Grinder Recommendations

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EricRN

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Joined
May 16, 2019
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16
Hi folks,

Any recommendations for a reasonably-priced-but-solid-quality grinder for sharpening lathe chisels? I'm hoping to spend around $150-200. I'm thinking something variable speed would be good, and I've read that wet-grinding is better (but slower) for sharpening lathe tools but I'm curious what people use and what they recommend. I've spent a considerable amount of time working on the lathe, but it wasn't at my own shop so I wasn't responsible for grinding and sharpening the tools. This is my first purchase of a lathe on my own, so I'm new to the chisel-maintenance game.
 
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TonyL

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Mar 9, 2014
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6,378
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Alpharetta, GA 30004
I bought this one (8"). However, it broke after 30 days (and Delta repaired it - under warranty, but shipping cost me $60). While it was being repaired, I bought another one (the same one). This time I bought the extended - no questions asked - warranty for $20. According to Lowes, powertools under $200 are immediately replaced with a new one from the the store. So now I have two; they have both worked fine for over 2 years. I keep it set to its lowest speed setting. I replaced the blue wheels with two CBN wheels. I have see the Rikon low speed 8 inch on sale for $99.00. That seems to be pretty popular.
I bought it sharpen my HSS turning tools. By the time I was done with the 2 CBN wheels, robo rest, and wolverine jig, I spent close to $600. I am think that I should have just bough the Sorby Pro Edge. I really wasn't looking to save money. Many folks recommended the grinding wheels. I am please with the results.
 

leehljp

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Feb 6, 2005
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6,727
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Tunica, MS,
Wet grinders are super BUT they are slow . . . slooooow. They are excellent in sharpening but terrible (time wise) in shaping. I bought the tormak clone from Grizzly about 7 years go and it does great for sharpening but slow for shaping. I have about 30 combination of wood chisels and lathe chisels. My wood chisels were given to me by a friend when I lived in Japan. They were new and needed to be shaped so I bought the Grizzly. It took about an hour to shape the approx 1 inch wood chisel the first time. This is my experience, however I will admit that I am not the long term expert on wet grinders.

Rikon makes a good slow speed 8" grinder and it is on sale on occasion for close to $100.00; Delta makes a decent VS grinder (8"). In general it is better to get either a slow speed or VS grinder. However, the speed is not as critical if using CBN wheels mentioned below. But beware, CBN wheels drive the price up. They are worth the price if using HSS lathe chisels.

Here is a link to the latest in sharpening - CBN wheels which do excellent in grinding without destructive heat: https://www.penturners.org/threads/cbn-wheels-for-grinder.155103/

That link focuses on the grinding wheels only.
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
715
Location
Wolf Creek Montana
I've got the Grizzly wet grinder that is probably similar to what Hank has. Works great for me but as Hank mentioned, plan on spending some time in the shaping department. Once I have my profile right I use a stone in a vice and hand sharpen, as needed, the tools between pieces.
 

JimB

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Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
4,515
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
Woodcraft, Rockler and other places sell the Rikon 1/2 HP grinder with Aluminum Oxide Wheels (white wheels). It is often on sale and is in your price range. It is probably the most common setup for new Turners.

If you have a bigger budget and want to upgrade then get a setup with CBN wheels. There are several vendors who sell them. Woodturning Wonders has great prices, great service and if you buy the grinder and wheel setup he will ship everything already mounted. Lots of options for wheels on his website. A CBN setup (grinder and 2 wheels) will cost $300 to $500 depending on what you want but is well with the investment if you can. Read the post that Hank linked as it has a lot of information on CBN wheels.

Remember, you will also need to buy some sort of sharpening jigs and /or platforms.
 

Curly

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Nov 20, 2010
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3,395
Location
Saskatoon SK., Canada.
If you think in anyway down the road you are going to upgrade the wheels to CBN get a 1 hp machine. They are heavier and need more power to get to speed. The 1 hp Rikon low speed is a good one to compare to. Grizzly have a number but I can't look at them because they grey out the ones they won't ship to Canada but most everyone imports grinders so there are lots to choose from. Not all of them however have the Aluminium Oxide wheels (white most of the time but not always) you want for tools. You are probably going to want a tool rest system of some sort and most are based on the Wolverine system made by Oneway and if handy there are lots of plans and videos on how to make your own copies.

With modern HSS tools you don't have to worry if they get a little blue as they will still hold an edge unlike the carbon steel in use decades ago. Remember though to never dip them in water to cool them when sharpening because they will get micro cracks on the edge that break off in use wearing the tool faster. Just set it down to cool in the air.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2010
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webberville, mi
I don't think you can go wrong if you can get the Rikon 8" on sale. I tried the Work Sharp route for a while but spent too much on sandpaper discs. Got the Rikon and was happy. Got the Wolverine jig and was happier. Got a CBN wheel from Woodturning Wonders and am so happy I can't see straight. Sharpening is no longer an ugly chore. Fast, accurate, repeatable, and consistent.
 

EricRN

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Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
16
Thanks all. Sounds like I will have to give Wood Turnkng Wonders a call. Might have to go outside my price range a bit, but I’d rather do that if I can find the cash and have something that will last. I don’t need a Cadillac sharpener. But I’ve gotten burned on tools before when I’ve gotten the absolute cheapest.
 

VA Jim

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Joined
Jun 10, 2018
Messages
8
Location
Charlottesville VA
If you're going to go w/ 2 CBN then I would definately wait & save up until you can get a 1 hp.
When I got my setup my budget was really tight. I ended up going with a 1/2 hp Wen 8 inch slow speed that came w/ 60 & 120 grit white Al oxide wheels. (Personally, I think it's the Rikon in Wen clothing). I kept the 120 white on for non-HSS metals (use the guard) and got a single 180 CBN 8"x1.5" (use without the guard which is safe w CBN).
The 1/2 hp is definately slower to get to full speed but it's worked well enough for me for about 3 years now. Something to be said for having both aluminum oxide and CBN. Note - you can read a hundred different forum posts on what grit CBN is best for what there seems to be a concensus that the 180 is a good choice. Fine enough to give a good edge but you can still use it to reshape a tool (just takes a while).
Woodturning Wonders has more configurations than anyone and if I upgrade to a 1hp I'll likely get it from them. At the time, they didn't offer the Rikon w/ the guards & white wheels (just bare shaft, no guard) but now they do. They've got the Sparten CBN wheels which are 1 inch and a great price, but IMHO better to go with the 1.5inch because I think it's easier to do an Irish grind with the extra width.
I started with homemade versions of the Wolverine and Verigrind holder but eventually bought the real thing - worth the money. Then came the Roborest. Then came the,,,then came the,,,welcome to the vortex.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2010
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Location
webberville, mi
Agree 100% with VA Jim. I, too am set up with an (original) Al oxide wheel and the CBN wheel on the other side. I have some older non-HSS tools that I like (for pens of all things) and that configuration allows me to sharpen both.
ONE WARNING - don't give in to any temptation to sharpen a non-HSS tool on a CBN wheel. Even a little bit. I had a "friend" come over for a joint fun session and I ended up having to get a new wheel.
 
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