Replacing my Tormek Sharpening Stone

After using my Tormek sharpening machine for the past twenty years, it was time for a new stone. When I researched replacement wheels, I read all about the new CBN wheels on the market that stay flat and don’t require water to use. The one disadvantage I saw with these wheels, is that the side of the stones are prettty narrow. When I sharpen old plane blades, I like to flatten the back of them as well, so I often grind the back of the blade with the side of the stone. I was afraid that the narrowness of the CBN stones wouldn’t do the job as well as my original stone. I’ve been happy with the stone that came with the machine so, if it ain’t broke, dont fix it.

I knew the hard part of replacing the stone would be taking the old one off. I grabbed a 3/4″ wrench and tried like hell to unscrew the nut. I whacked on the wrench with a hammer as hard as I could hoping not to bend the shaft of the machine. It was so tough to get off, my stone cracked and fell apart.

After about twenty minutes of cussing and using a half of a can of PB Blaster, the nut finally freed itself. Once I took the remainder of the stone off, I tried to put the new stone on, but the shaft was so rusted and corroded, I had to sand the shaft smooth in order for the new stone to slide on.

I slipped on the new stone and noticed that it moved up and down just a little bit. Curious, I removed it from the machine and also removed the stropping wheel on the other side so I could remove the shaft in order to get a better look at what was going on.

Sure enough, the plastic gasket that was next to the stone had wore a larger hole in it from use over the past twenty years. Not having a replacement gasket on hand, I simply switched the gaskets from eachother sides hoping they will still work.

Now with a “new” gasket in place, the shaft wouldn’t fit into the hole because of all the corrosion on it so, I carefully filed and sanded the rust away. After a few minutes, I was able to get the shaft nicely seated in the machine.

I checked the squareness of the stone to my crossbar and it looked much better than before. For years when I used the Tormek, it would cut slightly heavier on one side of the blade. I would compensate for this error by tilting the angle of my blade in the jig just a smudge. After messing around with the machine this afternoon, I finally understand why it would cut heavier on one side.

I turned the machine on and checked how everything was running. The stone wobbles just a touch but, from how hard I was hitting the wrench with a hammer in order to get that nut off, I’m not surprised. As long as the machine sharpens blades fine, I’m happy with it.

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