Wet sharpener excels at hollow-grinding blades
For many years I’ve hollow-ground my chisel and plane blades before honing the cutting edge with waterstones. I prefer a slow speed wet-grinder to create the hollow grind. I’ve used many different ones, but they all fall short of the Tormek T-8, which Tormek describes as a water-cooled sharpening system. It makes grinding a bevel perfectly square to the blade’s sides a simple and quick job. Unlike previous models, the T-8 has a fully cast zinc top and frame. This eliminates welds as potential weak spots where rust can form, and the zinc is more resistant to corrosion than steel. The remainder of the body is ABS plastic. Another benefit of the fully cast top and frame is that there is very little play in the universal support, the arm to which the tool-holding jigs attach, making accurate grinds easier. I also liked the height-adjustment wheel on the universal support’s post, which was helpful when setting the support’s height to match the bevel angle on the blade. It came in handy when setting the truing tool to flatten the stone as well. The truing tool does a great job flattening the stone, by the way.
After adding water to the trough, I ground the bevels of every blade in my shop. Using the redesigned square-edge jig, it was a fast job.
Two small knobs on the square-edge jig allow you to adjust the jig for a square bevel on oddly shaped blades. This worked great for a short chisel that tapers in width. When the knobs are fully loosened, the jig can be used to camber a blade.
Two other great features are the magnet scraper and the rack-and-pinion height adjuster for the water trough. The magnet does a great job of clearing steel particles from the water, and the adjuster allows you to raise and lower the trough without spilling water. Small things like this make the T-8 a joy to use.
It’s pleasing when a tool not only does what it’s supposed to do, but does it very well. The Tormek T-8 is such a tool.
—Kelly Dunton is a furniture maker in Terryville, Conn.