Trend Routing Technology, in the U.K, and now distributed in the USA., has been creating woodworking products since 1955. The list of their creations is quite varied. Today we will be testing some of Trend’s Diamond sharpening whetstones and guides.
I am the first to admit I do not like sharpening tools; I would rather bite the bullet and have a professional sharpen them for me. This is not only expensive but it is a hassle to take them in, and return a couple days later with a large hole in my wallet. This said, I am always on the look out to find a high quality sharpening system that is easy to use and reasonably priced. Trend has produced a set that is all of those things and even more.
I started with the Double-Sided Whetstone. This 7” x 2.5” whetstone is impregnated with industrial diamond, but what makes these stones different from the competition is how they are affixed to the stone. The typical diamond stone has the diamond chips simply scattered around and adhered to the stone. Trend has developed a unique method of attaching the diamond chips. Trend explains the process like this;
1.The base material is put into a tank which is full of nickel and the micron sized diamond particles.
2.The tank is heated to a certain temperature
3.Then an electrical current is passed into the tank
4.The nickel is then attracted (electro-plated) onto the base material
5.The diamond is dragged onto the surface in the nickel
6.The process stops when the diamond is covered two thirds by the nickel and one third exposed
The stone’s 2 sides are precisely ground to 340 grit for course work and 1000 grit for fine work. The weight of the stone keeps it steady and with the addition of a rubberized mat it is held in place without the need to clamp it to your work surface. Trend makes a lapping fluid to lubricate the stones and help it glide through each stroke. Use the lapping fluid instead of water to reduce the chance of rusting by 95% as well as reducing the chance of clogging. The lapping fluid is an essential piece of the kit that you will definitely want to use. I tried several types of blades with the double-sided stone, chisel blades, kitchen knives as well as scissors and a pocket knife. All of these tools were left with a razor edge that slices through paper without any pressure.
Another addition to the line is a blade angle guide. Clamping the blade by the sides keeps the tool firmly held in place. The side clamping position keeps the tool from shifting side to side as it can with downward clamping pressure. The guide angle setter is a unique stair stepped plate that allows you to set the guide to a 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 degree angles allowing you a range of angles that is suitable to most types of blades. If you have a steady hand you may not need a guide but I find it very useful and it keeps me lined up easily.
Another piece of the sharpening line is the compact business card stone. Roughly the size of a business card, 2” x 3 ¼” , this stone is double sided with a fine 600 grit and a rougher 340 grit, this stone is exactly what you need to get into smaller spaces like in router blades and table saw blades. Once again using the lapping fluid to lubricate the stone, I sharpened up some well worn set of cheap router blades that I would have simply chucked into the garbage and bought more rather then try to sharpen them. With a few strokes these blades now have a new life, sharp as the day they were purchased, possibly more so.
Next on the test bench is the tapered 3 inch file. Ground to 400 grit this file is suitable for many around the house sharpening needs including woodturning tools, router blades, knives (including serrated edges) and many other uses. For this test I pulled some of my expert quality Henkel Knives. This set is the prize of my kitchen and I was a little hesitant in sharpening them myself. In the past I have brought them to a local knife shop and had them sharpened professionally. In no time at all I put a razor edge on the first knife, it gleamed brightly and was ready to work. Now, with a new confidence I worked my way through about a dozen knives each one sharp as could be.
Lance in the southern test shop had this to say.
In regards to sharpening, In a perfect world everyone would have a Tormek (see our head to head sharpening test out soon), however there are many people who cannot afford or don't have the space for Tormek. For those a reasonable answer for quick sharpening and the ability to establish a good edge on their hand tools as well as sharpening their router bits, chisels, or scissors. The diamond whetstone from trend offers an affordable option to sharpen your tools and it is easy to use.
The stones use monocrystalline diamonds that are affixed to the whetstone during of the plating process and are not simply glued in place. This ensures a long life from your quality whetstone the stone comes in two grits, a fine 1000 grit (15 micron) and a coarse 300 grit (50 micron). allowing the user to both sharpen and hone with one tool trend recommends the use of their lapping compound which is a spray that you spray on the stone to lubricate it and prevent clogging. When combined with their jigs even the novice can get a decent result on their planer blades and chisels, as well as sharpening knives scissors and other household tools the trend whetstone offers portability and virtually no setup time is required. We used this tool for several weeks during our tests and found the tool to be reliable easy-to-use and even fun. I was able to sharpen any of my chisels or planar blades accurately and repeatedly with little difficulty as well as enjoying the process a great deal. In a world of expensive sharpening systems the trend diamond stone offers an affordable high quality tool that will serve you for many years. The trend stones are guaranteed for five years. Another tool that we evaluated was the three-inch round back file that fits in your pocket and is great for on the go sharpening. I use this to sharpen some router bits, a pocketknife and some kitchen knives. It performed flawlessly, the tool was convenient to carry and offered a great way to sharpen things on the go. I also used this tool to sharpen my carbide table saw blade and it did a great job allowing me to go many more weeks before taking my blade to the saw shop.
These tools from trend deserve a good look. if you are trying to have an affordable way to sharpen your tools then this could be the answer they are much cheaper than a set of Japanese water stones and perform at least as well we found this set of tools to be a valued part of our sharpening system at this old workshop.
So overall we would grade the Trend sharpening tools very highly. There are powered sharpening systems out there, but the ease of use and quality of edge these hand tools produce is hard to beat. As for their value for the price, ranging from $36 for the file, $48 for the guide set and $139 for the double sided stone these are priced well in line with the quality and usefulness. We will use this set for many years to come. We will keep you informed about their long term use with updates as needed.
The Trend Whetstones are quality products and we are pleased to recommend them to you.