Sharpening Station for bench grinder.
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I’ve been picking away at this project for a while and finally put it to use last night. It’s both a metal and woodworking project, and was a lot of fun to make.
Background I bought this cheap China grinder 25 years ago at a Homier Distributor auction (think Harbor Freight crossed with a traveling gypsy road show) and used it for lawn mower blades and axes, and even though I had put new CGW wheels on it, it had a terrible wobble. I’m setting up to sharpen lathe tools, so I figured I would replace it with an 8″ slow speed grinder.
Untill… 1. I checked the shaft run out and it was 0.001″. it turned out that my wobble problem was due to the plastic center hole adapters and the washers I was using for wheel flanges. 2. I read on a metal working forum that many machinist scorn the use of slow speed grinders, and widely use 6″ grinders turning at 3,400 rpm.
Giving an old dog a new life I made custom hole adaptors and new flanges on my metal lathe and got rid of the wobble. I set up a cheap diamond pointed wheel dresser and trued up the wheels.
Then I set about designing and fabricating my own version of the Wolverine style grinding jig using small pieces of aluminum scrap and a stub of 1″x1″ 80/20 T-track.
I got lucky and Peachtree Woodworking ran a sale on their grinding jig (looks a lot like the Veritas) for 20.
Next came figuring out the base, so I could easily swap the jigs from side to side and never have to move the wheels. I used a scrap piece of 1/4″ Melamine faced MDF for the top, as it will be continually peppered with grinding wheel grit. I used scraps of 1″ birch plywood that already had poly finish on them for the blocking and used the actual pipe with a 0.005″ feeler gauge to set up the TS fence, so the clearance is very close and hopefully will be immune from humidity effects.
The setup is sized to clamp to any bench and then stash away in the base of a cheapo HF tool cart I was given.
I ground a roughing gouge and spindle gouges using the Wolverine type setup and then a skew on the Peachtree fixture, all with the 120 grit white wheel and was quite pleased at how fast I was able to put a very nice edge on these tools.
Calling this one done… thanks for looking.
Musings on the use of bench grinders to sharpen edged tools…
Woodworkers and machinist have been using them to good effect for decades. If they worked for the old masters, don’t let the sales and marketing peeps convince you that you MUST have other equipment.
There are certainly better (and much more expensive) options out there, but bench grinders are a very versatile tool.
Sharpening doesn’t have to be an obsessive pursuit of OCD perfection… (though it can be fun geeking out with it).
Knowledge and skill are required to deploy a bench grinder successfully: Use light pressure Limit the time you apply the tool to the wheel. Cool your tool frequently by dipping it in water. Use the right grit wheel for the task at hand (i.e. courser for re-shaping finer for touching up) Use your sense of touch to frequently inform you about heat build up. If you can touch it, it’s not too hot. Use your eyes to watch for discoloration as a sign of excessive heat. Discoloration does not necessarily mean that you’ve lost your temper.
I have and use… Bench grinder Work Sharp Oil Stones Granite surface plate and sand paper/emery cloth
I probably have everything (and more) than I’ll ever need…. yet I suspect some day I’ll get water stones and maybe even a wet grinding system… just to keep life interesting and to learn something new :^)
Multi-Purpose Sharpening Station
Upgrade your standard bench grinder into a sharpening workhorse. You’ll never have an excuse for using a dull tool again.
If you use your bench grinder for most of the sharpening chores in your shop, you may have found the standard tool supports somewhat lacking in, well, support. But turning your grinder into a capable sharpening machine with precision adjustments is as easy as building our grinder station. It’ll make previously difficult to accomplish sharpening jobs a breeze. The key to this sharpening station’s accuracy is a miter track and T-bar combination set that allows for adjustment in two directions. The aluminum-edged hardwood tool rest provides ample support and accepts a number of different hold-downs for various sharpening tasks. Building this platform for your grinder might just make it the most-used tool in your shop.
SELECT YOUR PLAN PACKAGE
You can download the additional shop drawings that you purchased using the link in this box.
What You Get:
- 11 printable (digital) pages of step-by-step instructions
- 60 full-color photos and illustrations and exploded views
- Cutting diagram and materials list
- Includes plans to sharpen jointer knives
- Retail sources for project supplies
Note: After your purchase, you will receive an email containing a PDF attachment of your purchased plan, as well as instructions for logging in to download the plan and access any other associated files and videos, which will all be located on this page.
We don’t have any links to project supplies and hardware for this particular project yet, but here are some other products that might be of interest to you. (We may receive commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.)
The United States Customary System of Units (USCS or USC), more commonly referred to as the English or Imperial system, is the standard set of units for our plans. It uses inches and feet for measurement. This is the one you probably want if you are in the United States, and it is the one we have traditionally offered on this website.
