It doesnt matter which knife you buy, they all need to be sharpened eventually. And it's a good idea to keep your knives sharp because a sharp knife is safer to cut with than a dull one. Dull knives can drag or skip while cutting and can increase your chance of injury. How often you need to sharpen depends on how often you use the knife, what you cut, and what surface you cut on.
While many people feel that hand-sharpening is best, it takes some skill. Electric sharpeners are easier to use than traditional sharpening stones. Which sharpener is best for you depends not only on your skill but also on the types of knives you use. In the end, you might decide that you need more than one sharpener if you have a wide variety of knives.
A nearly foolproof manual sharpener that looks like modern art, the angle that the knife is inserted into the sharpener determines how aggressive the sharpening is (yes, there is a correct angle for sharpening your knives). You can start by sharpening the knife then hone it to a fine finish in the same slot. If the knife doesnt need sharpening, you can use this for honing only. This sharpener self-adjusts, and sharpens the knife edge to its original angle, so you dont need to know the edge angle to sharpen the knife correctly, and theres nothing to adjust. The tungsten carbide sharpeners will last a long time but can be replaced when necessary.
This manual knife sharpener comes at a bargain price and will sharpen both straight and serrated knives. Not only does it sharpen knives for instant sharpness it does so in a way that they stay sharp for longer.
It has two wheels, a coarsediamond coated one that will shapen your knife to a double-edge finish while the second wheel hones the knife to improve any small imperfections. Users love this tool because it gets the job done and doesn't take up a lot of real estate in the kitchen.
This sharpener can be used on metal knives of any thickness, from thin filet knives to thicker chefs knives and cleavers. The interchangeable blade guides hold the blades at your choice of three different sharpening angles, and a slider lets you choose thick, medium, or thin blades.
The sharpener creates a slight micro-serration on the edge of the blade that results in a super-sharp edge. It might take a short while to get the technique of pulling knives through the sharpener perfected, but then its simple to use. This cannot be used to sharpen ceramic knives.
This sharpener includes five different sharpening stones along with a knife clamp that holds the knife during sharpening and a guide that allows you to select the proper blade angle. Honing oil is also included. The stones have finger grips for a secure hold and are color-coded so you know which are coarser and which are finer. Unlike traditional whetstones, with this system the knife remains still while you move the stones along the blade. This manual system allows you to sharpen knives at four different angles but requires some practice to become comfortable with the technique.
Technically, a sharpening steel doesnt sharpen a knife, it actually hones or straightens the fine edge that gets bent during use, which makes the knife seem dull. That bending isnt visible to the naked eye, but it still affects the way the knife cuts.
This steel has an easy-to-hold handle and loop for hanging, or it might fit in your knife block. This steel is magnetic, so it collects any metal dust created during the process. Knives should be honed regularly, so a sharpening steel is an important tool to have in your kitchen. This steel is also available in shorter and longer lengths.
This sharpener is easy to use and robust enough to convert your 20-degree knives to a higher-performance 15-degree angle with two bevels. Spring guides automatically adjust the angle of the knife, making it simple for anyone to use. It has three different stages for perfect sharpening. Stages one and two use diamond abrasives to create the two bevels as well as micro-grooves, while the last stage polishes the knives, turning the micro-bevels into micro-flutes that bite into the food being cut for excellent performance.
This sharpener can be used for both straight and serrated knives. The first time this sharpener is used on a knife it will take a bit longer since its cutting a new edge angle. Subsequent sharpenings will take much less time.
When knives are made, its likely theyre sharpened on a belt similar to the one in this award-winning sharpener. A belt is less harsh, but still efficient, and can sharpen a dull knife in just about 90 seconds. This has three different settings to shape, sharpen, or hone the knives, depending on how dull they are. To make sure the knives arent overworked, the sharpener turns itself off at the end of the cycle.
This can also be used to sharpen serrated knives, scissors, and shears. To keep knife dust off the counters, it has an integrated vacuum that sucks in the dust during the sharpening process. As a bonus, this includes a ceramic honing rod to touch up knives between sharpening. Guides on the rod show the proper angle for honing, so it takes the guesswork out of using it.
This efficient little sharpener certainly wont break the budget, but it will do the job, keeping knives in good shape. This is a two-stage manual sharpener that can handle both straight and serrated knives. While its manual, its still easy to use, since you simply pull the knives through the slots.
The bar handle is easy to hold, keeping the sharpener stable while keeping your hand far from the blades. Meanwhile, the nonslip bottom keeps the sharpener from moving on the counter. The coarse slot is for your dullest blades, while the ceramic slot finishes the sharpening process by honing and polishing, and can be used for blades that are just a little dull. When youre done sharpening, this is small enough to fit in a drawer for neat storage.
Many sharpeners use ceramic as the abrasive, but that wont work for ceramic knivesthey need diamonds. This has two different grits of diamond grinding stones for coarse sharpening and fine honing, and it can even grind off small chips in ceramic blades. Of course, this can also be used for stainless steel blades since theyre even softer than ceramic, but it cant handle serrated blades or scissors.
