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I have a problem. Do you have a problem or do we have a problem she asked. A problem shared is a problem halved I offered.

So in effect you want me to share half of your problem she countered. My silence conveyed my inability to convince my wife she had a problem apart from what standing in front of her.

Yes and no I said. Let’s start with yes she responded. Well as you know I have lots of not so sharp tools in my workshop. Are you included she asked, with not a hint of sarcasm.

You know what I mean, of course dear, do go on. I wondered at this point whether I should indeed go on, however my in built perseverance overcame what little male common sense I had at my disposal.

Well sharpening chisels and planes on a stone takes forever, especially the amount of dings I seem to gather at the pointy end. And I thought why not automate the process.

At this point her hands had progressed to her hips, I knew she was waiting for the I need a machine thingy.

At this point she intervened. I thought you were retired and time was your friend. I don’t mind you spending hours or even days in your workshop. If fact I will treat you to a new set of chisels. You will I asked incredulously. Yes I would be delighted.

In my haste to accept her generous offer it never occurred to me they will also eventually require hours of honing over a wet stone. She is so devious.

I had to come clean. It’s not the time, I just can’t do it I confessed. What she enquired. I started to explain that I never get the angle correct. Every time I lift the blade to check I start at another angle and I can never get the chisel to a dead ninety degree cutting edge, no matter how much effort I put in or jigs I utilise.

Ok she half sympathized, what is it and how much. I wondered at this point if I should force out a tear or two.

What do you mean I feigned. How much she repeated. Oh you mean the chisel sharpener. There are lots of models out there all different prices. How much. Well it depends on the quality and manufacturer. God I was struggling.

Any of you guys know how to tell your better half that it costs £550 to sharpen a chisel. I certainly hadn’t a clue.

Go on she prodded, how much. It’s a Tormek I offered. How much. A broken record had nothing on this.


Just over £500. How..... that’s as far as I got. I stepped back as the seizure started. I decided best not interfere and let it run its course. Not surprisingly it ran quite some considerable time, well observing from a safe distance it lasted a couple of minutes, but seemed much longer.

Eventually she managed to raise her head and give me the stare. It’s not a pretty sight, and it does tend to set you back on your heels.

£500 to sharpen a chisel she spluttered. Well in truth it’s just not one chisel, I have quite a few. Wouldn’t it be better just to buy new ones when they get blunt she enquired. I blunt them quite quickly and it’s not cost effective. But a Torment is, she stated. A Tormek I corrected her before my brain caught up

A chisel is for life I offered. I thought that was a puppy she replied. I think you are about to buy a puppy she finished with.

I had clearly not thought this out, my first idea of a problem shared was definitely not a problem halved.

I had nothing left, apart from half a dozen blunt chisels.

As I turned to go with slumped shoulders, I thought about slitting my wrists, but had nothing sharp enough to do the job efficiently.

As you guys and gals know there are lots of reasonably priced wheels out there, but nothing compares to the Tormek, and you never see a second hand one for sale. They really are like a puppy, for life.

As far as tools are concerned I only have a couple of rules. Firstly never buy what you need. Always buy what you want, because you usually want a tool you can’t afford. Personally In my case I end up wanting something I usually can’t afford. Which leads me to my second rule. Always buy a tool you can’t afford. It pays in the long run.

Sounds somewhat complicated but it comes down to value for money, not in that very purchase moment, but instead, in the years to come as that tool contributes to your development as a craftsman.

So you may ask how good was my new Torment. Didn’t go exactly to plan.

Let’s explore the word Compatible. You know it’s when you go online to buy some printer ink and find out it’s more expensive than the equivalent high end Krug Champagne per litre. Next to your genuine ink is the fraction of the price compatible equivalent. It’s a no brainier. If you are lucky it works fine, if not a new printer is on your shopping list.

Now take that analogy and carry it over to chisel sharpeners and that’s where I ended up. A local company we’re selling them off at half price due to Mark 2 released.

Bought it for £25 with a 220 and 450 plate included. Had an old foam lined box which I cut up and purchased some lapping fluid and a 1200 and 100 diamond plate.

