CBN Wheels for grinder

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leehljp

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I am considering an 8 inch CBN grinding wheel for my Delta VS grinder. I have not seen any thread here specifically dedicated to 1. CBN wheels, 2. grit choices, 3. width; 4. curved or flat and 5. brand.

There have been a few threads where some of these characteristics have been discussed, but I would like to get the opinions of those who have used them, and into one thread if possible.

I have been impressed with the reviews for HSS, the durability, the heat control. For me, at this point, it has been somewhat overwhelming. I have been looking at Woodturnerswonders.com and either their 4 in 1 (180) , or the Mega Square in 180; OR two Spartan combos of 180 and either 600 or 1000.

Please tell me your experiences. I can see that the future of sharpening HSS is here now in the form of CBN wheels.
 
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BRobbins629

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I got the 8” radius 350 grit from woodturnerwonders. Kept the old 80grit stone on the other side as I sometimes grind things other than HSS and they say CBN is not good for other materials. I debated going with a lower grit but after talking to,the owner of woodturnerwonders decided on the 350. Haven’t had it that long, but so far very satisfied. Radius is perfect for my 1/4”hollowing bits which I use for many things. Put a nice edge on parting tool, gouges and skew. If all I did was sharpen HHS, I may have gone with 2 CBN wheels, but for now what I have works for me.
 

TonyL

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I bought one from D-way and one from Rick (Wooden Wonders). Both guys are awesome and make excellent products. D-Way are heavier - I don't know how that translate to anything. I use both of them on the same grinder. The D-way is 180 and Rick's is 240 or something like that. I use them interchangeably. The D-way is flat and Rick's is rounded. I use one with a Robohippy and one with a platform. Both the Robohippy and platform are compatible with the one way system. I use D-way, Thompson and sometimes Sorby HSS tools. I primarily use D-ways tools - just what I am used to.
 

Warren White

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My experience...

...is that I couldn't be happier with my choice for sharpening.

I bought the 8" Rikon Slow Speed grinder, equipped with 2 CBN wheels (both 1 1/2" wide; one 80 grit and one 350 grit) from Wood Turners Wonders.

I bought this after a friend had one of the old style wheels came apart while he was using it. The little voice in my head said "Time to invest in CBN!"

Ken Rizza's customer service is excellent.
 

GDIS46

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I was in the same place several years ago looking for a product and vendor. I wound up designing my own wheel and had them made to my specifications and couldn't be happier with the results.

I wanted a wide wheel with 1/4" roundover. I had an 80 grit and a 180 grit made. It was actually cheaper than buying a set from a name brand vendor.
 

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randyrls

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Hank; I have both a 180 grit radius wheel and a 360 grit wheel with a 1" side layer. The flat side puts a flat grind on my skews. I have heard mixed opinions on the only HSS vs anything argument. I would not do any regular grinding of nonferrous metals on the CBN, especially aluminum. I have an 80 grit CBN wheel too, but don't keep it mounted.

I keep a 1" dowel rod near the grinder. These wheels have a lot of mass and once spun up will spin FOREVER when powering down. Press the dowel rod against the side hub of the wheel to stop it. Clamp the grinder down; the CBN wheels have enough mass and torque to make this a necessity.

Finally, carefully check the length of hub on the wheel to make certain that the grinder shaft nut will tighten up on the wheel. When i bought the 350 grit wheel the seller asked if I needed any washers? I didn't get the question and said "No", but discovered that the wheel hub was shorter than the grinder permitted. I had to make a short 3/16" thick washer to get the grinder shaft nut to clamp the wheel tightly.
 
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Charlie_W

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Some years back, I bought a 180G CBN for my Rikon low speed, 1/2Hp, 8” grinder. This wheel is flat (no radiused edges). It works very nicely and leaves a very good edge. Usually I touch these with a hand diamond hone as well.
On the other side, I kept the stock 80G stone wheel for shaping and raising a burr on my scrapers.
I do have an old 6” basic grinder for miscellaneous grinding. I have not used any finer grit wheels so I don’t have thoughts on those.
The CBN wheel is heavier and with the 1/2 HP, I give the wheels a spin before starting to reduce load on the motor. A 1HP grinder motor would be worthy upgrade in my opinion. I would stay away from the CBN wheels with the plastic core....I know my metal wheel is not going to change in any way, shape or form and I will get years of service from it.

Good luck on your quest!
 
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JimB

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I finally bought CBN wheels about 2 months ago. I was lucky in that many of the guys in the local club here have them so I was able to do a lot of in person research and try their systems and wheels. Cost was definitely a consideration for me along with what I will do with them. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need the grit on the side of the wheel as I wouldn't use it. Same goes for the curved edges.

The wide wheels are very nice but the cost goes up quickly. The wider wheels are also much heavier so you should have a 1 HP grinder for them. You will burn out a 1/2 HP one.

I bought from Ken Rizza at Woodturning Wonders as most people in my local club have. His prices are excellent and so is his service. You can call him if you have questions. His wheels have a life time warranty.

I opted for the Spartan Wheels, 180 and 600 grit mounted on 1/2 HP Rikon grinder. The Spartan wheels are 1” and made from aluminum so you don’t need the 1HP. Ken ships the wheels already mounted on the grinder with the spherical washers. If you only buy the wheels buy the spherical washers as well. I chose the 180 and 600 grits because the 80 is for shaping tools and I don’t need to do much shaping. If I do I still have my stone wheels or I can use someone else's grinder. I use the 180 Primarily for roughing gouges, scrapers and negative rake scrapers and occasional minor reshaping of tools. I use the 600 for bowl gouges, detail gouges, skews. I still have my other grinder with the aluminum oxide wheels that I can use for other stuff.

I am very happy with my setup. It does exactly what I need it to do at a price that fit my budget. However, Your needs may be different.

Also, in the most recent issue of American Woodturner, the AAW magazine, there is an article by Tom Wirsing (professional Turner) about tool steels and CBN wheels. Tom was also a demonstrator at our local club last year so I learned a lot about tool steels and CBN wheels from him.

CBN wheels are a great investment. You get a better edge on your tools amd the edge will last longer.
 

leehljp

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This is great. Thanks for all of your input! I know there will be more.

I was a bit surprised to see several "watching/subscribing" posts. Glad to see others interested in this subject.
 

leehljp

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I had been thinking along the lines of Jim above and knew that I could put one of the wider - 1 1/2 inch on one side of my 1/2 HP Delta VS grinder but it would be a little close to overload.

In general, I tend to purchase more than I need - just in case. However this time I did want two grades - 180 and 600, so I ordered the Spartans from Woodturning Wonders for the Delta VS. I have the Grizzly Tormek clone and really like it, but it is SLOW, specifically in shaping new tools. I may purchase and 80 for the Grizzly later on.

One thing I like about the CBNs overall is that the speed of 1800 or 3600 doesn't seem to affect the heat on HSS like it does with stone or diamond wheels. And the 3600 speed does cut down quicker. Looking forward to getting the shape quickly with the 180 and finer tuned with the 600. I still will use my µ sandpaper edger for the micro-fine edge.

It may be a few weeks before I can report back on this as I will be very busy for the next 2 1/2 weeks with work.
 
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JimB

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Hank - unless you do a lot of reshaping you may find you don’t need an 80 grit. Most reshaping I have done on my 180 has been minor but I have also done more extensive reshaping on a couple tools on the 180. It went quicker then I expected.

Did you order the spherical washers? You should get them as they help balance the wheels.

Congrats on your upgrade.
 
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leehljp

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Did you order the spherical washers? You should get them as they help balance the wheels.

Congrats on your upgrade.
Yes I did. And from reading different comments, it will be well worth it and not that expensive.

Thanks for your input.
 

moke

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Sounds like you have this well thought out as always, Hank.
I have a Delta 1/2-8" and the Rikon 1/2 8" in a back to back set up on a small mobile table. I have regular Norton aluminum oxide wheels on the Delta and one CBN 180 and one Norton on the Rikon. I find that I use the CBN the most. I got it from the woodturners store, it is a Hurricane. I have always thought I would get another 80 CBN for the other side of the Rikon but just have not done it. The 180 is awesome to sharpen pretty much anything. but especially skews. When you are as bad at sharpening as I am, you need to occasionally reshape and the 180 is not good at that. So I thought the 80 might be nice. ( I have had lessons, have all the toys, and worked at it for years, but I am still mediocre to poor at it!)

The Hurricanes are flat with a 1/2 " side abrasive. I am a nut about balancing, I have balanced all my wheels and have the one way balancing set up. The CBN when using the spherical washers, as JimB mentioned, are perfectly balanced.