The slots are designed to keep the blades at the proper angle, while the raised design of the slots lets this accommodate most styles of knives, even when the blade is level with the handle. The diamond wheel cartridge is removable for cleaning, when necessary.
Whether youre working with a whetstone or a manual or electric sharpener, there are typically two grit options so that you can effectively sharpen your blade. Stones are double-sided and sharpeners have two settings. The level of grit will indicate how much metal is shaved off the knifes blade during sharpening. Typically, a coarse grit (anything less than 1000 for whetstones) should be used on a severely dulled knife that might have nicks, indentations, or chips. Next, medium grit (ranging from 1000 to 3000 grit) is great to sharpen a knife that is dull but not damaged. Lastly, fine grit (4000 to 8000 grit), which is similar to honing steel, is used for a gentle touch-up to refine the edge of your blade. To effectively sharpen a blade, its ideal to use at least two different grits so that the blade is at its best.
Any time youre looking to purchase a new kitchen gadget, evaluating its size is essential. Do you have the storage space for it? Will it fit comfortably on your counter when youre using it? Is it large and bulky or is it light and tiny? The electric sharpeners are typically bigger than the manual ones, while the stones are the most compact (just make sure youre storing it in a location where it wont get roughed up).
The number of grit options that a manual or electric sharpener offers will also affect its size. The good thing about the size of these sharpeners is that it doesnt affect what blade size it can work on. Whether youre sharpening a paring knife or a 10-inch chefs knife, any size sharpener can be used on the blade.
This category mostly pertains to whetstones, as they come in a variety of different materials. There are water stones, oil stones, and ceramic stones. Water stones, as the name implies, require at least a 5-minute soak in water to sharpen a blade. This is the most common kind of sharpening stone, and most are double-sided so theyre great for saving a dull blade or touching up a nearly sharp blade.
On the other hand, oil stones are typically much more durable. These stones do not require a soak because theyre already pre-filled with oil (though you can always add a little bit more oil to help sharpen). Like water stones, theyre two-sided so they can offer different levels of grit. Oil stones typically have a longer lifespan than water stones, even though it may take a little bit longer to sharpen a dull blade on an oil stone than a water stone.
When it comes to knife sharpeners, most use a ceramic material as the abrasive. However, if you have ceramic knives, this will be ineffective, so youll need to look for a diamond sharpener (which also works well on a steel knife).
Knife sharpeners can cost you anywhere from $6 to $100. Now, thats a range! If youre working with expensive chef's knives that you use fairly regularly, its probably in your best financial interest to invest in a quality knife sharpener that wont degrade the quality of your pricey blade. That said, if your knives are more in the budget range and you use them on an infrequent basis, you can definitely get away with opting for something a little cheaper. Many of the budget options can create sharp bladesit just might take them a little bit longer.
The most professional way to sharpen a knife is with a sharpening stone. These stones are available in water, oil, and ceramic materials. Most stones offer a double-sided feature that allows you to switch between grits. There are also sharpening stone kits that come with more than two stones, so you have even more grit options.
Using a stone as opposed to sharpeners requires moreprofessional knowledge and techniqueto properly sharpen the blade. It also takes a little bit more time (sometimes up to 20 minutes) because some stones require an initial soak. That said, if you put the work in to understand how to use the stone and prep it so that its ready to use, it can create an extremely sharp blade on your knife. If you have a lot of knives that you use frequently, going the sharpening stone route could be the best option for you, as long as you plan to set aside some time every so often to work on your knives.
Compared to the sharpening stones, manual and electric sharpeners are much more user-friendly and can sharpen a blade much more quickly. These are more forgiving than stones because they require much less technique when it comes to running the blade through the apparatus. They can sharpen any kind of blade, from paring and boning knives to fish and chefs knives. Some can even sharpen serrated knives, although thats not entirely necessary because serrated knives cut from the teeth on the blade.
Like stones, manual and electric sharpeners can offer different grit settings, so make sure to look for a model that offers more than one grit. Manual sharpeners require you to pull the blade through the sharpener until youve reached your desired sharpness, whereas electric sharpeners are built so that they're completely hands-off. The downside to electric sharpeners is that sometimes you are at the mercy of the strength of the motor. If the motor is on the weaker side, you may need to be a bit more patient when it comes to achieving a sharp blade. That said, its also much easier to over-sharpen a blade with an electric sharpener, so be careful to keep a close eye on that.
When picking out a manual or electric sharpener, its important to take note of the angle of your knife. Classic German knives usually have a blade with a 20-degree angle, while Japanese knives can be anywhere from 15 to 17 degrees. Its important to look for a sharpener that can accommodate these differing blades.
One common misunderstanding in the realm of knife sharpening is that you can get by with a honing steel. This is not the case. A honing steel is a long rod that helps to maintain the integrity of your knifes blade. Whereas knife sharpeners are physically taking off bits of your knifes blade, a honing steel is only going to set a blade straight.
