Fighting the Mess Gremlins

Now approaching 2 years since the shed upgrade, and I’m still dealing with some of the after effects.  But I’m getting there slowly.

Was out at the shed last night to almost 3am, watching episodes of “The Wire” on the TV, and going through boxes of stuff that hadn’t been unpacked since the crazy hazy days of the deliberate shed implosion.

Storage

It won’t mean too much to you – the boxes here don’t look all that different from other times they’ve been seen, but this time there is a lot more organisation than chaos represented.

From left to right, top to bottom, there are the sharpening items – Alisam sled, DMT stones, Japanese waterstones.  (I still have another article on diamond stones to do, but and still hanging out for the Extra-Extra coarse DMT stone that was sent over 6 months ago by DMT for me to include, but unfortunately didn’t quite manage to arrive….yet).  (Every shelf tells a story, but if I told them all, we’d never get to the bottom!)

Under the Japanese Waterstones is the granite reference slab.  To the right is the Kreg Pockethole stuff (clamps, bits etc)
The next shelf are liquids, saws (still homeless), T&T sanders
3rd shelf – rags, safety gear,chaos and tapes
4th shelf – chaos, chaos, sand papers (sheet and roll) and steel wool

So obviously lots still to do.  Looking at sheds that really have it all together, and I can’t begin to imagine how many hours, weeks, even years of work have gone into creating the havens they are.

While in a clean-up phase of mind, I also had a look at my sharpening jigs, and decided to wall-mount them.  The T7 came with the wall mount for the original jigs, and given I still have the boxes the other jigs came in that were designed to be hung, thought that might be as good a way as any to continue to display them for ready access.

Tormek Jigs

I might have to chase up with Promac to see if any of the other wall mount blocks are available separately – they seem a good way to store, and make available the various jigs.  I still have a few Scheppach jigs there as well that I hope to upgrade over time to what I’d regard as the superior Tormek jigs.  Even the basic square edge jig demonstrates the difference – one is folded metal, the other cast.  One can easily cause a chisel to skew while sharpening, the other has well-planned reference planes.  Your experiences may vary of course.  I have achieved mirror polish finishes before with the Scheppach/Triton, but the Tormek…well…

Below my jig wall, I’ve taken a spare support arm I had from the Triton/Scheppach sharpener and drilled a couple of holes for it.  It is there because some of the jigs don’t fit back into their original box when assembled, so I thought they could be stored on this arm instead.  I have done the same for the Scheppach planer blade sharpening jig, if only to store it.  As someone pointed out, it doesn’t fit the Tormek because there is a different distance between centres of the support arm.

With the right jig, these machines can sharpen most tools in the shop.

Tormek T7

When it comes to sharpening, there are disciples of many methods – Scary Sharp (using sandpaper), waterstone, oil stone, diamond just to name a few of the manual methods.  Then there are the electron murdering methods – high speed grinders (not sharpening as much as bulk material removal), horizontal grinding wheel, and vertical, slow speed, wet grinding.

When it comes down to it, one brand in particular is synonymous with sharpening, and that is Tormek.  Their sharpeners are placed on a pedestal, and many would say that pedestal is price, and let’s just put it out there – it isn’t an unreasonable perspective.

However, having never used a Tormek, my first experience of this machine was full of anticipation, and pessimism. Could this machine really live up to the expectations, and the price difference?

The machine under the microscope is the Tormek T7 – the 2010 version from Carrolls Woodcraft Supplies.  They are primarily located online, and at most (if not all) of the Australian Wood Show, and physically in Drysdale, about 20 minutes south of Geelong.  (I’m planning on dropping in there next Saturday (20 March) as it happens).

My previous experience of slow speed sharpeners is the Triton/Scheppach Tiger 2000, costing around $200, compared to the $1100 of the T7, so you can see why I was going to be really curious of my initial impressions. The T7 wheel alone is $300 as a replacement.  Verdict at the end of the article (you’ll just have to wait (or read ahead)).

