Feature Tool: Bench Grinder

Keeping in the theme of posts this month, our feature tool is the bench grinder. This power tool is handy to have around the shop to shape metal or sharpen and polish tools. This is achieved by moving the edge to be sharpened back and forth across the wheel on the bench grinder. Check out this video of it in action.

The wheel of the bench grinder dictates its uses; what one does with it depends on having the appropriate type of wheel for the task at hand. The grinder is a simple tool: each wheel sits on either side of the motor. Below are some of the different wheel variations:

  • Aluminum oxide: Works well for grinding hard surfaces and sharpening tools
  • Fibre/wire: Helps remove rust
  • Silicone carbide: Good for grinding finer surfaces
  • Cloth: When used with a bit of wax, this is perfect for polishing tools

Changing the wheel on the bench grinder is as simple as removing the nut and washer from the initial wheel with a wrench, and replacing it with the new wheel. Here’s a good tip: “do not over-tighten the nut: it will automatically tighten as the wheel rotates”.

Before you start your next project, throw on your safety goggles (remember, kids, safety first) and sharpen the tools you’ll be using with the bench grinder. It is helpful to have a bucket of cold water nearby in case the metal you’re working with becomes too hot – watch to see if the metal is turning blue.  A sharpening stone is great for polishing out smaller imperfections once you are finished with the bench grinder.

Happy sharpening!