Knife sharpening is something that can be done infrequently (because its repairing the damage that has taken place over time), but you can hone your knife every time you use it if you want. Additionally, knife sharpening can be a bit more of a project, taking 20 to 30 minutes depending on how many knives youre sharpening and how dull they are, but honing takes mere seconds. Just slide your blade along the rod a few times and youre good to go.
Honing rods can be made out of steel or ceramic. Steel rods can be a bit tougher on a blade, while ceramic offers more give with very little abrasion. Look for a longer honing rod so that you can ensure that you can hone all of your knives on it, from a paring knife to a chefs knife.
This brand offers great budget options. If your knife usage is pretty minimal or youre just not in the pursuit of owning the fanciest sharpener on the market, its options are inexpensive, yet still can produce a great edge.
While it may fall on the pricier side of the spectrum, you definitely get what you pay for with this brand. Known for offering super-precise sharpening and a durable manual apparatus that will last you for the long run, this is your best bet if youre looking to dole out some money for your sharpener.
While it might seem like a lot of work to maintain a kitchen item thats job is to maintain another item (maintenance inception!), your knife sharpening tools do need a little TLC. Every now and again, its not a bad idea to clean your sharpening stone. Simply rub it with a little mineral oil or honing oil and scrub until you see metal flecks appearing from within the pores of the stone. Wipe them off with a rag or paper towel and rinse with warm water and dry.
Additionally, ceramic hones require occasional cleaning to remove the small metal particles that accrue on their surface over time from usage. Foam sponges or mild abrasives, like Bar Keepers Friend, are effective in removing these particles.
Donna Currieis a food and recipe writer, cookbook author, and product tester for The Spruce Eats. She spends a great deal of time in the kitchen chopping, slicing, and dicing. Her kitchen is stocked with knives ranging from budget-friendly to high-end picks, and she knows how to keep them sharp.
Im sure many of you saw the short video that Christopher Schwarz put up a few weeks back showing off a hand cranked grinder that he uses. I commented on that post worried that the infamous Schwarz effect would drive up the prices of hand cranked grinders everywhere. This is something I have been casually looking for every since I used a treadle grinding wheel last summer at the Steppingstone Museum. Schwarz post spurred me to finally take action and I was shocked to see that the prices were not really effected much at all. Granted, that was a week ago and maybe I got ahead of the wave. Then again maybe there are not that many of us out here crazy enough to actually want a hand cranked grinding wheel.
I won an ebay auction for 2 of these things. The listing claims that they both work well but I thought I might be able to use one of them as a back up for parts since they came as a set. The grinders arrived last night and I was pleasantly surprised to see they are both in great working order. They need to be cleaned up a lot and the stones are just shot. The smaller grinder sounds like the inner gearing needs a little work as once it gets to a certain speed, you can hear and feel the gear slipping a bit. You can hear this at the end of this short video clip. Like the Schwarz illustrated for us in his post, the gearing on this little grinder will really get the wheel moving, and with proper cleaning they should free wheel really well.
I figure Ill get the dirt off, remove some rust, clean and lube the gears, replace the wheels, and make a sharpening platform and we will be in business. I believe I have seen 10 or 12 articles on making sharpening jigs in the last year so Im sure Ill be able to come up with a good solution.
The funny thing is when I started thinking about the wheels themselves I realized that I had never bought a grinding wheel. I have always sharpened my edge tools with water or diamond stones. I did my rough grinding on an extra coarse diamond stone or with low grit sandpaper. I even tried out the Worksharp for chisels too. My inherited Tormek has sharpened some of my chisels and irons but has always been mostly dedicated to turning tools because of its ability to exactly replicate geometry and profile. Really the secret is that I rarely let my tools get that dull that I need to regrind and just spend all my time honing.
So I put it to the Twitterverse to see what grinding wheels people like out there. Blue or White or something else. The response seems to favor the White cool grinding wheels by Norton, but I heard enough support for the Blue and even some diamond shout outs to make me consider mulling it over a bit.
The smaller grinder will take a 6 wheel while the larger one can handle an 8. Since they both work great, Im considering picking up a narrow wheel to use for grinding moulding plane irons. I was taken by this idea when I saw Larry Williams use a 1/4 wheel to grind the profile for his hollow planes. Tools for Working Wood offers both a 1/8 and 1/4 wide grinding wheel that should fit the bill. On the larger grinder I think I may add an 8 Norton White wheel. I think this will treat me right until I can get my hands on a 24 treadle driven stone like the one I worked with at the museum! (Im kiddingor am I?)
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I avoid grinders altogether until it comes to that horrible A2 stuff. And at that point I need a grinder with pin point accuracy, no vibration and a true and sturdy support. Along with being able to shift a tonne of material quickly. Anything other, and Im wasting my life as well as steel.
This Tormek grinder is what I use for establishing bevels and sharpening any thick plane irons or harder A2 steel. On the whole though I use softer irons and can get away without a grinder in my sharpening kit at all. If youre looking to learn to sharpen or improve the efficiency of your sharpening routine then have a look at our Get Sharp video course where we go through everything you need to know to understand and maintain sharpness & improve your overall experience with hand tools.
