Turning Archive 2006
>Every few months there is a debate about which is better, the Tormek or the 8" grinder with a fingernail profile jig of some sort. I have both as do quite a few others here. For a long time I swore by the Tormek because I felt that my tools lasted longer when sharpened on the Tormek and still think they do. The Tormek is a wonderful tool for sharpening scissors, kitchen knives, skews, etc but I will list some things I do not like:
1. The stone is very expensive
2. Dressing the stone with the dressing jig supplied by Tormek takes forever
3. When going from a gouge to a flat tool like a handplane blade you must dress the stone. See #1 and #2
4. With a Tormek you still need another grinder to shape the tool and for scrapers if you want a good burr edge.
5. The refined, polished edge from the Tormek may feel sharp and it may cut you more easily than an edge off the standard grinder but it has less "bite". I refer to "bite" as being similar to a serrated steak knife. there will be times when either one will cut better than the other but generally I get a better cut with the edge with some bite.
6. In summation, I feel the Tormek should be a dedicated machine for either flat tools or for gouges and it should be used as a second machine, not the primary one; otherwise you will dress away the stone in short order if you use it a lot. On the othr hand, if you only turn one day every couple of weeks then it will serve you well.