When taking it slow is the fastest way to go

I was in the process of mounting the RapidAir outlets, which required pilot holes to be drilled for the screws (not self drilling unfortunately).

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It was taking ages- having to start on smaller and smaller drill bits, just to drill a 3.5mm hole. Ridiculous.

So decided to stop being lazy, and continue working with something obviously blunt. Take the time, set up the Tormek, and the DBS22, and put a real edge on the bit.

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Back to drilling through steel like butter. All that extra time sharpening was saved in just the next 4 holes, and I still had 50 holes to go.

Time spent sharpening pays off in spades.

One Sharpening Station to Rule Them All

Dropped past Carbatec today, and on the front counter was a solution to end all solutions for the sharpening station

The Tormek TS-740 Sharpening Station

Photo 19-02-2014 9 26 34

Drool.  Seriously.

The website spiel covers the basics:

Height 750-830mm, width 578mm, depth 390 mm

Moisture proof composite worktop
Centralised key locking
Scratch resistant metallic surface
Drawers to fit Tormek kits
Auto-return soft close drawer function
Aluminium handles
Fully extendable drawers
Holes for hooks
Adjustable legs for comfortable working height
Rubber feet to protect the floor

But what a way to keep all the accessories organised, protected, easily to hand (and looking cool!)

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Steak Knives, Take Two

When I first made some scales for the steak knife set (from Professional Woodworkers Supplies) about a year ago, things were going well until almost the final step when excessive tearout occurred when the roundover bit got a tad aggressive. That project has been set aside for a little longer than I expected (or realised when I looked at the date of the first effort!). So time to try again. I’m not sure if this specific set is still available, but there are plenty of other knife projects available here.

Unhandled knife kit

I didn’t take a photo of the knife kit again this time, so have recycled the first photo here. Now on with the new attempt (and yes, there is a more successful conclusion!)

To start, I have a new timber for the blanks (for a bit of variety!) This time the handles will be black hearted sassafras. The blanks have been roughly sized, and ready to be machined accurately.

I have improved the method I use to sand thin stock on the drum sander by making a sled.

Thin stock sled for the drum sander

With a piece of MDF, I have attached a thin fence to one edge with a couple of 4mm dominos.

Thin stock sled in operation

The sled carries the blanks in and through the sander – the increased area of the base works well with the sander to ensure no slippage occurs when the blanks impact the sanding drum, decreasing any chance of snipe or burning. These were sanded to 8.2mm to match the knife bolster.

Next, cut an angle on one end to match the knife blank. In this case, 36 degrees, which is easily done using the Incra Mitre Gauge HD, and even better when coupled up with the Mitre Express.

HD Gauge from Incra

Mitre Express

The Mitre Express makes machining small items safer, and minimising tearout.

Knife Scales

The resulting knife scales ready for the next stage. I needed to drill 3.5mm holes, but found my drill bit that size had the end snapped off from a previous job. So for a bit of a diversion, off to the Tormek and the drill bit sharpener jig.

Tormek DBS-22

This jig quickly turned the broken tip of the bit back into a well-formed, razor sharp bit, better than new (originally a 2 facet bit – this jig allows you to develop 4 facets on the tip).

Preparing the scale for drilling

With double-sided tape, I attached one scale to the knife, then the second scale to the first. This allows me to drill both sides simultaneously, and any breakout can be minimised.

Drilling the blank

After drilling, I drew around the handle, then detached the knife. After roughing down on the bandsaw, I sanded right to the line using a combination of the disk sander and spindle sander.

The scales are then glued to either side of the knife, and the pins inserted. They are longer than necessary, and get cut and sanded to size once the glue sets.

Handles ready for final shaping and finishing

The knives were then returned to the disk and spindle sanders to finalise the shape.

From there, I used a random orbital sander to sand all sides, and round over the edges (done with the ROS held upside down in one hand, and the knife handle bought to the sander). After a while I decided the microcuts were becoming a bit excessive, so finished the job wearing a kevlar carver’s glove.

You may notice the knife bolsters are no longer polished – while shaping some of the bolsters got damaged unfortunately, so it was better to have them all sanded evenly to match. It may look a bit exaggerated in the photo, but ok in reality. Not the preferred result, but such is life.

The knives have already been used a couple of times – it is rather cool using a knife you’ve made the handle for, and the knives themselves are heavy, very sharp and slice steak to perfection.

Forgot to mention – they were finished simply by rubbing them down with Ubeaut Foodsafe Plus mineral oil. This is ideal for chopping boards, salad bowls, and of course, knife handles.

Finished knives


(just reread this post the following morning- I really shouldn’t write entries at 2am: so many typos, including the title. “Sneak knives”. Either that is autocorrect gone mad, or I have!

To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season……

You are deep into a sharpening session on your water-cooled sharpener, and the next job would be best done with the wheel turning towards the edge, rather than away from it. What do you do? What DO you do? I know what I do – compromise! I know the T7 (in my case) weights 14kg, plus around 3kg in water (the wheel soaks up about 2kg, and there is an additional in the waterbath). I could pick it up and spin it around, then back again for each job, but I don’t.

And I am not the only one. In fact, it must be rather common as Tormek have come up with the RB-180. A rotating base for their sharpeners.

RB-180 from Tormek

It is specifically designed for the Tormek footprint, and has rubber feet so the complete unit doesn’t start slipping around on the bench. I have found there can be a little movement between the sharpener and the rotating base. I may put down something a bit more anti-slip, but I didn’t notice it causing me a problem during my first sharpening session since putting the new base under my sharpener.

The rotating base has a very low profile – particularly important for those people who have already taken the time to ensure their sharpeners are set at the optimum height.

Underside

Looking at the underside for a sec, and you see those rubber feet, and the lock for the rotation. Also the cross reinforcing to provide stiffness.

Fitting Simplicity

Fitting the base is just a bit easy – pick up sharpener, put down the RB-180 (with the lock facing the front), place the sharpener on top. Done deed.

Simple push down on the locking lever, and spin the Tormek around.

Turning

Turning…

Done

So a useful addition, particularly for the 17kg (wet weight) Tormek T7. It has been a while since I’ve seen this side of the sharpener – looks like it is due for some dusting!

I took the splash guard off for this, as where I have the T7 there isn’t a lot of room, and therefore even more reason for the new base. Check out http://www.promac.com.au for more information and to find an authorised dealer near you.

Tormek’in it up

First cab off the ranks for Summer is a bit of unlearning, then getting a day of turning instruction from a master turner. So that is going to be quite an experience! I’ve developed many bad habits as it happens.

First things first however – I can’t take many of my turning chisels in their current condition, so have been giving them a decent sharpen, and there is only one way I know to achieve that: the Tormek T7.

The standard wheel is excellent for minor repairs, and resharpens, but some of these tools need a serious reshape. It can be done on the standard wheel, but it takes time and wears the stone (and I don’t have “free stones for life”)

So what is the solution? Two other stones. One I use for HSS is the Blackstone Silicon Tormek wheel. It is the same grit as the standard stone (220 grit), but it cuts HSS fast. The other stone (and no, not the 4000 grit Japanese stone) is your everyday grinder with a Al-Oxide wheel. This can be used to do significant material removal before moving over to the Tormek.

Now you might very well ask what is the point of having a Tormek if you are just going to use a grinder, and especially, how do you ensure what you grind off with the high speed grinder is right, and you don’t find yourself having to do a complete reshape on the Tormek anyway?

The simple answer is to treat the high speed grinder as if it is the Tormek, complete with using the same jigs and the same setup distances and angles. This is achieved by fitting the BGM 100 to your standard grinder. This kit includes a block mount and the standard Tormek arm which your normal collection of Tormek jigs will obviously fit.

After a light shape (given how aggressive the wheels cut, you don’t need more than a light touch), you can then return to the T7 to finish the job, without excessive wear of the wheel. As far a heat buildup from the high speed grinder – you don’t need excessive force, and don’t rush what will work very quickly anyway ensures you don’t burn the steel.

Back on the T7, and the choices are standard wheel, the Blackstone Silicon (at the rear) and the Japanese stone (in the foreground). That is one soft wheel!

Sharpen for life

Ever looked at a Tormek Sharpening system (T7) and thought that it may be awesome, but if you plan on being a heavy user, the cost of the replacement wheels was a bit more than you could afford?

Then perhaps the current Tormek offer (as promoted by the Tormek Shop) will be of interest. Buy a T7 and get free replacement wheels for life. At over $300/wheel, that is nothing to be sneezed at!

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However, they no longer offer you a 7 year warranty on the machine. Who offers 7 years of guaranteed operation these days anyway?

10 years sounds better!

Episode 66 Tormek DBS22

Episode 66 Tormek DBS22

Williamstown

Took a trip over to Williamstown today with the family to visit Science Works.  Interesting place – good fun for the little one. I gave a bed of nails a go – almost as painful as it sounds (might have something to do with weighing 1/10th of a tonne), but at least I can now say I’ve tried it (once!)

Had look through the old pumping station too.  Some stunning old engineering.  It is sad to see how much has gone – just because we have modern pumps, machines, technology, is it really a better time?  The shear cost in manufacturing / the commitment to the task and the TLC that would have gone into keeping the place running is staggering.

Real Engineering

Pumps

Awesome Old Tech

Heat Exchangers

Sad too that so much has gone that there is no way the plant and machines could ever do what they were built to do again. And so much reduced to entertain kids – yes, encouraging and educating them is obviously important, but there is a serious lack of adult-focused information.

So while over in Williamstown, I took the opportunity to drop into Ideal Tools – I hadn’t been there since they had started using their workshop (and mezzanine space) for direct sales.  In the past you had to make an appointment to see the place (other than while on one of their informative courses), but these days they are open during regular hours for sales.  Their stock range of Festool is quite impressive – bit too tempting really!

I didn’t have any plans for visiting (other than saying hi, and showing them the new Tormek DBS22 jig), so it was rather surprising to discover myself coming away from the place with a Walko 3 workbench.  I had a Walko 4 in my shed temporarily about a year ago, and found it very useful, but it was a bit large for my limited space.  I saw the Walko 3 at the recent National Tradesman Expo (on the Ideal Tools stand), and it looked a lot more practical for my situation.

I almost got it all home there and then, but just couldn’t quite get the base into the back of the Mazda 3.  I would have managed except for my daughter sitting in her car seat.  Ah well, the sacrifices of a family man :)

A Variety of Configurations

The Walko can be used in a variety of ways.  Even these orientations are not the only ways the Walko can be set up and used too.

More on that when it arrives!

We had a play with the DBS22 on a drill bit – and found it is a pretty easy jig to use.  The primary bevels cut very very quickly, the secondary bevel took a bit longer, but there is more metal to remove so it isn’t surprising.  It was a bit rushed so we didn’t achieve a perfect result, but it looked pretty decent even so, especially for a first effort.

So a pretty eventful day, with some surprising conclusions.

Drill Bit Sharpening

I was rather tempted to try jumping in the deep end with the new Tormek Drill Bit Sharpening jig, but decided to err on the side of caution, and rtfm.

Probably a good thing – it is a significant jig, and able to achieve a lot more than standard drill bit sharpening systems. The ability to produce a 4-facet point is significant, and only available on more expensive systems, such as the top of the range Drill Doctor models, and of course the Tormek.

A standard sharpened bit (and typically as a bit comes when it is new) has 2 facets, coming together as a chisel tip. These cannot self-centre, and slip around badly on harder materials. For these bits to cut, that chisel has to be pushed into the surface to expose the cutting edges. This significantly decreases bit life (blunting the bit), and results in a higher temperature for the bit.

The four facets come together at a point, so immediately the drill bit is able to drill into the surface rather than simply rub against it.

Two facet conventional tip

Superior Four Facet Tip

The formation of the four-facet tip using the Tormek seems more sophisticated and controllable that the 500X and 750X of the Drill Doctor, (the 350X cannot produce one at all). The significantly different radius of the cutting wheel is another point (excuse the pun!) to compare the two systems. I’ve never had an opportunity to try the Drill Doctor, so can’t say how well that system works in practice.

The Tormek controls point angle (from 90 degrees to 150 degrees) and lip clearance angle (7 to 14 degrees). There are also adjustments to limit the total amount of material removed

Unlike some other systems, the formation of the primary bevel (the actual cutting edge) is given the attention it deserves, with the secondary bevel formed to produce the 4-facet tip – it serves no other purpose, so why focus on it for the majority of the operation? You can even grind away quite a bit of the heel (the back half of the secondary bevel) to minimise the total amount of material that needs to be removed on the Tormek.

Jig set to grind the primary bevel

There is a little setting up involved, but after doing the first time following the instructions, it will soon become intuitive, and quick. Typical of Tormek, all the variables are controlled – there is nothing left to chance, or eyechrometer. Other than one – setting the drill bit at the right degree of rotation in the holder, but a magnifying glass with a reference post ensures even that is as close as is needed for the operation. (Given the bit is round, being slightly out isn’t critical – it affects the look, rather than the function of the bevel).

Controlled Variables

Next step will be to actually do the grind, but that will be the subject of another article :)

Episode 65 TAG

Tormeks are GO!

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