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Thread: Please help me be smart with my sharpening dollar.

  1. #1
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    Please help me be smart with my sharpening dollar.

    My 300 grit diamond plate is worn out. I don't have a problem with that, I have worked it hard over the years. Looking at replacing it with either a 220 grit DMT for $64, or an Atoma 140x for $105. Leaning towards the DMT, though I have read good things about Atoma. Given my rust hunting days are pretty well wrapped up, and I won't be beating on my coarse stone for rust removal, any reason to think a replacement DMT won't meet my needs on clean tools just fine for years to come? Next step up in my shop is DMT 600 grit.

    I think a fresh 220 should be fine for me, plus it is only 60% of the price of a coarser Atoma.

    And it is time to do something definitive about my grinder. Tormek is not really in the budget. I am leaning towards the Veritas Deluxe Power Sharpening set for the price of a single Atoma stone. It comes with a 6" Norton wheel and the Veritas bench mounted rest with a sled and an angle guide.

    Will I be disappointed with "a Norton 6" ◊ 3/4" 80x white aluminum oxide grinding wheel" on PMV 11? Where do I have to look and how much do I have to spend to pickup a 6" bench top grinder that should have minimal shaft runout out of the box? Am I going to have to spend real money on CBN wheels as I transition to PMV 11? I am going to wear out the existing plane irons in my herd, but incoming replacements are likely to be PMV11.

    My four widest plane irons are all ready to get hollow ground, but I know better than to try to free hand them on the (homestore) grinder I have.

    I saw a thread from 2019 where Tom M King really likes the Veritas benchmount grinder tool rest, I am pretty well sold on the rest and sled whether I go for 6" or 8" for the next grinder. I do own a lathe, but for the work I am currently doing I like square and octagonal legs better. Being able to do turning tools later is not really a consideration, but I could set up the "other" side of my soon to be new grinder for those later if need be.

    Thanks. Once I have a wire edge on my coarsest stone I feel good about the rest of my system.

  2. #2
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    Scott,

    I do not consider myself a good source of knowledge on this subject because I just bought a grinder , but due to us moving this week have it at my son in laws near where we are moving to, and have not had a chance to try it yet. I bought the Rikon 8" low speed grinder after asking around. It comes with two white stones, a 60 grit and a 120 grit. In the future I may get a CBN grind stone, but that is down the road. Mine was on sale at the time, but the normal price was about $160 plus tax.

    Normally in the past I have used a regular speed 6" grinder with a standard grey grind stone. I don't know the brand of stone, but it is a good brand, because I was the one who ordered it. It is at the plant, but I am now retired, and no longer have access to it. I used that grinder when I had to create a new edge on an old iron for a vintage plane I just bought, or had taken a pretty good nick out of the iron and had to grind past the nick and form a new edge

    Of course a 6" regular speed grinder with a coarse grey stone is far from an ideal choice.

    What I did was go very slowly, taking of tiny amounts at a time and water dunking the iron after each pass across the stone. I also checked the grinding extremely often when I got near to a narrow edge. When the edge was as thin as I dared approach, for fear of over heating, I quit grinding and used my hand sharpening stuff at home to complete the sharpening.

    I too have considered the Tormek, and may eventually have one. If I get the Tormek, I probably won't get a CBN stone, and vise versa. The Rikon has a pretty good looking tool rest, but probably the Veritas tool rest is likely better. You get what you pay for.

    All told, the Rikon looks like it will work for me now, but with options like the Veritas tool rest and CBN as future upgrades, it has the potential for being upgraded. Of course, if you get the options that same money would have come some what close to buying the less expensive Tormek model. That said, the Tormek is a "pay for it all at once" deal, where as upgrages to the low speed grinder can spread the pain out over a period of time.

    That said, for now I believe the Rikon and my hand sharpening stuff will work for me for the time being if I am careful. Although the price was a little sticker shock, since I haven't looked at grinder in years, I have since figured out that the price is pretty reasonable for a good grinder. Plus, it won' break the bank.

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 07-26-2021 at 11:29 PM.

