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Hand Cranked Grinding Wheel

I’m sure many of you saw the short video that Christopher Schwarz put up a few weeks back showing off a hand cranked grinder that he uses. I commented on that post worried that the infamous Schwarz effect would drive up the prices of hand cranked grinders everywhere. This is something I have been casually looking for every since I used a treadle grinding wheel last summer at the Steppingstone Museum. Schwarz’ post spurred me to finally take action and I was shocked to see that the prices were not really effected much at all. Granted, that was a week ago and maybe I got ahead of the wave. Then again maybe there are not that many of us out here crazy enough to actually want a hand cranked grinding wheel.

Hand Cranked GrinderI won an ebay auction for 2 of these things. The listing claims that they both work well but I thought I might be able to use one of them as a back up for parts since they came as a set. The grinders arrived last night and I was pleasantly surprised to see they are both in great working order. They need to be cleaned up a lot and the stones are just shot. The smaller grinder sounds like the inner gearing needs a little work as once it gets to a certain speed, you can hear and feel the gear slipping a bit.  You can hear this at the end of this short video clip.  Like the Schwarz illustrated for us in his post, the gearing on this little grinder will really get the wheel moving, and with proper cleaning they should free wheel really well.

I figure I’ll get the dirt off, remove some rust, clean and lube the gears, replace the wheels, and make a sharpening platform and we will be in business. I believe I have seen 10 or 12 articles on making sharpening jigs in the last year so I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with a good solution.

The funny thing is when I started thinking about the wheels themselves I realized that I had never bought a grinding wheel. I have always sharpened my edge tools with water or diamond stones. I did my rough grinding on an extra coarse diamond stone or with low grit sandpaper. I even tried out the Worksharp for chisels too. My inherited Tormek has sharpened some of my chisels and irons but has always been mostly dedicated to turning tools because of it’s ability to exactly replicate geometry and profile. Really the secret is that I rarely let my tools get that dull that I need to regrind and just spend all my time honing.

So I put it to the Twitterverse to see what grinding wheels people like out there. Blue or White or something else. The response seems to favor the White cool grinding wheels by Norton, but I heard enough support for the Blue and even some diamond shout outs to make me consider mulling it over a bit.

The smaller grinder will take a 6″ wheel while the larger one can handle an 8″. Since they both work great, I’m considering picking up a narrow wheel to use for grinding moulding plane irons. I was taken by this idea when I saw Larry Williams use a 1/4″ wheel to grind the profile for his hollow planes. Tools for Working Wood offers both a 1/8 and 1/4″ wide grinding wheel that should fit the bill. On the larger grinder I think I may add an 8″ Norton White wheel. I
think this will treat me right until I can get my hands on a 24″ treadle driven stone like the one I worked with at the museum! (I’m kidding…or am I?)

What grinding wheels do you use? Anyone ever used a narrow wheel for shaping curved profiles?

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