Bench Grinder Wheels- Which one?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Philip posted 05-15-2013 07:37 PM 17648 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2538 days

05-15-2013 07:37 PM

I have a Bench Grinder that was going to be tossed, and with a little TLC got it working. It’s a little bench top model, 1/3 HP I think. It has 2 gray discs on it (Aluminum Oxide maybe?) that are 6” by 3/4”.

I want to use it to sharpen and put a good hollow grind on my tools. I have seen pink wheels, white wheels, green wheels, wooden wheels with leather or buffing compound.

Can someone shed some light on the different types of wheels and which are the best 2 to have?

-- I never finish anyth

11 replies so far

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2631 days

#1 posted 05-15-2013 07:55 PM

I typically have a white wheel and a gray wheel installed on mine. The white is for sharpening fine tools. The gray is for sharpening lawnmower blades and/or general metal shaping. I think the white is a 120 grit and the gray is 60 grit.
However, I have an assortment of other wheels too. I have a flapper wheel, a stiff bristle wheel, a couple buffing wheels.

Keep in mind thoogh that a 6” wheel will produce a very accute curve/hollow on the tool. I feel 8” wheels, or preferably bigger, is more approppriate. Also keep in mind that the typical grinder spins at 3450 rpms. Very easy to burn up a fine tool at that speed. Proceed with caution.

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#2 posted 05-15-2013 08:00 PM

If talking about turning tools all you need is a friable aluminum oxide wheel. Yes they come in blue, pink/red, and white. Each manufacturer uses different colors, I like Norton K-hardness blue, or CGW (camel) K-hardness that can come in blue, pink, or blue wheels. I have also used softer Norton white wheels.

Do look local if can find them or shop sales online. I have to order Al friable wheels because they do not sell them in my town. I use 46 grit K wheel for reshaping or repairng bevel angles, and 80 or 100 grit for resharpening.

Been getting my wheels from these folks because have a fair price and shipping not so high.

-- Bill

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3333 days

#3 posted 05-15-2013 08:25 PM

I agree with Tedstor that speed is a big factor and that 3,450 rpm is way to fast and that a 6” wheel isn’t too good for sharpening. A better speed would be 1,750 rpm with an 8” wheel. In fact, I sharpen my chisels and plane blades with a convex bevel instead of a convex one as taught by Paul Sellers. It seems to stay sharp longer and I think also gives just as good an edge if not better.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#4 posted 05-15-2013 09:55 PM

Think have to use whatever grinder you have. Been using a 3450 RPM, 1/3 HP 6” bench grinder to sharpen my turning tool and restore damaged edge on my wood chisels & plane irons for over 20 years. Have also used belt sanders to put an edge on tools.

Yes, would like to have an 8” x 1” with ¾ HP bench grinder to sharpen my stuff. If and when my old grinder craps out will buy one.

I know from experience can blue tools edges on either 3450 or 1725 RPM bench grinder. Using the best wheel (hard or soft) and correct grit and light touch more important to me than no load RPMs. If want a slow speed bench grinder under 1,000 RPMs, breakout your wallet or build your own.

Bench grinders with proper wheels for steel you want to sharpen might be the most economical method of sharpening or repairing damaged tool edges other than by hand.

-- Bill

View JAAune's profile


1799 posts in 2315 days

#5 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

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#6 posted 05-16-2013 11:24 AM

I have used this brand grinding wheels but hard to find these days but link has some nice to know information.

I re-sharpen my turning tools a lot, and tend to wear out my fine grit wheels long before my medium grit wheel. Hardly ever take my wood chisels and hand plane blades to the grinder.

I use friable wheels, but today non-friable AL wheels found in several colors like grey & brown.

-- Bill

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2538 days

#7 posted 05-16-2013 06:08 PM

Sounds good. I plan to build a jig that holds the irons square and at the proper angle and I’m plenty patient to not burn my tools. I’m going to give it a shot just because it’s the only thing I’ve got at this point.

Great info, thanks.

-- I never finish anyth

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2145 days

#8 posted 05-16-2013 06:24 PM

Stumpy Nubs has a video on making your own version of the Veritas tool rest. Check that one out. The Norton aluminum oxide friable white wheels in 80 and 120 grit from Lee Valley are what I use.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3584 days

#9 posted 05-16-2013 06:35 PM

I have a pink and white wheel on my grining machine both 8 inch I also have in my woodshop a smashing 10 inch grinder that came with two grey wheel 3 phase which I use for shaping metal and sharpening stuff too .I have to say I use the 12 inch disc sander and a belt sander linisher more and more for sharpening my turning chisels .I would also recommend this to anyone as it gives a great finish on wood tools .For my planer blades etc I have a 16 inch horizontal wheel in it’s own cabinet which has a built in oil pump and does a great job slow turning for all chisels too. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3647 days

#10 posted 05-16-2013 06:38 PM

I have a blue wheel for fast cutting, and a white wheel for finishing. I reviewed them here:

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View RobertStix's profile


19 posts in 1834 days

#11 posted 05-19-2013 03:33 AM

I like to make knives & tools out of scrap steel, so I can’t really get rid of my $10 pawn-shop-find 3450×6”. So for tool sharpening & fine work I made a mod to my grinder. I in-line wired a ceiling-fan dimmer switch rated for the same amps as my grinder and set the switch’s internal control at its lowest setting. Works GREAT! At first, the speed was drifting up or down from the grinder’s vibration, and then I mounted the switch farther away from the grinder and it stays at the speed I set it.
Oh…to answer your question, I use an 8” 120 grit white wheel for sharpening. I bought a 90 cent brass bushing and jb welded it into the arbor-hole so that it fits on my grinder’s 1/2” arbor shaft.

-- "I wear eye protection when using power tools because my blood stings my eyes and because I can't read braille."

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics