Is a bench grinder a usefull addition to the shop?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Mane, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Mane

    Mane Been here awhile

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    Hi Folks,

    My local hardware store is running a sale on bench grinders, and since I never had owned one before I wonder if they're a useful addition to a home/weekend workshop?

    Do you guys use yours frequently?

    From time to time I come with the need to clean rust from bolts and other pieces, etc. For that I currently use a wire wheel "cup" with a drill and it is done. I also own a small angle grinder and use it when it "REALLY" is the tool for the job "grinding welds, etc", otherwise I avoid it, because I don't feel confortable with it.

    I couple of years ago I did finally get a Bench Vise and oh boy.. I never imagined how much I was missing this tool. Great addition. Could a bench grinder be a similar eye opening tool?

    Regards,
    Mane
    #1
  2. gonerydin

    gonerydin Been here awhile

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    I’ve lived 65 years without one. Don’t want the grinder dust in my garage.
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  3. Brtp4

    Brtp4 Powdercoat it. Supporter

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    One of the best power tools I have.

    BP
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  4. MrGone

    MrGone Been here awhile

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    Depends what you are doing and how much space you want to allocate.

    For me personally it is worth having two, one with a wire wheel and a green wheel for TIG tungsten, another with your standard fine/coarse grinding wheels.

    If I just had one setup I'd default to wire wheel and fine grinding wheel (if I'm not doing a lot of TIG)

    Could accomplish the same thing when an angle grinder as you said. I like having the wire wheel to clean bolts on, green wheel for tungsten prep and the fine/coarse stones for junk. Throw the angle grinder in the bench vise...
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  5. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    how have you made it this far in life without one?
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  6. Lucifer Orange

    Lucifer Orange perpetually amazed

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    I would not have one in the same garage where I have anything I value that is painted. Like cars or motorcycles. I have seen rusting grinder dust embedded in paint and did not like the look of it.
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  7. david61

    david61 Queue, a word with 4 silent letters....

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    Yes definitely. A grinding wheel, obviously, and a wire wheel super useful too. Add a belt attachment as well, I think it's often easier to take the item to the grinder/wire wheel and hold it than the other way round, and unless you paint a lot, what's a little dust in a workshop?, that's what they're for.
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  8. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I guess you lot throw drills away when they get dull.
    Very useful for grinding off the burr when shortening bolts, much faster than using a file, and you don't need three hands like with a dremel.
    Put a wire wheel on one end for cleaning fasteners too - or any other small piece.
    Swap the wire wheel for a buffing wheel for small polishing jobs (most are not durable enough for full time polishing).

    If you only have limited space and budget, they should be an early adoption.
    #8
  9. Sonny S.

    Sonny S. Long timer

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    Just buy it. I don't go more than a few days without using mine but I'm always working on something.
    There are many things we can live without. I lived most of my life without a cell phone.
    Now I'm sitting in a McDonald's parking lot before work typing this on my.... Cell phone.
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  10. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto aka: trailer Rails Supporter

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    About all I use mine for is grinding tungsten for TIG welding.
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  11. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    With absolutely no intention of being condescending I say that the question suggests that there is a huge amount you have yet to learn about "shop work"! and the tools used to do various types of work. To answer your question one must know what you know how to do, hope to learn how to do or what things you might encounter as you live and work there? I have one bench grinder dedicated to wood lathe tools which has soft grind wheels for sharpening. Some lathe users have a belt grinder for that same purpose or both. I have another grinder w coarse and fine wheels for general shop work. on a small electric motor I have a single wire wheel typically used for a restoration job while clamped top the edge of a bench. I also have angle grinders, one with a grind wheel as used by those above for welds, etc., while the other is dedicated to wood carving. meanwhile I often go to a right angle air tool with 3" sanding discs for many needs-it's probably my first go-to tool to sand or light grinding. I used it yesterday to cleanup and sharpen a double bit axe which gets weather exposure under a sawmill shed roof.
    The short answer is found in your work needs and skill levels for whatever you hope to do.
    A bench grinder is a very dangerous tool! learn to use it wisely or it may bite you.
    Thinking back to my apprenticeship, we had a short rotation in the tool room during our 8,000 hours of training. One day the tool room attendant handed me a box of dull drill bits holding maybe 4-5 pounds of them in all sizes, and asked me to sharpen them. I knew the angles but had never done more than a one or two bit job before. I was proficient by the end. :-)
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  12. roger123

    roger123 Long timer Supporter

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    I very seldom use mine, been thinking of dumping it. Vice and other tools meet my needs. I find it useful for touching up cut off fasteners but not much else.
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  13. svtride

    svtride Been here awhile Supporter

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    Same here. Trying to convince myself to go to a diamond dedicated sharpener. Pricey alternative I am finding.
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  14. BkerChuck

