My Bench Grinder

Central Machinery 1/2 HP

Earlier this month, when writing about restoring my paring chisel, I wrote that I couldn't remember when it was that I bought my bench grinder.  But the other day I was looking back at a couple projects and voila! I figured it out.  I got it when I was trying to salvage some metal parts when I was restoring the Gerstner tool chest in February 2020.  

Harbor Freight

So here's the thing (why do we say "the thing" when there's probably more than just one thing), I picked this grinder up at Harbor Freight, but it's excellent! I know all the professionals out there are snickering but really, I'm not a pro and for what I need this is just right! It's just a half horse machine and it bogs down fairly easily, but that also reminds me to be patient and let the tool do the work instead of pressing hard. So far that's worked out great.  When I bought the grinder at Harbor Freight, I figured I might as well grab a stand for it also.  Good decision, mostly because I have limited space so it worked out well.  I have some ideas for some jigs and so on, but that's for another day.  

Grinder safety tips
March 2019 by the Family Handyman
∙ Always wear eye protections when using the grinder
∙ Inspect grinder wheels for cracks or damage
∙ When installing a wheel, don't overtighten the nut.  This could crack the wheel.
∙ Keep water available to dip your tool in so it doesn't overheat.

The Specs

Like I said, my grinder isn't the most powerful, and I suppose there'll come a day when I'll wish I went with more power (yeah - Tim Taylor is my hero!), but it really does work well enough for me - for now.  Nonetheless, you can see the specifications below.  Probably the most important number for me right now is that my grinder has a 1/2" arbor.  That's important because as I need new or different wheels, brushes or buffers, I have to get those for the half inch arbor, otherwise I need to have some bushing to reduce to 1/2".  I know what you're thinking - this is absolutely fascinating!  Well, keep reading, it gets a little better!

Supplies n stuff 

Last April I made a Japanese-style toolbox from the wood of an old, dismantled book case.  It was a fun little project, but the problem with these builds is that one needs to figure out a use for it.  I know you're thinking - use it as a toolbox.  Well, yeah, but as far as toting tools around, I already have my tool bucket!  

Then one day, just a few days ago as a matter of fact, it dawned on me that this was the perfect tool box for holding my grinder supplies, oh, and some wire brushes and sanders for my drill press.

Told you it was gonna get a little better!  The fact is, this tool box was just the right thing for the supplies.  I have coarse and fine grinding wheels, various wire brush wheels and some cloth polishing wheels, not to mention polishing compounds, fender washers, and more.  It's like a little toy box!

There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self. - Benjamin Franklin

What I use it for

Here's where this post gets a little more interesting.  The big question for me when I decide I want a new tool is - what would I use it for?  As we already established, I originally got the grinder to help me with Gerstner tool chest restoration.

Some totally random House 173 stories
Days of yore!

∙ Working on the details in the dining room - February 2018
∙ Made at 173: 45 degree marking tool - November 2019
The Front Stoop here at 173 - October 2013
The North Side: A summer long project - September 2015

I've also dipped my toe into the pool of folks restoring old hand tools which began with my dad's Stanley no. 4 hand plane.  Of course, dad took such good care of the tool that what I really did was refurbish it more than restore it.  As old as the plane is, and as much as dad used it, the ol' Stanley was in amazing condition.  I'm blessed to be the next caretaker!

More recently, the grinder was instrumental in restoring my old, chipped, skewed and rusty paring chisel...

The manual

As part of the House 173 "My Tools" series, whenever I can I like to add the manual for the tool.  As a matter of fact, not only can you go to the manual from this post, you might also find it useful or entertaining (if you're particularly bored) to check out the "Tool Manuals" page.  In the meantime here's the manual

I'm in the process of a couple other small projects involving the grinder so stay tuned for what will hopefully be a little more i8nteresting posts your way soon!

Stay safe out there!
Next Post Previous Post