Episode 41 Wetstone Jigs and Stone Dressing

Episode 41 Wetstone Jigs and Stone Dressing

The wetstone sharpeners are just one part of the system – the jigs that are available make it a very versatile machine.  This video covers both some of the jigs that are available, as well as dressing the stone, so it is flat and parallel to the jig support arm.

12 Responses

  1. Another great video. It is always good to see these tools being used. Are you planning a video around the the leather wheel (No pun intended)?
    Are the triton sharpeners readily available?

  2. I’m probably not going to, mainly because there is little extra to be gained from seeing it on video – use the same jig, with the support arm in the alternate orientation, and the wheel turning away from the tool, add honing compound and polish away.

    However, I tend to think that in the case of turning tools, this grinder is already going beyond what is needed in the way of finishing – ie they end up smoother and sharper than the pros consider necessary. In the case of planes etc, I don’t think the honing wheel will achieve a sufficient finish, and the next step (and an upcoming video (series)) will be about the different finishing systems that come after the initial edge shaping that occurs on the wheel – such as diamond stones, water stones etc.

    In the case of a kitchen knife or axe or whatever, then sure – give it a quick hone just by wiping it across the leather wheel a few times (wheel turning AWAY from the tool remember!) Oil the leather before first use, and use the honing compound each time.

    The last reason I wasn’t really focusing on the leather wheel, is how badly they suffer from runout (on the Triton) – damned thing weaves all over the place. My inclination (and this may be a subject for another video), is to take that wheel off, strip the leather off it, and make an MDF one that is actually round and can run without weaving like it is 3/4 the way through a bottle of Tequila. It lets down what is otherwise a good product given its price (and as said above, honing isn’t anywhere as useful as the wetstone is).

    Availability – shouldn’t be too bad, but I don’t know about current stock levels. For some reason, there were none available for the Melbourne Show. Cost was $200 last time I looked.

  3. Thanks for the extensive reply would I be better off with the scheppach?

  4. The Scheppach and Triton are identical, except for price, and colour.

    The Triton is made by Scheppach, in the Scheppach factory, under licence to Triton.

  5. I find it interesting that you gave no mention of the noise and rattling that the tormek truing tool makes. I picked the new version up to have the feed screw. Needless to say I was less than thrilled with how poorly it is constructed. That said, it does work. For the price I just think it should have tighter tolerances.

  6. That is interesting – that it never crossed my mind as an issue. So I’ve been sitting here thinking about the tool, and wondering why it didn’t pop up on my radar (as that sort of thing typically will do), and I think it comes down to a couple of things.

    Firstly, that I have experienced both the older Tormek and Scheppack jigs – both require hand feeding (rather than a screw feed), and they also have a lot of slop in them, and then moving onto the new Tormek, it was a reasonable improvement, so didn’t see it as worse than the previous models.

    Secondly, and this is where it is fundamental to the tool’s operation, and review:

    The amount of vertical movement in the diamond tip arm has no impact in the tool’s operation. So long as it comes to rest against the reference edge, it will cut a true surface. I don’t recall any rattle (although I haven’t watched the video again), but if it is there, it certainly is secondary to the amount of noise forcing a diamond tip sideways through the top layer of a grinding wheel!

    However, just on your last sentence: “For the price I just think it should have tighter tolerances.” my response would be

    For the price of any Tormek jig, considering their method of construction, and the quality of machining and finish, they are all way over-priced, and I’m surprised they are not gold coated. It is why I haven’t bought more of them (jigs). The price of the knife sharpener for example just for a low tech, poorly finished, grip for a blade, I’m just stunned that there isn’t a whole range of Chinese equivalents on the market for 1/5 – 1/0th the price. (GMC give one away with their $150 sharpener, and it works just as well- considering that is only twice the price of the Tormek jig, it means you are getting a similar knife holder for the same price, plus an entire wet stone grinder for $70)

  7. “However, I tend to think that in the case of turning tools, this grinder is already going beyond what is needed in the way of finishing – ie they end up smoother and sharper than the pros consider necessary.”

    There are plenty of “pros” that hone turning tools to a much higher level of sharpness than a grinder leaves. And Skews are generaly sharpened to the same level of perfection as a bench chisel. Few would accept a hand plane blade “straight from the grinder.”

