Bench Grinder: Is there a reasonable solution?

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Forum topic by jdmaher posted 07-20-2011 08:12 PM 2737 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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381 posts in 2000 days

07-20-2011 08:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bench grinder

I want to add a bench grinder to my home shop.

I do HAVE a Tormek, which does a fine job honing – but it’s WAY to slow for actual grinding. I do plane irons and chisels, most frequently, and grinding is actually only an occasional thing with those (mostly, just hone and polish). But it does take FOREVER if I do have to grind, and I have less patience as I age. Also, there’s always other stuff that I wouldn’t even try on the Tormek for fear of dying of old age before I was done (e.g., gardening tools),

I’d LOVE to have an 8” Baldor – if anyone wants to GIVE it to me (hey, I’ll pay shipping!). But out here in the real world, I can’t afford that; and a couple months of watching eBay and Craig’s list (Chicago) have found ZERO hits. So, I guss I’m giving up on that.

I need something GOOD and reliable that I can set up once and use for years. I’m assuming I’ll buy something reasonably priced and add better stones.

So what’s it to be? Dewalt, Jet, Ryobi, Craftsman? I’ve read a lot (mostly here and Amazon), and I’m having a hard time determining a concensus opinion.

Replace the oem wheels with a Norton Blue and a Norton White? If necesary, with McMaster Carr 8491A562

I’m looking forward to specific recommendations anyone is willing to share. I’m hoping if I get enough input a concensus opinion might begin to reveal itself.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

Jim Maher

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

10 replies so far

View Loren's profile


8159 posts in 3068 days

#1 posted 07-20-2011 08:24 PM

I’ve got by for years and years with a cheapo “Task Force” (or something
like that) China grinder I got at Home Depot for about $40. I put a friable
white wheel on one side and a buffing wheel on the other.

Between that cheap grinder with the buff and a Makita 1000 grit wet
wheel sharpener I’ve done fine for years and years putting razor sharp
edges on plane irons and chisels. With the Makita alone I can sharpen
my own jointer and planer blades pretty fast and it also comes in handy for
speedy flattening of chisel backs.

Don’t get hung up on the brand or size of the grinder. If you are doing
metalwork, it’s different, but for wood tools, a 6” normal speed grinder
with a white wheel works great. I have a steel bar midpoint running across
the front as a tool rest (got the idea from an Ian Kirby article on speedy
sharpening). I grind most chisels and plane irons hollow on the bevel
with that white wheel. I put a cup of water nearby and dip the blade
often to keep heat down.

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2391 days

#2 posted 07-20-2011 08:29 PM

I like this slow speed 8” from Woodcraft. They put it on sale ocassionally for $90; right now it’s $120.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View Cory's profile


754 posts in 2840 days

#3 posted 07-20-2011 08:47 PM

I’d spy Craig’s List….I found a variable speed 8” grinder for $40. It needed new wheels, but the motor and everything else was cherry.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Arch_E's profile


47 posts in 1942 days

#4 posted 07-20-2011 08:48 PM

yep! that’s the one I should have bought.

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2652 days

#5 posted 07-20-2011 08:57 PM

I have the Ryobi BGH-827 I think is the model #. It’s the 8” full speed grinder. Runs for just under $60.00. I have been very happy with it so far. Only been about 2 years though… I highly recommend the Norton white wheels, WITH the McMaster Carr bushings, and a good truing. The wheels are rarely truly round…

With the Norton plastic bushings, and prior to truing, you can pretty much guarantee any grinder will try to dance across your shop…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View Tedstor's profile


1625 posts in 2053 days

#6 posted 07-20-2011 09:12 PM

I have a 6” Craftsman that I bought for $25 off CL. Its probably 40 years old. I’m not a grinder expert, but even my dinosaur seems to get the job done. That said, I concur with Loren. Top-Shelf grinders for woodworking purposes are probably more sizzle, less steak. Now even with that said, Baldor makes one hell of a nice grinder. I had one in the aviation shop I worked in while serving in the USMC. It was a workhorse that got a daily beating and never complained once. If your heart is set on one, you should keep stalking CL and Ebay. In the meantime, you might consider buying an economy grinder until a Baldor surfaces. You could then set up the cheap grinder for dedicated buffer/scotch bright duty.
As an alternative, I’ve heard good things about Palmgren grinders. sell them at reasonable prices.

View TheWoodNerd's profile


288 posts in 2612 days

#7 posted 07-20-2011 10:25 PM

I tried out the Delta 8” “Shopmaster” but returned it, it didn’t seem quite sturdy enough for me. I ended up getting the Jet 1HP 8-inch grinder, which I see has gone up almost 25% in the last year! Thanks, Mr President …

Unless you’re just sharpening mower blades, you need to get decent wheels. I put on Norton 3X wheels and balanced them with the Oneway system, which really made the grinder run much smoother.

Just in case you don’t know, Tormek sells a tool mount for standard grinders so you can use the same jig to shape on the grinder and then hone on the Tormek. I just got a new Tormek, if I end up liking it I’m planning to get the bench grinder mount and sell all my Wolverine stuff.

-- The Wood Nerd --

View Tedstor's profile


1625 posts in 2053 days

#8 posted 07-20-2011 10:47 PM

Oh, and if possible, get a model with an attached light. Its not a deal breaker; you can always fin a way to get enough light on your project. But I consider the gooseneck lamp on my grinder to be the equivilent of air conditioning in a car. Sure you can get by without it, but life is better with it.

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2110 days

#9 posted 07-21-2011 04:32 AM

I have 6 Wholesale Tool bench grinders set up with different wheels that have been trouble free for 16 years and they cost less than $20. When I bought them I planned on them being disposable but they have seen a lot of heavy use in my metal work.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 2702 days

#10 posted 07-21-2011 05:45 AM

For work on woodworking edge tools I think General has the least expensive good grinder available. You’ll have to make good tool rests for it but you’ll have to do that with most inexpensive grinders. Their specs are mixed up and you can run a 2” belt on the belt side of the grinder. A number of companies can supply the length you’ll need.

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