Results:



Does it make me feel any better. No

Does it work. Yes

Does it work fast. No

Does it work slow Yes

Does it hurt my hand. Yes

Am I a happy bunny. No

Do I still want a Tormek. Yes


So had it a week and the biggest drawback for me personally is that I found out none of my pointy things had near the 25 or 30 degree angle and subsequently the initial honing lasted forever and a day. However when you do achieve the required angle subsequent sharpening goes a lot quicker.


I have included a few photos of the grit plates I used.


And you can see from my last photo how sharp my chisel is now. One single blow from my toffee hammer sent that chisel flying through that batten. That batten looks like it might just be a lump of white wood. But it’s not, it’s called the Scottish Ebony, much like the Black Ebony, but ten times harder, a very rare species, and only found around my house. There may be a few sceptics reading this and scoffing, but hand on stomach it’s the truth, so help me Judas.


Colin

Some where in Scotland standing under an Ebony tree with eventually not so blunt tools
 

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Oh my, a dilemma of the first order. To buy, or not to buy, it's a devil of a question.. First let me share my Work Sharp 2000 and the case I made to hold it and all the glass plates, abrasives, etc. It has a jig to hold it at the correct angle, and I was able with it to resurect a long dead 3/4 inch chisel that had been royally abused. It's a cute thing, isn't it. I left the dust on it to communicate how much it gets used.

398578


However, after I sharpened a few older chisels, I found that after a basic sharpening, flattening the back, that I just don't ever use it anymore. It wasn't cheap, nor were the accessories. And believe me, I insist that my high end chisels be shave-your-arm-fuzz sharp at all times. What you might need is a pry bar of some sort to reach for instead of a chisel. That and to remember to put your sharp chisels away so they don't rust, and safe from grabbing instead of the pry bar.

So compared to the ease of using various grits of sandpaper on a thick glass block, it turns out my WorkSharp 2000 is now simply holding down a shelf. It's cute red knobs, clever case and all those expensive flat glass disks aren't doing anything. It's been on that shelf long enough so I forgot about the cute red knobs. Used shiny finger nail polish.

To keep a sharpened chisel as keen as I want them, I have a couple of diamond stones and a bit of light lubricant. Before putting it away, I take about 6-10 strokes on the coarser and again on the fine diamond stone, plus a little strop work, and it's so sharp that a carpenter I hired to help me install a double door, borrowed one to carve out a little mortise. His eyes brightened and he blurted out, "Wow, I've never used a chisel this sharp before!"

So, my suggestion is to forget the Tormek, or even a WorkSharp and invest in flat glass, some sandpaper for rough sharpening, and some diamond stones and lube. Use that money to buy a really fine set of chisels, watch the videos on the "Scary Sharp" method of preparing and sharpening them.

I also suggest learning to use a jig to hold the correct angle, and anything from about 25 to 35 degrees will work darn well.

Or buy a machine and watch the dust settle in. Whatever you do, don't let your wife read this because it will almost certainly put the Kybosh on your Tormek. So rather than spend the 500 on it, look for something else that calls to you. Lord knows, one does not have to need something when wanting it will suffice.

If I were there, I take you over to a pub to contemplate your choices.
 

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I had a similar discussion, well plea, with my wife last night about the space I have and the tools I have. I reasoned that consolidating tools makes total sense versus the cost of an expansion project. The item at the center of the discussion (plea) is a Hammer A3-31 with a helical head of course. It's a room saver, marriage breaker, all rolled up in one. This could/would replace my 8" Powermatic jointer with the helical head installed and 13" planer with helical head. No rewiring required......I thought I had every angle covered but I seemed to miss a few like maybe needing to forfeit a cruise or two along the way but not if I get a fairly decent price on the old planer and jointer.........I kept waiting on the heater to kick on as the room seemed to get cold fast but maybe it was just an evil spirit that was near. It seems to be under consideration and to be determined at a later point in time.
 

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Colin, every time I see that you have posted anew, I know that hilarious entertainment will soon be mine and this one was no exception. Your writing style and unique turn of a phrase provide a mental picture of the encounter that made me laugh aloud. I am fortunate that my lovely wife never questions my "need" for another tool or its cost. Maybe that's because her weaving loom "needs" are pretty pricey also, and I never question their presence or hesitate to assemble them when they arrive. In fact, my next project is a maple yarn storage cabinet of immense proportions...starting soon.
 