As a professional hand tool woodworker, Richard found hand tools to be the far more efficient solution for a one man workshop. Richard runs 'The English Woodworker' as an online resource and video education for those looking for a fuss free approach to building fine furniture by hand. Learn More About Richard & The English Woodworker.
I have had a few hand grinders over a couple of decades. The sentiment is a nice one and very romantic. The reality is that all the ones I have had wobble. This, along with the single-hand support and movement of the blade, makes for an inaccurate grind. This makes for inefficient sharpening.
Now before anyone accuses me of OCD, sharpening is just a necessary evil as far as I am concerned, however I want the best edges but I want them fast. I am not that precious about the equipment I would rather build furniture than sharpen blades. The secret to fast sharpening is to hone the least amount of steel needed, and a hollow grind is where it all begins.
A hollow grind gets you close a clean and straight hollow grind gets you there. CBN wheels do not require any maintenance and they do not wear. As a result, settings may be left and not require adjustment, and the wheels run almost as cool as a Tormek (but without mess and wear). I use a 180 grit for all, and the resulting hollow is so clean I can often skip the 1000 grit waterstone and head straight to a 6000 grit.
I agree that the hollow grind is necessary for thicker irons, such as those found in bevel up planes. Bevel down, especially thin irons, are easiest to sharpen completely free hand, as both Richard and Paul Sellers do.
But I dont agree on the necessity to make that hollow grind OCD-style perfect. I have an antique hand grinder, and its wobble is horrendous. So horrible that it knocks the sides of my Veritas tool stand all the while sounding like a bomb siren! But it doesnt matter; the hollow grind is only there to remove iron quickly and establish the bevel angle. All sharpening and honing are done afterwards on stones, where accuracy is important.
But I think the real secret to these old guys is to use the coarsest stone you can get, something like 36 or 46 grit, Then it works super quickly and leaves such a rough finish, you have to rely on stones for the final sharpening and honing.
I have had tje good fortune of getting my hands on a 1914 pike hand cranked grinder, for 5 inch stones. Since this thin was made when the Ford T was all the rage you cant expect it to have such things as ball bearings, it wobles a bit, but the small radius of the coarse stone is great for making the hollow grind an then the stones do the precistion work. Also, you can put a cheap honing guide on the tool rest (maybe cut a groove on the tool rest so it does not move forkard or backwards, mine has a groove already) and I have a cheap hand cranked grinder where I can fix the angle of the blade Also, you can get used really quickly to using one hand on the tool and one on the crank, they had a handle because it worked fine, no need to reinvent the wheel there. Greetings from Santiago de Chile
Ive found that there was no net savings in Canada compared to the energy expended over diamond stones so I got rid of my hand crank grinder. Plus youre doing all that effort with one hand. The only idea I can think of that might be better is a foot treadle design. Ill eventually get an electric grinder again.
I have used a hand cranked grinder since 1976. Even on the PM-V1 steel from Veritas. Took some learning like anything else but gets the job done. Mine is a 6 with a hand made holder ala Krenov. I finish with diamond stones and polish with 1 micron sandpaper on glass.
My Grizzly Tormek-clone is all I need. Ive thought about a contraption to drive with a treadle lathe, but thats mostly to give another reason to build a lathe. All things considered, at my age its all probably a waste of time, money, and materials.
Isnt Krenov the one that popularized the hand-grinder? I tried one from a flea market and detested it. I want both hands to control the tool and would rather not have the rest of me bobbing about while I try to control the tool. Also, the wheel diameter was quite small.
I would like my dry bench grinder rotating a bit slower sometimes. A kind of variable speed setup would be nice. But I cant think of a reason to drive it with muscle power, as long as there is electricity. This time I say no thank you.
Ive seen tons of those hand crank grinders on ebay. Ive thought about picking one up because I enjoy experimenting with old tools. At the end of the day, though, I simply couldnt imagine one of those things being at all useful. Its all the stuff others have already said in posts- small wheels, trying to work one-handed while spinning the crank, etc. Plus, I use mostly hand tools because they are pleasant to use as a hobbyist and actually quite efficient for a hobbyist. I like having the option of being able to work with minimal plans and just piece things together. I like being able to do this without layers of Kevlar, gas masks, riot helmets, and all that kit you are supposed to wear with machines. When I thought about it grinders just seemed like one of those things where modern is better. I couldnt imagine one of those hand crank grinders being enjoyable to use. Now all that said, the idea of putting together a big water wheel is a bit of a different animal. Something big wouldnt have to spin fast and could have a flywheel or otherwise be made in such a way that once its moving you wouldnt need to constantly crank or peddle on something.
Im with this. I have a General (I think .the red & black ones from Wisconsin), and as long as you get one that can take a 6 wheel and have a way to make a bushing for the inevitable 3/8 arbor itll inevitably have, I find it works well.
