Rikon 82-100 Wet Sharpener
Wet sharpener is a great value
MY FAVORITE METHOD TO GRIND a primary bevel into a plane blade or chisel is a slow-speed wet grinder, or sharpener, which excels at creating a square, smooth, even hollow grind without the risk of overheating the blade. The grind is so good that honing the cutting edge with my waterstones goes very quickly. For the last few months I’ve been using Rikon’s new wet sharpener. After some small adjustments, it ground clean, smooth, and square bevels.
The Rikon sharpener comes with an 8-in. 220-grit grinding wheel and an 8-in. leather strop wheel. Also included are a bladeholding jig that helps maintain a square cutting edge, and a guide that sets the correct bevel angle. The water reservoir is removable, which makes filling and emptying it no trouble.
After setting up the sharpener, I put a chisel in the jig and set to work regrinding the bevel. Right away I could see that it was not grinding square. It turned out that the tabs on the holding jig that align the blade square to the wheel were slightly off. I filed those, and after a few minutes was back in business with the wheel creating a square and even bevel. The wheel spins at 115 rpm, and I was able to work through several chisels quickly.
Another feature that I liked is the reversible motor. This allows you to spin the leather wheel toward the back for polishing. What’s the big deal? A leather wheel should spin away from you so that the blade doesn’t cut into the leather. On other slow-speed wet sharpeners, the motor doesn’t reverse, which means that you must rotate the machine 180°, move the tool rest, and work from the back side when using the polishing wheel. That’s not necessary with the Rikon. Finally, although Rikon does not sell any means to dress the wheel, there are a number of aftermarket tools for dressing grinding wheels. All in all, this is a good slow-speed wet sharpener, and it’s a good value, too. —Kelly Dunton