Tormek Woodturner's Kit - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A sound and practical investment for woodturners who own a T7 or T3


Tormek Woodturner's Kit

The Tormek Woodturner's Kit (TNT-708) contains five jigs that, when used in conjunction with a Tormek T-7, T-3, or Tormek 2000 sharpening machine, provide woodturners with everything needed to shape and sharpen virtually any turning tool. The only exception is the Bedan, which is sharpened using the Square Edge jig (SE-76) that comes standard with every Tormek. Additionally, the kit contains instructional materials and a machine cover. Two of the jigs in this kit are also useful for sharpening cabinet (or card) scrapers, carving scorps, spokeshave blades, and cutting inserts. TNT, by the way, is an acronym for 'Touch N Turn', a reference to how quickly you can go from sharpening to turning with the Tormek sharpening system.
The various components in the kit can, of course, be purchased separately; however, with the kit you realize a 10% cost savings, plus you get a handy storage tray. If you have a bench grinder that you're quite content to use, but would still like to take advantage of the jigs in the TNT-708 kit, you're in luck. The Tormek Bench Grinder Mounting Kit (BGM-100) enables you to use three of the components in this kit (the SVD-185, SVS-50 and SVD-100 jigs) with a bench grinder. The BGM-100 Kit consists of a Universal Support (US-105) and the hardware and plans to make a base to use with the Universal Support.
All the jigs in the TNT-708 kit are mounted on, or held against, the Universal Support. Typically the Universal Support is installed in the horizontal position, so that grinding takes place away from the rotating edge of the grindstone. While grinding is slower, it affords you more control over the grinding process. If you are not familiar with the Tormek, read our T-7 review or have a look at this short introductory video.
These are the components of the TNT-708 kit:

Part #:Name:Used for:
TNT-300Instruction BoxInstruction and reference
MH-380Machine CoverProtecting your machine from dust and debris
LA-120Honing WheelHoning and polishing gouge flutes
TTS-100*Turning Tool SetterSetting the geometries on gouges and skews
SVD-185Gouge JigBowl gouges, spindle gouges, scraper tips and cutters
SVS-50Multi JigStraight grind gouges, straight or curved edge skew chisels, beading and parting tools
SVD-110Tool RestScrapers, hollowing tools, thin and flat parting tools
 * used with the SVD-185 and the SVS-50 jigs
All the jigs are made of cast aluminum alloy for strength and wear resistance, with the hardware made of zinc plated steel and brass. The plastic knobs are of a generous size, making them easy to grip and turn.
TNT-300 Instruction Box
The TNT-300 consists of a 42-page comprehensive instruction manual, an 80-minute DVD, and a handy plasticized 'Selection Chart' that contains the geometries for various gouges and skews. Regardless of your skill level, I highly suggest that you being by reading the manual. While the jigs in the TNT-708 are not overly complicated, or difficult to use, a thorough understanding of how they work will better enable you to sharpen your tools more quickly and effectively. While becoming accustomed to using the jigs you'll find it convenient to keep the manual close at hand.
It's no surprise to woodworkers that most instruction manuals are poorly written and lack sufficient content. The TNT-300 manual is, thankfully, an exception. It clearly describes the function and operation of each jig, and makes use of copious illustrations to amplify each step. The coil wire bound binding is a nice feature, as you can rotate pages 360 (cover-to-cover), or open the manual completely flat on a workbench.

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The instruction manual is comprehensive, and provides step-by-step instructions for using each jig in the TNT-708 kit
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The Selection Chart, used with the TTS-100, contains the geometries for various gouges and skews
The DVD is a show stealer. The instructor, Jeff Farris, has been demonstrating the Tormek system for years; his delivery is very polished, and the camera work is excellent. Farris shows you how to sharpen the major types of turning tools using the appropriate TNT-708 jigs. I recommend that you watch the section of the DVD that covers the tool you plan to sharpen, and then practice the technique on the Tormek, rather than watching the whole DVD at once.
There is also a very useful section on grading and truing the grindstone, and an explanation of the difference between initial shaping of a tool edge and subsequent sharpening. While experienced turners will be content with watching the first part of the DVD (Sharpening), novice turners have a nice treat in store with the second part of the DVD (Turing Tips). In this section Farris demonstrates basic turning techniques for four turning tools - bowl gouges, spindle gouges, skew chisels and scrapers. Anyone new to the craft of turning will find a lot of useful information here.
The DVD Menu:
  • TNT System Fundamentals
  • Bowl Gouges
  • Spindle Gouges
  • Roughing Gouges
  • Skew Chisels
  • Scrapers
  • Parting Tools
  • Specialty Tools
Turning Tips
  • Side Grind Bowl Gouges
  • Fingernail Grind Spindle Gouges
  • Skew Chisels
  • Scrapers & Scraping Techniques
MH-380 Machine Cover

