Advice on wet bench grinders

Hi there,

I am having problems with my regular DRY bench grinder. No matter how carefully I sharp my gravers, applying only short contacts with the stone and cooling them in water quickly, the smallest ones are very difficult to sharp without softening or burning them. Now I am considering purchasing a wet grinder. 
Since the difference of price between a regular wet grinder and the finest (and expensive!) Tormek is huge, I would like to know if it's possible to use a standard model like the one in the picture.

Thanks in advance.


  • One can buy a black silicon carbide in a fine grit. The issue is the white stones are friable and do not build the heat as much. One can use a highly-friable dry stone and not overheat the fine edges. It takes a brief, light touch. Color the tip with a permanent marker, leave the slightest of a flat on the edge and hone it to the desired edge. I use Shapton stones beginning at a coarse to 8000 grit on my chisels, knives, etc.

    I have several bench and large floor-standing grinders, including a 14" wet grinder (a converted AMMCO brake lathe). The Tormek really is all that if you have more than just a handful of tools to grind. I use it on everything from carving to turning tools, chisels, redoing of kitchen knives and much more. The Tormek clones are hardly worth the time unless one has only a few tools to grind.

  • Thanks for the advice. Yes, I had to re harden and temper several of my gravers after my dry grinder made them lose their hard. 
    I am also considering to purchase a Scheppach wet grinder. Of all Tormek alternatives, this seems to be the one with better reviews. Any opinion?

  • Wes AdamsWes Adams Posts: 59
    edited June 2017
    With carbide chisels I usually forgo the bench grinder for a few passes on a Dia-sharp whetstone. Not sure if you're needing to reshape the graver too, our application varies. I typically only need to sharpen, square a corner, or correct an angle.
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 835
    edited June 2017
    @Wes Adams Thanks for the advice, but please notice that tiny steel gravers are way more fragile and prone to lose their hard than carbide chisels. The turn red in a matter of seconds if you use a dry grinder.
  • Wes AdamsWes Adams Posts: 59
    edited June 2017
    That's why using a bench grinder seems too much. Even with hard chisels I usually sharpen by hand instead.

    Regardless of the sharpening surface, your variables are speed and grit. 
  • I am a woodworker with some experience of the Sheppach wet grinder. I bought one from Grizzly; apparently they are the same Chinese-made machine, sold under several brand names. There is a third I think, I've forgotten it.

    I bought one to try and avoid the expense of a Tormek. The major drawbacks to the machine are these: the motor is poor. You can slow the wheel down, even stop it, even with what seems like moderate pressure. The Tormek has a pricier motor which doesn't falter.

    Also my wheel wobbles, and from what I've read that is a common problem. This machine uses cheaper materials for the shaft than the Tormek. However Tormek tools fit the crossbar on the Sheppach/ Grizzly. I couldn't get a straight edge on a chisel, because of the wobble, until I bought a Tormek truing tool; it wears the wheel away and compensated for the wobble.

    So it is a way to get a cheaper grinder, that runs slow and is water cooled; but not without its issues. With small gravers you may not have any issue with the motor. I would recommend getting the truing tool if you get one. You asked the question in June so may have solved your problem by now!
  • Russell McGormanRussell McGorman Posts: 255
    edited January 2018
    ... please notice that tiny steel gravers are way more fragile and prone to lose their hard than carbide chisels. 

    That's why I only use hand grinding stones for my wood carving chisels and planes. You have way more control and there is no way to ruin the temper. I use a variety, running from course to extremely fine Japanese water stones and diamond hones. 
  • Yes, some water passed under the bridge after I made the original questions. I purchased the Sheppach wet grinder and yes, its motor is weaker than the Tormek. However, I found out you can shape your gravers well with it. The rest of the work is done with a Norton india stone and a white Arkansas stone for the finer sharpening. Nelly Gable thought me how to do it well and I am glad my gravers now can dig on steel way more comfortably than in the past.  
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