When you are as bad at it as I am, CBN is far more forgiving.....
 

leehljp

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Mike,

You made me think about something that I have taken for granted. I grew up on a farm and learned to use all kinds of shop tools extensively including a large bench grinder. I don't have the experience that some have, such as Paul in OKC, because this is not my main work. I do know how to sharpen drill bits on a grinder, but the lack of daily or weekly use shows my rustiness. Still, if I am doing a days work of it, I can get up to speed fairly quick.

In reading how quick the CBNs can shape HSS tools and with the lack of heat generated as compared to stones/diamonds, I figured my experience could handle the 180 for shaping and general grind - for as little as I do. Without this past experience, I probably would have gone with the 80. (A 120 would have been my ideal.)

I won't miss my Delta 8" for general grinding, as I learned something a few years ago about grinding: 1. I have and use 4 angle grinders for most sharpening such as mower blades and softer steel and even large area sanding grinding. Even for bolts, I occasionally put them in a vise and use the angle grinder. 2. I have an older HF 12 inch disk sander*. I love that thing for everything from decreasing 2x4 length - to sharpening mower blades (did that last week, excellent control) - to grinding down bolt lengths. I know the HF disk sander is not made for that specifically, but it works good and it works fast. The table and a pair of pliers or vise-grips make it very controllable and stable - which has made my use of the Delta grinder an occasional thing at best. SO, dedicating my Delta to the CBNs will not be a loss for me - but a gain.

* https://www.harborfreight.com/12-inch-direct-drive-bench-top-disc-sander-43468.html
 
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JimB

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Sounds like you have this well thought out as always, Hank.
I have a Delta 1/2-8" and the Rikon 1/2 8" in a back to back set up on a small mobile table. I have regular Norton aluminum oxide wheels on the Delta and one CBN 180 and one Norton on the Rikon. I find that I use the CBN the most. I got it from the woodturners store, it is a Hurricane. I have always thought I would get another 80 CBN for the other side of the Rikon but just have not done it. The 180 is awesome to sharpen pretty much anything. but especially skews. When you are as bad at sharpening as I am, you need to occasionally reshape and the 180 is not good at that. So I thought the 80 might be nice. ( I have had lessons, have all the toys, and worked at it for years, but I am still mediocre to poor at it!)

The Hurricanes are flat with a 1/2 " side abrasive. I am a nut about balancing, I have balanced all my wheels and have the one way balancing set up. The CBN when using the spherical washers, as JimB mentioned, are perfectly balanced.

When you are as bad at it as I am, CBN is far more forgiving.....
Mike - I’m curious, why do you think your are 'mediocre to poor' at sharpening?
 

moke

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Hank,
I have the Delta version of the disc sander...it's awesome. I use it for flat work, but I mainly use it for milling my blanks, instead of the drill-press route.
I am also fortunate enough to have inherited both my fathers and uncles tools, so I have another set up of 6" back to back grinders for just "stuff". They are "buffalo"....which was my fathers day version of Harbor Freight, but the work well. On one, I have wire wheels and the green wheel for tool grinding my metal lathe cutting tools. Good luck...I know you'll get it right...you always have.

JimB- I joined an awesome turners club here locally a few years ago. It has been great, but it certainly has been humbling. There are some olders guys that are unbelievably good at any number of things. I was fortunate enough to be able to pay a couple of guys to mentor me at multiple things, one being sharpening. He was awesome and "fixed" things that I had sharpened. I have been trying to teach myself at freehand sharpening, like he does. That has been trying in it's self. I still use my wolverine jig for bowl gouges and do fine with that, and I have a veritas jig that I use for parting tools and scrapers but which is going ok, but sharpening skews is my issue and I use skews a lot. Lord knows I have I have the gadgets for skews.....the wolverine skew jig, the Nova, Veritas and now freehand on the CBN. I end up with multiple facets, and lately I got that reasonably under control, but I noticed recently if you view it for the side, the point is not centered! They seem to work ok, but they are ugly and after seeing this mentor do this, it is disappointing at best. I have at least a thousand dollars in sharpening euipment, and vastly prefer to sharpen with a diamond hone! I am working on it, and I just might get where I want to be by the time I turn 85 ( I'm 61). Sorry for the rant, but I always try to be honest with myself.
 
