Bench Grinder (or sharpening system)?

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Oddbod

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I've a significant number of chisels, turning tools, gouges & planes (mostly my late father's) which are in need of refurbishment as the primary bevels are all over the place.
Added to that, I need something to sharpen mower, strimmer & shredder blades.
I'm thinking a bench grinder will do most of this but is there any advantage in buying something like the Sorby or Tormek systems, or will a decent grinder plus my diamond sharpening stones achieve what's needed?
If so, which bench grinders do people recommend, especially as I'd rather "buy once, cry once" than spend on an inexpensive model which has "issues".
 

Orraloon

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Cant advise on UK brands but any decent 8'' bench grinder will do. Change out one of the grey wheels for a white aluminum oxide wheel and its good to go. A CBN wheel is a bit better if you have the cash but the white wheel does pretty good. Get or make a bench mounted tool rest to replace the grinder rests as they are not the easiest to use for sharpening.
Veritas Grinder Tool Rest - YouTube
That kind of rest does not need to be any particular brand. I have a bought one and a home made wooden one and both work equally well.
I got a scheppach wet grinder back when I started turning and while they do a good job at getting things sharp its just so slow. I went back to the bench grinder as I would rather spend time turning than sharpening. Last bit is jigs if you want to go there and there are plenty out there both to buy and home made. I find I can get by with just the rest for most things but jigs do have a place if you want to do certain kinds of grinds on some gouges.
Regards
John
 

Phil Pascoe

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Any half decent 6" or 8" grinder will do, the choice of wheel matters more. One of these -
 

Oddbod

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Any half decent 6" or 8" grinder will do, the choice of wheel matters more. One of these -
Any pointers as to which brands are better than others & which to avoid?
Most appear to be built down to a price, rather than up to a decent standard.
 

TRITON

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I'd opt for something like this Tormek copy. Really popular and cheap so outlay is minimal.

The tormek is expensive because its designed to be used in a professional shop, more than likely switched on and off multiple times during the day, and likely 5 days a week for years and by more than one person.
I dont think it really does anything different to the Triton one in the link. Used in a setting of a single home user, and probably once a week or fortnight for the most part, more than likely only at the weekends.

TIP- Using one of these wheel whetstones - Take the water trough off after use. DONT allow the wheel to stay in the water if not switched on. This goes for the Tormek, Triton or any.
 
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Stigmorgan

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I agree with @Phil Pascoe, I have an Axminster craft 8" bench grinder, can't remember the exact model but it came with two white wheels, a rough 25mm on the left and a fine 50mm on the right that can be upgraded to a CBN wheel, with this I have the Robert Sorby 447 deluxe grinding jig, absolutely love it, it's good for anything you need to sharpen.
 

clogs

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A plus point with bench grinders for our use u need the slower RPM model….but can cost more…they r built for prof use and no cheap copies that I know off…
less likely to burn chisels…..
I have one plus a horizontal linisher, this is all I use but have been sharpening tools by hand for fifty years…..
I did think I treat myself to a Tormec but it"s well over priced….
Some recommend the Sorby sharpening system but for me that’s overpriced and the quality looks cheap….will make my own sometime in the future but from proper metal…..
 

Fergie 307

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A plus point with bench grinders for our use u need the slower RPM model….but can cost more…they r built for prof use and no cheap copies that I know off…
less likely to burn chisels…..
I have one plus a horizontal linisher, this is all I use but have been sharpening tools by hand for fifty years…..
I did think I treat myself to a Tormec but it"s well over priced….
Some recommend the Sorby sharpening system but for me that’s overpriced and the quality looks cheap….will make my own sometime in the future but from proper metal…..
Lidl currently selling a variable speed one wheel disc sander. I modified one of these to take diamond lapping discs. Works a treat for sharpening lathe tools and similar, £35 or thereabouts I think.
 

kinverkid

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Another one for a decent grinder. I sold my Tormek about eight years ago. I wanted to just get an edge quickly and get back to turning. As for wood chisels, it's quicker for me to grind the new bevel then sharpen it on a stone. I can't advise on a modern grinder. I have a Tull 6" grinder forty years old and two (I think Hilti) grinders which are also many years old.
 

