Hand Tools Archive

Serious Grinder (not for sharpening)

David Weaver
It became apparent to me that belts and files aren't really the way to go with filthy old files to grind off the outer bits. Belts get beaten up by that kind of thing, and that just equates to constant spending. Files, same thing - that filth is no good for files.

I've switched to using my small baldor grinder, but even though it's got cast rests, with a wheel balancer on it, it's got no dust control and the cast rest on my al-ox wheel is bending under the use.

In my search through the high speed 8" grinders, the stuff sold by woodworking retailers is really kind of junky for any heavy use, but I found a cast guard/cast rest 11 amp jet grinder (with a vacuum port on a couple of different sites for $250 and while I can say that it might not be ideal for sharpening anything, it'll obliterate anything put to the wheels and there's a lot less heat than using the belt sander or baldor grinder (which weren't removing material quickly enough to send the heat off with the sparked material).


(the price difference from one retailer to the next was pretty shocking -$250 to $450, all with shipping included) .

I've never gotten anything from jet that was anything other than somewhat underwhelming, but this grinder is legitimate. Assembled in the box other than the rests (two screws), 65 pounds and dead smooth with two cheap wheels (and good dust collection).

Never had much of an issue with dust from wood other than asthma, but with the baldor grinder, the airborne dust was causing serious irritation with my eyes (not sure why), even with some accommodation to move air out of the workspace.

Not by any means useful for anyone else but me - not an appropriate grinder for honing anything due to the speed and power - but great for kind of moving into making a bunch of metal things old school way (roughing things to shape and then finishing shape and surface by hand) and strong enough to run a high speed belt attachment down the road If I decide to make a bunch of knives.

I love the 6" baldor cast rest and guard grinder (great for light grinding), but this is a case where overseas production - if this thing holds up - makes it cost much less to get something that's 4 times as much machine for about 60% of the cost of the baldor. There's a VS version, too, but I don't trust the speed controls in pretty much anything (unless they're 100% analog) to hold up and I need brute force only.

I don't think there's much market for heavy grinders at this point other than machine shops and mechanic shops, and the knife guys are in love with 2x72 variable speed grinders, usually with a long platen (not looking for that for several reasons, and not sure there is any level of dust control on that kind of belt grinder, either).

© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.