Sorby 447 vs Vari-grind

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Eileen Stephens, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. Eileen Stephens

    Eileen Stephens

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    All, I am looking for a grinding jig and am wondering what the pros and cons of the Sorby 447 are vs the Oneway Vari-grind (original version). The Sorby seems to have a lateral movement built in via the bar, but it doesn't seem to have the "length" adjustment that the Varigrind does (not the front angle, which sets the center grind, but the platform distance, which sets the side grinds per multiple presenters in the "AAW Sharpening Tools" video.) If that's the case, how do you adjust the side grind on the Sorby? Are there other sliding platform-like components that I need to purchase? I would be using this with the Rikon 1HP grinder, not the Sorby ProEdge.

    Also, I like how a platform flips out on the Sorby, so I (supposedly? apparently?) can sharpen all sorts of tools on the same wheel. Is it practical or a gimmick? Do I really need all those inserts?

    And finally, where do I even purchase the Sorby 447? The Sorby website doesn't seem to have pricing or ordering info????

    Thanks,
    Eileen
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    That looks almost identical to the Tormek gouge jig. You have a couple options. You can change the tool protrusion distance through the jig or get their special long bevel adapter for the jig. If you already have a Wolverine fixture, I would go with the Varigrind jig.
     
  3. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The Sorby & Varigrind will put the same profiles on gouges when properly set up.

    The Sorby requires you to hold a gauge to set the protrusion while holding the tool and locking the gouge in place at the proper protrusion. For those who have been counting that is three hands but it can be done with 2.
    Simple devices to set the protrusion are a squared block of wood with a hole drilled to depth plus the thickness of a Penney and a penny glued in the bottom. Also an “L” shaped piece of wood with the long part cut to depth.

    I much prefer the varigrind for gouges. Haven’t tried any of the other attachments.

    The Sorby is not well suited for a classroom environment.
    One time when I was at Campbell getting ready for a class there were Sorbys on the grinders when I I got there.
    They were all chewed up because they can lean against the wheel when not being used and of course the grinders had been run with the jig leaning against the wheel hopefully by mistake.
    I got the varigrinds out and put the Sorbys in the drawer.
    Never saw the Sorbys there again. This should not be a problem in most home shops.

    One consideration is that the varigrind and Wolverine are in most classrooms and in most demonstration venues. So if a craft school class or a demo is i your future all you need to take is your varigrind or a way to set theirs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
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  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Actually, if you want something like the Sorby jig, a far better option in my opinion would be to get the Tormek fixture for dry grinders. It allows the bar distance from the wheel to be moved and then the gouge jig is very similar to the Sorby jig. The Tormek jig can be removed when not being used by sliding it off the end of the bar. There are more Tormek jigs than you would ever need, but for woodturning there is an excellent skew jig and a platform jig for scrapers.

    Using sharpening tools that are almost universally used by woodturners has a lot of advantages. I would estimate that 98.763% of woodturners use the Wolverine and Varigrind. I mainly sharpen on the Tormek, but I do have the Wolverine and Varigrind and occasionally use it ... mostly for shaping a new tool.
     
  5. Eileen Stephens

    Eileen Stephens

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    I looked at the Tormek, looks good - thanks Bill! I guess a fundamental question I have is...what exactly is the lateral motion for? Does it provide for a better side grind? Does it reduce probability of misgrinds or falling off the edge of the wheel? There must be some specific purpose for that additional degree of freedom?
     
  6. Eileen Stephens

    Eileen Stephens

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    That requirement/method is the same for the Varigrind, correct?
     
  7. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Eileen, yes! and not quite!
    those devices could be held in the hand to set the protrusion on the varigrind.
    However most varigrind users mount the protrusion guide on the grinder platform or a nearby bench. This allows one hand to hold the goungnand the other to lock the protrusion setting on the varigrind.
     
  8. Eileen Stephens

    Eileen Stephens

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    OK, thanks for the clarification. BTW, noticed you are in FL. Will you be attending the Feb2018 regional symposium?
     
  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    There are several reasons. If you had the jig position fixed in one spot then the bowl or spindle gouge would wear a depression in the wheel because of just using one part of the wheel. Also, a grind with long wings such as an Irish grind makes it nessary to slide the jig from side to side. The wheel is 2" wide so there is very little chance of falling off the side, but it can be done if you try real hard to make that happen.:D

    Yes. I have a Varigrind jig and three Tormek bowl gouge jigs. Setting the protrusion is no more or less difficult on either one. I don't think that I can do it with one hand, but either one is a snap with two hands.

    There is a Tormek accessory, the TTS-100 that can be used to set the protrusion. See the video below:


    View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=208&v=hpsxVg8SFF4&ebc=ANyPxKovhkIiBm2whwHtAB0N6n0tOaxj-uHShDtVdD1htkaGiET4gf0W8Wh8uhbwBh7k2lJPmYDow4h55wBrLonxtTPMupmH7w


    Here is a video showing the jig in actual use. I think that you can see why it is advantageous to have the jig slide horizontally:


    View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v7V4bjePKkM&ebc=ANyPxKoPHKMfpn0gmgp6JuakPwzEogm9-chwKpL_l5Sf2dRJ4A2RB4eIFQCC6DHsWB5XuIUoFA_wrv-dSUGM-4iWoZsc8S5y0Q


    If you add up the cost of a 1 HP grinder, two CBN wheels, a Wolverine fixture, and a Varigrind jig, the price is getting "up there" ... most likely still less than a Tormek. If you have other things to sharpen besides turning tools then the Tormek might be worth considering, but if not then the bench grinder with CBN wheels is probably the better choice.
     
