View Post
    Thanks for the review, a nice addition to the workshop!
    Not criticising, but is there a curve at the edges of the chisel?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    I had another play last night, I clamped an aluminium bar to the tool rest to act as a guide (I'll take some pictures later) so that I could have a go at some old Dewalt thicknesser blades.
    In the past the blades have cost me almost as much to sharpen as to buy new, so I had a couple of sets laying about.

    This is where the quality of the ProEdge shows, as the tool rest is very solid, with very little flex.

    After setting up the 16" guide bar on the tool rest I tried the 120grit belt but it was making the blades a bit hot, as I needed to remove quite a bit of metal. I fitted the 60grit belt which did the four blades in a matter of minutes.
    I the polished the edges with 120 followed by the Trizact 600.

    The sharpening of these blades has paid for a third of the Proedge already

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    Nice tool!
    Quote Originally Posted by artif View Post
    ... I tried the 120grit belt but it was making the blades a bit hot, as I needed to remove quite a bit of metal.
    I wondered about the edge burn with a non-cooled abrasive. It must turn slowly?
    Do you strop or hone the edge after the 600 grind?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    The belts run fairly slowly but the trick to avoiding burn is to use an abrasive that is coarse enough to do the job quick enough.
    As I had to take about 1mm off the blades to remove the chips, the 120 was making the blades a little too hot to hold with bare hands (but not hot enough to burn the edge), the 60grit was fine
    Once the bulk of the material was removed/desired shape was achieved, the finer grades were just used to remove the coarse grind marks.
    I went up to the 1200grit Trizact belt for the final finish, after taking the wire edge off the back with a couple of strokes of a diamond stone.
    I don't think honing was required for these blades as the 1200 left a fairly well polished edge.
    Note - there is a 3000 grit Trizact belt for very fine polishing giving a 2micron finish (ie disposable razor blade finish)
    You can also get an attachment that fits to the bottom pulley to fit a buffing mop, for the show pieces

    I must add that changing the belts is a 30 second operation if you remove and replace the side guard (even less if you ignore H&S and leave the guard off) which is this systems big plus point, enabling the correct grade to be used.
    The belts are fairly cheap as well.

    Having said all that, I did burn a small chisel, but again this was down to operator error.
    I got carried away on the initial grinding/shaping of the chisel (it was a 1/4") and left it on the 120grit too long. Still getting used to how quick this works

    Quote Originally Posted by jackster View Post
    Nice tool!


    I wondered about the edge burn with a non-cooled abrasive. It must turn slowly?
    Do you strop or hone the edge after the 600 grind?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    Don't think you really need it as the 3000grit Trizact belt gives a 2 Micron finish, but as above there is a buffing mop attachment available that fits on the lower pulley if required

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    I wonder if there is such a thing as a belt of something flat that could be loaded with chromium oxide compound.

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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    OK a quick rework of the chisel previously done badly with the overzealous secondary bevel.
    Here are some pictures of the finish with each grade of belt I currently have - 60 grit, 120 grit, 600 grit Trizact and 1200 grit Trizact
    I left the wire edge on the blade in each picture, to give an indication of how it reduces each time, in case you were wondering about the slightly ragged appearance of the edge. A quick rub across the palm of my hand (don't try this at home kids) removed it after the 1200 grind

    a.jpg
    60 grit finish

    b.jpg
    120 grit finish

    c.jpg
    600 Trizact finish

    d.jpg
    1200 Trizact finish

    e.jpg
    And finally, the set up I used for the thicknesser blades and draw knives, not pretty but it worked very well.
    Ideally it could do with a fine screw adjustment to move the blade as its ground back, plus a few other luxuries to make it even easier ( a project for when I get really bored)

    So to sum up, I really like this machine, its very well constructed, a proper machine tool with solid rests and decent sized threads on the adjustment screws etc so minimal chance of stripping/damaging them and metal guards.
    Its quiet in operation
    I like that its ready to go out of the box, and with a couple of extra belts you can get a very fine edge on most tools.
    The knife sharpener is quite good, ideal for working knives. Repeatability of the grind angle would take some care. I suppose I could measure and record the stop on the knife holder to blade edge and get repeatable angles on the knives, but I'll stick to my Lansky sharpener for the best knives.
    The correct grade of belt is essential to get the best out of it,coarse 60 grit for quick removal of material and cooler grinding followed by polishing with the finer grades.
    IMHO the 600 trizact is the finest that most will need, but you can't have too much of a good thing so I will be getting the 3000 trizact soon and probably the buffing wheel as well.
    It's very quick to get an edge and equally quick to change the belts.
    A couple of minor niggles are, I need to get the short tool rest for some of my shorter chisels and a wide adjustable rest for doing thicknesser/draw knife blades would be a very useful addition (not available to buy yet).

    That's it for now, I'll update if I get any more bits, hope its been useful
    Cheers
    Last edited by artif; 12-05-2018 at 06:43 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    I like the fact that a flat rather than a concave bevel can be ground with this machine. It looks to be a machine that is of good quality! I have a Tormek grinder that does work with a water bath for the wheel but I do not like the concave cut it produces as it often removes more steel than i would like to loose on many of my cutting tools. I think if this machine had been available when I bought the Tormek I might have considered it.
    Looks good!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    If you search youtube for "crimson guitars sorby pro-edge" there are a number of videos - worth watching.

    The guy is a luthier not a boat builder - but he also trades in hand tools - see the cabinet behind him.

    Here's an example
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    Well that would have saved a lot of time and messing about with pictures if I'd found that video
    Good to see he has similar thoughts on the Pro edge build quality etc
    Cheers for posting

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    If you search youtube for "crimson guitars sorby pro-edge" there are a number of videos - worth watching.

    The guy is a luthier not a boat builder - but he also trades in hand tools - see the cabinet behind him.

    Here's an example

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    One trick I use when hand honing a Japanese chisel on a water stone is to make an up swing on the bevel side as the chisel is lifted off the stone on the very last draw pass. This creates a micro micro micro bevel burr that is then polished off of the flat back.
    Jay

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    I read about this Sorby system in Australian Wood Review.
    Sounded pretty good.
    basil

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Robert Sorby Pro Edge sharpening system

    I just sold one of these, good machine but i prefer hollow ground bevels on my chisels so it didnt get a lot of use!

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