The International System of Units (SI), more commonly referred to as the metric system, is the alternative set of units that we have available for some of our plans. It uses millimeters, centimeters, and meters for measurement. This is the one you probably want if you are outside the United States. These plans are provided by our business partner, Australian Woodsmith, and are based on the original Woodsmith plan. However, dimensions and other elements of the plan may vary between the metric and standard versions. Be sure to double-check the plan before building.
All of the information that you need to build our plans can be found in the standard plan. However, if you want even more granular detail to make your job easier, you should consider our premium plans. These come with additional shop diagrams that we drew when creating the prototypes. Shop drawings are not available for every plan.
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Plane Blade Regrinding Jig
About: I enjoy working in wood and metal, doing overnight bushwalks, playing music, solving problems etc. About Bverysharp »
My electric planer ran over a nail which put a 2.5mm deep chip in one blade, and a 1mm chip in the other.
To get rid of the chips, both blades had to be ground back 2.5mm and then the cutting angle had to be restored. This is the Jig I made to do the job.
Because the grinding wheel on my grinder is 150mm and the wheel does not stick out past the motor housing, a blade that is any wider than 95mm runs into the motor housing. To get a bit of extra room I set the blade up on the wheel so that when it traversed to the right, it moved into one of the bolt holes of the motor cover, giving me an extra 20mm of clearance. If your grinding wheel clears the motor housing, then it may be possible to build a much bigger jig to re-grind planer/thicknesser blades. (. )
The key to this design is a horizontal slide attached to the bench grinder where the grinding rest normally bolts on. I considered making a slide that would fit over the grinding rest, but I couldn’t think of a way to make it secure enough.
Step 1: Materials:
75 mm x 13 mm x 130 mm (main slide backing)
68 mm x 13 mm x 160 mm (top slide backing)
65 mm x 20 mm x 50 mm (Hinge Joiner)
2 x 9 mm x 11 mm x 160 mm (main slide rails)
2 x 9 mm x 11 mm x 130 mm (upper slide rails)
1 x 35 mm x 9 mm x 160 mm (main slide)
1 x 50 mm x 9 mm x 130 mm (upper slide)
3 mm Plywood:
2 x 15 mm x 160 mm (main slide retainers)
2 x 65 mm x 25 mm (spacers)
1 x 45 mm x 45 mm x 3 mm steel angle
1 x 6mm machine bolt, 35 mm long, preferably with a countersink head
2 x 5mm countersink head machine screws, 15mm long
2 x 4mm flat head machine screws 10mm long
2 x 10g countersunk wood screws 25 mm long
6 x 12g countersunk woodscrews 15 mm long
Step 2: TOOLS:
NON-ESSENTIAL (but very useful) TOOLS:
Step 3: The Main Slide:
Slide = 9mm x 35mm x 160mm, s
Baseboard = 13mm x 58mm x 160mm.
Side guides = 9mm x 11mm x 160mm
Plywood overlaps = 3mm x 15mm x 160mm
Partially drive 3 x 20mm x 1mm nails into each of the guides and put PVA glue on the lower side of each guide. Wrap 1 layer of paper over the slide and position it on the baseboard with the 2 guides. If everything fits, nail the guides into position, ensuring that the ends line up with the baseboard. Remove the slide and the paper, and wipe any glue out of where the slide will run. Check the slide for free movement. It will have a clearance of 2 x the thickness of a piece of paper. If you want tighter clearances, you could use 1 piece of paper, or even plastic wrap, but your slide must be very parallel.
Sand the flat faces of the slide until you can place a piece of wood over the guides and the slide will still slide smoothly, and lightly sand the corners of the slide to reduce jamming, then glue and nail the plywood retainers onto the guides. Recheck for free movement of the slide.
Step 4: The Steel Bracket:
I used a piece of 3mm x 45mm x 45mm x 60mm steel angle for the bracket. (A piece of discarded bed frame.)
It can be cut to size with a hacksaw or angle grinder, and after the mounting hole is drilled and the rough edges are filed or ground off, it should be test fitted to the bench grinder to ensure free movement.
If you intend to tap the attachment holes with a thread, mark, punch and drill 2 x 4.2mm (11/64”) mounting holes, or if you want to use nuts on the bolts, drill 2 x 5mm holes.
Line the bracket up with the main slide so that the slide will be centred when the bracket is attached to the bench grinder. (my bracket was offset 4mm from the centre of the slide due to the way that the bracket attached to the grinder.)
Clamp the bracket in position, square to the slide, and drill one hole through one of the bracket holes and through the wooden slide backing. If you will be threading the bracket, enlarge the hole in the wood to 5mm and countersink it for the bolt, then tap the hole in the bracket.