I have found that it works really, really well. I fix irons with it (get nicks out) and use it to establish an initial bevel and camber. Everything else is stones. I dont have electricity in my rented apartment shop for anything except lighting and the shaky benchtop drill press I use for a wire and buffing wheel so an electric grinder just doesnt interest me.
My dad has a Tormek and its cool enough. He has the entire set of gizmos they sell for it as well, Ive sharpened my hatchets on it as well as chisels and plane irons. But when it comes down to it, my $25 at a tool meet gets me through everything Ill need a grinder forand helps to keep me off that nasty Crystolon stone I have for the rough stuff.
Mind you it does take a moment to get used to. If youre right handed, youre cranking with that hand and doing the delicate stuff with your left. Its less difficult than rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time and the control is not an issue. Mark your line on the iron, turn the crank, quench (yes you CAN burn the steel with one of these!). You would do well to make a little tool rest for it, better if its adjustable for angle and best if you can make a small sled in a groove to keep things dead straight.
I had a small hand grinder given to me by someone recently. I tried to use it but found the one handed thing too awkward. I like the medieval water wheel idea though. Mount it on a wheelbarrow frame and it could be wheeled outside in the good weather and put out of the way easily. It would also be a good bit of fun at craft fairs etc. Hell, wheel it around sharpening knives, shears and anything else. Am I off on another planet or is there a business here?
I have one, and it works. ***HOWEVER*** 1. Cranking with one hand and holding the tool to be sharpened with one hand doesnt make for fine accuracy. 2. I use it very rarely, only for the very worst repair cases. Ive never found the need to grind tools that are otherwise kept nicely sharpened with stones and strop. 3. I have a treadle lathe and could easily mount a stone on it but in the time it takes to change out the stone for whatever is in the spindle now, I can sharpen almost anything on the flat stones. 4. Once one learns to sharpen well on flat stones, without fixtures or training wheels, sharpening becomes very fast and easy. No need for rotating wheels at all.
Growing up, the hand crank grinder was the only grinder in my dads shop. He had every conceivable power tool in the shop except for the grinder. I didnt know any better so I got use to it. I have it now in my shop but I also have an electric grinder. In fact it is one of the few power tools that I use. Doing the one handed thing is the main problem with one of these and that can be overcome if you have someone to turn the crank while you sharpen. I mostly use my crank grinder when I have a visitor to my shop or when doing a demo to help keep the nostalgia atmosphere intact. My shop is somewhat of a museum and it is important to keep the museum type of atmosphere. I always thought that a steam engine out back propelling a line shaft would be great when putting on demonstrations.
A little off topic perhaps, but for what its worth, I absolutely agree with Derek:: CBN wheels are amazing. I dont think the words really gotten out about them yet, but if I worked for Tormek or Worksharp, Id be updating my resume
Having been in Tool & Die for the past 35 years a small bit of advice on wheels. Diamond works great on carbide and is used extensively for carbide. When we would grind hardened tool steel with a Rc of 50 to 62 CBN wheels would be used. If the steel is not hard in this range the CBN wheels would not work as well. Diamond has a tendency to wear out when grinding steel
I got one for $5.00 from a going out of buisness thrift shop. Around the time someone in the public eye touted them. Threw it away. Mass hysteria. Later I disassembled the waterwheel that powered the overhead shaft connected to my lathe by a handmade leather belt.
Growing up in the 1970s I had my grandfather next door (born 1900). He had a 3 foot (ish) sand stone foot powered grinding wheel. I love to sharpen the garden tools with it as a child. Though the wood has rotted, my dad (and I guess I) still have the wheel and the metal bits. We will be remaking the base for it during this winter.
By the way, I completely agree about A2 steel. I bought some premium planes and chisels that have it. I cant stand it as it took forever to get a burr using Paul Sellers diamond stone method. I didnt want to buy a new sharpening system. I ended up buying an extra extra coarse diamond stone and use that to start with my A2 blades. It gets to a burr quickly. I think progress to the other three diamond grits. They look just fine when I am done and it goes quickly.
Am I wasting steel this way? Probably but so what. As a hobbyist (in shop about 100 days a year for about 3 hrs per day), its unlikely I will wear them out. If I did, I would just buy O1 replacements.
Those hand driven grinders are not that bad. My father used his for for sharpening his tools, and we kids just loved to turn the handle. Doing that, we also learned about sharpening. Very close to our house,lived a carpenter. He always used a big foot driven grinder. His lathe was foot driven to. But h is band saw was driven by hand. A big wheel with two handles. When he hvad too cut out wood, he had help from two men from the town. We kids just loved to visit him in his workshop. No elecktric machinery, anything he made was made by hand. Doors, tables, chairs, Wheels you name it.
If you want power and precision, variable speed, with both hands on the tool, check out the world of repurposed bicycles. The frame, pedals, and gearing system from a defunct bike will give you the base for any number of foot-power tools.
I love the idea of a low-to-medium RPM unplugged grinder, but not if it is hand-cranked. For my needs, Tormek is too much coin. The cheap Tormek clone I have is underwhelming for blade-holding accessories and precision.