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I bought a Tormac about 15 years ago and was very disappointed with it. During my 50 year career I did most things almost at the double and I therefor found the slowness of sharpening on the Tormac to be frustratingly slow. A professional turner friend of mine advised me to get a slow speed grinder like his and with 80 grit wheels then use the chisels straight off the grinder. My turning improved no end. When I posted the details on this forum I was crucified and various reasons were given. Every time I posted evidence that many professional turners Used the same method I was threatened with expulsion! Here is but one professional who uses the same method. Here is an extract from an article by Nick Cook Nick Cook Woodturner - Biography
 

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Colin, I also have the Tormack sharpening system. I would have to look at my paperwork to see when I bought it. I know its been over 15 years. I really like it for flat chisels, knives and planer blades. I sharpened a friends knife when we were working in the garage. He proceeded to cut his finger. He did not realize what sharp meant. I do not buy tools to make money, but I have sharpened many planer and jointer knives for other people. I charge them 25 cents an inch. The amount of time is directly related to how abused they were before sharpening. I had one set where the middle was worn down and it took me a while to get flat.

The main advantage of the Tormack is their jigs. Each one costs extra money!! If you are good enough to do this by hand, then you do not need one. But, if you are like me and need the jigs to hold the tool at the correct angle, then it is worth the money for sharp tools. I have the jigs to sharpen lathe tools, but do not use them enough right now to sharpen them.

As with any tool, I could do without, but this system really keeps my chisels, planer and jointer blades sharp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Colin, every time I see that you have posted anew, I know that hilarious entertainment will soon be mine and this one was no exception. Your writing style and unique turn of a phrase provide a mental picture of the encounter that made me laugh aloud. I am fortunate that my lovely wife never questions my "need" for another tool or its cost. Maybe that's because her weaving loom "needs" are pretty pricey also, and I never question their presence or hesitate to assemble them when they arrive. In fact, my next project is a maple yarn storage cabinet of immense proportions...starting soon.
Thanks Chris glad you enjoyed the post. I must admit I do use a certain amount of literary licence when in conversion with my good wife.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh my, a dilemma of the first order. To buy, or not to buy, it's a devil of a question.. First let me share my Work Sharp 2000 and the case I made to hold it and all the glass plates, abrasives, etc. It has a jig to hold it at the correct angle, and I was able with it to resurect a long dead 3/4 inch chisel that had been royally abused. It's a cute thing, isn't it. I left the dust on it to communicate how much it gets used.

View attachment 398578

However, after I sharpened a few older chisels, I found that after a basic sharpening, flattening the back, that I just don't ever use it anymore. It wasn't cheap, nor were the accessories. And believe me, I insist that my high end chisels be shave-your-arm-fuzz sharp at all times. What you might need is a pry bar of some sort to reach for instead of a chisel. That and to remember to put your sharp chisels away so they don't rust, and safe from grabbing instead of the pry bar.

So compared to the ease of using various grits of sandpaper on a thick glass block, it turns out my WorkSharp 2000 is now simply holding down a shelf. It's cute red knobs, clever case and all those expensive flat glass disks aren't doing anything. It's been on that shelf long enough so I forgot about the cute red knobs. Used shiny finger nail polish.

To keep a sharpened chisel as keen as I want them, I have a couple of diamond stones and a bit of light lubricant. Before putting it away, I take about 6-10 strokes on the coarser and again on the fine diamond stone, plus a little strop work, and it's so sharp that a carpenter I hired to help me install a double door, borrowed one to carve out a little mortise. His eyes brightened and he blurted out, "Wow, I've never used a chisel this sharp before!"

So, my suggestion is to forget the Tormek, or even a WorkSharp and invest in flat glass, some sandpaper for rough sharpening, and some diamond stones and lube. Use that money to buy a really fine set of chisels, watch the videos on the "Scary Sharp" method of preparing and sharpening them.

