I want to try using Tormek jigs on a high speed grinder, so have been fitting up a new tool rest. I bought a Tormek rest bar and holder that they sell for use on dry grinders. It’s just a bit of welded steel bar and an aluminium clamp for it, a crazy price for what it is. You would think it was part of a NASA rocket. Fitting it was straightforward, I just had to stack up some bits of MDF to get the right height for the clamp. I fixed the whole assembly next to the dry grinder. I tried various positions and heights on both sides of the grinder. It was important to make sure the jigs cleared the wheel guards and the other tool rest.
I can now use my Tormek jigs on both the dry grinder and the Tormek grinder. It should improve the sharpening of bowl gouges in particular. I find they often need heavier grinding than the Tormek itself is happy with (it can do it, but is fairly slow). I made a couple of setting jigs for the Tormek platform rest. On one setting I can now sharpen my roughing gouge and also my skew chisels. These have a keener grinding angle than the gouge, so I just add a raising block made of MDF.
You can see a review of the Tormek here.
I went to the European Woodworking Show in Essex today. It’s a great venue, with ancient timber barns and a walled garden. It’s a bit different from the usual type of woodworking show. There is less emphasis on machinery and more on hand tools and traditional crafts. I saw displays of blacksmithing and axe woodworking as well as woodcarving.
There are two kinds of woodworker – those who like machinery and those who like hand tools such as planes and travishers (those special planes for making chair seats). I’m a machine man myself. Turning is a hybrid in which the turner’s hand holds the cutting tool and the wood spins in a machine. So I was glad to see some turning-related stands. I chatted about ornamental turning with a gentleman on one of the stands. He had brought along some examples of turning, including a little decorated oval box. Also some of the equipment such as drills (which, in ornamental turning cut profiled shapes, not simple holes). They had the specialised sharpening kit needed, including a goniostat. I also saw a Magma Titan lathe, which looks a first class machine. Expensive, but I feel strangely compelled to buy one sometime.
I bought an old-fashioned carbon steel skew chisel for just £4. There was a big box of them, many years old, but unused. They are a victim of the takeover of high speed steel. I also bought a Tormek tool bar holder to fit to my high speed grinder. This will let me use the same gouge grinding jig on the Tormek and on the high speed machine.