Sep 012006

Woodworking Tool QuestionI’m looking to purchase a means to sharpen my chisels and turning tools. Is the Tormek or Jet “sharpening system” worth the money over a simple bench grinder?

Woodworking Tool AnswerMany woodturners use bench grinders (low speed is preferable so as not to heat up the tool’s edge and ruin the steel’s temper) to sharpen their turning tools. However, a bench grinder by itself does not provide a way to consistently jig the turning tool to the stone to grind a predictable and repeatable edge.

Tormek SuperGrindThe Tormek provides a proven and reliable way to jig all the tools in your shop (not just turning tools) to grind predictably on the stone. For a bench grinder, you would need to get a Wolverine Jig to use with the grinder to jig your turning tools. There are other jigs, like one we offer from Veritas that can also allow you to jig chisels and plane irons to a bench grinder stone consistently. (Most of the tool rests that come in the box with a bench grinder are not very functional for precise grinding of an edge).

The Tormek can also final hone your tools, which you need to do with a skew or your bench chisels and plane irons. A regular bench grinder can’t final hone an edge and you would need to move to a finer hand stone to finish the hone/polish of an edge.

We think the recent arrival of the imitator unit from Jet is a poor substitution for the quality, functionality and proven reliability of the Tormek sharpening system. We do not offer the Jet sharpener as we do not think it would be a wise use of your money to buy one.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

Sep 012006

Just wanted to let everyone know that the fall semi-annual Mid West Tool Collectors Association meeting will be held on October 26 – 28, 2006 in Chattanooga TN at the Holiday Inn Choo Choo. We are expecting over 400 people to attend.

This meeting will include great programs, a lot of tool buying & selling, incredible displays, an auction, a What’s It session and fellowship with others that share an interest in antique/traditional tools. The meeting begins on Thursday with the famous parking lot sale that starts when you still need a flashlight. On Friday, we move inside to a large trade room through noon on Saturday. Early Saturday afternoon there is an auction. All during this time, there are programs of interest for both men and women.

You have to be a member of M-WTCA to attend. All M-WTCA members should have already received a registration package. This year, members can also select the Saturday Only Option which only allows access to the trade room, What’s It session and auction on Saturday.

If you are not a member and want to attend, you have two alternatives. First you can join now and attend all three days by going to the website at and getting an application and mailing it in ASAP. Let me know and I will get you a registration form and let those running the meeting know you plan to attend. This must be done now to avoid a late registration fee.

A second alternative for non-members is to attend on Saturday only. If you join at the door (starts at 7:00 am) for the normal $25 yearly membership fee, you will get in to the Saturday activities (trade room, What’s It session, displays and auction) plus be a full member through 2007. This is a great way to find out what M-WTCA has to offer and experience an incredible day of “tooling”. If you are within 250 miles of Chattanooga, why not consider making this trip, as it will be one you won’t forget.

If you have any further questions, please contact me at or call 919 828-2754.

Hope to see you in Chattanooga,
Ed Hobbs

Sep 012006

Shop SignHang a shingle outside your Olde Shoppe with a custom cast sign. This double-sided, aluminum sign suspends from a symbolic handsaw that fastens to a wall with two screws. You can personalize the sign portion with up to 2 lines of text with a maximum of 17 characters/spaces per line. The sign itself measures 15″ wide x 8″ high x 7/16″ thick. Overall dimensions, including the handsaw hanger, are 17″ wide x 17″ high. The raised characters are 1-1/4″ high.

The sign background is powder-coated brown with gold raised letters while the handsaw blade is pewter color. Makes a handsome gift.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.