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leehljp

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List of CBN links for info

Below is a list of links for those who would like some research. On the surface, I will give the gist:

• Diamond wheels are used for carbide
• CBN wheels are used for HSS and some other hard steels.

HSS and some other hard steels causes problem with diamond wheels, therefore CBN does better for those.

I am old and prefer HSS in general even though I do have a couple of carbide insert tools. I have felt sharp carbide inserts new, but I can sharpen HSS much sharper than the best carbide that I have had new. I can tell the difference in the cut too. BUT I do have to hone the HSS more often, which doesn't take but two or three seconds. I am interested in shaping a few of my HSS tools to fit me personally as well as bring them to sharpness quick, since the desire for a CBN wheel.

The list (not exhaustive in the least:

Craft Supplies USA:
https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/docs/raptor_cbn_grinding_wheel.pdf

multiple types:
https://woodturnerswonders.com/collections/cbn-wheels

Brief non-(deep)technical description of the difference between diamond and CBN
http://www.peaceriverwoodturners.org/PRWI/RESOURCES_files/CBN Grinding Wheels.pdf

Choosing the right grinding wheel:
https://www.mmsonline.com/articles/choosing-the-right-grinding-wheel

List at the bottom for CBN wheels more links, a few of of which are below.
Featured Article: CBN Grinding Wheels by Reed Gray

2015 AAW (American Association of Wood Turners; Dated somewhat but good reading non-the-less.
carbon steel tools and Carbide tools on CBN wheels | American Association of Woodturners

CBN wheels: https://www.baltic-abrasives.com/en/cbn-wheels/
Diamond Wheels: https://www.baltic-abrasives.com/en/diamond-wheels/

For those interested in more technical aspects:
https://www.carbideanddiamondtooling.com/Diamond.Wheels.PCD.CBN.Wheels

More technical aspects
Grinding Out Hardened Parts | American Machinist
 
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JimB

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Mike - I certainly understand about the guys in your club. I joined the local club when I started turning 10 years ago. I am still a newbie compared to some of the guys. This year two of our members were demonstrators at Totally Turning. Another guy has been turning for 70 years! Others have articles published in the AAW magazine. The list of talent goes on and on. Our club has a mentoring program where any member can ask any of the 10 mentors for help. The mentors donate their time so there isn’t any charge to the members. The mentors will invite you to their shop and help you with whatever you need. It was one of those mentors who taught me how to shape, sharpen, hone and use a skew and a detail gouge a couple years ago. I thought I knew how to use the detail gouge but I was wrong. The skew had been a mystery to me but now I am OK with it. I would be better but I don’t do a lot of Spindle turning, mostly bowls.

I did learn to free hand sharpen many years ago but I was not very good at it and stuck with the Wolverine system. For the skew I only use the platform and a hone. It took years but I am now confident in my sharpening abilities for all my tools but that is because of the hands-on instruction I have received over the years. I’ve helped many newer members of our club get their tools properly shaped and sharpened. Like everything else, it’s a learning process.
 

MDWine

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lots to learn

I will have to sit down and digest all of this for sure.
I have collected quite an array of different tools. Many are not great quality, some are "so so", and I am now beginning to accrue better tools, better metals.

My problem is understanding which of these should NOT be used on the CBN (when I get them). I have a couple of nice Thompson tools, and 1 Cindy Drozda detail gouge. The Drozda is the only one that I know would best be suited to the CBN. Fortunately, I have used the Drozda a bit and it is still very sharp... I use it sparingly for that very reason.
 

JimB

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I will have to sit down and digest all of this for sure.
I have collected quite an array of different tools. Many are not great quality, some are "so so", and I am now beginning to accrue better tools, better metals.

