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I Forge Iron

Are Bench Grinders Becoming Obsolete?


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Just a thought I’ve had for a while and was wondering what fellow metalworkers think.  It seems like the more experienced I get at working with steel, the less I flip on the power switch to that cumbersome piece of cast iron.  Angle grinder is so much more versatile for my personal needs, and having a good belt grinder or even a cheap 4x32 sander seems to cover everything I used to use a bench grinder for.  Shoot, I’d rather clamp an angle grinder in a vise sometimes than use that chattery thing with a motor that always manages to get in the way of whatever I’m grinding on.

So what do you guys think?  

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I don't even like belt grinders let alone bench grinders. Angle grinders are excellent and one of the most versatile tools but the problem I have with all grinders is that they produce a lot of dust when using abrasives. I'd like to have a grinder that operated at a very slow speed that you could apply water to as you use it, maybe something like a treadle grinder as this would eliminate the dust and noise problem regarding grinders. 

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They are not obsolete in my shop. I have three in service all set up with different wheels for what ever I need. For other needs, I use the angle grinders (3) 4 1/2 in. a 7 in and another 9 in. set up with different wheels grinding, cut off, flap. I also have a large sandstone powered wet grinder for finish work. Gee, it looks like I'm lazy and don't want to change wheels very often.:o Not to mention a large selection of hand files.

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All types of grinders and sanders have their uses for those that need them. My bench grinder gets its share of use still. I haven't used the 1hp. on the pedastool in a while but that's just in what I've been doing. Angle grinders are very handy and versatile, and get more use, but I still find my bench grinder useful for some production type applications. 

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I sharpen drill bits and lathe cutters on my bench grinder's fine wheel, the coarse wheel gets the: burrs, cleans up cuts, breaks edges, corners, etc. Without having to wrestle with a disk grinder. I love my disk grinders, I have 7-8 I think: two 9" and a 7" Milwaukee and various "peanut" 4"-5" angle grinders dressed in different ways. I use them all the time but the bench grinder has its own stand near the drill press and there's another one out by the lathe. 

Anything is "obsolete" if you don't know how or when to use it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I've had a bench grinder for 20+ years in every garage and work shed. I haven't had a grinding stone on one ever... i bought it new, brought it home- and put on the wire brush on one end, and buffing/polishing wheels on the other.

Primarily automotive uses for a long time- the wire wheel is indispensable for cleaning 30 yr old bolts and parts on the aircooled vw's i worked on alot.

Knife making after that, and metal sculpting.

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There has always been a bench grinder available.  Some have has a fine and coarse wheel, some an abrasive wheel and a wire wheel, some a buffing wheel.  All have proven their worth over the years.

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I can't imagine a grinder of any sort being obsolete in a contemporary welding/fab shop.

In my shop I have little use for a grinder of any sort. I use my old pedestal grinder for sharpening drill bits. My side grinder mostly draws dust. 

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  • 2 months later...
On 10/31/2020 at 11:44 AM, localsmith said:

 I'd like to have a grinder that operated at a very slow speed that you could apply water to as you use it, maybe something like a treadle grinder

Not very good for rapid stock removal, but it bolts on a bench and vibration is minimal...:)

20210108_064400_compress45.jpg

20210108_064535_compress20.jpg

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