Bench Grinders - best of both worlds?

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MayKitt

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I'm thinking of investing in a bench grinder to put primary bevels on chisels and plane blades. Whilst my local DIY shop offers a sharpening service I think in the long run I'm better using my limited budget to buy a grinder to do it myself. Also, I can do it when I want to and not have to wait for the week's turn-around time.

I've watched some YouTube footage and the consensus appears to be to head for a bench grinder of some sort, Whilst the Tormek and Sorby offerings are very professional. they are also quite pricey. There appear to be other options like the Axminster AC150BG and AC200BG outfits. However, as always, I want to make my money to go as far as possible and I'd like to be able to do slightly lower precision work like re-profiling cold chisels and re-vamping screwdrivers that I've chipped or used for years to get paint lids off! I'm looking for a system that has a good tool stand and a way of getting a precise angle on the bevel so some sort of jig?

I have bought a diamond stone and a very nice honing-guide set from Trend to be used with a final touch-up on a strop for the secondary bevel.

I'd appreciate any advice or experience on bench grinders (presumably slow speed ones?), wheels and can I do all my intended tasks on one machine?

Thanks in anticipation.
 

pe2dave

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1. Even an 8" grinder will 'show' the hollow on many chisels. HUGE slow water wheels work... but are a bit fussy.
2. If you have the time, suggest swap expensive with your time?
Buy 10 sheets of course emery / sand paper for the initial grind, backed by something flat enough (glass, MDF etc)
then concentrate on getting that fine edge which puts a smile on your face when you go through wood like butter.
Using the diamond stone (poss finish with a leather strop with green muck to make it gleam).
 

u38cg

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I would buy a decent grinder second hand - there are always lots of them about - replace the wheels, and spend the rest on a suitable jig. The way I see it, you may be able to get a little bit more out of a specialised slow grinder or belt system but a high speed grinder is a workhorse that you will keep discovering jobs to use it for, and you will want to hand finish the really fine tools anyway regardless of system.
 

Chippymint

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You need a grinder in your tool arsenary. As u38cg says second hand is good enough but get a fine and course set of wheels. You need to buy a dressing tool as well to keep the stone true.
Using a grinder or belt sander for sharpening blades is not for me. By all means use it to grind down a badly damaged blade or to get a primary bevel. After that I would use a recognised hand method with a jig or freehand, they all work but you might prefer one way to another - its a personal choice but keep an open mind.
 

MayKitt

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Many thanks for the replies. Chippymint put an idea into my head and I've found this:



I guess that there is more on YouTube but this seemed interesting! Any experience from anyone? I'm checking out bench grinders as well as a good workshop addition. There seems to be a lot of advice to step up some way from 150 Watts power though. Any thoughts?
 

Orraloon

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Many thanks for the replies. Chippymint put an idea into my head and I've found this:



I guess that there is more on YouTube but this seemed interesting! Any experience from anyone? I'm checking out bench grinders as well as a good workshop addition. There seems to be a lot of advice to step up some way from 150 Watts power though. Any thoughts?


Just a few observations on sharpening I have gained over the years. I learned to sharpen on a 2 sided oil stone and I still use that. It is a bit of a chore however when it comes to reforming a primary bevel all by hand so that is where some kind of power assistance helps. A bench grinder makes a primary bevel with little effort you just have to take care you dont overheat the blade. As Dave mentioned the bevel will be hollow so an 8'' wheel makes less of a hollow than a 6''. I have in the past used a belt sander to remake the bevels on badly mangled old tools and you get a nice flat bevel. I did nearly burn the shed down using a benchtop belt and disc sander that was also used for wood. Had to quickly unplug then heave the machine out the door when smoke started coming out of it. Anyhoo that promped me to get an 8'' grinder and it also has a lot more uses than just sharpening. I replaced one wheel for a white alox wheel and I use it mostly to sharpen turning chisels and to regrind the primary bevels on bench chisels and plane irons. I later got a wet wheel scheppach grinder and some jigs for turning tools but gave up on it as the setup for all the different tools took up too much time. I went back to the bench grinder.
The tool rests that come with grinders are not really suited unless you are a freehand wizz so ditch them and buy or better still make some.

Grinding Station - Sharpening Woodturning Tools, Chisels & Cutting Irons - YouTube
Regards
John
 

MayKitt

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John,

Thanks for your reply and for sharing your experience. It makes interesting reading. The video that I posted and your reply suggests that overheating of the sander and potential fires are real issues. I guess that in favour of this method is that a belt sander, in general, is less expensive than a bench grinder (and you do get the use of a sander for other tasks to boot!)

