Time in the shop has been pretty limited lately with the summer activities in full swing. But since building the panel saw kit I have gotten a few minutes here and there to putter around. So this is what I’ve been working on. If you saw Episode # 5 of the podcast, you likely noticed me using a hand cranked grinder for establishing a hollow bevel on my edge tools. While that grinder has been ok for what I’ve asked it to do, I’ve never been all that happy with it.
The problem with my current hand cranked grinder is the arbor. When I got the grinder, unbeknownst to me when I bought it, the arbor had a slight bend to it (a very common problem with the old hand cranked grinders). It’s not visible to the eye just by looking at it, but when you put a wheel on it and get it turning, it’s easily noticeable. What this means is that the grinder runs kind of like a 16 year old after a Dave Mathews concert. Dressing the wheel doesn’t help the grinder any more than coffee helps the intoxicated 16 year old. So I put up with it, until now.
Since no one is making new hand cranked grinders (wet or dry) any longer, I decided to do what I always do when I can’t find exactly what I want. I made my own. The new “Tormek” isn’t quite done yet, but it’s pretty close. I need to tweak the tool rest a little, make a couple of wooden “wings” for the square nuts I used to mount the tool rest, and solder up a water reservoir. The wheel is a replacement wheel for a Grizzly T10010, 10″ wet grinder. The arbor is just a piece of 1/2″ mild steel rod, glued squarely through the wheel’s arbor hole with some marine epoxy. The rig spins in a pair of bronze flanged sleeve bearings and the best part is, everything spins true, without any anoying wobble. Plus, being a water cooled, slow speed grinder of about 220 grit (about the same as a medium India oil stone), I can grind right up to the edge and not have to worry about drawing the temper and bluing the steel.
Right now it’s set up to be hand cranked, but I designed it so that I can easily convert it to a treadle operation after I build a permanent sharpening bench for it to live on (for now it gets clamped to the workbench). I can’t wait to try it out. I’m not planning for it to replace a high speed dry grinder for heavy steel removal and reshaping duties. Obviously it is in no way designed to do those tasks quickly. But for quick, routine re-establishing of hollow bevels (my most performed grinding task), it should be just the trick to allow me to go from the grinder straight to the hard Arkansas stone.