Grinder advice needed.

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Mattias87

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Hello all, I have decided it's time to get a grinder as I am tired of the painfully slow method of hand sharpening a new primary bevel on my chisels and planes. I have been looking around and can't decide what to go for and was wondering if people have some suggestions? I am looking for something that will minimise the risk of overheating my tools. I have a budget of around £350.

So far I have looked at the Axminster slow speed grinder and a cbn wheel. I like the idea of this but am a little hesitant due to not being overly impressed with my two previous Axminster brand products which were the trade spiral cutter bench top thicknesser and trade dust extractor. I haven't been able to find another slow speed grinder and feel like I'm just going in circles and no idea about where to find an alternative cbn wheel, I keep finding links to shops that are sadly no longer trading.

The other option I was looking at was the Robert Sorby Pro Edge. I have read good things about it but I was wondering what over heating was like with it?

I had considered a whetstone grinder but it feels like if it isn't Tormek the build quality is often called into question and the Tormek is just too far out of my budget.
 

TRITON

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I dont think theres much of a problem with the pro edge as it is very popular and to be honest its pretty much how long you put the blade on the sander for. Too long obviously it will heat up, but much like any non water cooled system dipping it regularly in a cup of water will solve any problems.

The tormek is the original, but there are plenty of copies, record power, jet,axminster and again to be honest, they are pretty much the exact same thing, doing the exact same job.
The tormek we had at college along with a bank of ceramic,Japanese stones etc etc but there theres a lot of people using it pretty much every day all day, so the build quality,motor etc is better suited for that, but in a small workshop where you might use it once a week or once a month the copies are probably just as good.
One problem I did find out about using the tormek/copies machine was the deformity of the wheel when students left it in the water and forgot to empty the system after use. There was an unhappy technician due to this happening more than once :LOL:

I've a weird whetstone, probably unsuitable for shed/shop use, its a professional knife honer that can do any blade, but I've long been meaning to buy something best suited for chisels/turning and plane blades and my choice there will be the Sorby pro edge. I've no experience of it personally, but its got a good name and plenty of positive you tube reviews, and from that I'd judge it to be worth the outlay.
I'd also say opt for the deluxe model rather than the standard as you have better options for other grinding.
I think the axminster copy of the pro edge is a bit of a pisstake, in that its more expensive and I think given its a copy should be at least £100 cheaper.

Theres a good vid on the sorby by a turner, and he doesnt appear concerned about burning tips, and looks to be quite taken with it for producing a good quality sharp edge
 

RichardG

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Ooh, a sharpening thread…..

If you’re happy with spending that much just for the primary bevel then go for the ProEdge. It will do it quickly and with minimum heat. However, from my experience, it’s not good for the secondary bevel. It is excellent at grinding the same angle every time and is also excellent for turning tools. Other solutions like the Tormek and clones will do a great job on the secondary bevel but will take a longish time grinding a primary bevel if if needs a lot of work.
The slow speed grinders tend not to have such a foolproof angle setting and therefore require a bit more skill but a CBN wheel reduces the heat a lot.
Probably the biggest question is whether you want a hollow bevel or not, you’ll get lots of different views in this so suggest searching the forum to find them….
 

Mattias87

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Thanks for the information. I think that's it settled and I will be going with the ProEdge.
 

Ttrees

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Those pro edge things look expensive in the long run.
If nervous about things, I have used an Aldi grinder at my folks which has a slow running wheel
and I reckon it might be worth a consideration and very cheap.
Its certainly less faff than a Jet or Tormek which is painfully slow, should you need do anything but a
hone.

I can't say about the longevity of these Aldi machines, as it doesn't get much use.
It won't shed grit should you need it in a clean environment, ie space,
and it has a regular wheel for all sorts of things which if you consider yourself thrifty
or like to make tools, you will definitely use.

If you have nothing but the linisher then it would be a bit pricey or faff to buy belts
for the job, and messy as you might be using it in conjunction with a 4" angle grinder, which is messy compared to the bench grinder on its own.

Haven't seen a slow speed grinder in use, but imagine it would need be on the larger side
i.e guessing the 8 inch would have more momentum, or if a 6" is used
presuming you need have a good sized motor compared to the faster running machines,
should you work a bit of metal occasionally.

There's another option which I'll be using, possibly the most practical of all
is by getting a really course grit wheel, on a regular speed machine.
Did I recall David W talking about a 36 grit one before.?
An 8" wheel has more momentum should you want a slow speed grinder,
as you can get it running and turn it off, should you be worried about being too aggressive.