  10. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Unfortunately we have a conflict this year and will end our streak at 13 years in a row.
    The Florida Symposium is a terrific event and the best bargain in Woodturning at a bit over $300 including food andlodging.
    I will be there in spirit as one of the door prizes. You can win a day at our shop.
    All attendees have the opportunity to win “a Day in the shop” with several turners.
    You put your ticket in the drawing for the turner you want visit.
     
  11. Eileen Stephens

    Eileen Stephens

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    Oh that's too bad. I was looking forward to meeting you! I couldn't go to the NC symposium earlier this month and never miss an excuse to get myself down to FL so I will be there. I will look for your spirit!!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  12. odie

    odie

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    From my interactions with other turners over the years, I believe this is likely very true. I only have experience with one grinder jig.....and, it's the Wolverine since the early 90's. I have never regretted that, and there is no grind, or shape you can't duplicate with ease. (After the learning curve, of course.) If a turner is going to choose to use a dry grinder, this is the one to consider.

    -----odie-----

    IMG_2441.JPG
     
  13. Eileen Stephens

    Eileen Stephens

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    Got it, looks intuitive, thanks.

    Bill, obviously you have both types so can make a direct comparison, and you've already voted for the Varigrind. And I understand the argument of getting what almost everyone else has (Varigrind) for sake of consistency/ease of use, I really do.

    But I want to understand, for my setup, the Rikon 1HP + two 1.5" Hurricane CBN wheels (80/180 grits):

    With my wheels I don't need to worry about wearing a depression. But while the Tormek has the same 3 degrees of freedom (protrusion/angle/distance) as the Varigrind (great!), it also has one more - the lateral movement. So doesn't that make it the better jig? Why wouldn't I get the Tormek set up for bench grinders - BK250, for example? (other than price, which I've gotten down to $170 or so)
    Is that lateral movement so seldomly used that it's not really worth it? Only for putting a new shape on tools and that's it?

    Eileen
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  14. Eileen Stephens

    Eileen Stephens

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    Odie, I'm confused, because in http://www.aawforum.org/community/index.php?threads/wolverine-versus-tormek-grinding-system.7497/ you talk about using a wet wheel like (but not exactly) the Tormek? Did you use a Wolverine with that as well?
     
  15. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    They are essentially equal in lateral movement ... the Tormek jigs slide laterally on the bar and the Varigrind jig pivots laterally (yaw). While this is an an angular rotation, for all practical purposes it accomplishes the same lateral freedom of motion where the tool meets the wheel.

    The Tormek BK-250 would work very well as a way to use Tormek jigs on a dry grinder.

    With several options to consider, making a decision can be difficult especially for a beginner, but unfortunately it's a question that only you can answer.

    Here's how I arrived at what I have:
    Forty something years ago I bought a Sears 6" bench grinder for sharpening lawnmower blades, axes, and general purpose metal grinding. It wasn't very good. It vibrated all over the place and was noisy. Several years before I got interested in woodturning I bought a Tormek to sharpen chisels, plane irons, jointer and planer blades, knives, scissors and anything that needed a very sharp edge ... turning tools weren't even on my radar screen yet. When the turning bug bit me, everybody said to put white wheels (aluminum oxide) on my Sears grinder and that, "nobody uses a Tormek to sharpen turning tools". So, that's what I did and I hated it ... freehand sharpening on a grinder that was vibrating so much that it was walking around on my workbench just didn't result in good edges ... not to mention that I didn't know what I was doing. To make matters worse, those white wheels were throwing a shower of grit all over my shop. I was probably sharpening turning tools the same way that I sharpened lawnmower blades with about the same results. Then I discovered that people actually used Tormek machines to sharpen turning tools .... suddenly it was nirvana ... tools that actually could slice wood with ease ... I was stoked! I sold that Sears grinder to a guy who came to buy my air compressor. Both of us were happy. Then at a woodworking show I came across a Delta grinder at a really great price. What a night and day difference from that Sears grinder! Later I added Norton 3X wheels, the Wolverine fixture, and a Varigrind jig just because everybody kept telling me that is what I needed. There's no doubt that my dry grinder is great for sharpening turning tools, but by that time I had become addicted to even sharper edges using my Tormek. Since that time CBN wheels have become available and enabled dry grinders to sharpen tools that are close to the results produced with a Tormek. If I were just now getting into turning and didn't have a sharpening system I would probably choose CBN wheels on a dry grinder with the Wolverine fixture and Varigrind jig. However, I am glad that I serendipitously wound up with what I have for sharpening turning tools.

    BTW, the Delta grinder that I have (same as the one that Odie has) is no longer available. Too bad, it is an excellent grinder ... better than any of the consumer grade grinders that are currently available in my opinion.
     
  16. odie

    odie

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    Eileen.....I haven't used that wet wheel for quite awhile now. I probably made that post prior to when I really got the hang of using diamond hones. Sorry for the confusion, but my my experience 7 years ago isn't the same as it is now!......I have evolved.:D

    I began using the Wolverine in the early 90's......and, still used the wet wheel for some time after that.....until I sold it. It never did compare to what I use now.

    -----odie-----
     
  17. Eileen Stephens

    Eileen Stephens

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    Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification!
     
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