  3. #3
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    Hi Scott,

    I cannot respond to much of your thread, but I can respond to a few things. First, I recently (+ or - 2 years ago) picked up a variable speed delta bench top grinder and it has been a solid performer. I was concerned with run out, but it really is minimal on my machine. As far as wheels go, I have an 80x white wheel and I do not use it because the abrasive material decouples from wheel at an astonishing rate. It is designed to do that, but that wasnít something I wanted deal every time a tool went to the grinder. I have been using the very course 46 grit blue wheel that came with grinder with good success for grinding a new primary bevels on plane irons or just putting a fresh edge on mower blades.

    I have the veritas tool rest and I really like a lot. The blade holder/sliding attachment is not that great in my opinion. I think I have used it twice in a 1 1/2 years. I quickly realized that I could get the same, perhaps even better results without slider.

    Tim

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stew Denton View Post

    Of course a 6" regular speed grinder with a coarse grey stone is far from an ideal choice.

    What I did was go very slowly, taking of tiny amounts at a time and water dunking the iron after each pass across the stone. I also checked the grinding extremely often when I got near to a narrow edge.
    Yup, this exactly, and I have about worn out my diamond stone dresser keeping my inexpensive grey stone running true.

    When I am working with bar stock to make a handle for a BBQ cooker, the homestore grinder with the grey wheel is more than adequate. When I look at the one tiny nick in my #8 iron, or the wear bevel on my 4 1/2, I do not have the correct tool for the job.

    I will go read up on the Rikon, thanks.

  5. #5
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    Scott, Woodcraft has 34 reviews on the grinder. It got a 4 star rating. A significant number said the one they bought had a bit of a wheel wobble due to cheap stones. Reading the reviews is worth the time it takes to do such. Several said it is the best reasonably priced grinder on the market. A few said they wish they had gotten a better grinder. Reading the reviews will give you a better view about the grinder.

    It weighs almost 35 pounds, so is not a light weight..

    Stew

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stew Denton View Post
    Scott, Woodcraft has 34 reviews on the grinder. It got a 4 star rating. A significant number said the one they bought had a bit of a wheel wobble due to cheap stones. Reading the reviews is worth the time it takes to do such. Several said it is the best reasonably priced grinder on the market. A few said they wish they had gotten a better grinder. Reading the reviews will give you a better view about the grinder.

    It weighs almost 35 pounds, so is not a light weight..

    Stew
    Yup, this is one area where DeWalt corded tools seem to fall flat. At $280 from Lee Valley, plus shipping from Canada to Alaska for the Rikon, I am going to look at a local CL offering asap. $200, its local, looks to be an 8" made while either Kennedy or Johnson were using 1600 Pennsylvania Ave as a home address.

    This does seem to be an area where the home store grinders just don't cut it. My 6" homestore grinder was fine when I was working softwood and thought 1000grit was pretty dang sharp.

    Waiting for someone to say "just get the Tormek and you're done" as I log off this evening.

  7. #7
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    Scott, I have the Atoma 140 and consider it a good replacement for the Shapton diamond stone that I have worn out. I had the DMT before the Shapton. It is still going strong, but I prefer the Atoma, probably because it is newer.

    When it comes to the grinding wheels, everything works. White wheels work. CBN wheels work. But a CBN wheel will not require any maintenance, and the grinding angles will remain the same. It is far less upkeep and work than a white wheel. I think that the 180 grit on an 8" half-speed grinder with Tormek slider/tool rests is the best thing since sliced bread. I set mine up several years ago, and it has required minimal adjustments.



    http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Woodwor...ningSetUp.html

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    Waiting for someone to say "just get the Tormek and you're done" as I log off this evening.
    Nope, that doesn't go far enough. I ditched sharpening machinery altogether years ago. The need to grind a fine cutting tool just doesn't arise that often unless you are refurbing a fleamarket chisel that was used as a can-opener by the prior owner. The risk of ruining the temper of fine tool steel on a grinding wheel is just too great to chance. Also I would venture that the lifetime of a machine ground tool is a fraction of one honed by hand because you are not removing steel (or temper) unnecessarily.
    Last edited by Mike Brady; 07-27-2021 at 9:41 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    Nope, that doesn't go far enough. I ditched sharpening machinery altogether years ago. The need to grind a fine cutting tool just doesn't arise that often unless you are refurbing a fleamarket chisel that was used as a can-opener by the prior owner. The risk of ruining the temper of fine tool steel on a grinding wheel is just too great to chance. Also I would venture that the lifetime of a machine ground tool is a fraction of one honed by hand because you are not removing steel (or temper) unnecessarily.
    Mike, I must respectfully disagree.