    BkerChuck Been here awhile

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    I had one for several years and found the times I used it were pretty rare. When it died I chose not to replace it.YMMV.
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  15. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    Same here... I don't miss it. I've got attachments, wire wheels, beltsanders, polishers, buffers. It's too infrequently used to justify the space it takes. I've got a set of Allen wrenches I modified, it came in handy for that, but I have other things that work just as well and can be used for other applications.
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  16. jb882

    jb882 13HP of fury.

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    I didn't have one in my shop for years until i inherited my fathers old one that he got in thew 60's. Now i would not imagine my shop not having one. I use it all the time now.

    I built a mount to put it on a wall so it takes up no workbench space.
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  17. south

    south Been here awhile

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    At the risk of stating the obvious: bench grinders are very useful, provided--as with any/every tool--that you actually have a use for one. Otherwise--as with any/every tool--buying one would be just a waste of money and space. Now, if you pop on here and ask "hey, anybody find a bench grinder handy to have?", the guys who have uses for them reply in the affirmative, and the guys who don't, say no. The fact that you're having to recruit/solicit/import uses for a tool from outside your own needs/"work envelope" suggests to me that you would likely fall into the "not particularly handy to have" camp.

    For me--and surely many others--tool acquisition is dictated by a (generally) simple calculation wherein utility and price operate in inverse proportion to each other: if my need/use is high, then my consideration of price is low, and vice versa. Do I buy tools I may rarely--or possibly never--use? Sure, if they're cheap enough (thrift store/garage sale type stuff)--coupl'a bucks is cheap insurance for that possible future day when I actually have a need and the tool is immediately at hand.

    And that would be my suggestion to you: if you don't have an immediate need for a bench grinder, but rather a just a vague notion that one might come in handy at some point down the road, sale price or not, there's no reason to throw money at a new one now. Either just wait until you need one--and I'm sure someone will have one on sale at that point, too--or rummage up a cheap--but functional--used one if you just want to test the utility of the thing for yourself (or better yet, try out a buddy's bench grinder to see what you think).

    Lastly (and perhaps I should have opened with this), FWIW, a bench grinder will trim your fingernails (and flesh) every bit as quickly/efficiently as an angle grinder, so if you're not (reasonably/respectfully) comfortable with an angle grinder, I imagine a bench grinder may not be something you'd care to use.
    #17
  18. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    I would prefer a small belt sander over a bench grinder. Grinding dust is really nasty shit and you don't want it anywhere near your motorcycles. A small belt sander can de-burr all materials and chamfer banged up or cut bolt/all thread ends and things, and even shape most materials OK. Bench grinders are, depending on the grinding wheel, not great to completely unsuitable for anything non-ferrous and are considerably more dangerous to the average user.

    Unless you have a specific use for it, ie sharpening/shaping drill bits and/or lathe tools or chisels I would hold off purchasing it. No sense it buying a tool "just to have" if you don't think you'll use it.

    A wire wheel chucked into a drill while using your new bench vise to hold the bolt is a fine way to clean up fasteners.
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  19. GSWayne

    GSWayne Old Guy nOOb Supporter

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    I agree a belt grinder is much more useful than a grinder. If you have a huge budget the knifemaker types with the 2" x 72" belts are a great tool, but even a little low cost one will have many advantages over the wheel type grinder. One big advantage is having a wide range of grits to go from stock removal to sharpening. The ability to grind wood, or plastic or non-ferrous metals is also a big advantage.
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  20. Mane

    Mane Been here awhile

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    Hey kantuckid, I got you.

    I would describe myself as an avid DIY/Handyman. I like to do some woodworking (my strongest DIY skill so far), and maintenance and repairs to my bike/cars in the household. And then there's the never ending list on Honey-Do's around home.

    If the future I would like to get more into motorcycle rebuilding etc as I hobby. I'm plan, someday, on getting a wrecked Harley Sportster and fix it from the ground up... It kind of a personal goal of mine. Mainly for that purpose, I thought a bench grind could become usefull.

    Do you think a 5 inch would be to small?

    Regards,
    Mario
    #20