My problem is understanding which of these should NOT be used on the CBN (when I get them). I have a couple of nice Thompson tools, and 1 Cindy Drozda detail gouge. The Drozda is the only one that I know would best be suited to the CBN. Fortunately, I have used the Drozda a bit and it is still very sharp... I use it sparingly for that very reason.
Anything that is HSS or better can be sharpened on CBN. You don’t want to sharpen soft metals on CBN. Thompson tools will sharpen better on CBN then on Aluminum Oxide. All the common metal used for turning tools today can be sharpened on CBN such as HSS, M2, M4, M42 and PM (Powdered Metal) and Cryo metals. You will get a better edge using CBN then you will with AO wheels.
 

raar25

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I have 180 its a great wheel for all around sharpening just make sure you only do hardened steel. Soft steel will gum up and ruin the wheel and cause what feels like a catch (did it once and learned the hard way). I keep an 80 AlOx on the other side of the grinder for other stuff. So get the 180 and you will never look back.
 

tonylumps

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When I first started turning I thought my T 7 Tormek was the a swer to sll of my sharpening needs.Well it was for years for my knifes and wood chisels.So I thought I was going to save some money .That did not happen After about 10 minutes on the tormek with a turning chisel .I went and bought a Rikon set up with a 180 and 350 and never looked back
 

leehljp

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When I first started turning I thought my T 7 Tormek was the a swer to sll of my sharpening needs.Well it was for years for my knifes and wood chisels.So I thought I was going to save some money .That did not happen After about 10 minutes on the tormek with a turning chisel .I went and bought a Rikon set up with a 180 and 350 and never looked back
I have the 10" Grizzly Tormek clone-like grinder. I had it for about 3 years before I finally got my shop set up with the grinder in its place. THEN I pulled out some of my wood chisels (I had a large set of Japanese moku metal that had never been shaped or sharpened,) and numerous lathe chisels that had never been used because I did primarily pens. Well I sharpened a small narrow wood chisel first. It did great. Took about 15 to 20 minutes on the Grizzly wet grinder. Later, (a few of weeks later), I took a wide wood chisel and after about 30-40 minutes and it was no where near ready. I gave up. And then after a few months I tried it again to see if I was missing something. Nope, the 10" Grizzly wet grinder is just a slow grinder that was made to prevent a tool from getting hot. I tried to figure out a way to make it grind with some pressure on it so that I didn't have to hold it the whole time. Then gave up.

My conclusion on the Tormek like grinders is: Get the chisels, Wood and Lathe, to basic shape and then let the Tormek / Grizzly do final shaping just before honing. But, This is a waste of time to me - especially with the advent of the CBN wheels. Since I ordered a 600 along with the 180, I can put my 10" grizzly to rest. Probably sell it. I noticed that Grizzly was selling them for close to $100 when they used to sell for nearly $200 when first released several years ago.

I agree with your sentiments 100%. Thanks for the input.
 

leehljp

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Why did you not put a CBN wheel on the Grizzly?
Two main reasons, I really need something to SHAPE my tools and I have numerous hand chisels as well as several turning tools that I have yet to use because they are not shaped. I have a set of Japanese chisels that I have had for 14 years and never used. These chisels were never "shaped" and need extensive grinding. I spent 30 minutes with the widest one on the Grizzly wet grinder and gave up. It was S L O W and I was no where near finished. The Grizzly is a slow grinder and wet to prevent heat build up. That comes at a price - looong grinding times to get to shape. If I only had one tool to shape then that would have been OK.

I haven't heard about how fast a CBN cuts on a Grizzly or Tormek but its slow speed is a negative for me. The fact that CBN will turn at 2000 or 3600 without excessive heating without water means that I could/can bring that chisel I mentioned above - to shape in about 1 to 2 minutes at the most.

Next, the Grizzly/Tormek CBN was almost as expensive for one - as two of the 8 inch ones. I did want two grades, a 180 and a 600. IF I did get a single CBN for the grizzly, it would be an 80 for faster cutting.

I still going to see if I have a use for the Grizzly in fine sharpening in the future, but for now, I need something that will bring the tools to the proper shape in a reasonable amount of time, and then touch up already shaped tools.
 
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tonylumps

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Why did you not put a CBN wheel on the Grizzly?
Two main reasons, I really need something to SHAPE my tools and I have numerous hand chisels as well as several turning tools that I have yet to use because they are not shaped. I have a set of Japanese chisels that I have had for 14 years and never used. These chisels were never "shaped" and need extensive grinding. I spent 30 minutes with the widest one on the Grizzly wet grinder and gave up. It was S L O W and I was no where near finished. The Grizzly is a slow grinder and wet to prevent heat build up. That comes at a price - looong grinding times to get to shape. If I only had one tool to shape then that would have been OK.

I haven't heard about how fast a CBN cuts on a Grizzly or Tormek but its slow speed is a negative for me. The fact that CBN will turn at 2000 or 3600 without excessive heating without water means that I could/can bring that chisel I mentioned above - to shape in about 1 to 2 minutes at the most.