Attach the bracket to the slide backing with this bolt, re-align it so that it is square with the backing, then drill countersink the second hole, and tap the thread on the bracket. I like to drill one hole first then the other so that there is no misalignment of holes and out-of-squareness when the second one is done.
The bracket should be test fitted onto the bench grinder with the slide on it. It is critical to ensure that the slide is perpendicular to the grinding wheel, and parallel with the axle of the grinder. Sometimes the bracket supports on bench grinders are not straight and you may need to bend the grinder bracket until the slide is square in all directions.
Check for free movement of the slide over the countersunk bolts.
Step 5: The Top Slide:
The top slide is made in the same way as the main slide, except that it doesn’t have plywood retainers because the adjustment bolt holds it in position.
Because this retaining bolt has a nut under where the slide moves, I opted for a square flat nut to minimise the cutout.
A countersunk bolt would be ideal for this application, but I didn’t have one, so I went with a roundheaded one, and dealt with the
clearance problems. (See photos)
The actual slide has a slot 55mm x 7mm cut in the centre to allow it to be adjusted to get the correct angle of attack on the grinding wheel. It is held in position with a wing nut.
To cut the slot, after it is carefully marked on the wood, drill a 6mm (15/64”) or even a 5.5mm (7/32”) hole at each end, and at intervals along the centre of the slot, and using a coping saw or jigsaw, join up the holes, then file the slots to size.
Carefully mark the hole for the retaining bolt, and check it against the slot in the slide. It should be centred in the slot. If so, remove the slide, drill the hole, install the bolt and the square nut.
Using the nut as a template, cut around the outside of the nut with a sharp knife. Remove the bolt and nut, and chisel out a hole deep enough for the nut to sit slightly under the face of the wood, so that it clears the slide.
Re-install the bolt and square nut and do any adjustments needed to make the slide move freely.
To ensure positive and repeatable positioning of the planer blade, cut a 3mm x 20mm rebate in the end of the slide to support the blade and position it correctly. (see photos)
Once the rebate is cut, the mounting holes for the blade can be drilled. My blade needed 4mm screws, so I marked them by using the blade as a template, drilled 4mm holes inserted short bolts with washers.
Step 6: The Hinged Joiner:
This is a piece of wood 20mm x 50mm x
65mm with a 60mm hinge attached to one end for the upper slide body, and 2 x 25 mm x 3mm x 70mm plywood spacers glued and pinned to the other end. This end is screwed to the centre of the main slider. (see photos)
NOTE: Use a good quality hinge. Cheap hinges have too much play in them, and can create incorrect grinding angles.
It’s best to attach the hinge to the joiner and then to the upper slider body.
In my case, because of the round headed bolt, before I attached the hinge, I had to file a groove into the end of the joiner so that the bolt head would clear the joiner. I wanted the joiner to be able to sit flush with the upper slider. (see photo)
Once the hinge is squarely attached to the joiner and the upper slide body, pilot holes can be drilled in the joiner through the plywood spacers.
The main slide should be carefully marked for the plywood spacers. The slide should be clamped to the plywood spacers, and one of the pilot holes can be drilled through the slide.
This hole is then enlarged and countersunk for the screw and one screw can be used to join the main slide to the plywood spacers on the joiner.
The hinge should be checked for squareness before the other screws are inserted.
I had to grind off the points of the screws, as they came through the base and would have stopped the slide from working.
Step 7: TESTING TIME!
Before I did anything, I used a slidebevel to measure the bevel on these blades. It was 40o when measured with a protractor. I locked the slide bevel so I could use it to check the grind as it progressed. This was very helpful, because a couple of times I had to re-adjust the upper slide to correct the grinding angle.
When I saw how badly the blade had been chipped by the nail, I realised that the whole edge of the blade would have to be ground back to eliminate the chip. (2.5mm.) To do this, I coated both the blades with purple marking dye on the flat sides, and scribed a line parallel to and 2.5 mm away from the cutting edge on both blades, so that they would be the same width and properly balanced.
This was before I had built the jig, and I ground the edges back to the scribed lines using the original grinding rest. I would probably use the jig to do this now, as it is much easier to hold the blade in the jig, but the difficulty is keeping the blade cool.
I don’t have a coolant feed to this grinder, so I have to stop grinding after every few passes and sponge the blade down with a wet cloth (rather than dipping the blade continually in water).
Coolant probably wouldn’t be very kind to a wooden jig.
In operation, the jig worked well and I was able to grind both blades to where it will be quick work to hone them on a stone. I didn’t want to create a sharp edge using the grinder because the wheel is not fine enough and I want to slightly flatten the (currently) concave bevel.
One good thing is that the upper slide itself can be removed with the blade still on it, and used as a handle when honing the blade.
Recommended Sharpening Equipment
The sharpening station is as important as the lathe in a wood bowl turner’s shop. Without sharp turning tools, not much is going to be accomplished.