Oddbod

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Went the bench grinder route & bought a Record RSBG8.
As supplied & after inspection, the wheels need truing & before that, they need some careful shimming with masking tape to make them run perpendicular to the shaft.
The 40mm fine wheel's close but the 25mm coarse stone is out a fair bit.
I'll dig out my ancient dial gauge & sort things, though I'll most likely buy a CBN wheel in the not too distant future (Axminster appear to be the only source of 200x40mm CBN wheels in the UK).
 

davidgrogers

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I've a significant number of chisels, turning tools, gouges & planes (mostly my late father's) which are in need of refurbishment as the primary bevels are all over the place.
Added to that, I need something to sharpen mower, strimmer & shredder blades.
I'm thinking a bench grinder will do most of this but is there any advantage in buying something like the Sorby or Tormek systems, or will a decent grinder plus my diamond sharpening stones achieve what's needed?
If so, which bench grinders do people recommend, especially as I'd rather "buy once, cry once" than spend on an inexpensive model which has "issues".
I would caution against using the standard bench grinder, even if equipped with wider white stones.
My reason is that they generally run too fast and create too much heat which in my experience, working with them in my early career may tend to soften the steel of your chisels. The catch is that the majority of slow grinders come very expensive, and/or are not powerful enough.
 

Seascaper

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You can’t beat the Tormek wet grinder to get a fine sharp edge, and great acces to the wheel. I use a dry stone bench grinder on a rough tool like and old chisel found at a car boot sale, finish it off on the Tormek. The Tormek has much better acces to the grinding wheel, because it is slower running and one has the whole wheel to work on. Large items such as lawn mower blades and axe heads are much easier to sharpen on the Tormek for the same reason, easy access to the wheel. I would recommend getting a Tormek first and also get a dry stone bench grinder, both have their uses, the dry stone for sharpening drills for example,
Regards
 

John Hall

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I would definitely recommend the Sorby Pro Edge deluxe, or the Axminster Ultimate edge, which has speed control and motor reverse. They offer so much more than a grinding wheel, and take the guesswork out of precise angles and repeatability. They can also be used for so many other additional sharpening jobs….And it’s fast and easy to replace belts to give a wide variety of grits, for quick removal of metal, and final sharpening.
I know a few people who have swapped their Tormek wheels for one of these.
Yes they are expensive, but so easy to use…plenty of videos on Yourube..all with positive reviews.
 
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Jacob

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I discovered that a 12" sand paper disc (which came with a lathe I bought) is better than any grindstone or linisher.
You can get free standing versions.
The paper is held on with Velcro, which is quite a game changer which hasn't quite caught on yet in the way it should - it's easy to swap grades in seconds.
Very fast, runs cool and very precise.
I only use it for "grinding" i.e. rapid removal at 25º ish on misshapen or damaged edges, and do almost everything else by hand on an oil stone.
But it is precise and I have used it to flatten a plane sole or two - fast and spot on.
I use a 6" bench grindstone just for metal worky sorts of jobs - most often for shaping spindle moulder cutters.
Sold my Sorby Proedge as it was redundant.
PS and also - for a shiny bevel quickest by far is Autosol or similar on an MDF disc, turning slowly. Shape the edge of the disc for inside edge of gouges. It's really quick and the autosol keeps working even after it's dried off. You have to spread it thin so it doesn't get flung off at the start.
 
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D_W

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I've probably done more grinding than most on here, but I did have a tormek in the past. Same as mentioned above, it was a great tool for limited work, but it fails to perform if you want to do much volume, and it can't do what a grinder can do - heavy grinding.

Two things combat heat on a grinder - a more coarse wheel and less pressure, along with the other tips that go along with grinding (dressing a wheel often, dipping the tool, crowning the wheel).

I use an 8" full speed grinder now with a 24 grit wheel (just regular tool room wheel) and light pressure. the coolest fast grinding (and fastest) you'll ever find would be a very high speed grinder with ceramic belts, but I can't think of a reasonable way to get that and get access to a contact wheel on a setup for less than about $800.

one last tip for anyone just starting out, if you are burning tips of tools, lay a folded over soaking wet (like dripping) bit of paper towel on the back of your chisel all the way to the edge. If i gets into the grinder wheel, there will be no harm. Paper towel....NOT a rag. All that will happen to paper towel is that the grinder will abrade it and spray a mist.
 