Tormek T7

The T7 is a heavy beast, so it is definitely beneficial that it has a carry handle on the top, so you are not tempted to use the tool support rod as a makeshift handle.  It comes with a comprehensive starting package (and there lies some of the purchase cost), including a diamond stone dresser (which I say is absolutely mandatory), a grading stone, angle setter, straight blade jig (plane blades, chisels etc), honing compound (8000 grit), and a full reference book, and a short DVD to introduce wetstone sharpening.

Larger Catchment Tray

One of the changes for the 2010 version is a much larger catchment tray, and once you’ve experienced a bit of this sort of sharpening is the familiarity with a constant river of water coming over the edge of your bench – caused as much by the water that flows over the top of the tool and runs off as the tool is out past the edge of the water trough.  This is one thing the T7 has addressed, and it is definitely a significantly decreased issue.

In the bottom of the waterbath there is a magnet that assists in separating the metal particles from the rest of the waste that ends up in the tray.

Quick Release Wheel Lock

Another change is the use of a knurled knob used to lock the wheel on, so changing wheels can be a lot easier.  This would be very beneficial if you have a wheel primarily for flat blades, and another for turning tools (and you are less inclined to keep the wheel completely flat and true), or want to fit the blackstone silicon or Japanese waterstone wheel (4000 grit) without tools.

Drive Wheel

Under the leather-clad honing wheel is the actual drive wheel.  It is coated in a special rubber, and although I haven’t tried myself, it has been said that this machine is near impossible to stall.

Wheel Conditioning and Grading

A quick shot of the grading stone – this allows the aggression of the wheel to be changed from the equivalent of 200 grit to 1000 grit, and back again.

Support Arm Microadjust

Having a microadjuster is an excellent addition, especially when setting up the stone dresser.

Diamond Wheel Dressing

The compulsory diamond wheel dressing jig, where the tip is wound in a very even manner across the surface of the stone to ensure it is flat, and parallel to the support arm.

General Angle Setting

The angle setting tool allows straight tools (in particular) to be set to the correct angle.  It can be adjusted over time to counter stone wear.  It has magnets on the back for easy storage of the gauge.

Jigs

There is an impressive range of jigs available, for all sorts of tools that require a razor edge.  On the support arm, you can just see the two stops that Tormek include to stop the jigs moving too far which would otherwise allow the tool to fall off the side of the stone.

So, my impressions.

Damn, but this really is a fine tool, and the quality difference is palatable.  The stone is meant to be a similar grade to the Scheppach, but they are chalk and cheese – I really noticed just how smooth the Tormek wheel felt while cutting steel, and that is on its coarse setting. The wheel is also wider (and a larger diameter), and that all really adds to its usefulness, and longevity.

The motor has all the power that is needed, and with a decent transfer method, it is near impossible to stall the machine.

So that checks all the boxes – design, power, quality (7 year warranty).  It may be an expensive machine, but I kid you not, that is definitely reflected in the quality of the machine, and the package.

Sharpening Jig Collection Nears Completion

While in Carbatec, I noticed at the back of one of the shelves in the wetstone wheel sharpening section, some boxes in familar colours – the yellow/blue of Scheppach. Knowing that Carbatec no longer seem to be stocking them, in favour of Tormek, I had a quick dig through to see what was there, and found the large knife jig which was one that I was still wanting. (I had sharpened my kitchen knives with one not that long ago, and they are back to better than new (they are never sold as sharp as they can be!))

Scheppach Large Knife Jig

Scheppach Large Knife Jig

I ended up getting it for $50 because it is discontinued stock (still sold elsewhere for around $100), so although expensive for what it is, no where near as much as it could have been!

Update on Scheppach Planer Jig

All 380’s are now sold, and there are only two 320’s left.  If you want one for $100, you better be quick!

Update 2:

I had a quiet bet with myself that I could have all the units sold by the end of the day, and they are – all gone.  Not that I get anything from that (and I bought one myself remember!) but I did mention it to a couple of very dubious Carbatec staff yesterday 🙂

Perhaps I should be in retail after all!!

Planer Blade Sharpening Jig

I happen to glance at the sales table in Carbatec today, and completely forgot what I had actually gone in to get (scrollsaw blades).