    There is a very reduced chance of ruining the temper of steel on a CBN wheel of 80-180 grit. On these wheels, ground steel rarely gets above luke warm in my shop. As to wearing out steel faster, I think not - hollow grinding removes steel from inside the bevel. It is not shortened. It simply reduces the amount of steel to hone at the bevel edge.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  10. #10
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    Not to disagree, but since the OP asked about conserving his sharpening dollars, how much would you say is invested in a proper grinder and CBN wheel? Reminding everyone that the same sharpening stones are needed to finish the honing process, so that whatever you invest in machinery is all added cost.
    Last edited by Mike Brady; 07-27-2021 at 10:56 AM.

  11. #11
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    Go to Home Depot and Lowes. They both stock what you are looking for.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    Not to disagree, but since the OP asked about conserving his sharpening dollars, how much would you say is invested in a proper grinder and CBN wheel? Reminding everyone that the same sharpening stones are needed to finish the honing process, so that whatever you invest in machinery is all added cost.
    Actually Mike, the OP was considering the expense of a CBN wheel on a grinder. Savings may be had by going for a 6” CBN wheel. However, then you need to accept a less powerful bench grinder.

    In any event, I have been there and done all that. My recommendations simply take you to where you will end up eventually, without spending the excess on the journey.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  13. #13
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    Scott,

    I read what I had written yesterday, and realized that I had given an incorrect impression. What I meant by "significant number mentioned vibration" was that a few had said that vibration was noted, not the majority of the 34 reports by any means, but it was not just 2 or 3 either.

    I also thought about the grinder at work, which as far as I could tell, had no vibration or run out. I also realized that it was not a low dollar grinder. I wanted one like it for home use, and so looked up the price. This was perhaps 10 years ago, and it was over $400 about 10 years ago. Thus, I was looking at a high quality 6" industrial grinder. However, that grinder is on the order of at least 40 years old and probably is older than that, still runs like a top, and has virtually zero vibration or run out. Thus, you can get a virtually vibration free grinder, but from what I have read, with a home grade grinder of a given brand and model they vary from unit to unit. I don't know what the grinder I used at work would cost today, but I would guess that it would be at least $500, and possibly more than that.

    However, that grinder is on a heavy duty pipe stand that was built by the welders at the plant, and is bolted to the concrete floor. The mount for the grinder is thus rock solid, and the grinder is bolted solidly to it. The stand was built to absolutely minimize any vibration.

    I have since read other evaluations on line, and the reviews of that grinder seem to be good, saying it is one of the best in it's price range. This is not to say that others are not just as good, or possibly better, I don't know. I am not fixated on the brand I bought. It would depend on the evaluations and reports on the grinders available in your area.

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 07-27-2021 at 12:17 PM.

  14. #14
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    Appreciate all the input. And I have had a good night's sleep.

    I am going with the less expensive DMT stone to replace my wornout diamond stone. I am going to order the stand and sled kit from Veritas that comes with the white wheel to fit my current grinder.

    While I am waiting on those to come in I will look at all the 6 and 8 inch vintage grinders that come up for sale local.

    When my parts get here from Lee Valley I will see if the new wheel isn't better balanced than what I currently have installed and then proceed.

    Thanks again.

    PS: I agree with Derek re blade life. Yes a grinder is handy at chip removal, I am a lot better now about not droppings tools then I used to be; I am no longer anxiously combing garage sales and antique stores looking for a whatever tool in even basket case restorable condition. In general I am using the hollow grind to keep the central area of the primary bevel a little bit below the equivalent flat line for the primary bevel to save time at the honing stones and save wear and tear on the honing stones.

  15. #15
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    It sounds like you've figured out a good plan for what you need, but I'll add in my experience anyway.

    I have the veritas rest and really like it. Very easy to adjust the angle and it gives a solid surface to guide the blade. I've never used the jig they also sell, I just freehand it and use one of my fingers running along the bottom of the rest to guide the blade.

    I was also able to grind PMV11 with a regular wheel, but hated the extra mess of grit coming off and keeping the wheel dressed. For me, the CBN wheel was worth it just for that. I also use it on a cheap delta grinder without issue. The rikon looks nice but I haven't had the need to upgrade.

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