Testing the Tormek T8
Review and photos: Troy McDonald
Review system supplied by Promac
It’s hard to imagine a topic more divisive amongst woodworkers than sharpening. For some, the quest for sharpening perfection seems to be a pursuit in its own right. So, in the interests of disclosure I’ll confess at the start that I’ve always had a strong dislike for sharpening, and also that I’ve been a Tormek owner for some years and love the system. That said, how does the new Tormek T8 stack up?
The T8 is the new flagship model in a long line of sharpening products from the Swedish company dating back to the 1970s. Few could dispute Tormek’s reputation for innovation and quality and the T8 is no exception. The unit comes with everything you need and the documentation supplied is the best in the business. So much so, I’d suggest any woodworker would benefit from reading the early chapters in the manual on sharpening fundamentals.
Assembly is simple and the improvements since the previous T7 quickly become evident. The major change on this model is the full cast zinc top (shown above) to improve rigidity and accuracy. Several other upgrades improve ease of use such as the clever adjustment for raising and lowering the water trough. The stone and motor specifications seem unchanged, however, the unit appears somewhat quieter than the T7.
For sharpening chisels and plane irons the T8 comes with the new straightedge jig, the SE77. This is an improved model with an upgraded locking mechanism and functionality that allows cambering of plane irons. In use, nothing has changed.
The water trough is filled with water, the tool is mounted in the jig, the sharpening angle is set with the anglemaster as shown above, and sharpening begins.
With the bevel re-established, the tool can then be finished on the strop as I'm doing in the photo above. The process is incredibly quick and easy, but the repeatability is outstanding.
There is a lot to like about the T8. The flexibility offered by the system I consider a huge advantage for woodworkers. It can be deployed on everything from carving and turning tools to kitchen knives and although the range of accessories is vast I find only a small number of them really necessary.
Some will consider the Tormek expensive, however, this is a quality tool for a lifetime of use. For me, the flexibility it offers and the quality of the results make it worth every cent. And the downside? In my opinion, there is only one and that would be the slowness of the grind. For normal sharpening, this isn’t an issue because you’re removing such a small amount of steel, however, for tasks that require significant steel removal, like reshaping a tool, it can be slow.
For those tasks do yourself a favour and invest in the Tormek BGM100 which allows the Tormek jigs to be used on any high speed grinder. With the T8 for sharpening and the BGM100 for significant grinding tasks, sharpening is quick, accurate and incredibly effective. And that’s a huge compliment from a sharpening hater like me.
Win a Tormek T8!! Book your ticket to Wood Review L!VE now and go in the draw!
Winner drawn at L!VE, August 4, 2018 in Sydney.