High speed vs Low speed grinders

Tom Baugues

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2,706
Location
Lafayette, Indiana
I want to find another grinder so that I can have one out in my shop and my garage. I currently have a Craftsman high speed grinder set up with a Wolverine jig in my shop for sharpening my lathe tools. I have always read that you should sharpen with a
low speed grinder to reduce any heat build up when grinding/sharping however the Wolverine jig instructions suggest a high speed grinder. So now I'm wondering which kind to get.
The Rikon 80-805 8" slow speed grinder is currently on sale at both Woodcraft and Rockler for $99.99 which is about $40 off. Seems like a good time to buy it if that's what I need. Funny though....Rockler is "oversold" on theirs but is still taking orders for them while Woodcraft has them in stock. I think Rockler includes a diamond dressing tool ($20 value) and Woodcraft does not though. Is the diamond dressing tool worth waiting on Rockler to restock these grinders?
If I need another high speed grinder I can get a decent one at Harbor Freight for $49 in stock today.
I have some nice new 8" grinding stones that I picked up years ago that have been stored away so I'm not really concerned with what stones come with the grinders.
So....high speed or Low speed?
 

Ted Calver

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Yorktown, Virginia
I have a dual speed grinder running CBN wheels and keep it set on low speed. I think high speed contributes to more heat on the tool tip and faster stock removal, which I really don't want on turning tools.
 

Dave Hoskins

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4,770
Location
Parker County, Texas
I have two grinders that I use on turning tools. One I've had for 10 or more years and it's an 8" slow grinder I bought from Woodcraft when they were on the west side of Fort Worth. It runs at about 1800 rpm's. I use it for reshaping, etc. I have a 60 grit and a 120 on it. The other is a 200 rpm wet grinder that has a 2" wide wheel 10" diameter. It's put out by Grizzly and it's a copy of some other brand which escapes me at the moment. Works really good. Nice quiet and smooth running. The slower the better which in turn does not heat up the tip of the tools and removes far less steel, therefore tools last longer.
 

Vaughn McMillan

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ABQ NM
Add another vote for the slow speed, and that $99 price on the one at Woodcraft sounds like a good deal. That's what I paid for mine 11 or 12 years ago. You can buy a serviceable diamond wheel dresser for about $8.00 all over the web.

Like Dave, I have a "slow speed" grinder that runs about 1800 RPM, and a Tormek wet grinder that runs much slower. I use the Tormek for my gouges and the other one for my scrapers. (Mainly because I like the Tormek gouge jig better than my Penn State knock-off of the Wolverine. Once I get my lathe stuff set back up (and once the budget allows), I'll be putting a CBN wheel on the faster one, just because they are more true and run much smoother. I'll use it on scrapers and also on gouges that need more significant re-shaping. (The Tormek is slow to re-shape a tool, but works great for touching up an edge.)
 

Jim Keepes

Member
Messages
8
Location
Illinois
Need some assistance on a sharpenig system. I like the looks of the Tormek TNT-808. Thought I would like to buy their grinder to keep my purchase 'all in the family'. But when you see the Tormek grinder at 8 bills and the Rikon at 2 bills, and even the Wen at $150, it makes me wonder what is the benefit of the Tormek grinder? Looking at a nice bonus from the company this year and hand sharpening ain't getting it done for me. I think I have the skills to become a pretty good turner and need to step up to the plate as far as sharpening.
I am looking for input from this forum as to the best combination of sharpening jigs and a grinder also considering the all important 'bang for your buck factor'!
 

Mike Stafford

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1,554
Location
Coastal plain of North Carolina
I think it is better, at least for me, to have a slower speed grinder. Things happen quickly enough on the slow speed wheel. I can sharpen on the high speed wheel but one little misstep and you have a divot where no divot should be.

I will put in a vote for a Baldor low speed grinder. I know they are expensive but I have had mine for close to 40 years and it runs like new. Only complaint is that with the CBN wheels it does seem to continue revolving for a long time.
 

Frank Fusco

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12,587
Location
Mountain Home, Arkansas
My tool sharpening set-up is a no-name slow speed copy grinder of the popular Delta. It is a beautiful tool. Don't recall who I bought it from, most like CSUSA or Penn State. It has a Wolverine knock-off rig I acquired in a trade with someone here. They do the job beautifully and saved me many $$$ in their acquisition.
 

glenn bradley

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10,966
Location
SoCal
I have a high and a low. The high is grandpa's old 6" which is for general grinding, sharpening the lawnmower type stuff. The low is a Rikon that has been run for years. It was $79 at the time so that maybe tells you how long it has been in service(?).
 
Messages
7,598
Location
North West Indiana
Same as Glenn, have a slow speed in the wood shop and a high speed in the garage for general grinding and blade sharpening. Coarse stone on high speed and white stone on slow speed grinder.
 

Ryan Mooney

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7,359
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The Gorge Area, Oregon
@Jim Keepes

The tormek (and clones) certainly have their place and some folks like them for turning so I'm not saying they're not useful for that.. but I never use my grizz tormek clone for that purpose and pretty much only use the Rikon 8" slow speed I have for sharpening turning tools.

I found the tormek clone to be pretty slow for turning tools and there wasn't significant value in the slightly finer cut for woodturning tools for the most part (I do use a couple of diamond paddles to hone things like skew chisels where I DO want a super fine cut but that's partially because it saves me minutes of not having to go back to the grinder). Having to keep water on the stone while you're using it was also a deal killer for a high frequency use grinder like that because I'm not setup with water in the shop and my turning station is around a bunch of other stuff so spills were at best annoying.

I mostly freehand sharpen, but the wolverine style jigs are really good and easy to get a repeatable grind off of so if you're working on learning to establish angles, etc.. I'd highly recommend that. I do have the wolverine because it was invaluable as a learning tool and when I mess up freehanding it to bad it's nice to have a fallback (I mostly freehand because I thought it would be a useful skill to work on for all the various other reasons which has somewhat proven true).
 

Vaughn McMillan

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34,740
Location
ABQ NM
I have the Woodcraft slow speed grinder (1750 RPM, as I recall) with Oneway wheels. The wheels cost about as much as a set of good CBN wheels these days, but CBN wheels were just hitting the market at the time, and they were a lot more expensive back then. I also have an older Tormek T-2000 that I bought used, along with the TNT-808 jig kit. I use the Tormek for my gouges and skews, and the Woodcraft for my scrapers. The Tormek is very fast on gouges as long as I'm not trying to change the grind profile...and I've been using the same profile on all my gouges for years. I also have the Penn State knock-off of the Wolverine, but I prefer the Tormek jig for the gouges. Somewhere along the line I also bought the Tormek setup for using their jigs on a standard dry grinder (like my Woodcraft slow speed) but still haven't actually set it up. If I was to do it all over again, I'd get a slow speed dry grinder (like the Rikon), the Tormek TNT-808, and a pair of CBN wheels.
 
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