I built a jig to help holding the tool based on an article in the Woodworker. For plane blades it works really well. For narrower blades like chisels it can be a bit more fiddly and needs some training but so far Im happy with the results. The grinder is just for the primary bevel. Finishing happens on some misarka oil stones and strop.
Timely blog topic. I just saw a 6 bench crank grinder at a antique store for $40, and on Craigslist nearby there is a foot pedal type larger one that would be good for axes and such. Kind of thought picking one up but would need a monkey to crank the hand one loke the old movies.
I have a collection of hand and foot grinders my favourite is the Hayden Allball 1,000 revs per minute! The 9 wheel revolves horizontally on top of tube pillar that the foot pedal is attached to. The allball refers to the ball race mechanism in the tube. It was made in Redruth, Cornwall.. a real gem. For sharpening delicate carving chisels I use a large Edwardian yorkstone foot treadle. The 2.1/2 stone revolves in a trough of water. To get an accurate angle I use a honing guide (like those used with bench stones) running on top. Its great as you can never draw the temper. Fine Yorkstone is hard to equal.
Hi Gang. As an actual user of a hand crank grinder, I have to say using one is like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time.. The dream of having a grinder coast while grinding is not practical. Enough mass to overcome the energy loss for more than a moment will be difficult to get moving with a single hand crank. I also use a treadle grinder. After truing up, the old wheel is 18 diameter and 2 wide. With the two treadles I can power through sharpening a 2 1/2 plane blade, or a setting the bevels on a trashed 12 draw knife. Is it easy? Not really. Balancing on your butt while pumping your legs up and down is bad enough. Try doing that while freehanding a razor sharp draw knife. Now that takes practice. The fixturing helps. Im stubborn. It works. There is a reason for power grinders. When your helper grows up and moves out on his own, the electric grinder still keeps working.
I think what would make more sense is a slow turning abrasive wheel of some sort, driven by a motor out of a washing machine or similar. The wheel could be made from plywood, or could be a front wheel off a bicycle, with a strip of abrasive cloth cemented to the tire. (The latter arrangement was shown quite a few year s ago in the Methods of Work section of Fine Woodworking Magazine.) It would not take a genius to cook up a plywood frame with brass or bronze bushings in it, axles made from cold rolled steel, and with either a commercially-made abrasive wheel or some sort of home-made abrasive wheel. If driven by a belt on home-made pulleys, plus a low cost motor, speed could be whatever you wanted no need to crank the wheel by hand, which as has been said by others on here, handicaps the user by occupying one hand to supply the motive power rather than leaving both hands free to hold the tool in the best way possible..
I work with a guy from Mexico. He told me that when he was a boy a man would come around on a bike with a grinder on the rear. The bike had a second seat mounted backward that he sat on to operate the grinder. Such as this one. https://youtu.be/gvCp-kc3tks
I think an important consideration that is missing in this discussion is the lack of slwo electric grinders on the market. I dont understand why there is no variable speed electric grinder on the market: high speed for removing and shaping metal; slow speed for sharpening and establishing a bevel without the risk of overheating.
I have one and I consider it more of a novelty than a must have tool. I rarely use it anymore but did when I used to rehab a lot of old plane blades and chisels that looked like someone tried to open paint cans with them. Theyre probably faster than your coarsest stone and slow enough not to blue the steel. If you take care of your edges you will probably never need one. One thing not really mentioned is that they are entertaining for kids and grandchildren alike. If you do find one cheap buy it if you like fiddling with stuff. Nearly all of the them will have old gunked up grease that needs to cleaned out of the gears so that it will turn easily
I inherited a hand cranked grinder from a grandfather. Installed a new 6 in wheel. Dont use it a lot. Mostly for shaping screwdriver tips. Never burn any metal with it. Nora Hall was an old world carver. She accepted a felt wheel with paste for sharpening her carving tools. Her daughters still sells them. They work quickly and dont burn. Have mine mounted to an ancient electric motor. It needs to be a slow motor, like 1700 rpm or so, not 3000 rpm.
Hi: I teach woodworking at a summer 2 week campout I go to. no power available, so I needed (occasionally) a grinder. I had a spring pole lathe. I put a wooden arbor on a grinding wheel/stone. It works like a charm be well Karl
I found the small ones you clamp to your bench are not much good. I did get a standing one, bought a new stone and I must say truing the wheel with a dressing stone made a huge difference. Its still only about 5, but I use it to to grind axes and blunt or damaged plane irons or chisels and it helps if someone else turns the crank. I also have a big old manual grinder from my grandfather, maybe 16, but the case is broken in one place. I still may try to get it in use, though.
