What I’ve Been Working On

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.


9 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Working On

  1. What a great idea. It looks great too! I’ve used a number of old hand grinders and all were just okay. They always had a little wobble or some other annoyance. I think you came up with a good solution plus you got to make a cool tool too!

  2. Ooooooh! Interesting and innovative – the best combination. Very interested to see how the treadle connection works. Good post.

  3. Great idea, Bob. Mine wobbles too but in my case I believe it’s the bushings.

    How do you plan on sealing the box and waterproofing the wood?

    Some more photos would be appreciated as it’s sort of hard to see how that blade rest is built/adjusted. Wouldn’t a larger grip on the handle be better?

  4. VERY Cool Bob!!! Gotta make one of those.

    I might have one of the very few hand crank grinders with no wobbles. Guess I got lucky.

    Instead of soldering up a water resevoir, you –could– line the inside with several coatings of that marine epoxy. Nah, on second thought, a neat copper liner will look (and last) a lot better.

    Can’t wait to see the foot treadle addition. I tried one of those on my hand crank grinder, but it did not work well. I think there’s far too little mass in the little 6 inch wheel. Your larger wheel ought to have about 3-4 times the mass and should work better.

    Make Larry happy. Start stompin on that lathe and make a proper handle. šŸ™‚

  5. Not sure it’ll be the next tormek but certainly a nice project. It will serve you well for many years, i think.

  6. Instead of soldering a liner to hold the water consider Frank Klausz’s trick for making a waterproof box as shown in his Hand Tools DVD. Very cool!

  7. Thanks Guys!

    I thought about making a nice handle, but it seemed like a waste of time since I’ll eventually be taking the handle off to turn it into a treadle grinder. As for making the box water proof, that was my original plan, but as I thought more about it, there is one major problem with that approach. The stone should not be stored in water or it will be ruined, so it would have to be emptied after each use. This wouldn’t be such an easy task once the grinder is mounted to the sharpening bench (after I build the bench). So I decided to make a removable water trough, soldered up from sheet metal. The idea is that I can remove and empty the water trough and leave the grinder in place. Unfortunately I didn’t take any additional pictures at this point as I need to finish a few details. But the front and back of the box are open. This will allow me to slide the water trough in and out. I just need to devise a method for raising the trough to the appropriate height for grinding. I’m thinking two dowels that I can insert under the trough after raising it to height, and then remove the dowels to lower the trough to remove it or dry the wheel. Still working on it. I’ll do a short video of more details once it’s done.

  8. Now that is cool! A few years ago I had been searching around for a hand-cranked grinder to use David Marks’ sharpening method. I eventually gave up; the only thing I ever found was a little 3 or 4″ grinder with a worn wobbly stone. Maybe I’ll give this a try!

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