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Rexon Wg180a Wet Grinder

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beech1948

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This is the first time I have even considered doing a tool review so bear with me a little.

The review is a negative one. I say this simply to give those who will disagree time to sharpen their replies. I do not intend to answer any replies.

I bought a Rexon Wg180a wet grinder from Poolewood last weekend. I was encouraged by the positive feedback from this forum.

The Poolewood web site accepted order, seemed secure but did not provide me with an electronic receipt as the system just hung. I called Poolewood on Sunday ( they are closed) to leave a message and talked to Terry Davis who confirmed the order was in place. Order arrived on Tuesday, well packed, well documented. Well done Poolewood. Except the electronic shop price was £189 but the price I was billed was £194.88. I do know why.

I did not unpack it until friday last. Seems OK. Tool jig a bit fiddly. Machine quality seemed fine too, heavy, good plastic mouldings, seems to have a waterproof motor. Assembly OK. Manual utter rubbish and insufficiently clear. Makita manual from web OK and a better assist. Pictures still poor.

Tried to sharpen on of my newish Sorby Registered Motice chisels. First problem was getting a 25 degree angle. Its hard to measure. Very fiddly. Adjustment on tool jig is uncertain and because you have to adjust two milled nuts about 9 inches apart to alter the hight of the tool jig there is a chance of not getting the blade parallel to the grinder disk.

Tool jig is not totally secure when mounted though the two side fasteners help considerably.

Tool jig itself is really the problem. If this was sorted then this gadget would beat Tormek hands down and 1/3 the price. However, I tried to hold my chisel in the jig squarely, I even checked it with an engineers square ( three times whilst grinding) but found that the chisel would turn left or right pivoting on the jigs forward mouth. Tightening the three holding knobs as hard as I could provided no real improvement.

Upon sharpening the first chisel, a 3/4 inch new Sorby, I was concerned about the security of the chisel in the jig. The actual grinding process went OK but mainly due to frequent stops to check sqaureness of chisel to jig and holding it tightly in place with fingers and eventually a good 25 degree grind was achieved.

The 1000 grit grinder disk was not flat. It was dished in the middle sufficiently for the blade not to touch in places. The outer edge was raised above the inside edge and the outer edge was uneven. Thus the inner edge provided smooth grind but the outer edge was as rough as a bears bum. Did'nt seem to affect the grind but there must have been changes to the angle ground due to uneven outer surface.

My second attempt to grind a 1/2 inch Sorby was abandoned as the blade began to skew and even though I straigtened it up again the blade continued to pivot on the forward edge of the tool holding jig. These narrower chisels seem also to slightly dig into the abrasive disk although this might be because of too much pressure from my fingers trying to hold the chisel in place. Too much pressure stops the disk easily.

I also tried a paring chisel, 1 3/4 inch wide heavy square edged device which had previously been ground at 20 degrees for the primary angle. The jig could not be adjusted to even sharpen it. At the extreme of adjustment the blade floated about 1/5 of an inch above the grinding disk. Thus there is a restriction on the angles which can be achieved.

In summary: If the tool holding jig was sorted then this would be a superb grinder. The poor toolholding jig ruins this potential performance due to its poor accuracy, uncertain adjustment and poor tool holding. A redesign is necessary.

Finally I would say that this grinder is really meant to grind planer thicknesser blades and not chisels or plane blades. Though the uneven outer part of the 1000 grit disk would make it more difficult to achieve a common edge all across a planer blade.

There will be those who will jump in and say how wonderful this tool is . My experience is that it is a sound tool severely let down by its tool holding jig....or as I now call the "Tool UN-holding jig".

I called Poolewood today to demand my money back. I do not have time to fiddly about with kit which is not fit for purpose and I do have 20 + chisels to fettle. Poolewood listened, were responsive and promised to get Rexon to pick it up and examine it. Seemed to fairly regard the customer so well done Poolewood. I will let you all know how I fare in getting a refund.



regards
 

Alf

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Funnily enough I was just using mine this afternoon, in an abortive attempt to sharpen my planer blades (discovered two deep nicks, so they'll have to be done by the doc if I'm not to be standing at the grinder all year). I agree, the tool holder is pants - previously I'd only used the grinder for flattening the backs of chisels so this was my first attempt at using either it or the rest. I found I had to break off the knobs to adjust the planer blade far enough out from the holder to get the angle I wanted without them fouling on the rest. :-k For £189, I agree it's not worth the money. But why buy it at that price when Screwfix have it for £90? As far as the out-of-flat stones goes, it's like honing a new plane blade as far as I'm concerned. You should always assume you have to dress a new stone. I think I'll stick with using it for back flattening and maybe try the planer blades again when I haven't left them so long between sharpenings. :oops: It has a place at the lower price, but I agree it's by no means as useful as it could be.

But more to the point, don't be afraid to voice a negative opinion. We're not all the same, and everyone's entitled to have their own view of any tool. As long as it's backed up with reasoned argument and explanation, as your's is, then I'll back anyone's negative view of a tool every time - even if I don't agree with it.

