Tormek has been in the business of making sharpeners for over four decades. Over the years, they have been working consistently on bringing machines which are often better and more improved than their previous versions.
Long-life motors are the key feature of Tormek. All of the models acknowledge the full scope of optional accessories to meet sharpening requirements.
Whichever model you pick, you can rest assured that it will provide you with sharp edges on your tools.
This article is a comparative study where we’ll explore the differences in features and accessories of two of Tormek’s models, namely Tormek T4 and T8.
The comparison table below does not include standard items that come with both sharpeners such as AngleMaster WM-200, honing compound, handbook, DVD, and stone grader.
Comparison Table – T4 vs T8
||Zinc top with ABS plastic sides
||Full body solid cast zinc housing with ABS plastic sides
|Motor Power / Duty Cycle
||120 W / 30 minutes per hour / 10,000 hours
||200 W / Continous / 25,000 hours
||8″ x 1 5/8” (200 x 40 mm)
||10″ x 2” (250 x 50mm)
|Leather Honing Wheel
||5″ × 1″ (145 x 26 mm)
||8 5/8″ × 1 7/32″ (220 x 31 mm)
||Height adjustable with magnetic scraper
|Square Edge Jig SE-77
|Truing Tool TT-50
|Dimension (W x D X H)
||230 x 200 x 260 mm (9 1/16″ x 7 7/8″ x 10 1/4″)
||270 x 270 x 330 mm (10 5/8″ x 10 5/8″ x 13″)
||17.6 lbs (8.0 kg)
||32.6 lbs (14.8 kg)
||7-year for personal or 2-year for commercial use
||7-year including commercial use
The housing of T4 has a zinc top with ABS plastic sides. Both the motor shaft openings and universal support sleeves are casted into the zinc top as a piece, increases sharpening accuracy by 300%.
The zinc top serves as a radiator and expends heat to avoid overheating. Although it performs an excellent operation, it certainly does not have the mechanical feel and look of T8.
The T8 housing is identical to the T4, but now the body frames are machined into the zinc cast, along with two ABS plastic sideboards. This enhancement further increases stability and expend heat faster than the T4.
The zinc combinations that we use today are as strong as magnesium and aluminum composites. They are steady, corrosion-resistant, outstandingly robust, and can be casted in more slender walls for a more lightweight product.
With such an improvement, you can expect the T8 housing to last for a long time. As usual, the shaft is made from stainless steel, no worry about it breaking, rusting, or bending over time.
Feel free to read the review on Tormek T8
Motor Power and Duty Cycle
The motor of T4 is a single-phase 120W. The T4 utilizes a motor that runs for 30 out of 60 minutes. That means it’s intended only to run at a time for 30 minutes, cooling time is required.
This lower duty cycle, though, will not make much of a difference for a DIY hobbyist unless you’re running a professional sharpening service.
The T8 incorporates a more powerful 200W motor. The duty cycle of the T8 motor is continuous, unlike T4, which runs at 30 minutes at a time. The motor can run continuously without the need to cool down. It runs on 115V with a 25,000 hour life.
Since this motor is designed to run continuously, it can handle heavy-duty sharpening jobs, including commercial use.
Generally, the running speed of the T4 is 120 rpm. Unlike high-speed grinders, running at 120 rpm means a lesser chance of over-grinding unintentionally.
The T8 runs slower at the speed of 90 rpm, but it also means to provide stability and better cooling for all-day grinding. It requires a little patience to achieve perfection.
The grinding wheel of the T4 is 8″ x 1 5/8” (200×40 mm) instead of the standard 10″ x 2” (250×50 mm). It features a ceramic build grindstone wheel with 220 grit aluminum oxide.
This smaller-sized wheel gives the tool’s edge a more noticeable hollow grind compared to T8. The wheel is designed to run with water as a water-cooled sharpening system.
Unlike the T4, which has a smaller 8″ diameter, the T8 features a 10″ x 2” (250x50mm) grinding wheel. The width is slightly thicker, though.
Tormek packs a premier grinding wheel into the T8. It’s estimated to last 25% longer than the T4 wheel.
Leather Honing Wheel
The leather honing wheel of the T4 is 5″ × 1″ (145×26 mm). Use it to remove blur and polish blades to mirror finish. Along with the stropping paste, it only takes about 10-20 seconds for the honing wheel to hone a tool’s edge.
The T8 features an 8 5/8″ × 1 7/32″ (220×31 mm) honing wheel, bigger than the T4. The leather honing wheel is located opposite the grinding wheel and allows a smooth and razor finishing.
The T4 includes a standard water trough that uses water to cool the steel for the entire sharpening process.