I have a small antique hand crank grinder that I bought mostly to add to my collection that will go into an old tool chest. I have used it and I found it was very effective once I understood how to position the tool rest so I could hold the tool with one hand. Now if its something huge you want to sharpen a sword on I think you should plan on foot power. Ive used the one my uncle had and worked ok for sharpening things like axes. I have a 14 x 2 pedestal grinder that runs from a flat belt. I dont have it running yet but when I do it will have water on at least one wheel. Really for maintaining tools it takes very little. What I use most is a set of three diamond plates and chromium oxide on a strop. About the only time I use a grinder is when Ive made a new tool or I just bought a used tool that some half wit boogered up.
strange this caught my eye, when I brought this house 40 years ago there was a hand grinder secured to the work bench, it had a trough for water and a left hand handle.tried it a couple of times ended up recovering from the bench and purchased a good two wheeled elerctic. grinder, but found latelt for finer work could not slow it down enough.got the old one now 35 years in storage cleaned greased it set it into the holes still on the bench,gave it a turn it licked up the water and gave a perfect fine point and razors sharp.sometimes I just swing the handle up to,speed stop turning and away it So I can use two hands, while not a replacement from a.n electrical one well a joyous interesting fine working addition David Aubrey
When I first began using tools we had a monsterous treddle Water wheel about 30 x 5 that sat over a trough of water. Great for sharpening our axes, but man that was sixty plus years ago. Ive had a Tormek for some years and would not change it for anything, except maybe, A Sorby Belt system. Pete
Sad to say that you put a question out there and you get more replies of negative problems than people with solutions creative craft community ?,. I have gone over to a hand crank grinder. Safer, quieter , variable speed , run it forwards or reverse. Get a quality grinder that runs true ,mine is a Mole of eBay. I put a CBN wheel on it you can get the bushes to make it fit from bearing supply companies . Very little dust is produced as wheel dosnt break down just the tool steel grindings . Many say that they find it difficult to crank with one hand and control the tool with the other. Easy solution , take the rest that comes with the grinder off ,mount the grinder on a board or bench , Mount the the rest system Tormek produce to use their jigs on a conventional bench grinder it works a treat you can use all their jigs to sharpen a multitude of different tools.
Ive tried a few methods. A set of Oneway wheel balancers and rests transformed my grinding into an easy and pleasant experience- quick, easy, and gentle. Everyone worries so much about heat- just ease up a bit. Theres no need for slow speed, and many wheels work better and easier at high speeds. If youve got a conventional grinder already dont start spending money for fancier systems.
Hey Richard you might like this video from a fellow Canadian Tools: Sharpening wheel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3cMQ7d2S0k or This Unorthodox Video How i sharp my chisels : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aFWkUJs-0c or another great Canadian MDF Buffing Wheel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFiqlTmSOX0 Cheap And Easy Sharpening Stones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-txq8Sv6l2k and I would like your opinion on: Sharpening to 250-grit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbAo4RpM7oM Thanks and Enjoy
Roy Underhill is the PBS equivalence of you in America. Ive actually tried a foot powered sharpening wheel and if I was truly into full time woodworking, it has appeal. I use buffers and cutting compounds for roughing my tool and finish on diamond hones most of the time.
A revelation awaits the woodworkers here . Watch the video of a Woodworker turns Chess Pieces on a manual powered lathe with hand and foot .He uses a Moroccan Bow Lathe, Right hand works the bow ,Right foot holds the blade onto the bar while left hand turns the blade handle.. and controls the turning chisel . .The left foot is just used to stabilise himself . Try that .
Ive had several woodworkers send me tools to grind for them (please dont do this). Other woodworkers spend hundreds of dollars on fancy tool rests or other grinding jigs to ensure that the tool will not catch fire, steal their spouse then go on a tri-state killing spree.
Grinding is easy, fast and totally a necessary skill. You dont need a lot of money to learn to grind. And you dont have to attend Grind U. (Which is not a college about tools. Well, maybe it is. Well maybe we should just get on with the rest of this entry.)
For some woodworkers, the fear of grinding relates to electric grinders. They have heard tales of how a fast-speed grinder will ruin their tools. So they spend extra money on a slow-speed grinder and fancy grinding wheels. Other woodworkers use a water-cooled grinding system, which is entirely too slow for the way I work.
Heres the truth: Any dry-grinder can remove the temper from your tools and soften the steel. And if it does, then so what? Should you grind away the discoloration until you get back to good steel? Heck no. Finish your grinding job, hone the edge and get back to work. Yes the steel is softer and yes, it wont hold an edge as well, but it is still a workable tool. Eventually, youll work away the softer steel and return to the good stuff.
I have an old Disco-era Craftsman fast-speed grinder that I use at work. And now, thanks to woodworker Bill Anderson, I have a nice hand-cranked grinder as well, which will be great for home. If you can grind on a machine, picking up the skills to use a hand-cranked grinder are cake. It doesnt take much coordination. And the hand-cranked grinders work fast. Theyre not as fast as a 3,450 rpm electric grinder, but they are much faster than a water-cooled grinder.
Hand-cranked grinders are widely available, fairly inexpensive and they accept modern grinding wheels. I have a Norton 3X wheel on mine the same wheel as on my electric grinder. Its my favorite wheel.
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That steel nipple idea is a good one. I will go get some this week and see if I can fit them to my grinders. I have THREE grinders, all of different makes and sizes, and all with 1/4 shafts. What a pain.
