Pros: Gives superior edge. Does not heat tools. Easy to use.
Cons: Water wheel is very soft. The high speed wheel is virtually useless.
As a woodturner, I need a way to quickly and easily sharpen my turning tools.
At the time I purchased this grinder, the choices for mechanically sharpening tools was limited to 4 brands of water wheels or a high speed grinder.
The pros and cons of high speed grinders are it can be used to reshape the tool, remove nicks and sharpen the edge. The downside of highspeed grinding is the heat produced that can remove the temper, making the edge brittle.
The pros of the water wheel grinder are that it turns at about 100-200 rpm, so it does not generate heat as the water cools the edge as the heat is generated and because of the slow speed, one can control the process better, and it hones the edge to a superior degree of sharpness over the high speed grinder. The con is it is very difficult to remove nicks as the waterwheel removes metal very slowly.
At the time I purchased this unit, I was using sandpaper to sharpen my tools. As I was getting more involved in woodturning, I needed something better to sharpen my tools.
My choices were the Tormak water cooled grinder, (very expensive); a horizontal wet wheel grinder from Delta (Delta 23-710); a vertical wet wheel grinder similar to the Delta 23-700 from Penn State Industries and this Delta.
I decided that the Delta 23-700 was the way to go as I was able to purchase it cheaper than the Penn State. The other Delta unit is not suited for sharpening gouges and scrapers, but is designed for sharpening/honing wood chisels, planer/jointer blades and knives. The Tormak was not considered because of it's high price (about $600).
Using this unit is quite easy. First, fill the well with water and turn it on. Allow it to run for a few minutes so the wheel can absorb the water. Refill the well with more water and sharpening can begin. The tool rest is easily adjusted to support the tools at the correct angle.
At the end of day, the the water is supposed to be removed - I never have drained the unit, I let the water evaporate. As the unit needs to be attached to a solid surface, draining is very messy as the drain plug is near the bottom of the well and if the unit is not mounted along an edge, a container can not catch the water.
I used this unit for about 10 years. Recently I noticed that the water stone was cracked. A replacement will cost about $45 (from Amazon.com).
Last year I purchased a low speed grinder. The low speed grinder quickly removes metal like a high speed grinder, but does not heat the metal enough to remove the temper, and it gives the same edge as the water stone. Used in conjunction with the Oneway Wolverine jigs, I can sharpen quicker and with a superior edge than I could before.