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Sharpening lathe tools can be a tedious and time-consuming task. A bench grinder is an essential tool for any woodturner that can make the process of sharpening lathe/woodturning tools much faster and more efficient.
But with so many options available, it can be challenging to select a reliable and affordable grinder for your woodturning needs. That’s why we’ve put together a guide on the six best bench grinder for sharpening lathe tools to help you make an informed decision. Whether you are a professional woodturner or a hobbyist, this guide will provide you with the information you need to select the best grinder for your work.
New to woodturning? See our beginners guide to using a wood lathe for woodturning
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Bench Grinder for Woodturning
Choosing the right bench grinder for your woodturning needs requires careful consideration of several factors.
The speed at which a bench grinder operates is crucial when it comes to sharpening woodturning tools. A slow speed bench grinder, typically running at 1725 RPM, is the best choice for sharpening and maintaining your tools. High-speed grinders can heat up your tools too quickly, causing them to lose temper.
The type of wheel material you choose for your bench grinder will also impact your results. The most common materials for bench grinder wheels are aluminum oxide and silicon carbide. Aluminum oxide is a general-purpose material that works well for most woodturning applications. Silicon carbide is a more abrasive material that is ideal for shaping and sharpening harder materials.
Another factor to consider is the size of the wheels. Bench grinders come in two standard sizes – 6 inches and 8 inches. The size of the wheels will impact the size of the tools you can sharpen on the grinder. If you are sharpening small tools, a 6-inch grinder may be sufficient, but if you are sharpening larger tools, an 8-inch grinder may be more appropriate.
Vibration is another important factor to consider when purchasing a bench grinder for woodturning. A grinder that vibrates excessively can make it difficult to get a precise, sharp edge on your tools and can also cause fatigue during extended use. When shopping for a grinder, look for models with vibration-damping technology, such as balanced wheels, to minimize vibration and ensure stable results.
Safety should always be a top priority when working with power tools. When shopping for a bench grinder, look for models with features such as eye shields, adjustable tool rests, and emergency stop buttons. These features will help ensure your safety while using the grinder and prevent accidents from occurring.
Be sure to check out our safety guidelines for using power tools for woodworking
Bench Grinder with Accessory Jigs vs. Complete Sharpening Systems
A bench grinder can be paired with sharpening jigs to ensure great results. But if you don’t want to go through the hassle of buying separate lathe tools & accessories that may not be designed to work together, you should buy a complete sharpening system. These systems typically include everything you need for sharpening and maintaining your tools, making them a convenient and cost-effective option.
The power of a bench grinder is measured in watts, and the higher the power, the faster the grinder will run. If you plan to sharpen larger tools, you will need a grinder with a higher power output. On the other hand, if you only plan to sharpen small tools, a grinder with a lower power output may be sufficient.
Bench grinders can have either sealed or open bearings. Sealed bearings are better for heavy-duty use and have a longer lifespan, while open bearings are easier to replace if they fail. Consider the type of use you plan for your grinder when making your decision.
Some bench grinders can be quite loud, which can be a problem if you plan to use your grinder in a shared workspace or in close proximity to others. Look for grinders with low noise levels, or invest in hearing protection if necessary.
Ease of Use
Consider the ease of use of a grinder when making your decision. Features such as adjustable tool rest, eye shields, and emergency stop buttons can make a big difference.
Finally, consider the cost of the grinder. Bench grinders can range from less than $50 to over $500. So it’s important to determine your budget and find a grinder that fits both your needs and your budget.
Related Article: 17 Wood Lathe Projects for All Skill Levels: From Novice to Pro
Top 6 Best Bench Grinders for Sharpening Woodtuning Tools
Rikon 80-805 Slow Speed Bench Grinder
WEN BG4286 3A 8 in. Slow Speed Bench Grinder
Best value for money
DEWALT Bench Grinder, 8-Inch (DW758)
JET JBG-8B, 8-Inch Bench Grinder (577102)
Delta 23-197 8-In Variable Speed Bench Grinder
Best variable speed
BUCKTOOL 8 in. Low-Speed Bench Grinder (200CH4L)
Best slow speed
The Rikon 80-805 Grinder is a high-quality tool designed for woodturning tools and other similar applications. It is often considered one of the best bench grinders for sharpening lathe tools due to its slow speed, which helps to maintain the temper of the tool being sharpened.
The WEN BG4286 Bench Grinder is a versatile and efficient tool designed for sharpening, buffing, and grinding a wide range of materials. As a slow speed bench grinder, it is well-suited for sharpening lathe tools and other similar applications.
This DEWALT Bench Grinder is a powerful and efficient grinder that is perfect for sharpening lathe tools. With a 3-amp motor and 8-inch wheel, it can handle even the toughest grinding tasks with ease.
The JET JBG-8B is a powerful and versatile bench grinder that is perfect for sharpening woodturning tools. Equipped with a motor that boasts 1hp and an 8″ wheel, this tool can effortlessly tackle even the most challenging grinding tasks.
If you’re looking for a powerful and adaptable bench grinder to sharpen your lathe tools, the Delta 23-197 is an excellent choice. With a variable speed motor and 8-inch wheel, it allows for precise control and customization for various grinding tasks.
This BUCKTOOL 8″ Bench Grinder features a robust 1/2 horsepower motor and an 8-inch wheel, making it capable of tackling the most challenging grinding tasks. Additionally, its low-speed operation means it is optimized for sharpening woodturning tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a variable-speed bench grinder?
Whether you need a variable-speed bench grinder depends on your specific grinding needs and preferences. Variable-speed grinders allow for precise control and customization, which can be useful for delicate or detailed grinding tasks. However, if you only plan on using your grinder for sharpening lathe tools, a fixed-speed grinder may be sufficient.
Should I get an 8-inch or 6-inch bench grinder?
Generally speaking, 8-inch grinders are better for sharpening lathe tools, as they provide more power and speed for efficient grinding. But they are typically heavier and take up more space, which may not be ideal if you have a limited workspace. On the other hand, smaller 6-inch grinders are more compact and lighter but may not have the power or speed to handle heavy-duty sharpening tasks.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
It’s important to invest in a high-quality grinder that can handle the demands of your work and provide reliable and efficient performance for years to come.
- The Rikon 80-805, WEN BG4286, and BUCKTOOL 200CH4L Grinder are excellent choices for everyday sharpening of lathe tools.
- While the DEWALT (DW758) and JET JBG-8B Bench Grinders are both ideal for heavy-duty grinding tasks.
- If you require greater control and precision go for the Delta 23-197 Variable Speed Grinder
Need an affordable lathe to go with your bench grinder? We’ve reviewed the 8 best options in the market.
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