Another fact about the sharpening station is it needs to really be only created once. A good sharpening station is an investment and will last a long long time.
Because the sharpening process of wood bowl turning is so important, I did not want to cut corners. I chose not to use the less expensive white aluminum oxide wheels for a couple of reasons.
Oxide wheels are made of materials compressed into a wheel-shaped cake, they can come apart, sometimes violently. They need to be “dressed” or ground smooth because they wear unevenly and they create additional toxic dust.
All that being said, I went with the higher-quality, less-maintenance CBN wheels at the heart of my sharpening station.
Here is the rundown of my Recommended Sharpening Equipment. Each item has an Amazon product link so you can check the current price.
Slow Speed Grinder
The Slow Speed Grinder is at the heart of my sharpening system. The need for a slow speed grinder is important when grinding and sharpening high speed and cryogenic steel. Traditional faster grinders are not recommended as they build up excessive heat and waste away turning tool material needlessly.
CBN stands for Cubic Boron Nitride. CBN wheels are balanced wheels coated with abrasive that last a very long time. I wanted to say forever, but that probably isn’t the case. But even with regular use, they will most likely outlive me, unlike the cheap oxide wheels that need to be replaced frequently.
I have two CBN sharpening wheels on my slow speed grinder. One wheel is a 180 grit CBN sharpening wheel, and the other is an 80 grit CBN for shaping wheel. The 80 grit wheel is used to shape tools and the 180 grit wheel is used for a finer sharpening finish.
As I outlined in my article Vari-Grind Sharpening System Setup, I recommend attaching rubber feet to the base of your sharpening system if it is a mobile unit. The rubber feet will reduce vibration and prevent the system from moving around.
Also, a great addition to help clean up the metal filings easily are magnets. These strong magnets can be directly attached to the wood base on the sharpening system. Wrap an additional magnet with wax paper and attach the mounted magnet to easily remove the metal dust later over the garbage can.
If you have mastered the art of hand sharpening your bowl gouges, I admire you. This is not a task suited for mere mortals. When I sharpen my tools I want two things; a consistently sharpened bevel angle, and little-wasted tool material. This system does both very well. I can go to the grinder and with a couple rotations of my wrist, my bowl gouge is perfect with little effort or waste.
I use the Oneway Vari-Grind Sharpening System, which consists of rails and guides that attach to the grinder to maintain consistent experiences each time to sharpen wood bowl turning tools.
Along with the Oneway System, I use the Oneway Wolverine Vari-Grind Attachment to get the perfect sharpening angle each time I come to the grinder.
The entire Oneway Vari-Grind Sharpening System is available in a kit which includes everything needed to set up the sharpening jig.
Oneway also makes a larger diameter Wolverine Jig for larger diameter bowl gouges. This is a must if you’re turning with 3/4″ or larger bowl gouges.
Robert Sorby ProEdge Plus (Deluxe) Sharpening System
The Robert Sorby Proedge Plus sharpening system is an excellent sharpening system option. This unit is self-contained and very straight forward to use.
I recommend purchasing the Long Grind Jig and the Sorby Proset guide to sharpen swept-back bowl gouge profiles.
Also, because this system uses belts that will need to be replaced, I recommend purchasing at least one extra 60 grit shaping belt and one extra 120 sharpening belt.
Tormek Sharpening System
Another option for a turning sharpening station is the Tormek T-8 Wood Turner’s Package. This sharpening system incorporates a wet-wheel for fine, precise sharpening results.
While this is a higher end system, many turners find good results sharpening with a Tormek.
In addition to the sharpening station, handheld sharpening hones are essential to return a shape edge to a given tool easily. Sharpening hones are a great alternative when the tool needs just a touch of sharpening rather than returning to the grinder each time, which removes more steel from the tool. Sharpening Stone Diamond Hone
Another important tool to have on hand to get the most out of your scrapers is a burnishing tool. The burnishing tool is made of hardened steel and simply by “pulling a burr” across the edge of the round nose scraper, you can change a scraper into a cutting tool that makes super clean smooth cuts.
Oneway Easy-Core Coring System Cutter Sharpening Jig
The Oneway Cutter tip needs to be sharpened frequently and the easiest way to properly hold and present the small cutter tip to the sharpening wheel is with the aid of this specific cutter sharpening jig.
If you’re looking for more information about Coring Equipment, be sure to see the Recommended Coring Equipment page.
Carbide Tip Sharpening
A high-grit Diamond Stone can be used to sharpen carbide cutter tips. Never try to sharpen carbide tips on CBN, stone, or aluminum oxide sharpening wheel.
Lapping Fluid is also needed to lubricate the diamond stone surface when sharpening carbide cutter tips.