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We’ve never seen an easier, more efficient way to sharpen cabinetmaking tools, turning and carving tools, knives, and practically anything else to a razor edgeeven jointer and planer knives. The Swedish-made Tormek 2006 Supergrind Sharpener runs a water-cooled 220-grit aluminum oxide grinding wheel which restores damaged edges and reshapes bevels with absolutely no risk of overheating and damaging even the most delicate steel. The wheel rotates at a genteel 90 rpm, slow enough to avoid slinging water at you but fast enough, given its 10″ diameter, to grind quite respectably. You could grind faster on a bench grinder with good wheels, but then you’d miss Tormek’s ingenious next step, turning the grinder into a sharpener and power strop which can polish any cutting edge to a mirror shine in seconds.
Standard equipment includes a US105 Micro-Adjustable 11″ Tool Rest and a SVH60 Chisel and Plane Iron Jig (maximum 2-3/8″ wide by 1/2″ thick). Getting plane irons square is nearly inevitable. Bevel-edged chisels are easily perfected by varying the pressure on the two jig knobs until the grind shows you’ve gotten it right. Tormek’s WM200 Pro Anglemaster makes setting grinding angles a snap. It sets any angle from 15° to 75° and features built-in adjustment for different wheel diameters from 10″ down to 6″. Thus you can maintain accuracy on aging wheels, and use it on other grinders as well.
Tormek’s Horizontal Base lets you mount the rest at the rear of the machine for grinding away from the cutting edge, ideal for carving and turning tools.
Once a tool is ground to a satisfactory shape, or if it needs only touch-up sharpening to begin with, set the jigged tool aside and dress the grinding wheel with the fine side of Tormek’s Stone Grader, a special two-sided dressing stone. As you press the grader firmly against the rotating wheel through a few revolutions, it dresses the surface to 1000 grit, quickly turning the coarse grinding wheel into a fine sharpening wheel. It’s as effective as changing wheels entirely, but it’s a better idea; you can go back to work at once, without altering the jig or tool rest settings at all. You’ll sharpen at exactly the same angle at which you ground the tool, and it will take only fifteen to thirty seconds to work up to a sharp edge. To grind your next tool, dress the stone briefly with the coarse side of the grader to return to 220-grit grinding action.
The final step, stropping, is easiest of all. Tormek provides a tube of toothpaste-like stropping compound with the sharpener. Treat the leather wheel with mineral oil before your first application of paste. You won’t forget more than once that the tool must be stropped away from the edge. Point it toward the oncoming soft leather surface instead, and you’ll instantly create a nice scar to remind yourself how it’s supposed to be done. To avoid rounding over a sharp edge, let the heel of the tool’s bevel touch the leather wheel first, then lower the cutting edge until it just kisses the wheel. Strop lightly for five or ten seconds, the strop the back of the tool just as carefully. And now, handle that tool with carethat edge is sharp!
If you want not only to grind but also to sharpen everything in the shopespecially hand toolsthere’s nothing finer than the Tormek SuperGrind.
For more sharpening products visit the Highland Woodworking website.