D_W

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I discovered that a 12" sand paper disc (which came with a lathe I bought) is better than any grindstone or linisher.
You can get free standing versions.
The paper is held on with Velcro, which is quite a game changer which hasn't quite caught on yet in the way it should - it's easy to swap grades in seconds.
Very fast, runs cool and very precise.
I only use it for "grinding" i.e. rapid removal at 25º ish on misshapen or damaged edges, and do almost everything else by hand on an oil stone.
But it is precise and I have used it to flatten a plane sole or two - fast and spot on.
I use a 6" bench grindstone just for metal worky sorts of jobs - most often for shaping spindle moulder cutters.
Sold my Sorby Proedge as it was redundant.
PS and also - for a shiny bevel quickest by far is Autosol or similar on an MDF disc, turning slowly. Shape the edge of the disc for inside edge of gouges. It's really quick and the autosol keeps working even after it's dried off. You have to spread it thin so it doesn't get flung off at the start.

Discs are a good way to burn edges. A contact wheel or a platen with a high speed belt grinder far faster (I don't mean like sorby, I mean like a real one).

I can generally install an entire bevel from square to 20 degrees on a new iron in about 2 minutes without having an iron too hot to hold.

And belt changes aren't the huge pain that disc changes are - they are seconds (but I still use a dry grinder - some speed is needed. Accuracy is more important).

A disc with compound and something that the corner of an iron can bite into - and most of them are aluminum - is also relatively unsafe, especially for a beginner. The only launched tool I've ever had was on a disc sander with a leather disc and honing compound. The issue was two-fold. compounds cut too fast on something powered like that and the geometry of the edge is lost - you get a shiny less than ideal result. The second was that as soon as anything catches an iron that drifts a little out of place, especially if you do the no-way move of moving to the center a little to get less linear speed, it will dig deeply. there was a fingernail sized gouge taken out of the aluminum backer on my belt sander, and an old plane iron that hit both the floor and the ceiling in the same flight.
 

Jacob

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I discovered that a 12" sand paper disc (which came with a lathe I bought) is better than any grindstone or linisher.
You can get free standing versions.
The paper is held on with Velcro, which is quite a game changer which hasn't quite caught on yet in the way it should - it's easy to swap grades in seconds.
Very fast, runs cool and very precise.
I only use it for "grinding" i.e. rapid removal at 25º ish on misshapen or damaged edges, and do almost everything else by hand on an oil stone.
But it is precise and I have used it to flatten a plane sole or two - fast and spot on.
I use a 6" bench grindstone just for metal worky sorts of jobs - most often for shaping spindle moulder cutters.
Sold my Sorby Proedge as it was redundant.
PS and also - for a shiny bevel quickest by far is Autosol or similar on an MDF disc, turning slowly. Shape the edge of the disc for inside edge of gouges. It's really quick and the autosol keeps working even after it's dried off. You have to spread it thin so it doesn't get flung off at the start.
Thinking about the 12" ali disc - several reasons it runs cool; no friction between belt and platen, larger piece of metal to conduct heat away, both faces are wafting through the air and getting cooled, larger surface area doing the work. Someone a bit heavy handed and clumsy could beat it of course!
The mdf disc on a face plate with autosol, turning slow, is dead safe - though nothing is twerp proof. :rolleyes: The blade has to be trailed of course - polishing away rather than towards, but that's pretty obvious. It produces a razor sharp edge and the low friction of a polished surface helps a lot as you push the tool into the wood.
 
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D_W

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discs aren't low friction. Anything hard behind an abrasive is high friction. What you might have is an intermittent cut that allows you to think there's less friction than there is.

Ceramic belts at 5000-8000 feet a minute are a completely different animal, platen or not, but with a contact wheel, there isn't even a need to use a platen. if you've tried them on a toy like the sorby pro edge, you won't really get a feel for what they do.

I just looked up the pro edge speed - 700 feet a minute. Ceramic belts don't make any sense until you're well over 2000 feet a minute - they're friable and rely on speed and would be worn out prematurely at low speed. I get with the crowd why they're that slow, though. a belt grinder will grind skin off quickly on a coarse ceramic belt if you so much as just bump into it a little.

BTDT on the discs, both on a smaller one and on a 10" freestanding disc sander. The latter now works as ballast for my son when he wants to use my saw bench as a bench.
 

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