Two weeks since it arrived I’ve finally used my Tormek T7 for the first time.
The first job
I must however confess that it wasn’t on a woodworking tool – I had a crack at sharpening blades from my Flymo Pac A Mow lawn mower! 🙂
Stupidly I didn’t take a “before” photo, but it really wasn’t pretty after 2 years of use and meeting the occasional stone – the edges were rounded and heavily dented and I could have made a neater and more effective job of the lawn with a spoon!
I flattened out the worst of the lumps and dents with a file before moving to the Tormek.
As the blades are shaped I couldn’t fit any of the knife or scissor jigs, so I ended up just holding the flat side against the tool rest (part SVD-110) with the universal support in the horizontal position and the wheel rotating towards the edge.
I don’t think I would have attempted this on a “normal” grinder – if it hadn’t been for the Tormek’s slow running I can imagine the blade being flung at me with force!
(In case anyone gets worried the above photos are mockups with the Tormek powered off)
I reason it doesn’t have to be a perfect edge like a chisel or plane, as even before sharpening they were “cutting” (or at least flaying!) the grass.
I wasn’t able to get the very worst dent out completely without grinding away lots of the blade, but I’m sure after a few more sharpenings it will be gone (assuming I don’t add to the dents that is).
I wouldn’t say I’ve got them razor sharp but they’re certainly a lot more likely to cut the lawn instead of chewing it!
Update 12/08/2012: My wife mowed the lawn yesterday while I took the kids out and we’re both very impressed with the result. No more frayed brown swirls where the grass was beaten not chopped!
Trueness of the stone
While I was sharpening the lawnmower blades I noticed the wheel seemed to “pulse” against my hand slightly so I used the truing tool (part TT-50) to correct this.
It’s simple to use and very effective (if a little boring to stand there slowing twiddling the feed knobs!)
In addition to the primary function of truing the stone, you can use a faster feed rate to grade the stone to 220 grit or a slower feed rate to grade it to 1000 grit (this can also be achieved using the stone grader (part SP-650)
I’ve not yet used the honing wheel as the instructions tell me to cover it in a light machine (or sewing machine) oil before applying the honing compound and I don’t have any.
I’ll either get some sewing machine oil (my wife can share it!) or I might experiment with shredder oil, as that’s all I have to hand!
Update 16/08/2012: Added some more photos and the following two sections
Two extra feet are included which stow away magnetically under the machine until they are required.
Once fitted they ensure any drips of water from longer blades run down the blade towards the reservoir end rather than dropping onto the machine itself
Even the AWT-250 water trough is full of little details – in addition to the chute/extension to catch drips from long blades …
… there’s even a magnet in the water trough to trap any iron or steel filings and help keep the stone clean!
I’ve found that leaving the water trough/reservoir full means the stone wicks water up and into the MH-380 fabric machine cover, so I decided to empty it.
Having trued the stone there was quite a bit of dust in the bottom of the trough as well as the steel/iron filings seen above.
Things I like:
- Ability to grade stone to 220 or 1000 grit with stone grader and truing tool
- Attention to detail – extra feet supplied to tilt the machine slightly when sharpening longer blades
- Attention to detail – magnet in the water trough to collect iron/steel filings
Things I don’t like:
- Stone needed truing out of the box
- Stone wicks water into fabric cover
(See also my first impressions)