JoeWoodworker
JoeWoodworker Veneer
The Official Website of this Non-Professional Woodworker ™

Tormek T-7 Sharpener Review


Tormek SuperGrind 2000 and Tormek T-7

I have owned both the Jet sharpening system and the Tormek Super Grind for many years and I have grown to appreciate the key differences between them. In my opinion, the Tormek is superior to the Jet in almost every way and as such, my go-to tool is always the Tormek. When the new Tormek T-7 came on the market, I was approached by Affinity Tools and offered the opportunity to try out the updated Tormek workhorse. Not wanting to turn down a free tool, I humbly obliged and I'm glad I did.

The Tormek T-7 still shares all of the good points of the Super Grind 2000 but it's clear that over the last few years, Tormek has looked at a few woodworking forums and listened to the posted comments. Some of the home-brew improvements that I and countless other Tormek users have made to the machine are now "out of the box" features of the latest Tormek sharpener.

It's the Little Things That Matter

I've made a few changes to my original Tormek Super Grind just to improve usability and it's nice to know that some of these changes are ones that Tormek has incorporated into the new T-7. For starters, I glued a rare earth magnet to the inside of the water trough on my Super Grind and Jet machines. It only takes 15 minutes of use to see that the metal particles from the grinding and sharpening process really added up on the magnet. Whether this has a significant improvement in extending the life of the stone or enhancing the quality of the sharpened edge has been debated. My opinion is that the magnet helps and now the T-7 has a magnet built in to the water trough.

There is one thing that is obvious about this machine. Clearly, the Tormek company feels that simple is better. This is evident in another small improvement (with big dividends)... the extended water catching tray captures most of the water dropping off the tool being sharpened and directs it back to the water trough. I used to put a towel down on my bench whenever I sharpened my 12 and 15" planer blades because the mess left after each sharpening session was pitiful. The new plastic water catching tray solves 95% of this problem.


Extended Water Tray

I also want to point out that the T-7, like all of Tormek's grinders uses a high-quality wheel shaft and locking nut. My old Jet sharpener had to be thrown in the trash because the locking nut had rusted solidly onto the shaft. Even with PB Blaster and several other rust breaking chemicals, I could not get the nut loose. In this case, it is the un-seen quality of the Tormek that makes it worth every penny.

Tormek also upgraded the on-off switch on the T-7. The former rocker switch was not a major inconvenience by any means but if an improvement were to be made, I'd say the new push-button style switch would be the way to go. The new switch is the way it should be on all bench top tools.


Improved On/Off Switch

If you own a Tormek Super Grind, you may have noticed how water collects on the top of the console (between the stone and leather wheels). A popular home-made fix has been to put a 1/2" thick board under one side of the Tormek machine so as to tilt the machine and force the water back toward the trough. The new T-7 includes a couple of extra rubber feet that can be stacked on the side leg of the grinder to serve this very purpose. Tormek probably incurred a cost of ten cents on this improvement but it goes to show that even the smallest change can have a sizable payback.

You gotta love a company that takes a great product and makes it even better. The Tormek grinding jigs and fixtures are simple yet intelligently designed. They are so well made that even the most stubborn and slow-witted woodworkers like me can put a startlingly sharp edge on pretty much anything you can imagine. The new breed of jigs that have come out with the T-7 are a significant leap forward in accuracy, ease of use, and quality. I was really pleased with the chisel jig which has an improved design that eliminates tilting of small chisels and includes two tool rest "stops" designed to prevent the jig from accidentally sliding too far left or right of the stone. With these much welcomed stops, there is no risk of the cutting edge dropping off the stone wheel during the sharpening process.


Improved Chisel Jig

The T-7 includes the stone truing jig which was (for the standard package) not included with the Super Grind 2000. This is a very welcome accessory considering how important it is to have a round stone when you are free hand sharpening.

It's Almost Perfect

There is one disappointment about the T-7 that I'd like to mention regarding the lack of variable speed. When the Jet sharpener had a fresh stone wheel mounted, it would cut through metal considerably faster than a comparably sized stone on the Tormek simply because the Jet has an adjustable stone rotation speed which allows you to crank up the RPM's so fast that it can splatter you and your work bench with water. With a careful adjustment of trough water level and a minor tweak to the speed, you can dial in a grinding pace that far exceeds the Tormek machine. And this is only half of the complaint really. The other half is that the Tormek can be painfully slow to remove deep nicks and gouges in a tool edge if the stone has worn to less than 8 inches in diameter. With the Jet, you can turn up the speed to compensate for a reduced stone diameter. Of course, at any static speed, a larger stone is faster than a smaller stone at grinding and sharpening.

Conclusion

Overall, the new Tormek T-7 is a worthwhile investment in any woodworking shop. I'd buy this machine, despite its cost, before considering a lower priced knock off. There is no shortage of good things that have been said about all of the Tormek sharpeners and the T-7 surely carries on the quality and ease of use that Tormek users have come to expect.

 

Yes, Joe is a practicing Catholic
 
 
© 1998-2014 JoeWoodworker.com
All Rights Reserved.