Next, the Grizzly/Tormek CBN was almost as expensive for one - as two of the 8 inch ones. I did want two grades, a 180 and a 600. IF I did get a single CBN for the grizzly, it would be an 80 for faster cutting.

I still going to see if I have a use for the Grizzly in fine sharpening in the future, but for now, I need something that will bring the tools to the proper shape in a reasonable amount of time, and then touch up already shaped tools.
I have a CBN for my Tormek The wheel is 3 times the cost of other CBN wheels and is just as slow So it is gathering dust My tormek I still use it for all of my Knifes It does put a Razor edge on Damascus.I also have a few butchers that i sharpen for. It is just chump change
 

leehljp

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Overview But Long CBN Subjective Review!

Below is a long write-up explanation, observation, and brief first time use of New CBN wheels for sharpening. (I posted this originally on a woodworking forum that I frequent.)

CBN grinders; Are They Making Tormek Obsolete?

That might seem like a bold statement, but my 20 minutes of use of the CBN wheels accomplished more than a couple of hours did on my Grizzly “Tormek” knock-off. I do know that the Tormek has MUCH better wheel than the Grizzly, but the problem with both is the speed - SLOW. If one is not used to the finer and superior sharpening of slow wet grinders, you don't know what you are missing. ON the Other Hand, if you can't imagine such a fine and superior sharpening being done fast, then at least open your mind to the possibility, and just possibly be surprised.


Explanation for those not familiar with good grinding systems:
Most bench grinders come in either of two speeds 1500 RPM (or 2000) or 3500 rpm, - or in some cases dual speed, or adjustable speed between those figures. The problem with 3500 rpm is that the speed causes turning tools and hardened hand chisels to heat up and unless very experienced and knowledgeable, will damage the ability to stay hard and keep an edge. ( just keeping the explanation simple.)

The way around the overheating has been to change the type of stone AND slow down the speed. Helps considerably. Still 1500/2000 can damage chisels from the heat without care. In fact many professional turners who use bench grinders use the 1500 RPM bench grinders because its slow speed keeps heat down.

(NOTE: I often use the word “SHAPE” in one context and SHARPEN in another. These are different terms. Most turners understand this, but for the un-initiated they are different. Shaping means to get it to the shape needed for turning as not all tools come ready to use, and some come with the need for the user to get it to shape. SHARPENING is after getting it to shape.)


ENTER: SLOW Grinders and water cooled grinding wheels.
Tormek has been the Cadillac of wood turner grinders (not comparing it a Rolls Royce). It is very slow (110 RPM?) and water cooled. Lots of accessories have developed over the last 20 -25 years and before. Tormeks will shape and then put a great edge on without heating and destroying the temper of the tool.

The one drawback that no one (until recently) complained about because there were no great alternatives: It was slow. OK, it IS slow. But most Tormek users were taught the idea that slow and precise were better. It was and is! All basic thought (except with belt grinders) was that SLOWER is better. Once the tool(s) are sharp, it only takes a few minutes to bring it back to shape/sharpness from then on. And it has a wide wheel which helps with wide chisels. Most turners, chisel sharpeners and knife sharpeners accept the time needed to sharpen. Even bringing to shape or re-shaping a turning chisel takes time - 10, 15, 30 minutes, and an hour sometimes. Again, with nothing better in its price range, then the Tormek wins for what it does. QUALITY GRIND!

The main alternative to TORMEK (and the Tormek look-a-likes - Grizzly and Jet) were Aluminum Oxide stone wheels on Bench Grinders. Tormeks usually required $500 - $700 initial investments though, and sometimes more for the Tormek specific accessories. Two speed Bench Grinder with Aluminum Oxide wheels could be had in the $200 range, give or take a sale, plus $50 - 150 for accessories. Bench Grinders with Aluminum Oxide did well for most people, but it needed some experience in keeping the tools cool. One thing I have learned is that HSS Steel might get hot, and to a certain temp that is OK, but Don’t Quench hot HSS in cold water - so I have been told, as it will cause the HSS edges to fracture.


THEN CBN Grinder wheels.

