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Bench Grinders – A Quick Guide

Bench Grinder, like the name suggests, is a benchtop version of grinding machines. They are most commonly used to sharpen metal tools often that constitute blades like chisels, knives, drill bits and other tool bits etc. and to round off thread ends of cutting bolts. They are used for driving abrasive wheels, with varying levels of grade and attachment. if you know the correct way to use it, you can easily prep your chisels and plane irons for honing.

It can also be used to restore severely damaged edges on old overused tools and make them good as new – in matters of cutting and not appearance, of course. You can even change shapes of tools and make entirely new tools out of them. But most people either get intimidated by it and never learn how to use it or give up after a few uneven results or frequent burning and the steel turning blue. We get how frustrating that can be. But here we are, all set to turn around your experience with bench grinders with a few simple tips to help you get back in the saddle:

Setting up your Bench Grinder: the correct way

A bench grinder can do all kinds of tasks you want. From cleaning, buffing, shaping, sharpening to polishing all sorts of metal, depending on the kind of wheels you put to use. Now, you do not want the older style wheels that heat up too fast and get worn out and lose their efficiency. Look for friable wheels on the market. They have layers so that when top one is worn out, you can use a wheel dresser so it breaks away and reveals a smooth surface under that continues to shape your metal effortlessly without heating up too much.

You are going to need separate wheels for different tasks. For instance, a 100+ grit wheel for fine tools and other delicate metal model objects, a 60 grits wheel for honing plane irons and multiple chisels, and a 36 grit wheel for lawnmowers and other gardening tools, which can also be sharpened using the 60 grit wheel. Next thing you need is the right metal-rest that provides good grip and prevents the spark.

Tips:

  • Keep a water jar around – a typical grinder rotates at the speed of 3400 rpms. At that speed, friction can cause any good metal to burn out easily or ruin its shape. To prevent that, keep a handy water jar to dip in the metal you are sharpening/shaping as soon as it begins to heat up.
  • Use Pliers for small objects: using lock pliers while grinding smaller objects like bolts can give a good grip and protect your hand from burning from sparks or the overheating of the metal.
  • Dress your wheel regularly: use a diamond wheel dresser to reveal the new grit for better and effective grinding. With frequent use, the spaces on the grit can become clogged with residue metal causing it to overheat quickly and accelerate its efficiency.