On the table were (and are still there as of closing time), a small pile of Scheppach Planer Blade Attachments for the TiGer 2000 and 2500 wet stone grinders.  Of course this means they also fit the Triton, and Tormek.

Scheppach 380

Scheppach 380

What really caught my eye was that they were down from $306 to $100.  I never thought I’d actually have one of these, but at that price, I couldn’t refuse.

Initially it looked like they were all the Scheppach 320, but then I noticed some were the 380.  So I took one of those!  There are still about 2 of the 380s left, and about 4 or so of the 320s, all for $100 each.  (FWIW, the 380 is currently listed on another suppliers site at $350)

The Model 380 actually means it can handle a blade 380mm long (although in fact it is closer to 400mm), so a 15″ thicknesser blade is no problem.  It is not just planer blades it can take either – (narrow) chisels, hand plane blades etc all can fit.

The Model 320 can handle a 320mm blade (12.5″)

At that price, I don’t think they will be there very long, so if you want one, I’d be heading down to Carbatec (Melbourne) PDQ.

To prove the point, I’ve documented fitting it to the Triton:

Scheppach 380 Rods

Scheppach 380 Rods

The first time you set this up you need to assemble the unit.  Shown here is fitting the height adjustments and main supports for the jig.  They are in about 60% of the way , with the flat front face towards the screw.  They have a threaded height adjustment which is pretty cool.  Now I know they are upside down here (the adjustment knobs), but that is deliberate on my part.  This way, the adjustment knob pushes firmly on the top of the unit, rather than the thin shaft portion of the knob kind of half going down the hole.  That isn’t a problem on the TiGer 2500, but here I thought it better just to turn the knob over.

Scheppach 380 Bed

Scheppach 380 Bed

Next, the main track is added….

Scheppach 380 Support

Scheppach 380 Support

….and then an upright to provide a bit of extra stability (this isn’t part of the 320)

Scheppach 380 Blade Holder

Scheppach 380 Blade Holder

The tool holder then slips on, and it is a very smooth setup indeed.  This glides back and forth over the wheel, and because of the length of the track, easily covers the entire width required for the large thicknesser blades.

Scheppach 380 Stops

Scheppach 380 Stops

One very cool aspect of this tool are the stops (one as shown).

Scheppach 380 Complete

Scheppach 380 Complete

Here is the competed unit, ready for its first victi………uh….blade.

Scheppach 380 Unit

Scheppach 380 Unit

The ‘arm’ raised up for inspection, maintenance, fitting a new blade (and posing for the photo!)  Note the number of hold-down knobs, so a very even pressure can be applied along the entire length of a blade.

Scheppach 380 Toolrest

Scheppach 380 Toolrest

Here you can see just how close you can get the portion of the jig that actually holds the blade to the grinding stone. It doesn’t appear to be close enough to take those tiny planer blades from something like a handheld power planer, but it would easily cope with something like the blade from a Triton thicknesser.

Scheppach 380 Tools

Scheppach 380 Tools

Here you can see the jig being used to hold a standard chisel.  It can’t cope with one that is particularly thick, I could get away with this one for example.  I am going to be interested in finding out just what else can fit this jig!

Another cheap bandsaw

Was in Carbatec today for a brief visit, and saw a Scheppach Basato 3 in the entrance on sale.

Scheppach Basato 3

Scheppach Basato 3

Hare and Forbes currently have them listed at $689, so it was surprising to see this one (and there is only one) listed for $299.  It is brand new, and still even has the protective covering on the table.

It is missing the upper blade guides, so that will have to be factored in, but even so, given this is about a $690 bandsaw, even with the cost of replacement guides it is still a good price.

This is identical to the Triton 12″ (other than colour of course!) fwiw.

Episode 25 Sharpening Series Watercooled Grinding Stone

This episode looks at watercooled grinding stones, such as the Triton, Scheppach and Tormek. In this instance, a $A199 Triton Wetstone Sharpener is used to produce an edge on a plane blade of HSS.

It also happens to be the last video shot in the old shed, so a bit of nostalgia there!

 

%d bloggers like this: