Tormek T7 Sharpening System

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Review by coloradoclimber posted 09-23-2008 05:25 PM 24464 views 1 time favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Tormek T7 Sharpening System Tormek T7 Sharpening System No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Well, it was sharpening time again this weekend, chisels, plane irons, kitchen knives, pocket knives, scissors, turning gouges and chisels, anything else I could find that had an edge that needed sharpening.

I’ve hand sharpened all of my knives and tools using wet, dry, oil, and diamond stones for the last 20 years. Bench stones works pretty well and I’m able to get shaving quality edges every time.

So why change? Well, because hand sharpening takes a long time. I keep adding to my list of things that need sharpening and it’s gone from a couple hours to an entire weekend to sharpen a dozen chisels, a dozen plane irons, 30 or more knives, half a dozen turning tools, a few pair of scissors, and whatever else is laying around, all by hand. And of course the bevels are never perfectly the same between each sharpening or between the different tools.

I decided it was time for a change. I needed a powered sharpening system. First thing I tried was the Worksharp 3000. The WS has been reviewed numerous times here on LJ so I wont talk about it too much except to say I liked the WS well enough but in the end I decided it was too limited and bit too under constructed to suit my needs.

So the next place to look was a wet sharpener. Read any review and the Tormek always comes out on top for quality and performance. BUT, and this is a big but, the Tormek, reasonably configured with jigs is double to triple the price of the competitors. So I needed to look around. I studied every review I could find, I looked at the various units side by side. I talked to people who own and use them. In the end it was clear the Tormek really is that much better. Put a Tormek next to a Jet and just look at them. There really isnt any comparison. The visible quality of construction and the fit and finish are clearly superior on the Tormek. Review after review consistently ranks the power, performance, and quality of results for the Tormek head and shoulders above the competition.

So I bit the bullet and bought one. Like the old saying, buy the best and buy once, or buy junk and end up spending more buying it again.

This machine works well, really well. I can sharpen a full set of chisels and irons in a couple hours, kitchen knives still take longer but I’m pretty persnickety about my knives. The grinding honing process will leave an actual mirror finish, not an almost mirror finish, not a marketing-ese mirror finish, an actual see your reflection clearly mirror finish. The whole paring end grain like butter, shaving the hair off your arm, paper thin shavings, whatever other criteria is in popular use, this machine will get your edges that sharp and sharper. That is what this machine does, it produces sharp edges, very sharp edges.

It is pretty easy to use, it comes with a 160 page hard back book about using the machine and jigs and a demonstration / marketing dvd. There are videos online demonstrating the setup and use. The jigs make it kind of foolproof. You clamp the tool in the jig, set the angles, grind away. Once you get a burr you switch to the honing wheel and hone and polish the final edge.

For a wet grinder it’s not very messy at all. I keep a hand towel next to it near the wheel to sop up any minor spills but it’s not bad at all.

Quality of construction – 5 stars – it is rated and warrantied for continuous commercial use with a 7 year warranty

Quality of results – 5 stars – this thing gets your tools sharp, very sharp

Ease of use – 4 stars – for a wet grinder it’s neither better or worse than other wet grinder, but it is more trouble and setup than just grabbing your stones and freehanding some edges.

Cost – YOWCH – it is pricey, you can easily get $500, $600, $700 or more with the base unit and jigs.

I bought it, I’m glad I have it, it sure makes sharpening up a whole house full of tools and knives a lot faster and easier.

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4839 days

17 comments so far

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

731 posts in 4389 days

#1 posted 09-23-2008 06:15 PM

The only thing better than having one is having a friend that has one. Now…..if I only had a friend.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4839 days

#2 posted 09-23-2008 06:35 PM

:) Indeed Don, that is part of what pushed me to get one. Whenever someone comes over and uses my knives they always comment on how sharp they are, then they ask how I get them that sharp, and then being a knife snob I usually offer to sharpen up a couple knives for them, and next thing you know I’m sharpening knives for the neighborhood.

I now sharpen my knives, my daughters knives, my GF’s knives, my GF’s mothers knives, and any other random knives that show up. But hey, I usually get a cobbler, casserole, or some jars of jam around christmas time, so it all works out.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4593 days

#3 posted 09-24-2008 12:56 AM

This is a nice review. I have one of these on my wish list. I have tried all the other methods- grinder, sandpaper, stones and WS3000. I am currently satisfied with the WS3000 as it produces a nice edge but after finding out how much easier it is to work with sharp tools I feel that the Tormek is the next step up to putting a superior edge on chisels and planes. The knife, scissors etc. are a plus as well.