CBN has been around for 50 years or so, but only in the last 5 to 6 years has it begun to creep into the turners workshops. If you read turners reviews from 5 or 6 years ago, you will see some differences from today’s reviews and recommendations. On two reviews and recommendations 5 & 6 years ago, it was recommended to use CBNs at 1500 RPM. Old wise turners evidently held on to the slower speed as a necessity. However recommendation from manufacturers - they don’t back away from recommending 3500/3600 RPM on 8 inch wheels.

I can’t give a complete review, but my assessment is with about 20 minutes use. But that 20 minutes was revealing. I received two 8 inch wheels, a 180 and a 600 grit on Monday. I haven'’t had time since then to fully check them out as I work with numerous churches in our area in consulting and coordinating summer (and other) events, and this first week of June is the busiest of all weeks. I returned home Monday at about 4:00 PM had 1 hour and 15 minutes before having to leave to go to a church crawfish boil. I was NOT going to miss that.

I had read about one guy who had not taken the wheel off of his Tormek in about 15 years. It took him saturating the stone and shaft with penetrating oil overnight for him to remove it. That was an important point. I took the nut off of one grinder wheel on my VS 8” Delta grinder, and the outside washer did not want to come off. Tapped with a hammer on a screwdriver. Twisted, pulled, turned, it took about 20 minutes to get that wheel off. Then to the other side. Same thing, same amount of time. Cleaned the shafts off and added a CBN wheel. Didn’t seat well. Took it off and added a washer to the inside. On the outside of the wheel, I added the optional (Ordered with the wheels) dual washers that help in seating it correctly. Did the other side. Put the Delta tool rest back on and gave it a try.


WOW, JUST WOW! SMOOTH! No VIBRATION. Wheels don’t wobble at all.
The Delta tool rest is not good at all, but all of my grinding jigs were purchased for the Grizzly, so they would not fit on the Delta. I had to use the flimsy Delta tool rest. I picked up a 1 1/2 inch wide chisel that had been used to scrape glue, was dull and had a couple of nicks from hitting small nail heads. Using the CBN wheels at 3500 RPM, there was a minuscule amount of very small sparks. Not totally spark free as I was kinda expecting, but nothing anywhere near a normal grinding wheel at creating sparks. Second thing I noticed within about 30 seconds - WEAR A MASK. Normally I do, but I needed to get a test done and then go get some crawfish. The CBN wheels do produce VERY FINE dust and it flies/floats around.

Using the third rate Delta tool rest, I held the chisel firm and moved it back and forth across the wheel 4 times. It shaped and cut those nail notches out within 1 minute. That would probably have taken about 20 to 30 minutes on the Tormek. One other misconception: It does get hot when you are not expecting it, but not too hot to hold or put your thumb just below the blade to hold firm. I purposely put the chisel back on and held it for about a minute; the very very top edge did change to a light brown, so I know that it can get hot. The rest of the tool was not that hot. Then I looked at the grind, and it it looked SUPER. I am one that will always hone my chisels, hand chisels, knives and turning chisels and the 180 does leave it very sharp but honing will make it better. Next, I took a 1 inch chisel that had a flat grind on it and put a hollow (concave) grind to it. That took about 1 minute. I tried it on the 600, and the 600 did make it smoother. I am going to like that and use the 600 for touch ups and it will make honing come faster and easier than the Grizzly grind.

The CBN wheels do not change in size with age; they do not need to be dressed to re-flatten and they do not wear like aluminum oxide or other stone wheels. They do not need and it is recommended NOT to use water with them other than a spritz on occasion to keep the dust down if you want that. They run Truer from the get go. I got mine from WoodTurnerswonders.com, and while not included, they offer a set of washers that work together to allow for alignment/runout problems. I got two sets. They should be included but even then they were less than $5.00 each set.

The end result is that one can shape tools in minutes on the CBN Wheels - that would take at nearly an hour or more on a Tormek or Grizzly slow wet grinder - without damaging the HSS/hardened steel from heat. The CBN will make the Tormek/Grizzly obsolete unless Tormek adapts. The only solution (that I see) that will save the slow wet grinders is to find a way to speed up the grinder to 1000 RPM for use with a CBN wheel, otherwise they will be like Schwinn in the late 70s early 80s who thought that mountain bikes were only a fad; Schwinn almost went broke and out of business holding on to the old ways attitude.


