Since Tormek introduced their wetstone sharpener and set the standard there have been many copies. All, including this one, follow similar specs with a 250mm wheel. The WG250 is new in Australia from Record of the UK, however its sharpening jigs and accessories are interchangeable with the Tormek.
Set-up is simple: just mount the stone on the shaft, a one minute job. The stone has a fibre bush in the centre for mounting. I noticed the bush was slightly flawed and that some of the fibre was missing. Not enough to cause any problems though.
I sat the Record next to my Tormek to get a quick idea of similarities and improvements. The main body is pressed steel and appears very strong, but the end caps are plastic and have holes to bolt the unit down from. All up it is 14kg. The support arm for grinding has a small dial for micro adjusting the distance to the stone, however the arm tended to move position when the locking knobs were tightened, although they lock it in place very well. There was more flex on the Record support arm than on the Tormek.
Two differences between the Tormek and the Record are that the latter has a torque dial and also variable speed. I did find I needed the torque setting at maximum for all grinding. The motor is 160 watt. The instructions advise to back off the dial when not in use. I found the variable speed great for lapping and grinding certain chisels. Some tools did need a slow grind but for many the faster speed suited me.
All wetstone grinders need the stone wheel trued both before use and regularly thereafter to keep the edge straight and true. The Record comes with a good diamond truing tool for this purpose. Also included is a straightedge jig, wheel dressing stone, angle checker, buffing paste and main angle setting device.
I find that grinding a truly straight and square edge on a chisel is not that easy on these sorts of grinders. The stone needs to be properly trued to get results. My grinding results on the Record for a 30mm wide chisel were similar to a grind on the Tormek.
Over a couple of weeks I sharpened chisels and plane blades and got satisfactory results. The stone is slower cutting than a Tormek and overall the unit it is not as strong. However it is well priced at $650 (until April 11) and comes with a truing tool, plus a five year limited warranty, all of which make this tool well worth considering.
Reviewed by Raf Nathan
Review tool supplied by Record Power, see machineryhouse.com.au phone 02 9890 9111 (Syd), 03 9212 4422 (Mel), 07 3274 4222 (Bris), 08 9373 9999 (Perth).