On the issue of a grinder leaving a concave primary bevel (even an 8" wheel) then is this a problem when using the chisel? I note that the likes of Matt Estlea use a Tormek which must leave the same, although it will be less concave given the size of the wheel. (A Tormek is beyond my budget at the moment and I would probably use my money for other priorities.) Paul Sellers actually creates a convex plane blade primary and by hand.

Any brand names for tool stands or advice on them would be helpful.
 

Ttrees

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I've had that happen as well as John, those embers just keep on going and going.
Nearly chocked on the smoke coming from the plastic, I attempted to disassemble it but that wasn't possible at the time.
I got a grinder shortly after that.

How well does the CBN wheels cut laminated steel with a regular speed grinder?

Thanks
Tom
 

Cheshirechappie

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In various activities, I've used all sorts of grinder; high speed bench, huge 14" floor standing power grinders, wet grinders, surface grinders, you name it. However, my favourite for woodworking tools is an old hand-cranked grinder I inherited from my grandfather. Quiet, no stress, slower than a high-speed bench grinder (obviously!), but takes up very little space, and very easy to use and controllable.

Worth a rummage on the well-known internet auction site. Find one with a 6" wheel if you can, because finding replacements is easier. Some cleaning may be needed, but most are fairly well built, simple with little to go wrong, and unlikely to need much work beyond dressing the wheel. Keep a cheap wheel dresser near it, a home-made toolrest, and you'll be set for life.
 

D_W

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Any bench grinder with rests adjustable as two parts (one in and out, one angle), coarse stones (nothing expensive needed) and a T grader for the wheels.

The only thing better than a dry grinder is a true belt grinder with a large rubber contact wheel and a platen, and that's unobtanium for this kind of thing.

The coolest fast wheel I have right now is an A24 (24 grit) tool room wheel that's been dressed. Coarse is more important than expensive, and dressed freshly is more important than magic composition of some type.
 

D_W

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(by the way, not suggesting people go looking for 24 grit wheels - they're not that long lasting and have more voids in them, and I didn't make the whole point above - my 24 grit wheel is on a full speed 8" grinder, and even there, it doesn't heat steel that fast for shaping metal, hardened or otherwise.

I have refreshed hollows on that grinder both on 36 and 24 grit wheels and you can burn things obviously with that kind of wheel speed if you want to push steel hard onto the wheel, but my worn out cbn wheel on the 6" grinder is about even with the big coarse wheels dressed when it comes to accidental burning. You have to do something wrong or get in a rush with either.
 

D_W

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While i"m going around like a record player - I'll make a comment about cost, too - first grinder was a 240 watt ryobi 6" grinder - $38 with a 36 grit gray wheel, two part aluminum rests and 60 grit gray wheel on the other side. I got a tormek later ( a generic one) and then was stupid enough to believe that a real one would solve the issues I had with the knock off version. There's nothing I've restored or resharpened that the ryobi grinder would come up short on, and many more expensive finer wheels (white wheels, etc) turned out to be a waste of time vs. the cheap hard wheels and a $10 diamond coated t-shaped dresser.

(had two small 1x42 or 1x48 grinders also, both gone in favor of something I can make tools with, but that's a separate issue from sharpening or restoring tools - the dry grinder is the only one of all of those that I'd consider essential because it allows you to sharpen *very* precisely as all it needs to do is get metal out of the way for you. Later bought a 6" cast rest and guard baldor brand grinder and replaced the ryobi, but at this point, I believe that was a pretty significant waste of money. It's half again smoother, heavier and stronger, but none of that matters for sharpening woodworking tools or drill bits. )
 

MayKitt

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I'm hoping just to pick up this thread. I've found another sharpener on line. Has anyone used something like this?


or this

 

scubadoo

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I just posted in the similar thread above yours. If you get a grinder, definitely consider CBN wheels. They are great.
 

Rorschach

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I have 2 powerful belt grinders and a bench grinder. For grinding the primary bevel I do prefer the wheel on the bench grinder as I like having the hollow and then over time flattening that out on the bench stones. In general wherever possible I like to start from a hollow and work this way.

If the tool is really bad I start on the belt grinder as it doesn't heat the metal as much.
 

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