3600 rpm grinder - Sharpening / Buffing - Help

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Forum topic by chrisstef posted 12-31-2011 03:45 PM 4100 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15459 posts in 2426 days

12-31-2011 03:45 PM

So far i have been sharpening my chisels and plane irons on sandpaper via the scary sharp method. Well this weekend my old man donated his 3600 rpm bench grinder to the shop. Id really like to outfit the grinder for sharpening or at very minimum creating the initial bevel on some old plane irons that i need to refurbish. Id also like to use it to buff and clean these old planes.

What kind of set up do you folks have out there? Jigs for keeping a consistent angle? What kind of wheels are you using?

Bonus: Ive got $75 semolians in WC gift cards to spend.

Happy new year to everyone out there!

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

13 replies so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3093 days

#1 posted 12-31-2011 06:46 PM

You would need to use a 60 grit white wheel with a 3600 rpm bench grinder.

View Bill White's profile (online now)

Bill White

4406 posts in 3380 days

#2 posted 12-31-2011 08:34 PM

I use a Norton “fine” grey aluminum oxide wheel on my 3600 rpm grinder. It is friable and needs to be touched up often as do all soft wheels. Gotta be gentle, but sure works for my irons and lathe tools. I buff on another motor (1750 rpm) with cloth wheels and compound. A 3600 rpm buffer will get ya into trouble real fast (no pun). Wire wheels will work on the 3600 just fine.


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2494 days

#3 posted 12-31-2011 08:48 PM

Maybe, I am out of place for saying this, but I predict you will be back to the scary sharp method.

I use my bench grinder for sharpening lathe tools with appropriate jigs. I use if for various miscellaneous tasks like sharpening a jack knife or lawn mower blade. I do chisels and plane irons with the scary sharp method.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2204 days

#4 posted 12-31-2011 08:50 PM

Happy New Year to you as well.

I have a ‘not-the-best’ bench grinder that I just could not get good results with. I tried lots of methods and jigs but it just ran too fast and vibrated too much. Below is my temporary solution. I used the motor from my vintage jointer to run the grinder at about 950 RPM. Also, I went with a 100 grit white Norton wheel.
I can put a new edge on my favorite lathe tool in 1-2 minutes. One of the problems with this cheap grinder is that the shaft is not long enough and the outer washer does not fit centered because of the shaft threads. When the washer is not centered it just adds to the vibration. I bought some better washers and it helped a lot. I plan to get an 8” slow speed wet grinder soon.

-- Website is finally up and

View chrisstef's profile


15459 posts in 2426 days

#5 posted 01-01-2012 12:09 AM

Thanks for all the info gang. Ive got a couple of plane irons that are pretty beat up that id like to salvage, but after that maybe just a wire wheel and the occasionaly metal grinding will be its main purpose.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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2308 posts in 2253 days

#6 posted 01-02-2012 12:11 AM

Best wishes for 2012 Chris :)

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

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555 posts in 2701 days

#7 posted 01-02-2012 01:39 AM

What kind of tool rest is on the grinder? You really need one with double adjustments and you can make an acceptable one if need be. I can’t imagine trying to maintain chisels and planes without a good grinder. We have a number of them in our shop and they’re heavily used. I suggest a 36 grit wheel because grinding is just a rough shaping operation, not a sharpening operation. You also want a diamond dresser to keep the abrasive surface of the wheel fresh and cool cutting. I prefer a 3/4 carat single point grinder for a bench grinder and Grizzly sells acceptable ones for about $12. Learn to grind, it’s one of the keys to fast and efficient sharpening.

Grinding techniques are very simple and there aren’t a lot of them. If you need help, just say so.

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15459 posts in 2426 days

#8 posted 01-02-2012 09:23 PM

Soda .. Thanks brother you too! Ive got some big things in the works for 2012.

DAllen – Ya know ive got a 1750 rpm motor from a hobby metal lathe sittin around … hmmmm … and that old Wen hollow grinder that ive never got to work right.

lwllms – Its a ryobi grinder that im fairly sure i bought for him about 10 years ago. From the looks of things the tool rests will be about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. Ill be looking into some shop made rests around the site. The help is much appreciated, ive got some great old planes im itching to restore. Im at the point in my wood working journey that i really need to get the #3,6,7 and #78 into the mix, but their irons are toasty.

I smell a new project comin on.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 2701 days

#9 posted 01-03-2012 06:11 AM


When you have to reshape a plane iron or chisel, mark where you want your new cutting edge. Grind at 90º to the flat face of the tool to get there and the re-establish the bevel. You’ll be grinding away a flat on the end of the tool. When that flat starts getting pretty small slow down to avoid over heating the steel. Keep a finger on the steel so you can feel the temperature when you start getting close. Remember, a coarse wheel grinds cooler than a finer one and a well dressed wheel gives you a lot of control over how hot things get.

I thought I had a couple good photos of a shop-made tool rest on a regular grinder but I can’t find them at the minute. below are a couple shop-made tool rests on a couple different belt grinders and you can see one for the wheel in the foreground of the first photo. You want to make a two-piece arm for the rest to get good ability to set the angles.

When you set a rest for a grinding wheel you’re grinding on a tangent so tools of different thicknesses will grind at different angles with the rest set in the same place. The easiest way to set the rest is to cut some wooden grinding templates about 3/4” wide and 6” long the same thickness as the tool you’re going to grind and cut an angle on the end at the angle you want to grind. Adjust the tool rest so the wheel hits the center of the angle on the template when the template is flat on the rest. It’s all pretty simple. Let the wheel do the work and just lightly contact the wheel with the tool. Don’t force the tool into the wheel—pressure will generate heat. You’ll develop a feel quickly.

View Viking's profile


878 posts in 2615 days

#10 posted 01-03-2012 07:14 AM


I tend to agree with Rich Greer above. Once you spend the time to get the back of your chisels and plane irons flat (don’t think you can do that on any grinder?) and get the main bevel sharp you will just be touching up the micro bevel from then on. Think that to use a grinder of any kind will require some jigs and fixtures to assure the correct bevel angle. There are some very reasonable guides available that you can use with varying grits of sandpaper on glass or granite plate and get a great edge on your tools.

Here is the one we have used for chisels and plane irons for quite a while with good results;

I will also say though that I received a Worksharp 3000 for my birthday last year and it is pretty hard to beat but, if you try to sharpen too fast you can overheat you chisels just as you could with a grinder.

Good Luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

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15459 posts in 2426 days

#11 posted 01-03-2012 06:01 PM


I dont mind flattening the backs of plane irons and chisels on sandpaper, the grinder will be more for setting a new bevel on some old planes ive got that are just mangled. Ill keep using the sandpaper for touch ups and setting micro bevels. I really would love a worksharp but funds are tight just like everyone else.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2754 days

#12 posted 01-04-2012 04:23 PM

I do think 3600 rpm is awfully fast if it is a 6” or 8” wheel for grinding woodworking tools. Around 1700 would run cooler. I agree with Rich that you should be doing a lot more honing than grinding unless you are using it for turning tools. Grinding is usually only done to correct a damaged edge (chips) or renew/change the primary bevel on a tool blade.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View 489tad's profile


3083 posts in 2431 days

#13 posted 01-04-2012 05:46 PM

I use the sandpaper and wet finish. I want to try the leather strope. I was given fifty clams to Rockler so I bought a water stone on sale, on back order. I let you know how it works out.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

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