Tormek Wet Grinder, thoughts?

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Forum topic by coloradoclimber posted 10-09-2007 06:17 AM 11648 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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548 posts in 3011 days

10-09-2007 06:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tormek sharpening wet grinder sharpen slow speed

Well I’ve pretty much convinced myself I want (see, I didn’t say need, I’m learning) I want a Tormek wet grinder.

I’ve sharpened everything from kitchen knives to woodworking tools to axes and everything in between by hand my whole life. It’s to the point now it takes me at least a full weekend day to go through the knives and tools I use on a regular basis, that’s not getting to the tools I only use once in a while. So I’m tired of that, it’s time to look for a machine to help me out. After reading all the positive reviews of the worksharp I tried one. It worked pretty well but I felt it was a bit under powered for what I wanted. So I took it back and I’m still looking.

I’ve been reading the reviews and the Tormek seems to be the cadillac. It’s dang sure priced like a cadillac. But every review, without exception, has gushed over with praise for it.

Jet has a very similar grinder, at a bit lower price, but the reviews have been a bit mixed on it. Neither one is cheap, so given the amount of money they cost I figure I might as well go with the top of the line, regret spending the money once, then be happy from then on.

I did a search here on Lumberjocks and didnt find any reviews or comments, so now I’m asking. Anyone out there own or use a Tormek grinder, any thoughts or things I should be aware of?

Tormek prices are pretty much identical anywhere you look, online or brick and mortar. Apparently Tormek engages in a bit of price fixing through it’s vendors. That’s probably part of how they keep their exorbitant price in place. I was going to buy through Woodcraft but it’s not stocked anywhere in Colorado. The next place that caught my eye was Anyone ever buy from them? Any problems?

If not through them then Amazon sells it for the same price, as does half a dozen other places.

29 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


12542 posts in 3041 days

#1 posted 10-09-2007 06:20 AM

My uncle has one and loves it. Also, I belive they just came out with a new model and have an offer for life time free wheels. I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Max's profile


55980 posts in 3216 days

#2 posted 10-09-2007 06:53 AM

I have had one of the Tomek machines for about 2 years now and really like it. You can sharpen just about anything with the tool holders that they sell. I think it does a great job. I have used it on my chisels, plane irons and knifes. Have had no problems with it at all.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 2850 days

#3 posted 10-09-2007 07:47 AM

I have one…haven’t used it yet…read everything in the literature online…reviews etc…got every accessory for it. So, I say yes…and I’m still setting up my shop. But I’m not sorry I bought the Tormek…I just acquired a bunch of turning tools and a used lathe for a pitance. Those poor tools will never be so sharp after they’ve been sharpened on the Tormek…if you’ve got the cash…make the splash. Wet sharpening is in.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

244 posts in 3383 days

#4 posted 10-09-2007 08:35 AM

I’ve had one for a few years and it is very, very good. Never have to worry about overheating the tool as it is water cooled and the jigs allow perfect repeatability.
Yes, it is very expensive for what it is but you will never regret it.
Hope this helps

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 2932 days

#5 posted 10-09-2007 08:41 AM

I second all the above. I have had one for about 4 years and don’t know what I would do without it.
I got every accessory also, which is cheaper than buying them one at a time.


-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View mattsanf's profile


34 posts in 2907 days

#6 posted 10-09-2007 10:49 PM

I have bought things from that you mention above, and they have very good customer service. It is a small outfit, but Lee knows his stuff (he is the tool appraiser on Antique’s Roadshow).


-- -- Matt Sanfilippo, Pittsburgh, Pa.,

View Karson's profile


34951 posts in 3344 days

#7 posted 10-10-2007 02:04 AM

If you look at the pictures of my workshop, you will see my Tormek sitting very high up on the shelf. I bought every accessory, but I’m not really pleased with it. Yes it will sharpen but it sure takes a long time.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 3011 days

#8 posted 10-10-2007 03:28 AM

Thanks for the responses.

