Sep 012006
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Woodworking Tool QuestionI’m looking to purchase a means to sharpen my chisels and turning tools. Is the Tormek or Jet “sharpening system” worth the money over a simple bench grinder?

Woodworking Tool AnswerMany woodturners use bench grinders (low speed is preferable so as not to heat up the tool’s edge and ruin the steel’s temper) to sharpen their turning tools. However, a bench grinder by itself does not provide a way to consistently jig the turning tool to the stone to grind a predictable and repeatable edge.

Tormek SuperGrindThe Tormek provides a proven and reliable way to jig all the tools in your shop (not just turning tools) to grind predictably on the stone. For a bench grinder, you would need to get a Wolverine Jig to use with the grinder to jig your turning tools. There are other jigs, like one we offer from Veritas that can also allow you to jig chisels and plane irons to a bench grinder stone consistently. (Most of the tool rests that come in the box with a bench grinder are not very functional for precise grinding of an edge).

The Tormek can also final hone your tools, which you need to do with a skew or your bench chisels and plane irons. A regular bench grinder can’t final hone an edge and you would need to move to a finer hand stone to finish the hone/polish of an edge.

We think the recent arrival of the imitator unit from Jet is a poor substitution for the quality, functionality and proven reliability of the Tormek sharpening system. We do not offer the Jet sharpener as we do not think it would be a wise use of your money to buy one.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

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