So it might be worth being on the lookout for a good brand old machine, for best results if
wanting that feature as I presume these are better balanced, which you might notice whilst the machine is slowing down.
Good brand of old I mean like Wolf or similar vintage, or maybe Creusen for something a bit more recent.
I'm not up to speed on that, but maybe TFrench or someone else here would steer you well.

Tom











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TRITON

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Those pro edge things look expensive in the long run.
If nervous about things, I have used an Aldi grinder at my folks which has a slow running wheel
and I reckon it might be worth a consideration and very cheap.
Its certainly less faff than a Jet or Tormek which is painfully slow, should you need do anything but a
hone.

I can't say about the longevity of these Aldi machines, as it doesn't get much use.
It won't shed grit should you need it in a clean environment, ie space,
and it has a regular wheel for all sorts of things which if you consider yourself thrifty
or like to make tools, you will definitely use.

If you have nothing but the linisher then it would be a bit pricey or faff to buy belts
for the job, and messy as you might be using it in conjunction with a 4" angle grinder, which is messy compared to the bench grinder on its own.

Haven't seen a slow speed grinder in use, but imagine it would need be on the larger side
i.e guessing the 8 inch would have more momentum, or if a 6" is used
presuming you need have a good sized motor compared to the faster running machines,
should you work a bit of metal occasionally.

There's another option which I'll be using, possibly the most practical of all
is by getting a really course grit wheel, on a regular speed machine.
Did I recall David W talking about a 36 grit one before.?
An 8" wheel has more momentum should you want a slow speed grinder,
as you can get it running and turn it off, should you be worried about being too aggressive.

So it might be worth being on the lookout for a good brand old machine, for best results if
wanting that feature as I presume these are better balanced, which you might notice whilst the machine is slowing down.
Good brand of old I mean like Wolf or similar vintage, or maybe Creusen for something a bit more recent.
I'm not up to speed on that, but maybe TFrench or someone else here would steer you well.

Tom











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The grinder/whetstone in your pic i bought, and then returned as it was pretty rubbish. The whet stone wouldnt turn concentrically and wobbled from the off, but what can you expect when you opt for the cheapest option.
I'd not recommend that particular type.
Maybe theres better, but why faff about, buy return etc etc when you can get the quality one right off the bat.
If the OP were to buy that cheapo effort, and needed to return, that would probably mean boxingit up, and contacting the company, and returning it, and tbh some of these companies arent strong on customer service. So to avoid all the hassle, all the headache, never go for the cheapest option, you'll only be disappointed.
 

gregmcateer

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I've got a standard speed axi double ended grinder, white wheels, which works fine. Plus a Creusen slow running. I tend to use the latter most as it's got an O'Donnell angle platform which is easy to set, (Plus I'm lazy, so only change angle if I have to!).
I intend to get organised and set the four wheels semi permanently at 4 different angles 🤞
 

Phil Pascoe

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The grinder/whetstone in your pic i bought, and then returned as it was pretty rubbish. The whet stone wouldnt turn concentrically and wobbled from the off ...

For anyone who has one of these with this very common problem, the way to dress the wheel is to fix a block of wood to the bench then fix a devil stone to the block so that it JUST touches the wheel. You will hear it grate as the high spot touches on every revolution, and when it no longer does adjust the devil stone closer. Keep doing this until it contacts all the way around. You cannot do this freehand, it just doesn't work.
 

D_W

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I saw my reference above. I have - and keep in mind with these, I use one if the cheap imported T grinders and keep the wheel dressed:
1) pink 46 grit wheels (nice, but they're expensive and consumed quickly unless you can fit typical surface grinder wheels)
2) brown 46 grit Aluminum Oxide wheels (I like them - they're a little hard, but not hard like cheap gray wheels. They do need to be dressed but are probably my favorite compromise)
3) cheap gray 36 grit wheels on a much higher speed grinder (heavy high power 8 inch full speed grinder made for toolmaking, but obviously it can refresh hollows)
4) 24 grit gray wheels on the same high speed grinder

Obviously, a full speed 8 inch grinder can create some heat. I prefer #4 to a CBN wheel, but 24 grit wheels can be hard to find and you want a regular tool room wheel and not one of the friable wheels at that coarseness. The tool room wheels are already a little friable compared to anything more coarse because the pores are so big on them.

My cbn wheel is on a 6" baldor grinder, as were all of the other examples above.

If you're not using CBN - I'll use it if I don't have the tool grinder plugged in for the 24 grit wheel -then go coarse first. Coarse and cheap is fine as long as you can get a wheel dressing tool.
 

baldkev

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I have a clarke one like in trees pik, and it's been good. The wheel isn't all that fine ( way better than the usual bench grinder wheels ) but I always finish mine on a diamond plate and now buff on a buffing wheel on a separate bench grinder (which works well for me, thanks d_w ). The plastic water bath on mine got cracked one day.... I 'welded' it using a soldering iron and then pasted it with puraflex 🤣
It's worth looking on ebay etc, deals to be had....
 

Limey Lurker

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The grinder/whetstone in your pic i bought, and then returned as it was pretty rubbish. The whet stone wouldnt turn concentrically and wobbled from the off, but what can you expect when you opt for the cheapest option.
I'd not recommend that particular type.
Maybe theres better, but why faff about, buy return etc etc when you can get the quality one right off the bat.
If the OP were to buy that cheapo effort, and needed to return, that would probably mean boxingit up, and contacting the company, and returning it, and tbh some of these companies arent strong on customer service. So to avoid all the hassle, all the headache, never go for the cheapest option, you'll only be disappointed.
Buy it; take it home: don't like it , take it back to Aldi and get your money back with no problems at all. Plus, Aldi have 3 year guarantee.
 
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Stevekane

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For anyone who has one of these with this very common problem, the way to dress the wheel is to fix a block of wood to the bench then fix a devil stone to the block so that it JUST touches the wheel. You will hear it grate as the high spot touches on every revolution, and when it no longer does adjust the devil stone closer. Keep doing this until it contacts all the way around. You cannot do this freehand, it just doesn't work.
I made a sanding disc out of an old 6inch bench grinder with the sanding plate made up from a double thickness of MDF, took care to drill the centrehole square and a fairly snug fit, but when fitted it wobbled away, I slackened off the shaft nut and tapped the disc with a block of wood to true it and it came up nice and wobble free,,I would have thought it was highly likly that a grindstone could have a bit of slack and if nipped up slightly wonky could wobble away, might be worth trying to true it before grinding it off “square”
Steve.
 

TRITON

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Buy it; take it home: don't like it , take it back to Aldi and get your money back with no problems at all. Plus, Aldi have £3year guarantee.
I did, I did, I didn't, I did.
I didn't need three years, I did that in 2 days :LOL:

When I get paid and about the middle of next month I'm going to buy the Sorby one.
It will arrive, I'll set it up and grind to perfection my 60 or so chisels and plane blades
I wont need to go off and buy a diamond trying jig thing, nor find a bit of wood, nor spend time faffing faffing and faffing some more, the Sorby will work perfectly from the off.

Less time spent, less headaches, better job, happier bunny, worth the extra money :cool:





Honey.
 
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D_W

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I use a belt grinder to make tools, and another tight belt flat platen sander for initial flattening.

but I never use either for maintaining a bevel on tools. The wheel grinder is neater, cheaper and always fresher (and the price sorby wants for belts doesn't make much sense - the whole unit is kind of expensive for what it is). I'm sure it will work, and I would definitely say I'd pick something like that over a tormek.

But, that said, a low dollar grinder with a decent rest and coarse hard wheels will see you through decades of freshening tool bevels. I guess I've now had four grinders (initial ryobi cheapie - $40 with two piece aluminum rests, then baldor 6" and now two 1320 watt 8" full speed grinders - for tool freshening, I don't think I save any real time over the original ryobi, and it was still working fine when I put it out to the curb for lack of nothing else other than it wasn't worth enough to try to sell).

For tool grinding (hardened tool, like refreshing or setting bevels, etc), we generally grind shy of the bevel and maintain squareness or angle (like skew plane angle) with a medium hone, matching the bevels to whatever the important reference is (that would be the cap iron on a double iron plane or the sole on a plane with a skew iron).

It's uncommon to maintain fine detail via grinder or belt machine, though. there are certain types of belts that are very low heat (ceramic is what they're referred to, though all of the alumina belts are a type of ceramic. The ceramic named belts are micronized abrasive built into large clumps, so a 36 grit belt will be piles of gobs of tiny abrasive particles. They cut so cool when fresh that I can cut a full bevel from square on a bench chisel in about a minute without burning (meaning a blunt square chisel end), and grind bevels on a fully hardened chisel from a square nonbeveled firmer profile in about 10 minutes without the chisel ever getting too warm to even hold (let alone close to drawing temper).

(Sorby charges about 2 times what it costs me to get a ceramic belt - or a little more - for an odd length belt. My grinder attachment uses 2x48, so much more belt, less than half the cost - it's a commodity like plastic outside of specialized machines - as in, it costs about $7 to make a ceramic 2x48 belt in coarse grit so you may find one for $6 from time to time, but there's no secret $2 offering).

The result of the odd sized belts is that it looks like a lot of retailers have no sorby belts in stock. Just overall not a great system for the long term.