I was glad to see a cover included with the TNT-708 kit, though I think it should really be included with the sharpening machine.
A Tormek represents a hefty investment for most woodworkers, and keeping that investment in tip-top condition is important. This all-cotton cover completely encloses the machine, keeping dust and other debris at bay, and in particular, extends the life of the leather honing and profiling wheels.

LA-120 Profiled Honing Wheel

The LA-120 comes with two leather profiling wheels, three impact-resistant ABS plastic discs, and a steel mandrel. You'll use the larger 1/8" radius wheel to remove the burr and polish the inside of gouges. The smaller wheel, which has a 60° tip, is more useful on V-shaped carving tools.
To install the LA-120 remove the locking knob on the main honing wheel, and then screw the mandrel onto the shaft. Slip the plastic discs and leather wheels over the mandrel, and then replace the locking knob. Once installed there really isn't any reason to remove the LA-120; you'll use the main honing wheel that comes with the Tormek, and the 1/8" profiling wheel, every time you sharpen gouges. Hone the gouge bevel on the main honing wheel, and then hone the inside of the gouge on the 1/8" radius wheel. You should only need to apply honing compound to the main wheel; enough compound usually remains on the gouge to adequately lubricate the 1/8" wheel.

Parts of the LA-120
Assembled on the mandrel and ready to be mounted on the Tormek
TTS-100 Turning Tool Setter

Shaping and sharpening turning tools is all about geometry - the specific profile and angle that defines the cutting edge of the tool. For novice turners it makes sense to use tools as they have been ground (shaped) at the factory. All that is usually required is to sharpen the tools before using them, as this is generally not done at the factory. Experienced turners, on the other hand, may want to regrind their tools to custom shapes and angles. Once sharpened, honing will give a razor sharp cutting edge.
The SVD-185 Bowl Jig and the SVS-50 Multi Jig are the two primary jigs that you'll use, in conjunction with the Universal Support, to shape, sharpen and hone most of your turning tools. Each time you sharpen a tool you want to end up with the same edge shape and cutting angle. However, the diameter of the grindstone will vary constantly, as it is worn down. To accommodate the changing stone diameter you will need to adjust the distance of the Universal Support from the stone.
There are, in fact, three methods to set the Universal Support so that you replicate the existing geometry of a tool; all are clearly outlined in the TNT-300 Instruction Manual. By far, the easiest, quickest and most accurate method is using the TTS-100 Turning Tool Setter, which accommodates for the changing size of the grindstone.

TTS-100 (Side 1): Instructions for use with the SVD-185 and SVS-50 jigs
TTS-100 (Side 2): Showing Stops to Set Chisel Projections
The TTS-100 is made from a durable glass-filled resin. Printed on one side are instructions for using the TTS-100 in conjunction with the SVD-185 and SVS-50 jigs. The printing is clear, legible, and won't wear off over time. On the other side of the jig are three moulded stops used to set the distance that the tool will protrude from the jig.
At the bottom edge of the jig are two holes, and along the angled arm of the jig are two rotating metal discs. The TTS-100 is mounted onto the Universal Support through one of the holes, depending on the tool to be sharpened - the chart clearly indicates which hole to use. It then is a simple matter of adjusting the Universal Support until both metal discs just touch the grindstone. That's it. The tool can now be sharpened with the appropriate jig.
Once you've gone through this process a couple of time you'll find using the TTS-100 incredibly fast - a matter of five or six seconds to adjust the Universal Support. As an added convenience there are three grooves along the angled edge of the jig that enable you to quickly check the edge angle of a tool. These grooves are set at the three most common angles for turning chisels: 30°, 45° and 55°. A couple of magnets enable you to store the TTS-100 right on the body of the Tormek machine.
SVD-185 Gouge Jig