I also suggest learning to use a jig to hold the correct angle, and anything from about 25 to 35 degrees will work darn well.

Or buy a machine and watch the dust settle in. Whatever you do, don't let your wife read this because it will almost certainly put the Kybosh on your Tormek. So rather than spend the 500 on it, look for something else that calls to you. Lord knows, one does not have to need something when wanting it will suffice.

If I were there, I take you over to a pub to contemplate your choices.
Hi Tom looks as though you went through the same early dilemmas I am now going through. Once I get my chisels to the correct angles I will go down your route. Cheers Colin
 

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Hi Tom looks as though you went through the same early dilemmas I am now going through. Once I get my chisels to the correct angles I will go down your route. Cheers Colin
Wish I had that money back. It would cover most of airfare to come visit you. I have a feeling we'd get along, and so would our wives. I would have had a lot more issues with my Jean, but I bought almost all my stuff when I was making the highest income of my whole life.

One day she walked into my shop and asked if I would ever make back as much as I'd spent on tools. I replied, just about as much as you'll make with all your quilting machines. That ended the discussion, and since it all came out of my income, it was a peaceful non issue thereafter.
 

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Oh my, a dilemma of the first order. To buy, or not to buy, it's a devil of a question.. First let me share my Work Sharp 2000 and the case I made to hold it and all the glass plates, abrasives, etc. It has a jig to hold it at the correct angle, and I was able with it to resurect a long dead 3/4 inch chisel that had been royally abused. It's a cute thing, isn't it. I left the dust on it to communicate how much it gets used.

View attachment 398578

However, after I sharpened a few older chisels, I found that after a basic sharpening, flattening the back, that I just don't ever use it anymore. It wasn't cheap, nor were the accessories. And believe me, I insist that my high end chisels be shave-your-arm-fuzz sharp at all times. What you might need is a pry bar of some sort to reach for instead of a chisel. That and to remember to put your sharp chisels away so they don't rust, and safe from grabbing instead of the pry bar.

So compared to the ease of using various grits of sandpaper on a thick glass block, it turns out my WorkSharp 2000 is now simply holding down a shelf. It's cute red knobs, clever case and all those expensive flat glass disks aren't doing anything. It's been on that shelf long enough so I forgot about the cute red knobs. Used shiny finger nail polish.

To keep a sharpened chisel as keen as I want them, I have a couple of diamond stones and a bit of light lubricant. Before putting it away, I take about 6-10 strokes on the coarser and again on the fine diamond stone, plus a little strop work, and it's so sharp that a carpenter I hired to help me install a double door, borrowed one to carve out a little mortise. His eyes brightened and he blurted out, "Wow, I've never used a chisel this sharp before!"

So, my suggestion is to forget the Tormek, or even a WorkSharp and invest in flat glass, some sandpaper for rough sharpening, and some diamond stones and lube. Use that money to buy a really fine set of chisels, watch the videos on the "Scary Sharp" method of preparing and sharpening them.

I also suggest learning to use a jig to hold the correct angle, and anything from about 25 to 35 degrees will work darn well.

Or buy a machine and watch the dust settle in. Whatever you do, don't let your wife read this because it will almost certainly put the Kybosh on your Tormek. So rather than spend the 500 on it, look for something else that calls to you. Lord knows, one does not have to need something when wanting it will suffice.

If I were there, I take you over to a pub to contemplate your choices.
I think there are many effective ways to sharpen and adherents of a method feel strongly theirs are the best--me included. I use the Worksharp 3000. I bought it when the tool was new and never regretted the decision. I am not familiar with the 2000. Perhaps it has limitations that the 3000 does not.
These are the reasons why I like it.
I use different bevel angles on chisels. 35° for mortising, 30°for regular bench use and 25° paring. There is no hunting around to get that angle set as I sharpen different ones. They are presets.
It is a dry process no water and oil to clean up.
I bought thin lapidary diamond disks of different grits on eBay $10 ea. They Last. I use just one glass disk and slap on these diamond disks.
A Worksharp bar assembly is mounted that lets me attach Tormek jigs. This lets me get all my gouges razor sharp easily and quickly. (Worksharp stopped offering this attachment a real shame.)
 
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