Why do I need a grinder for sharpening

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Forum topic by Gerbah_from_Boston posted 12-08-2015 05:31 PM 1106 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 658 days

12-08-2015 05:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question trick tip

Sorry if this seems a silly question. I’ve been using hand tools more and more in my shop and I keep thinking I need to buy a grinder at some point. However, when my chisels get chipped, worn or the secondary bevel gets too great, I just use my diamond plate for taking the primary bevel back to flat and then polish from there. What am I missing besides the opportunity to buy another tool?

19 replies so far

View Jimbo4's profile


1571 posts in 2513 days

#1 posted 12-08-2015 05:36 PM

You cam “whip snot” the chisels on the grinder, then hone with the diamond plate. Besides – who doesn’t need another tool? ;o)

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

View jdh122's profile


938 posts in 2568 days

#2 posted 12-08-2015 05:36 PM

You don’t need a grinder for sharpening. Obviously people managed to sharpen tools before there were grinders and plenty of people sharpen without ever using one. But I’ve gotten used to hollow grinding my tools, which makes for much quicker sharpening on the stones. Plus the work on the stones is easier to do freehand, given that you have two points to rock the bevel on.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1430 days

#3 posted 12-08-2015 05:50 PM

A grinder is fast but other than that you don’t need one. I rarely use my worksharp as I find that honing a edge by hand is faster than digging it out and setting it up. The only time I use one is if I have to do a lot of work on a edge like when I first get a antique chisel I just bought or if I do serious damage to it like chip the corner off when dropping it. I also tend to return to it with jigs on my turning/carving tools a few times a year to reset the edge on those tools.

For me a grinder/worksharp is the reset button for my edge tools. As such I tend to use guides/jigs when I use it which I do much more rarely with my stones.

View JAAune's profile


1760 posts in 2067 days

#4 posted 12-08-2015 05:58 PM

You don’t need one unless you’re looking to speed up the sharpening process. The hollow grind simply removes most of the material so you don’t have to spend nearly as much time honing.

-- See my work at and

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

339 posts in 2212 days

#5 posted 12-08-2015 06:21 PM

Once you learn to hollow grind your chisels and plane blades, you will never go back- I love it because a dull edge gets honed and back up and razor sharp in seconds. If you can free hand sharpen, this will make it so quick and easy you will never, ever have a an excuse to use a dull edge.

View toddbeaulieu's profile


808 posts in 2754 days

#6 posted 12-08-2015 06:45 PM

For hand tools I don’t use a grinder, but for my turning tools …

View bondogaposis's profile


4366 posts in 2101 days

#7 posted 12-08-2015 06:57 PM

You don’t really need a grinder to sharpen hand tools. But they are immensely useful for tasks like sharpening turning tools and perhaps making custom shaped card scrapers from old saw blades. Whenever you need to modify the shape of a piece of steel the grinder is a very handy thing to have. I use mine a lot.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ThomasChippendale's profile


244 posts in 682 days

#8 posted 12-08-2015 07:00 PM

As mentionned, the hollow grind on a 8 inch wheel is quick to get and eases the job with the stones. And there are the kitchen knives, the lawnmower blade, the flat screwdrivers, the drill bits, the paint scrapers, the axe, the end of the tthreaded rod that needs beveling, ...

-- PJ

View bandit571's profile


17905 posts in 2433 days

#9 posted 12-08-2015 07:15 PM

You can even make a jig to help out..

I drilled the one tool rest to hold the wood platten. It has a “range” of between 20- 40 degrees. I just set and lock it in place.

Do a lot of plane rehabs…..lots of mis-sharpened irons. Some have a wave effect going on, or a reverse camber. I use the grinder ( and a cup of water) to get the edge back to a more useful shape. usually, it will be just straight across. Some needed the grinder to flatten the back, as well. Some are that far out of whack.

Then off to the stones and sandpaper it will go.

IF one watches closely, one can also shorten most “too-long” bolts or screws. Then add a bevel right on the end to help the bolts start. IF they are long enough, one can add a nut, run it up as close to the bolt’s head as can be. When the grinder is done, and that bevel is made, run the nut back off, to “chase” the threads.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Ocelot's profile


1839 posts in 2388 days

#10 posted 12-08-2015 08:05 PM

I only use my grinder for sharpening lawn mower blades. Planes I sharpen with sandpaper on a flat granite stone.

However, I plan to do one of these belt sander conversions.

I bought the sander for $48 plus tax when it was on sale for $60 and I had a 20% coupon.

I haven’t gotten around to doing the conversion yet. It’s on my project list.


View DrDirt's profile (online now)


4375 posts in 3492 days

#11 posted 12-08-2015 08:12 PM

I don’t use a grinder for bench chisels – only for the lathe.

As for a grinder… you’ll have to decide if it will be ‘handy’ or ‘In the way, taking up valuable real estate’

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View HorizontalMike's profile


7585 posts in 2664 days

#12 posted 12-08-2015 09:01 PM

You can always make your own belt sharpening system on the cheap. Saves you hundred$$ and besides, you get a better edge IMO…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View RetiredITC's profile


5 posts in 650 days

#13 posted 12-09-2015 09:25 AM

My vote is simply for the convenience of it…

View rwe2156's profile


2626 posts in 1231 days

#14 posted 12-09-2015 10:59 AM

The purpose of a grinder is to remove metal quickly. It is mostly a time saving device.
With the proper jigs and stones, you can do quite precise work.

I would never use a grinder for maintenance sharpening however, it is quite handy for restoring an abused edge, or hollow grinding as mentioned, or correcting something do to with a chisel or carving gouge.

I use mine mostly for resetting a bevel angle, hollow grinding or regrinding a chisel to a special purpose.

Bottom line: no you don’t need one.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Tennessee's profile


2517 posts in 2264 days

#15 posted 12-09-2015 12:41 PM

I actually quit using my lathe since I could not get my tools properly sharpened by hand.
Then I bought the Oneway Wolverine Sharpening system and now I find myself wanting to work with my lathe a lot, lot more.
Tools that sharpen up in seconds are more fun to use than tools that take 10-15 minutes to sharpen.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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