Cheers, Alf
 

beech1948

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Alf,

I said I would'nt do this but well....my adrenaline is up at "rocket propelled level".

I did'nt pay £194.88 for it I think the grinder was £95.00 inc VAT and postage. The rest of the cost was made up of the extr a 100 grit and 6000 grit disks. The 6000 grit disk was I think £68...but I saved £10 each on postage if ordered with grinder.

I'm not sure that the disk should be dressed prior to use. I think the difference in height between outer and inner edges was at least 3/16 or a tad more plus the dip in the middle was again about 1/16 or more so I would have dressed off 1/4 inch or more from a 3/4 inch deep disk.

I think tools should be pretty much ready to go when delivered and not need a lot of work to make them suitable. Then again I was always an idealist, and a perfectionist.

So whats next.....back to the bench stones and honing guide I think. Now where is Shaptons email address.

Time for a large G&T.
 

Chris Knight

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It won't help in your present (understandably depressed state) but it is worth thinking of grinding a primary bevel and sharpening as two entirely separate activities.

Then you can use a £15 grinder for the first part and a another (usually more expensive) kit for the second part.
 

beech1948

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waterhead37 said:
It won't help in your present (understandably depressed state) but it is worth thinking of grinding a primary bevel and sharpening as two entirely separate activities.


Chris. I'm not depressed just livid and cooling slowly.

So say a little more about the grinding a primary bevel and sharpening as being two different activities. All my reading to date and experience of bench stones for many years puts as much importance on the primary bevel as on secondary bevels. I fear that a £15 cheapo grinder would probably result in "blued" metal and even more grinding.
 

Chris Knight

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Beech,

Talking woodworking plane irons and chisels here, not carving or tuning chisels, the requirements are a flat polished back and a polished bevel that intersects the back cleanly in a straight line at an angle dictated by a variety of things (the nature of the tool and the properties of the wood basically).

Normally the polished bevel I refer to is a secondary or microbevel that sits at the end of a primary bevel. In this circumstance, the main purpose of the primary bevel in the case of a conventional bevel down bench plane is to provide clearance from the surface of the stuff being cut or in the case of a chisel and a bevel up plane from the chip being removed. In all cases it also supports the secondary bevel. (The secondary bevel is there because it is small and quick and easy to sharpen by periodic touch-up maintenance).

The primary bevel can be formed any old-how that doesn't draw the temper from the steel. If using a grindstone, just make sure to use the coarsest grit and don't let the tool get hotter than very warm to the hand. Cool with water if need be but try to avoid getting it this hot. A coarse grit removes metal fast and helps keep the iron cool, finer grits take longer to remove metal and the extra friction heats the blade more.

Now go to your benchstone (oil, water, arkansas, sandpaper or whatever) and make a secondary bevel. Strop this and you are done.

I have not addressed the question of a flat polished back here which is a bit more complicated in some ways (it's hard to do on a conventional grindstone without a lot of practice, although I have done it with the aid of a surface plate and engineer's blue) but since your problem seemed to arise from the bevel forming operation, that is what I have talked about.
 

seaco

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Hi Beech

Sorry to hear about your dilemma, get your money back and buy a Tormek!.............. :wink:
 

beech1948

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Seaco,

Tormek?...huh??. Problem with Tormek as I see it is:-

1) It costs too much.
2) Jigs are too expensive
3) Stone is a single grit with option of a stone grader to alter 220 to 1000...seems a little heath-robinson
4) Seems to throw water and gunk all over the place...I don't want my bench drowned
5) Well made
6) Good rep,,,but still only "good" and "not very good"

I like my edges to have a polished finish..say 6000 grit. How will I achieve this. Previously I have used bench stones upto 6000 grit and had no problems. I only decided on a change because of a workshop accident where two of my three stones were broken into pieces and the need to sharpenm large numbers of things.
 

Philly

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Beech
I use my Tormek to re-establish bevels. All final honing is done on my Jap waterstones. The Tormeks advantages are:
1: Can't overheat whatever your sharpening dur to water cooling.
2: Very accurate grinding of angles, and re-producable.
3: Jigs to suit any edge tool.

So, don't disgard the Tormek. Yes, its not cheap. But as long as you don't use it as a "total" sharpening system and use it for its strengths you are are winning!
Hope this helps
Philly :D
 

beech1948

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Alf,
Thanks for link.

Chris,
Thanks for the advice.

I have just been contemplating what to do next whilst doing some big joinery ( for me that is.....a pergola with 6inx6in x12ft posts and cross beams). Concentrates the mind to have to work less precisely but with a certain precision level to make it all fit. Hard knots really dull my chisels.

Your reference to the article about fast grinders was very interesting. I have always resisted using one of these because my previous experience has been of crude grinding to shape, with floods of sparks and certainly nothing as delicate as the primary bevel on my Sorby chisel.

There is a lot of research out on the web by galoot and non-galoots that a hollow grind is " stronger" than a flat grind for primary bevels. A 4in wheel would be too small. A 6 inch wheel also really too small but maybe an 8inch wheel with a solid jig attached to grind primary bevels is the answer. I'm off to see my local furniture maker to see what he uses.

