I have recently inherited my dads Pro Edge. He often used it for sharpening his lathe tools and spoke highly of it. I’ve brought it into my shop now and set about sharpening some of my battered chisels and planes. I should add at the point that I’m a carpenter and as much as I’d love to spending my days in the shop turning wood, I have 2 young kids and a family to feed so I spend my days on site doing 1st/2nd fix and fitting kitchens etc.
I’ve noticed a few issues with the machine....
Firstly I find the that the belts (perhaps they’re old/stored incorrectly) have a curl. I find it difficult to get a uniformly square edge on a bench plane iron.
The guides (90 degree etc) have some play in the slot which I am also finding irksome when trying to get a nice flat edge on chisel (even just roughing the bevel edge).
Thirdly and perhaps more worryingly, I have found that the bottom roller (which is attached to the motor) had a noticeable wobble on its rotation.
Is any of this stuff normal? Can it be repaired? I’m not sure this piece of kit is all it’s cracked up to be. Please convince me otherwise. Thanks in advance. B
You are probably right about the age/storage of the belts, mine do not curl some of those are not new, but not very old either! I store them in the workshop between 2 turned posts the same diameter as the rollers, not under tension but in position! There is no noticeable slack on the table position guides, but there is a fraction of a degree or it would be hard to locate them! this small variation makes no difference to woodturning tools, but probably would to plane / bench chisel blades.
Third item I just checked mine not with a dial guage but with a simple fine point felt tip against the side, got a clean circle so no detectible "wobble" it is simple to to remove the roller, I would say it is worth doing to see if you can spot the problem, see link below for replacement parts.
I would also suggest that as an inherited piece it is worth checking the backing plate behind the belt this is a consumable part and it will suffer from scoring and distortion over time, especially if it has been used for rolling bowl gouges and the like on (us wood turners use a lot more curved tools than carpenters tend to).
I have used many different sharpening systems, and would have to say that the ProEdge is the best one for woodturning tools, it is not necessarily the best for all sharpening needs. Though if the machine is in good condition and you aim at getting mostly reprofiled to 240 grit then consider either using the trizact belts or maybe moving onto a stone for final sharpening it should speed up your sharpening even for planes and bench chisels.
For my bench chisels I reprofiled and flattened the backs on the ProEdge, then I slipped a steel rule under the back edge of the table to create a small micro bevel which I maintain on a stone, intention is returning to the ProEdge when that becomes worn, But I do so little flat work that hasn't happened yet. I would suggest if the 0.5 or so degree in the main angle concerns you you take a known good blade, coat it in marker pen, and finesse the table to it by hand turning the belt to ensure a clean removal edge to edge of the marker pen before reprofiling the battered ones.
Look at replacement parts link for new back plate and pully bearings and consider new belts depending on how battered either start with the 60 or 120 grit and aim at around 1200 trizact for planes and bench chisel finishing belts link.
Ask any ten woodturners for an opinion on how x is achieved, you can expect at least eleven different answers.
I see that, as always, Pete @ Twisted trees has given you some excellent advice from his personal experience which always counts for a great deal when it comes from another user
Please can you take a short video of the run out on the bottom motor pulley and email it to the Robert Sorby office, so that our engineers can review it...someone will then contact you with their comments and a solution
There are two jigs available for sharpening woodworking chisels. there is the simple square guide which is suitable for DIYers that want a clean edge on their chisels but a degree or so out of square is not a concern, as long as it is sharp The other woodworkers square jig is more suitable to yourself as it is adjustable to ensure a good square guide to the face of the belt platen to your specific machine
As a tip, the more you move a tool, left to right the more chance you have of bringing error into your sharpening so please keep the movement to an absolute minimum and also hold the tool as close to the blade as possible to reduce the chance of creating a swaying action
I hope this has been useful
Robert Sorby - Proudly manufactured in Sheffield, England.