Reply by JAAune

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Posted on Bench Grinder Wheels- Which one?

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1799 posts in 2316 days

#1 posted 05-16-2013 12:00 AM

The risk of burning tools on a bench grinder comes from a combination of several factors. Faster RPMs generate more heat as does applying pressure against the stone with the tool being ground. People generally burn tools because they get in a hurry and press too hard. Slow speed grinders won’t help in this case because they work slower than the high speed ones. This only tempts impatient people to push even harder in a vain attempt to speed up the task.

The only real advantage that slow speed grinders seems to give is that they are more forgiving of mistakes. People that have a hard time with fine motor skills may find them much easier to use.

Don’t forget that 8” grinders have higher surface speed than 6” grinders do. Before anyone sells their cheap 3600rpm 6” model and buys an expensive 8” slow speed unit they should think about the fact that the 8” wheel’s surface speed may not be much slower.

I use a 6” high speed grinder because that’s what I have and so far I’ve not gotten around to getting anything else. Since I use it with a light touch, I don’t get burned tools. The 3600 RPM grinders remove material faster anyway so there’s no reason whatsoever to get heavy-handed when using them.

The white stones are definitely better for sharpening hardened steels. I also prefer very coarse wheels for most of my tools (36 grit or lower) since I always hone the cutting edge on bench stones anyway.

-- See my work at and

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