But, too, it's one of those things if you really like it, anyway, then you just ignore the cost of the machine and the belts and do it.
 

D_W

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(looks like trizact is about 2-3 times as much, too - 2x48 trizact 1200 grit here is $8, but it's about $20 for a roughly 2x30 belt for the pro edge. 1.5x30, 2x30, 2x36, 2x42, 2x48 are all standard belt sizes here. Sorby chose to make their belts 2x30.5 - not a big fan of that kind of stuff. It looks like a deliberate attempt to keep a buyer captive to heavily marked up consumables).
 

Sheptonphil

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(looks like trizact is about 2-3 times as much, too - 2x48 trizact 1200 grit here is $8, but it's about $20 for a roughly 2x30 belt for the pro edge. 1.5x30, 2x30, 2x36, 2x42, 2x48 are all standard belt sizes here. Sorby chose to make their belts 2x30.5 - not a big fan of that kind of stuff. It looks like a deliberate attempt to keep a buyer captive to heavily marked up consumables).
There’s plenty of non OEM belts available, it’s just a great system without tie in to proprietary belts. I have no regrets splashing out decent money for it. I went through the grinder, Scheppach wet stone system and stopped at the Pro edge, and here I will stay. Used mainly for turning chisels including the long winged Ellsworth grind, planes, chisels and mover blades. Used in conjunction with an oil stone I’m more than happy with my setup.
 

D_W

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turning tools don't have much consideration in regard to heat, and they tend to take better advantage of a flat wheel or belt (which probably has much to do with why CBN wheels are so wide even though for chisel and plane users, they'd be more tolerable if they were stock wheel width so we could use our guards and their associated dust ports).

I don't have specific experience with the pro edge, just noted its belt size. Custom belts (at lower cost) may be available here in the states, but they're not as easily found with a brief search, because the unit isn't that common.

For refreshing bevels on plane irons and chisels, though, a simple high speed wheel grinder is difficult to better (with hard gray wheels, it wouldn't likely be preferable for a turner, though. Most turners in the US use some kind of pivoting system on a dry grinder).
 

TRITON

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I dont actually like small round wheel grinders. Reason being you need to apply a fair bit of pressure or it bumps the blade back.
With a belt you can apply a gentler pressure, no force required.

Cost of belts is like cost of anything. most quality sanding discs are about a quid each, belts considerably more, especially the larger. But how often are you going to go through a belt on a sharpener, certainly not like the belt on a sander and I reckon a sharpening belt even if used on a monthly occasion would easily last a year.

£3.99 a year ?. oh woe break the bank.
 

mrpercysnodgrass

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Whenever a sharpening thread comes up a lot of negative comments get posted about the Tormek, particularly on how slow it it. I wonder how many people posting these comments have actually used one! I have a Tormek T7, I can tell you it is not slow, working with antiques I regularly get chips in my chisels and plane blades (don't cry for me, it comes with the job and with some expensive therepy I came to terms with it many years ago) Removing a chip from my favourite Marples 1 1/2" bevel edge chisel and getting a razor sharp edge takes less than three minutes with zero chance of burning the edges. Touching up an edge on the leather honing wheel take less than 10 seconds. The only thing I would change on it is the wheel which can be a bit of a faff to dress so a diamond or cbn wheel is on the shopping list.
 

JobandKnock

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Whenever a sharpening thread comes up a lot of negative comments get posted about the Tormek, particularly on how slow it it. I wonder how many people posting these comments have actually used one! I have a Tormek T7, I can tell you it is not slow...
Against a Makita wetstone it is about the same, against a ProEdge I'd say it was slower, against a double-ended bench grinder it is glacial.

I went through Scary Sharp, then a d/e grinder, then a Makita waterstone, then a Tormek and finally ended up with a ProEdge - and later added an 8in d/e grinder. Being site based my edge tools come in for a bit of a hammering (actually) at times, so chipped edges are not uncommon. Trying to get chips out of an edge on a Makita or a Tormek is a time consuming exercise (almost in futility), it's doable quite a bit quicker on a ProEdge, but it still isn't fast (hence the d/e grinder).

As to ProEdge belts, in my experience any trade abrasive belt supplier (not retailer) can supply that "odd size" in any of the available belt grades he sells, providing you buy ten of them at a time.

I like the ProEdge - slow enough to be controllable and to be able to control the tool's temperature, fast enough to be able to sit and sharpen a chisel roll's contents (12 to 18 tools) without "dying" of frustration. With a simple jig it also soeeds up sharpening out cannel gouges, which I don't use much, but I do use sometimes
 
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