Gouges are probably the most difficult turning chisels to sharpen, especially those with fingernail shapes. Inexperienced turners can easily alter the factory ground shape, particularly if using high speed grinders.
With the SVD-185, establishing the original factory geometry, reshaping the tool with a new geometry, sharpening and honing, is absurdly quick and easy. The SCD-185 also comes with an insert arm that enables you to sharpen insert cutters.
The SVD-185 consists of a sliding tube that mounts onto the Universal Support, an articulating head into which the turning tool is mounted, and a stop ring that enables you to quickly adjust the distance of the tool to the grindstone (for example, to round the heel on the bevel of a gouge).
The key to the SVD-185 is the articulating head, which keeps the cutting edge of your chisel accurately oriented to the grindstone as you swing the tool back and forth. This enables you to precisely replicate the existing shape of the tool. A specially designed locking head on the SVD-185 enables it to accommodate any size of gouge.
There are five grooves milled on the head; depending on the particular shape of the turning tool, you will adjust the head to one of these five settings. On the TTS-100 and in the manual, five settings are identified as 'JS' (Jig Setting). Once the articulating head is fixed at the correct setting, you then need to ensure that the tool extends out of the jig at the correct distance. Again, on the TTS-100 and in the manual, these projections are clearly identified, and labeled as 'P' (Projection).

Left to right: SVD-185 jig, insert arm, wrenches, labels and pen
The articulating elbow with the fivesetting grooves
The sequence of steps to follow when sharpening either bowl or spindle gouges then, is the same:
1. Refer either to the chart on the TTS-100, to the Selection Chart, or to page 20 of the manual, to determine the correct jig setting position (JS) and protrusion length (P) for the tool.
2. Set and then lock the jig to the appropriate JS settings (JS1 to JS5).
3. Put the tool into the jig and then use the TTS-100 as a guide to extend the tool to the collect protrusion (P)
4. Use the TTS-100 to set the Universal Support to the correct distance from the grindstone.

The first couple of times you do this it's a good idea to keep the instruction manual close at hand. It'll make the process go a lot easier for you. But once you've gone through these steps a few times you'll be surprised at how intuitive it becomes. The SVD-185 also comes with a batch of 'recipe' labels and a pen; record the edge angle, jig setting (JS number), and protrusion length (P number) on a label, and attach the label to the ferrule of your tool so that all the relevant information is close at hand for the next trip to the Tormek.
Once you've sharpened a tool you'll likely want to hone it on the leather honing wheel. The key here is not to make any adjustment to the tool in the jig. Simply remove the jig from the Universal Support, reposition the Support so it's in front of the honing wheel, and then set the Support to the correct distance from the grindstone. Slip the jig back onto the Support and hone your tool for a super sharp, polished edge. Going from sharpening to honing takes about 10 seconds. While the SVD-185 looks like the most complicated jig in the TNT-708 kit, I find it one of the easiest to use.
The SVD-185, used with the TTS-100, is designed to accommodate a pre-defined set of edge angles, as indicated on the face of the TTS-100 and on the Selection Chart. However, instructions are provided on page 19 of the manual for sharpening gouges with different edge angles.
SVS-50 Multi Jig

The SVS-50 jig is used to sharpen straight, oval or curved edge skew chisels, straight grind gouges, and beading and parting tools.
The jig consists of a housing with a locking screw and a top screw, plus two interchangeable 'seats', one closed and one open. The locking screw holds the seats firmly in the jig at any angle from 0 to 45° while the top screw holds the tool in place. The scales on the closed seat are very legible, less so on the open seat. Skew chisels are mounted into the closed seat; the other tools are used with the open seat. Switching between seats takes no more than about 15 seconds.
I found that learning to sharpen straight grind gouges required more practice than sharpening skews or parting tools. You need to simultaneously roll the SVS-50 up and down while sliding it across the Universal Support. Of all the turning tools that I sharpened, this initially seemed the less intuitive. However, with practice I now find it quite easy. You can set the chisel protrusion several ways. The quickest and easiest is to use the TTS-100 and set the protrusion to 75mm, which will give a 45° bevel. For other angles I use the Marker Method, as outlined on page 14 of the manual.