    Why should generaly accepted sharpening standards for tools be abandened for turning tools? There may have been justification for this when better abrassives were generally not available to the hobbiest and the harder tool steels were difficult to deal with.

    I do not believe this argument holds true in an era of diamond laps, advansed abrassive belts, waterstones and the profusion of inexpensive powered grinding and honing systems.

    • Hi GAB,

      I do understand exactly where you are coming from, and it did mystify me as well (that turners are happy with a really rough (comparatively) finish off a 100 grit stone, when we take our chisels and planes up to 8000 and beyond.)

      The reason I put that comment there is – I know or have seen a few of Australia’s master woodturners, and in each case the finish they achieve off these grinders is more than sufficient for the incredible quality of turning they can achieve. I have to accept they know a lot more than I do on the subject, so if they say it is more than sufficient, then they are the authority.

      For my own tools, yeah, I get them to a polished edge, and my reasoning behind that (and how that supposedly contradicts my previous paragraph), is they may be expert turners, but they are also expert grinders, and I can’t hope to match how precisely they can dress a tool with the ease they do, so using jigs to perfect the shape of my tools is my way of addressing the lack of time I have to practice my technique (plus I don’t want to waste any more of the steel in my chisels than I have to!) I also have the luxury of time – doesn’t matter if I take a few minutes to reestablish a perfect edge, vs a couple of seconds – I don’t have to rush.

      The counter argument may also be down to the angle of attack is significantly different for turning chisels – they are only making contact over a very small area of the cutting face of the tool, whereas a plane for example, the entire face of the blade is meeting the workpiece at the same time. A number of turning chisels also use a scraping action, rather than a slicing one (but a lot do slice, so I guess that isn’t sufficient), green timber vs seasoned?, grain direction vs tool angle – I don’t know but there must be other reasons why turning tools have different rules applied to the acceptability of the finish.

  8. Just readfing your blog and noticed the discussion about Triton wetstone grinders. They have now gone broke and are no longer available.

    My company (Promac) imports and distributes Tormek and sometimes it is wise to pay a little more for something that you know works and will be around to support you if have any troubles. All our machines come with a 7 year warranty, full instructions and we back it up. Cheapest surely is NOT always best?


    • Hi Wayne, Welcome (back) to Tormek. The videos about wetstone grinding are shown on Triton because that is the only one I have been provided – Tormek are welcome if they wish, as has been discussed on occasions in the past between Stu’s Shed and Promac.

      Your information about Triton is somewhat dated, and the company is again trading, although power tools are yet to be mentioned (and widespread availability needs addressing). However, as discussed above, given the Triton and Scheppach are identical, and given Scheppachs are still available, it still is relevant to use the Triton as a discussion platform.

      There is no question the Tormek is a superior unit, and it does cost a “little more” than the Triton and Scheppach. When my Triton wears out, and the next 4 follow suit, I will have been better off getting a Tormek! Unfortunately, my first Triton is still going strong. But I’m not debating price, just the “little more” concept!

      If Tormek are interested in getting the T7 reviewed, and featured in future videos and articles on Stu’s Shed, it certainly would be a welcome addition to the shed!

      There are some interesting questions above about both the amount of noise/slop in the new version Truing Tool, and the overall benefit (that Tormek heavily promotes) of doing such a precision sharpening of turning tools, where professional turners do a quick hand-controlled sharpening on a high speed grinder with an Al-Ox wheel. Be interested to know what Promac’s responses to those questions are.

  9. I will have to disagree Stu on the point of professional turners not using Tormek Whetstone Sharpening systems. We know have many,many professionals who use and own Tormek including Ken Wraight, Don Powell and many, many more.

    The simple fact is that the Triton wetstone grinder is no longer available. The Scheppach is imported by at least 3 distributors that i know of – which of them will offer warranty, guidance or even spare parts?

    Re the life span i have customers who have bought Tormek and they are still running after more than 20 years – i doubt your cheap Chinese copies will add up to that! Our wheels will outlast any other by up to 10 times. Our torque is at least 3 times that of the others. Our instruction book is actually a book not a couple of photcopied pages. Our jigs are cast not just pressed steel that can flex when under pressure.The list goes on and on.
    I am actually happy that these inferior brands have come onto the market as it brings more people into the best way to sharpen – Whetstone. They then upgrade to a better sytem.

    All the best Stu.

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