Karson, other than the outrageous price I’ve yet to hear a negative comment about the Tormek, until your response. “a long time” is just exactly what I’m trying to get away from, it already takes me “a long time” to sharpen everything I want sharpened. I was hoping a power grinder would hasten the process, not slow it down. What do you use instead? Is there anything else you dont like about the grinder, other than the speed?

View WayneC's profile


12542 posts in 3041 days

#9 posted 10-10-2007 03:40 AM

The other option is to use a standard or slow speed grinder to grind the primary bevel. Have to be careful not to overheat the metal. You then can use the tormak or other sharpening method.

I use a worksharp. To get past what you reported, I purchased the course grit set. Without looking I belive it is 60 grit. This made the process quite a bit faster. However, if I have to do major work, I go to a slow speed grinder.

I’m sure Karson has more wisdom in this area….

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Karson's profile


34951 posts in 3344 days

#10 posted 10-10-2007 03:53 AM

I find that using the Tormek to regrind the chisel edge might take 10 minutes or more. I also find that registering the chisel to 90 degrees is fraught with problems. The first night I bought it I stripped the threads in the aluminum holder. I went back to the Wood Show and the salesman was ready to fight with me in front of all of the potential customers and the demo man said give him another one.

So I’ve never tightened them as tight as I’d like to do. I find that chisels less than 1” in width will not hold without rolling.

I’ve since gone to a Pinnacle honing guide , and sandpaper or a diamond stone. I also designed my own sharpening and honing machine that I use all of the time. Here is the blog on building it.

I use the pinnacle and sandpaper or diamond stones to get the correct angle and then use my sharpening /honing machine to put the final polish on it.

I may use less that 1 – 2 minutes to make it polishing sharp.

We were at Lee Jesbergers shop a week ago and he used a popular wood block covered with red rouge to sharpen his lathe chicles. You could cut the profile using MDF and also do the same. Lee used his block on a Shopsmith lathe.

My cost about $25.00 for the polishing setup. I already owned the Bealle Aluminum sleeve, and the motor.

Send me an e-mail at my address in my signature line and furnish your phone number. I’ll give you a call.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View WayneC's profile


12542 posts in 3041 days

#11 posted 10-10-2007 03:58 AM

Tormek has a new model out. They have a square edge jig. I’m wondering if this addresses your concern.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Karson's profile


34951 posts in 3344 days

#12 posted 10-10-2007 04:08 AM

I’ve also been playing with using a piece of Marble flooring (the back) and putting polishing compound on the rough back and doing honing at the workbench as I use the chisel. 5 sec front, 5 sec back and back to work.

Grizzly has two grades of green polishing compound. They also have a supper fine grit that they sale for polishing the finish on guitars. It costs $25.00 so I haven’t bought it yet. But at my next purchase from Grizzly I hope I remember it.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View DocK16's profile


1158 posts in 3030 days

#13 posted 10-10-2007 05:14 AM

I’ve had a Tormek for several years now and it does a good job especially if you’re not too good sharpening free hand on a stone. Yes they are pricey especially when you start adding all the jigs that go with it, but you’ll never buy another sharpening system in your lifetime.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 2731 days

#14 posted 02-03-2008 01:14 AM

I too have seen nothing but good reviews on the Tormek. I am about to take the plunge into buying one. I am wondering what everyone uses in addition to the Tormek. I find it hard to believe that this machine will do everything. I am still new to sharpening, but wouldn’t you still need some stones to flatten the backs or even an 8000 grit for final finishing? I ask because I am trying to set up my sharpening station and I want to do it right and not have purchased things I don’t need.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View Steve 's profile


4 posts in 2081 days

#15 posted 10-23-2009 02:15 PM

Since I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for. I will be making a trip to Woodcraft to pick one (T7) up. Not all of the Woodcraft stores have them in stock so I will be traveling 90 miles round trip. I have read several reviews and and the only issue or decisoin is do you want to spend the money. It’s hard to put a cost on having sharp chisels and knives on hand. We all try to save time when doing projects, that’s why we purchase these tools.

-- Steve

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