View Full Version : Ellsworth Gouge & Tormek

5th Nov 2004, 01:56 AM

Does anyone sharpen the Ellsworth gouge with a Tormek system? If so, can you share the settings that work?

Thank you and have a great day!


7th Nov 2004, 04:53 PM
This may not be much help, but hell, it's a rainy Sunday afternoon and I've done all the turning I feel like this week ;-}

The Tormek system uses, from memory, the Sorby fingernail jig. I'm told that this doesn't produce a genuine helical grind. I use it for producing fingernail grinds on my spindle gouges, but the Ellsworth is a bowl gouge.

There's lot's of talk out there about grinds - Irish, fingernail, etc etc. So you have to be clear about what kind of grind you want to produce.

I gave up using the Sorby jig for bowl gouges since it produced too fine an edge for the rough and hardwood bowl turning that I usually do.

Anyway, if I were you I'd be emailing Ellsorth and asking him direct. I'm sure he's like most woodturners - approachable :)

8th Nov 2004, 10:57 AM

I wish for a weekend when I can say "Ive done all the turning I want to". I always seem to be having to do something else.

As I understand, there is more than one "Ellsworth Grind", as the profile (ie how radical the grind) really depends on how large the offset angle on the jig is. I have a homemade jig, based on the Unijig, and I proceed as follows:

1 Select an offset to start, probably around 20 deg.
2 Set tool projection, and or jig extension to give the right bevel angle at the nose of the tool, probably 50-60 deg.
3 Do an initial grind, far enough to see how the bevel will develop.
4 If the wings will not be ground back far enough for your liking, then increase the offset angle. Offer the tool up to the (stopped) grinder, and readjust the jig extension to match up the bevel angle at the nose, then regrind. Repeat until you get what you want. Proceed slowly, as you cannot return to a less aggressive "Ellsworth" without losing a lot of tool length.

I would suggest starting with the less radical ground back designs, and try them, before proceeding to the more extreme, as I have seen very few turners using the extreme versions regularly.

Hope this helps

9th Nov 2004, 01:54 AM
Thank you, rsser and Alastair,

I appreciate both your responses. In fact I have written to David Ellsworth and I have found him very approachable. Unfortunately, he has no expereince sharpening his gouge with the Tormek.

I do have his sharpening jig, but so far have not been able to reproduce its action on the Tormek. The wings are the tough ones. I tried to duplicate what his jig is doing, but was not successful.

The different grinds are really interesting to me. I don't know much about the differences so I need to learn more. Suggestions and opinions are very welcome :)

Again, thank you both for your time. I hope your weather has improved by now!


9th Nov 2004, 07:22 AM
Pleasure John.

These sites may be of use:




If you can't get the wing shape you want with the jig you'll need to work freehand.

If that requires a major reshaping I'd be using a white wheel on a high speed grinder, doing a few 'dry' runs on it before going live.

Good luck.

Cliff Rogers
9th Nov 2004, 05:02 PM

I have a Tormek & found it too slow for Woodturning tools.
I took the Gouge grinding jig & the bar & adapted them to my 8" dry white wheel.

On my 3 big bowl gouges, I set the tool projection to 70mm, I set the
gap from the wheel to the bar at 60mm & I then set the angle on the
jig to 3, 4 & 5 to give me 3 varing grinds & lenghts of swept back wings.

When I go to resharpen them, I keep the tool projection & number on the jig
constant & move the bar to change the wheel gap to allow for the wear on
the wheel. I make the adjustment with the wheel stopped & look across
the tip of the tool with it upright against the wheel to get the same angle.
If you don't do it this way, you loose too much tool every time you regrind.

I don't know if it's a true "Ellsworth" grind but it is a sweptback grind.

If you don't want to loose too much tool steel playing around, get a piece of
scrap bar about the same diameter as you gouge & rough it out on your
dry grinder by hand & then put it in the Tormek jig & play around with the
settings to see what the results are. You don't have to grind a gullet in it,
just flatten the top off for 25 to 30 mm to about the same height as your
real gouge. You can still measure the internal cutting angle at the tip &
you will see what settings give the best shape on the swept back wings.

You can find your scrap bar from a building site or wreck a real old, dot-matrix
computer printer, one that has a round carriage rail for the printhead.

10th Nov 2004, 02:49 PM

Some good advice there. At the recent Woodturn 2004, Soren Berger demonstrated a novel idea to overcome wheel wear. Once you have got your set-up, cut a template which fits between the pivot point on the bar, and the wheel surface. Make one for each tool. Then forget the extension number. When you set up, place the template on the bar, move in until the template touches the wheel, Tighten. Grind. The wheel wear variable is taken out of the equation.

Another idea for establishing the "Irish Grind" shape. Turn the gouge over, (ie flute down) Grind at the angle you want the swept back wings to finish, to the shape you want. You will be left with a silver profile. Now reverse the gouge, or put it in the jig, and grind uptil the silver profile just disappears, (ie you hve reached sharpness all the way along the profile. Intend to try this one day.

11th Nov 2004, 12:04 AM
Thank you Alastair, Cliff and Ern,

I am looking forward to experimenting. Clearly still much to learn. All of your help speeds things along so I get to the next mystery even faster :)

Talk to you soon,


13th Feb 2005, 10:55 PM
[QUOTE=Cliff Rogers]

I have a Tormek & found it too slow for Woodturning tools.
I took the Gouge grinding jig & the bar & adapted them to my 8" dry white wheel.


Do you have any photos of the set up? I have used the Tormek at our club and share your opinion - there aren't enough hours in the day! We also have a Robert Sorby jig set in front of the dry wheel grinder and using that just emphasizes the quality of the Tormek jigs.

So - for my home use I plan to do as you have and use the Tormek jigs in front of my 8" wide wheel grinder. What I can't work out is weather to make / use the Tormek vertical pillar style mounts from a base board for the support or to make up a raised platform and make / use the horizontal style support. I.e. - is control over height or distance from the wheel most useful?<O:p</O:p

Any views / experience here would be useful.<O:p</O:p


Also, is there anything special about the bar? It retails for about 20 in the UK. This seems a massive amount for what is a bit of steel bent into a right angle with a length of studding welded on (or am I missing something?)<O:p</O:p

All the best, Simon.<O:p</O:p

Cliff Rogers
14th Feb 2005, 09:06 AM

No photos.

It's basically 2 big lumps of hardwood & the top one has 2 holes drilled in it to suit the 'legs' of the jig carrying bar & they are at about centre height of the grinding wheel. The 2 blocks are held in place on the bemch next to the grinder with a couple of big quick action clamps.
When I want to use it, I plonk it down next to the grinder, rougly line it up by eye & sit the clamps on just tight. I then get out my plastic template & set the spacing by bumping the blocks into place & lock up the clamps. Done.

15th Feb 2005, 04:19 AM
Thanks Cliff,

I think that sounds an excellent pragmatic solution!