I agree with you that it is well worth the money.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View FloridaUFGator's profile


39 posts in 4784 days

#4 posted 09-24-2008 04:58 AM

Scott, I was also a satisfied WS3000 customer (and still am for the price). All I can say is that when you take the plunge on the Tormek (and I took the complete plunge – the Ultimate set) there is NO wanting to go back. It is night and day from the WS3000. I too compared it to the JET and again – no comparison. I only own a few tools that I would expect to last my lifetime and this is one of them.

-- ...and remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these — safety glasses - Norm Abram

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4759 days

#5 posted 09-24-2008 07:24 PM

That’s a great sharpener!

I have a green one with all the tooling. I bought it all together and saved some money.

I don’t regret it at all!

Initial cost aside, I think it’s the best their is. The clones are cheap copies.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View SteveRussell's profile


101 posts in 4731 days

#6 posted 09-24-2008 10:15 PM


Congrats on your new Tormek! I have four Tormeks (including the new T 7) and I really love using them in my woodturning studio. The more you use your Tormek, the more you will love it as well. Take care and best wishes to you and yours!

Steve Russell

-- Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

View Tim_456's profile


173 posts in 4366 days

#7 posted 09-26-2008 06:12 PM

sounds like it’s easy to get things “scary sharp”. Maybe it’s time to move this up on the priority list. thanks for the great review.

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4910 days

#8 posted 09-27-2008 07:57 PM

Great review of the Tormek! It is a very solid machine that produces a keen edge. I did a similar review comparing the Jet vs Tormek as I had both in my shop at one time. Bottom line . . . get the Tormek!


View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 4488 days

#9 posted 09-28-2008 07:24 PM

That pic of you with at planer knife (?) cutting the paper pretty much says it all!.

Great, ANOTHER tool I MUST have! LOL.

-- Have a blessed day!

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4839 days

#10 posted 09-29-2008 02:47 AM

The second pic is not me. I snapshot it from Jeff Farris’s demonstration videos at SharpToolsUSA. In the video Jeff demonstrates dinging the edge of a chisel with a hand ax and then regrinding and sharpening it. He then hones the chisel and proceeds to take the paper shaving you see in the second pic.

I wouldn’t have posted that picture if I hadn’t duplicated the results many times over myself. The only difference is that Jeff uses a Tormek flyer and I use plain paper. The flyer is actually stiffer and a little easier to cut. I shave plain paper because it’s cheap and handy and if the edge is anything but sharp it will fold the paper out of the way, plain paper is not stiff enough to bite unless the tool is very sharp. I’ve sharpened chisels and plane irons sharp enough to sit there and make full length confetti all day long. Newspaper works the same way, floppy and hard to bite unless the edge is sharp.

Other than the outrageous price it really is a nice tool that actually delivers on what it promises.

View Schmidty's profile


17 posts in 4301 days

#11 posted 09-30-2008 01:40 AM

When I went to college this is the system we and I loved it. First thing we learned was the normal grinding and oil stone routine, and then we got to use this. In my opinion this took half the time and you get better results.

-- Schmidty

View jaxx's profile


66 posts in 4288 days

#12 posted 12-11-2008 01:17 AM

My T7 arrived a few days ago and at last my tools are sharp, No hair on hands or arms now just a few nicks and smooth. i paid 460 uk pounds but you get what you pay for. im sure it wont be too long before my friends start bringing edge tools with them when they visit superb design features and rock solid build.

View Matt Vredenburg's profile

Matt Vredenburg

193 posts in 4185 days

#13 posted 03-31-2009 05:52 AM

I have this unit (Tormek) and love it. I sharpen everything from my turning tools to my kitchen knives.

Once you get the hang of it, you0 can sharpen pretty much everything you own (no saw blades though).

From a price perspective, Over the years, I have purchased a number of man-made and natural sharpening stones (probably 10) and extra add ons to my grinder (for turning) which didn’t work that well – when you add them all up and the quality of the sharpening you get from the Tormek, the price is a deal. It’s a once in a life-time purchase.

-- Matt, Arizona

View Jon_Banquer's profile


69 posts in 3580 days

#14 posted 09-17-2010 01:58 PM

Helpful review. Thank you.

-- Jon Banquer San Diego, CA CAD / CAM programmer, CNC Machinist

View StumpyNubs's profile


7806 posts in 3571 days

#15 posted 10-31-2010 04:41 PM

It is surely the nicest system out there, but it’s sure hard to buy a sharpener that costs almost as much as a table saw. I’m no cheapskate, but I just can’t do it…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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