OPTIONS NEEDED (for me):
I really need a Wolverine like system for sharpening on the Delta grinder. I have several Tormek accessories for the Grizzly that I could use if I add the Tormek like bar to the Delta. I have thought about it, but one bar for each side plus mounting hardware would run close to that of the base cost of a Wolverine system. I also have looked at making my jigs. I looked at McMaster Car for rods to make my own Tormek Rod mounting system. It would take 1500mm long 12mm diameters rod to make two for the Delta, (one for each side) and those linear 12mm rods cost $50 - $60 plus shipping. (1/2 inch won’t work.) I decided to leave my Tormek Grizzly accessories to the Grizzly. Still deciding whether to order the Wolverine system. $133 at Amazon for the full needs.


END THOUGHTS:
The CBN wheels accomplish in seconds what would take 10 minutes or so on a Tormek. It accomplishes in minutes what would take an hour on a Tormek and do it EVERY TIME as fine as the Tormek. Even with a CBN wheel on the Tormek, it still runs at 110?RPM. What does speed play in grinding, if temps can be held down to undamaging temps? . . .

I tried grinding the 1 inch hand chisel with the 180 grit at 2000 RPM. It did great; then I turned the speed up to 3500 and it was VERY noticeable that the grinding rate on the tool increased what seemed to me to be two fold. 1. FASTER SPEED makes a big difference in grinding with the CBN; The faster the better - up to a point of about 3500rpm; 2. CBNs are equal to slow wet grinder’s in precision, smoothness and quality of grind; 3. CBNs do keep the heat down considerably compared to Aluminum Oxide wheels;

Thus high speeds, quicker work, quality grind and undamaged tools from heat. Tormek, you have lots of followers, but I have already seen posts that the CBN on the Tormek is still painfully SLOW in shaping and sharpening dull blades. There is a crack in the following, and I imagine that new folks will go towards CBN wheels in the very near future for sharpening needs.

CBN works best at speed, works cool enough at speed and gives quality grinds too! Mildly expensive , (More than a Grizzly,) but less than a Tormek or Jet.
 
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duncsuss

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Thanks, Lee -- I'm planning to get a CBN wheel next time I have the funds in my "toys account". I think I'll aim for the 600 grit initially, I can still use the old white wheel for shaping.
 

beck3906

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Belton, TX 76513
Thank you for the review. I wish I had this available about three months ago before I bought a T-4. I may replace the wheels on a my old grinder I used with the Wolverine system with the CBN wheels and use the T-4 for various needs around dthe shop and house,.
 

JimB

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West Henrietta, NY, USA.
Hank - that is a very good write-up. I’ve never used a Tormek style system but I agree with what you say about te CBN wheels. I’ll add two things... when sharpening (not shaping) use a very light touch. The weight of the tool is all you need against the wheel. With heavy tools you will want to support the tool a little. Second, if using a regular speed grinder the light touch is even more important.

The reason for the light touch is that CBN wheels, even the finer grits, remove material quickly. A light touch is all it takes otherwise you are just removing a lot of material for no reason.
 

leehljp

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Hank - that is a very good write-up. I’ve never used a Tormek style system but I agree with what you say about te CBN wheels. I’ll add two things... when sharpening (not shaping) use a very light touch. The weight of the tool is all you need against the wheel. With heavy tools you will want to support the tool a little. Second, if using a regular speed grinder the light touch is even more important.

The reason for the light touch is that CBN wheels, even the finer grits, remove material quickly. A light touch is all it takes otherwise you are just removing a lot of material for no reason.
THANKS Jim, for those tips. I was headed in that direction with my thinking after my quick use. I just had not put it together yet.

There is one other thing that I didn't mention about wet slow grinders that I should have included in the write up - and that is the speed of wet grinders is probably determined by how fast a wheel can turn without slinging water everywhere. My Grizzly turns at 110 RPM and a light coating of water flows up from the bottom, over the top and onto the tool being sharpened. The RPM is determined by the fastest speed that does not sling water yet has enough speed and pull to keep it coated all the way around. I am not an engineer by any means but that seems to me to be what determined the slow speeds of water cooled wheels.
 
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RobS

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Jun 20, 2016
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I read this thread back when it started and am about to pull the trigger.
I think we can all agree the CBN wheels, are a solid choice.

So what sharpening system should you add to the grinder? Wolverine, Tormek? IF money was not an issue which is the easiest to learn? If money is an issue, would your answer change?

Thanks guys
 
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