I'm in the market for a bench grinder and am looking for some feedback on good choices. I am pretty certain I want an 8" grinder. Uses will be mostly rough metal shaping/cleanup and sharpening. I'm also thinking about getting more actively into knifemaking, mostly through stock removal.
I have a nice gift certificate to Home Despot, so if there's a quality grinder there, that'd be a bonus, but that's not the sole consideration. They have a 6" variable speed Delta there that looks decent. Might see if they could order an 8" version of the same so I could use my gift certificate.
You might look at some belt grinders. You can get a wide assortment of grit and belt types. Plus you have a flat area to grind on as well as the round surface of the roller. Most knifemakers use 2"x72".
You might consider making one with a couple of pillowblocks, shaft and motor. You get what you want, exactly. I built a 5 hp 10", 1-1/2" shaft with scrap and 1 day of work. You could also get a commercial arbor new or used and go from there.
...And if you decide to homebrew, a belt grinder does not require nearly the guard that a stone does. If you homebrew a stone grinder, be sure that you are up to fabricating (or scrounging and adapting) adequate guards to contain the stone in case of self-destruction.
Hiya Ben, I just got finished with a Bench Grinder Fiasco. A month ago all the smoke came out of one of my old ones.
The coolest replacement option is to call McMaster-Carr, spend five to seven bills on a nice Baldor, and never again have to worry about it. That was too hard for me to rationalize.
I ended up at Harbor Freight wanting to buy a 10 incher that was advertised. They didn't have it in the store. Ok. I ordered it online. A week and a half goes by and it didn't arrive. A phone call to customer support revealed that they didn't have them in stock and didn't know when they'd be getting more. Gee, thanks for letting me know. The order was immediately canceled and I got ANOTHER reason to not to business with that outfit.
Then I called McMaster and inquired about a mid-range grinder they had for $393. There was no name listed in the catalog, but the phone gal told me it was domestically built. When the truck dropped it off, the box said in big letters, "JET - Made in China." That cheesed me off. I wasn't gonna spend four Benjamins on crap. The icing on the cake was that everyone and his dog is offering the exact SAME grinder for a hundred dollars less. McMaster got a call telling them where they could come and pick up their overpriced Chinese grinder.
In desperation, I Googled for grinders and the names of close-by cities. I found an 8 inch Delta for $165, complete with tray and light. It, too, is made in China, just so you know. After mounting it on my old pedestal, I was amazed at how quiet and vibration free it is. I like it SO much that I'm contemplating replacing my other old bench grinder with another Delta.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Rob Skinner La Habra, California