There are many whetstone grinders on the market to choose from. The diameter of the stones generally available is either 250mm or 200mm. The larger stone gives a larger concave grind on edge tools and is hence preferred. However the larger stone version, whilst running a more powerful motor with a steel housing is more expensive.
If you buy a smaller 200mm diameter grinder you will trade off stone size, power and have to settle for a plastic housing. Is the cost saving justified? Initially I wondered if the Scheppach 200mm grinder would be limited in its application. However in my short review, I found that if you allow for its shortcomings it will give a highly acceptable grind to chisels and plane irons.
Set up is fast, mount the stone wheel and plug it in. The metal shaft that supports the grinding jig is quite strong but the supplied straightedge jig is a loose fit on the shaft. This meant that in use there is quite a bit of sideways play. You need to compensate for this by leaning more one way when pushing down on the stone during grinding. I would suggest buying a better quality Tormek straight jig instead but the Scheppach support shaft is thinner than the Tormek so it could make the problem worse. Also there are two plastic bushes in the jig that are a somewhat loose fit and could eventually fall out.
With only a 120watt and 0.6 amp motor I was surprised at its power and torque. In fact you can apply considerable force to the grinding action without fear of stalling the motor. Despite the shortcoming of play in the straight jig I was able to grind various chisels and plane irons quite well. The grind I achieved was straight and square and a quick buff on the included leather faced honing wheel gave me an edge I could shave with!
I trialled various quality soft and hard steels and all were handled well with the Scheppach. Japanese chisels with their short shanks were problematic however; these would not work in the jig meaning they had to be ground freehand.
The unit came with a straight jig, an angle guide to set the grinding angle, and honing paste. You will need to consider buying a wheel dressing jig for a further $55 to flatten and true the stone edge, an important accessory. Other accessories available include knife, woodturning, axe and scissor jigs.
This is a low cost sharpening jig. The low cost means you will need more skill in your grinding technique to compensate for some inherent bugs that can however be worked around. At $220 it is value for money.
Tool supplied by Hare and Forbes, www.machineryhouse.com.au