It allows the blade to be in contact with the grinding wheel for as long as it takes to achieve a razor-sharp edge. Sharpening and cooling at the same time.
The T8 comes with a noticeable improvement that allows you to adjust the height of the water trough to fit the size of the grindstone (when it becomes smaller over time). It’s a bigger trough, and also includes a scraper with magnet to ease the cleaning at the end of the day.
Unlike the T4, this water trough has an enlarged standard lip to prevent water spillage and keeps the workbench dry.
In addition, a handy chute is also included that you can clip on the flank of the water trough to direct water back to the trough. This makes it convenient to sharpen longer tools (chef’s knives and planer blades) that span over the side of the grindstone.
Square Edge Jig SE-77
The Square Edge Jig sharpens chisels and plane irons and is an essential tool for woodworkers. However, in the T4 sharpener, the square edge jig is not available. You’ll need to buy a separate Square Edge Jig for the T4
The availability of a variety of jigs ensures precise sharpening on almost any tool.
The T8 sharpener comes with the SE-77 Square Edge Jig. The revamped Square Edge jig features two adjustment knobs for putting a camber on plane blades.
It works by loosening the knobs to increase the motion of the jig, which facilitates an increase in the curvature of the bevel edge.
You can also define the camber by pressing hard on either side of the blades alternately while sharpening.
The Square Edge jig can securely hold tools that are up to 3″ wide and 3/8″ thick at an exact 90-degree angle to the grindstone. The pressure bar on the jig evens the clamping pressure on the tool by thrusting it up against the flat rim of the jig.
Truing Tool TT-50
Although the T4 comes with a stone grader to change the grinding wheel grit, it does not include the truing tool. You will need to buy a separate truing tool
to true the grindstone round and flat.
With the availability of the truing tool TT-50 in T8, you can dress and true your grindstone flat and round. It can instantly mount and lock on the Tormek Universal Support, which guides the truing tool as well as the jigs. It secures the surface of the stone parallel to the tool equipped in the jig.
W x D x H = 230 x 200 x 260 mm (9 1/16″ x 7 7/8″ x 10 1/4″)
W x D x H = 270 x 270 x 330 mm (10 5/8″ x 10 5/8″ x 12″)
The T8 is definitely bulkier since more features are built into it.
The full weight of the T4 is approximately 17.6 lbs (8.0 kg). Although it’s compact and lighter, it’s not considered portable. You don’t carry it around like the handheld sharpener. It’s supposed to sit on the workbench to operate.
The T8 weighs more than T4 at 32.6 lbs (14.8 kg), and it’s the heaviest compared the two models.
The T8 industrial motor and the grindstone do make a difference. These make up a professional knife sharpener that is used by the pro.
The warranty on the T4 is 7 years, but it is limited to 2 years if you use it for industrial/commercial purposes. However, it can last about 10,000 hours.
The T8 also comes with a 7-year warranty, including commercial use.
T4 Pros and Cons
- Excellent entry-level sharpening product at a competitive price range
- Durable construction
- Water cooled precision results
- Limited jigs and accessories
- Half-hour duty cycle motor
- Less vital compared to its peers
T8 Pros and Cons
- Full-body zinc cast
- Industrial motor for continuous use
- Professional-grade precision with a 90 rpm grinding wheel
- Includes an assortment of accessories and jigs that are suitable for a variety of tools
- Improved water trough with lift and removable magnet scrapper and chute
- Ideal for extensive commercial use
- Slow cut, requires more time and patience
Who Is The Tormek T8 For?
The heavy-duty commercial motor, bigger grindstone and honing wheel, full-body zinc cast, and the advanced water trough make it a high-precision professional sharpening machine that leaves the competitor pale in comparison.
Tormek T8 is the machine to own if you’re a serious tool user or if you’re sharpening professionally. This machine has got the most versatility of any of the Tormek machines.
Who Is The Tormek T4 For?
The T4, however, also has its advantages. It is more compact and is built to last and will give you precision while sharpening. It’s a good sharpener for home use or lighter hobbyist sharpener of tools.
Tormek T4 can do pretty much everything the T8 can. But it does not come with Square Edge Jig SE-77 and Truing Tool TT-50. And it only features a 30 minutes duty cycle motor, a smaller water trough, grindstone, and honing wheel.
Conclusion – Tormek T4 or T8
The T4 and T8 are both excellent sharpeners from Tormek. But if you carefully look at the features of both the sharpeners, the T8 is more of an investment tool compared with T4. It can handle every jig the Tormek makes.
Despite all these shortcomings, the T4 is still an excellent and economical way to own if the T8 offers more than what you need.
However, if you want to sharpen professionally and when all the T4 shortcomings add up, it’s better off buying the T8 considering it as a long-term investment.
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