SVS-50 with closed seat installed
SVS-50 with open seat installed
If the edges on your skew chisels are sharp, as mine were, you'll have to slightly round them over before using them with SVS-50. Running the edges lightly against the rotating grindstone does the job nicely.

Scale on the closed seat is very legible
Scale on the open seat is somewhat difficult to read
The SVS-50 with the closed seat sharpens straight edged skews and ovals at a 30° edge angle and 20° skew angle. Tormek recommends that you reshape straight edged skews to a curved edge, but this really is a matter of personal choice. If you're a novice turner and have a straight edged skew, I recommend you keep it that way until you develop some proficiency with the tool. Then, reshape your skew to a curved edge (or better yet, purchase a used skew and reshape it). If you like the new edge, keep it; if not you can easily reshape the tool back to its original straight edge. Reshaping a skew requires the removal of a fair amount of steel, so don't expect to breeze through the process quickly.

Factory straight edge on parting tool
Shaping took about 30 minutes (one edge)
Curved edge skews are sharpened much in the same was as straight edge skews, though with different angles on the jig, and a longer protrusion of the tool shank. The biggest difference, however, is that you need to pivot the jig to follow the curve of the cutting edge. Again, this will require some practice, particularly for novice turners.

Parting and beading tools are sharpened with the open seat. The cutting edge on parting tools is usually fairly long (just over 1" on my tool) and is ground flat from the factory. Even though the edge is narrow, the first time you sharpen it, you'll end up actually reshaping the edge to conform to the curvature of the grindstone.
Expect to spend about 20 minutes per side. Once done, sharpening takes only a couple of minutes. Mounting a parting tool in the open seat takes a bit more time than mounting other tools; this is because the tool is so narrow, as is the tip of the locking screw. To ensure that the bevels are ground symmetrically, it's important to lock the tool square to the face of the jig. I also found it somewhat awkward to balance the narrow shank of the parting tool on the Universal Support, keeping it vertical while sliding it back and forth across the Support. Fortunately, parting tools don't need to be sharpened as often as gouges and skews.
SVD-110 Tool Rest
Shaping and sharpening scrapers, hollowing tools, and thin and flat parting tools is done on the SVD-110 Tool Rest. I found it to be the easiest of the jigs to use. The SVD-110 is essentially a mini table measuring 3-3/8" by 4-1/4", which is held firmly on the Universal Support by a locking knob. The table surface has a series of shallow ribs that serve to reduce friction as you move a tool across its surface.

Ribbed surface on the SVD-110 reduces friction on tools
By far, the easiest jig to use
You'll use the Marker Method to set the angle at which the tool is presented to the grindstone. When the tool rest is locked in place, it's almost impossible to inadvertently knock it out of position. This is because the hole (the 'bore') in the stem of the tool rest is wedge shaped (Tormek's 'Torlock' feature), and as the locking knob is tightened, it applies a great deal of pressure on the Universal Support bar.

Factory edge on a scraper
Sharpening took about 4 minutes
Depending on the angle of the scraper, you'll mount the Universal Support either horizontally (angles larger than 60°) or vertically (angles less than 60°). Either way, you end up with a well defined burr, which you can leave on the tool, or remove (on the honing wheel).
The TNT-708: Durability, Repeatability, and Reliability
If you are a woodturner and own a Tormek sharpening system, the TNT-708 is a sound and practical investment. I don't think that you will find a more durable and reliable sharpening system than can handle virtually any turning tool on the market, while enabling you to quickly replicate the precise geometry of each tool. If you don't own a sharpening system, or if you're not satisfied with the system that you currently use, then I recommend you have a look at the Tormek T-7. If you use a conventional grinder, you can still take advantage of the benefits of the  from the SVD-185, SVS-50 and SVD-100 jigs by purchasing the Tormek Bench Grinder Mounting Kit.

  • Jigs made of cast aluminum
  • Hardware made of zinc plated steel and brass

AVAILABLE FROM:Find a retailer
MADE IN:Sweden

Related Reviews:
Tormek T-7 
Tormek Advanced Water Trough (AWT-250)
Tormek Stainless Steel Shaft with EzyLock (MSK-250)
Carl Duguay, November 2010
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