I think this has taught me that a machine is not good enough to create the sharpened result I want. So back to some new bench stones from Shapton for sharpening and polishing. Most of the backs of my chisels and plane blades are already finished to 6000 grit and are fairly mirror like and flat. One of my broken stones was a 40 yr old Surgical Black Arkansas, which was irreplaceable, which I bought as a 16 yr old.

As Chris said the primary bevel creation perhaps needs to be considered as a separate task possibly mechanised.

I'd be really interested in what others use for primary bevel grinding.

I have also been to see today a chap who uses an old Victory flat 16inch diameter motorised stone with a very accurate and adjustable arm attached as a tool holder. I guess they are as scarse as hens teeth.
 

beech1948

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Philly,

Good points. I will have a relook at the Tormek simply to dress primary bevels...seems a lot to pay though for a slow grinder. My brain has a few issues with it as the Tormek seems to have become a " woodworking fashion" item. What did we do without one.
 
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beech

I see your points and appreciate that you are frustrated but do not agree with your opinion of the rexon.

I have used it to flatten and sharpen 8 Ashley Ilse chisels and although the tool rest (design for planer blades, not chisels) is far from outstanding, I experienced no problems and ground bevels very easily and quickly

I would suggest a home made jig to grind chisels - I have intended to knock one up for ages but never gotten around to it

I hope that if you persevere with it, you will find a way around the limitations you have found
 

beech1948

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Tony,
I have today been told by Poolewood's that they will refund my money and the Rexon Wg180a is going back. So I have finally cooled down but still need to make some decisions re sharpening. Except for the really bad, disgusting tool holder the Rexon is a solid little machine.

Now as KING OF THE JIGs you may want to make one up. I think that the two vertical posts of the jig could be OK as they are braced by the two horizontal screws in the front ( where the switch is).

I think that the plate joining these two posts is also OK. Its heavy and stable.

Could we design an angle measuring jig to get the 25 and 30 degree angles sorted. Maybe some lexan cut at 155 and 150 degrees to measure off the abrasive disk back to the horizontal rest.

That would then cope with the issue of grinder disk wear and angle setting. The grinder disk may not always be perfectly flat but a degree out +/- would not be too great an issue.

Would it then be possible to build a chisel jig similar to eclipse ( vise style gripping) which screwed into new taped holes in the horizontal plate.

That way the sliding bit of the tool rest could be junked as this is the part which is the problem.

It would also help with longer chisels such as my two wide paring chisels which currently have a primary bevel of 20 degrees.....I know its a low angle but for really delicate shavings this works very well for me. Or even replace the two vertical posts with something with a screw thread all the way to the top.

The current unmodified tool holder holds these chisels about 1/5 inch above the grinding disk..

Finally maybe this jig would work as the two vertical posts would still be adjusted as at present...but with a small bulls eye bubble level to ensure that the jig is parallel to the grinder disk.

What do you think Tony.
 
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Beech

The jig sounds pretty good to me. I tried out an eclipse on the grinder and it worked really well although I would be concerned about wearing the wheel out :roll:

You idea is worth a little experimentation - just need a little time.

I did not find the uneven wear across the stone a problem. It IS a waterstone after-all :wink: Expect any waterstone to wear both unevenly and quickly.
I dressed mine using an old DMT which easily did the job

Cheers

his majesty, king of the jigs :lol:
 

beech1948

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Tony,
I only have the Rexon Grinder for another day before they come to pick it up.

I was experimenting with removing the wheel from my eclipse jig leaving just the body plus two wings which had holes in them. I wonder if this could be used to attach to a horizontal bar so the eclipse could slide across the bar and across the grinder disk. Just a thought. It would still need to have some separate angle measuring thing.

regards
alan
 

beech1948

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Conclusion,

Richard of Rexon called today to arrange collection of Wg180a. He described the tool as for only amateur use with Rexon planer baldes and not for sharpening chisels or plane blades. I was somewhat taken aback as their literature says otherwise.

Any way refund on its way.

Poolewood were Ok but really havnt worked out that the Sale of Goods Act applies as they refused a refund unless Rexon refunded them. A poor understanding of the position.

Thanks all for reading this stuff.

regards

Alan
 

beech1948

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Tony,
Not sure if you will see this.

I was looking at a US site the other day and came across the Makita eqivalent to the Rexon Wg180a. A few interesting differences were:-

1) It came with a better tool holder....longer and with more screw holders.

2) It came with a separate tool holder for chisels. Looking at the picture and blowing it up a little the chisel holder looked like the Axminster delux honing guide. Trick was that the homing guide could be used with or without a wheel/roller. Once the roller was removed the chisel guide could slide in the troughs in the tool holder piece of the Rexon with the upper guide part removed.

I hope that makes sense.

The picture seems to show that a special Makita guide is used for chisels. The reason given was the inability of the Makita guides to hold chisels and only to hold P/T blades..haha!!

Hope this helps you think about your jig...I'm looking forward to seeing it...eventually

regards

Alan
 
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