|Review by Jimi_C||posted 12-26-2009 09:19 PM||12354 views||0 times favorited||34 comments|
I have been wanting to get a wet grinder for a while now, after watching the Woodwhisperer and MLW videos on sharpening with them (TWW used the Jet, Tommy used the Tormek). Both of those machines were way out of my budget (especially the Tormek), so I was going to resign myself to scary sharp until I found the Grizzly T10010. Unfortunately, there are extremely few reviews of it around the net, so I was unsure of whether to get it or not. Well, Grizzly is having their holiday sale right now and dropped the price on it, so I added it to my X-mas wish list. Needless to say, Santa came through :) So, this morning I started setting it up in order to tune-up my likewise new Irwin Marples chisels.
First impression – the box is surprisingly heavy, weighing in at just over 41lbs. The finish on the body is very nice, with all of the metal edges rounded over so you don’t slice your hand picking it up and moving it around. There are rubber feet on the bottom, so I didn’t have a problem setting it on my counter top (I don’t have any GFCI outlets in my garage, and I’d rather be safe than sorry). The first picture shows everything that was in the box, from left to right: The tool support and sharpening jig, the grinder itself, the water reservoir, the knobs for the support and honing paste, and the box with the grinding stone (second picture shows the box opened).
I followed the setup instructions, making sure the grinding wheel was sound and mounted it, and used the tool support to make sure the wheel’s surface was nice and square. I don’t have a dressing tool yet, so I was happy with the squareness out of the box. I’ll be picking one up in the future though to make sure the wheel stays properly dressed. Turning it on for the test run, I was very happy with the noise level. The unit runs with a low hum, with no noticeable vibration at all. Some reviewers on Amazon have complained about a wheel “wobble”, which I did see. However it is extremely slight, and the manual says some wobble may be noticeable due to the low RPM nature but that it does not effect sharpening performance. After sharpening 4 chisels and a 2” plane blade on this, I can attest that is true.
Before today, I had tuned one chisel to razor sharp, hair shaving quality – and it took me about 2 hours to do. Out of the box, I took the 1” Marples chisel and flattened the back on my 1000/6000 (cheapo) Japanese water stone, which took a couple of minutes at each grit. Then I moved the chisel to the sharpening jig, using the included angle guide to set it to the proper depth – the Marples come with a 25 degree bevel, so I decided to leave that on the chisels for now. I filled up the reservoir, and turned on the grinder. I let it run for a minute, and then added a bit more water since the wheel absorbs quite a bit (I also dropped a magnet in the reservoir to collect metal shavings, as recommended by the manual). Once the water level stayed pretty consistent, I started grinding, moving the chisel back and forth across the whole surface of the wheel. I decided to use the support in the vertical, top position, with the wheel spinning towards the chisel, which is the aggressive cutting method (you can grind either towards or away with this grinder). After about 10 minutes tops, the chisel was hollow ground with a nice burr on the back edge. I took the chisel back to the water stone and did about 20-30 strokes on each grit, freehand with no jig. After finishing up with the 6000, I flipped the chisel over and took the burr off with a few gentle strokes.
I ended up with a nicely polished edge, maybe only a millimeter back from the tip, but that’s really all you need for sharpening. I tested the chisel on the hair on the back of my hand, and it shaved it as neatly as my Gillette :D I also tried the chisel on a piece of paper, and it sliced the edge with almost no pressure and zero fraying. So, after about half an hour of work, I had a razor sharp chisel :) I then finished up the set, which took me about the same time per chisel.
So, what don’t I like about this unit?
1) The sharpening jig included isn’t great. The plastic grommets that slip over the tool support sometimes bind, and you have to straighten them out with a quick nudge. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to center the chisel in the jig, but I had it aligned against one side to keep it square – that means the one knob is over the chisel while the other is not. If you tighten down the far knob too much, you will not be grinding square since it cants the chisel a bit… I found that out the hard way.
2) When sharpening wide blades, water does tend to drip off the sides of the blade, meaning water gets on the top of the unit and off to the side. I understand that to be a design flaw in most wet grinders, but it still makes a bit of a mess.
3) No dressing tool. In my opinion, that should be an included accessory, not something you have to buy with an optional jig kit.
Overall, had the included jig been better, and if it’d had a dressing tool, I would have given this 5 stars. It ground my chisels well and quickly, and all four are now shaving hair sharp (I have very little hair left on the back of my left hand…). I’d definitely recommend this unit to anyone who doesn’t want to pay for the Tormek’s premium price tag. I haven’t tried out the leather stropping wheel yet, but I may give that a shot the first time I need to tune up my chisels.
Thanks for reading!
-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"