I have three hand cranked grinders. Must say, I cant get a modern wheel to fit them. For some reason, the shafts on mine are of too small a diameter. The adapter rings dont go down that far. I tried careful wrapping of the shaft with electrical tape, but couldnt get a nice wobble-free fit. SO my grinders are living on a shelf for now.
Thanks for the sweet little post, Chris. I think a lot woodworkers would appreciate owning one. Just set up one a few months back myself. Put a new 6 Norton medium grit on it. I definitely recommend getting one. Only time I need to grind is to reestablish the primary bevel when honing begins to take forever. Sure at some point grindings a necessity but doesnt warrant anything more than my 6 hand-crank grinder.
I started using one of these (and a treadle version too) while volunteering at a period museum this past summer. I love sharpening this way and have been keeping an eye open for one for a few months now. I guess I shouldnt be surprised about this post because everytime I have an old tool in mind, Christopher blogs about it and drives the prices up. Im staying away from ebay on this one. As of this morning it is the number one suggestion when you type grind into the query box.
Oh great. I have been in the market for one of these and havent quite found the one I want. Now these things will cost as much as a darned miter box :(. OK kidding of course but I am looking and really am having trouble finding one that is in good working order.
HOW TO SETUP AND USE THE HAND OPERATEDROCK CRUSHER:The rock crusher is shipped with the handle screwed to the inside of the flywheel. This must be reversed. In the case of the double flywheel version there are two handles. The handle has two flats to accept a 24mm spanner right against the flywheel. Use a 24 spanner or a shifting spanner to hold it still. The nut on the other side of the flywheel is a 30mm spanner. Unscrew the nut and re-mount the handle(s) on the outside so the flywheel can rotate.
The crusher should be mounted on a base for a safe operation. For mobile work it is desirable to mount it on a metal plate or bolt it down on a temporary concrete slab. If the crusher is used on one place only, a sloping base (see picture) can be made for it. The slope makes it very easy to remove the crushed stone. The surface the machine is being bolted onto must be flat. If it is not the frame will be twisted as it is bolted down and it will not work properly. If the surface is already finished and it is not flat, use steel shims under the feet so that when it is bolted tight to the base the frame has not been twisted.
1. There are three adjustment one can make on the Rock Crusher: Top adjustment of the fixed jaw, bottom adjustment of the fixed jaw and stroke adjustment for the swing jaw. Remember that the Fixed Jaw is invertible (can be turned upside down). So it can last you twice as long.
1.1 The adjustment on the top of the Rock Crusher allows you to move the top of the Fixed Jaw (which does not move when the handle is turned) closer to the Swing Jaw (the one that does move). It is used wide open (150mm opening) for crushing large pieces of rock down to a smaller size about 25-40mm. When crushing stone or rubble to a small size (i.e. below 16mm) it will be done in two or more stages for maximum production. The Swing Jaw setting is normally set on the bottom hole which gives the most movement back and forth. To crush rubble (broken cement blocks and concrete), first set the top of the Fixed Jaw to the maximum opening (150mm) and the bottom of the Fixed Jaw also to the maximum size. On the second pass, or when crushing small pieces, set the top of the Fixed Jaw to the 100 position. This is the centre of the three holes. Set the bottom of the Fixed Jaw to give you the final size you want. These smaller settings use a larger proportion of the jaws and crushes more pieces at a time. If the raw material will fit into the 100 or 50mm top opening, make the first pass with a smaller opening unless the material is particularly hard.
1.2 The second adjustment is at the bottom of the Fixed Jaw. This sets the distance between the bottom of the Fixed Jaw and the bottom of the Swing Jaw. The smaller the setting, the smaller the stone has to be in order to pass out of the machine. Do not try to crush stone or rubble down to a small size in one pass. It takes too much time as the lowest teeth have to do most of the grinding.
Pull the pin out of the square bar at the bottom of the Fixed Jaw and align it with the hole that suits the job at hand. There are 5 pin holes and three positions for the Square Bar. This gives 15 steps of 2 mm each. There are four holes in a row with the lowest one giving the smallest size and the top one much larger. The hole out of line near the bottom hole gives the biggest size.
Make the bottom spacing between the jaws in the range of 25 35mm (pin in top hole or in the hole that is out of line). This is the normal setting for the First Pass. After crushing rubble (which will generate some dust and small pieces) use a sieve and take out the larger pieces for re-crushing and make cement blocks with what passes through the sieve.
The third adjustment is the pin at the back of the Swing Jaw. See the three numbered holes in the picture. The pin is much tighter to remove than the other two because it passes through two bearings. Give it a good stiff yank. Clean it if necessary.
The bottom pin has three possible settings. When the pin is in the bottom position (1, and passes through the bearings) the bottom lip of the Swing Jaw moves up and down as well as back and forth slightly. This position passes the most material through the machine per turn. It also allows a large range of sizes to pass through. For example, if the bottom position is used and the Fixed Jaw is set so that the gap between the jaws is 15mm then the Rock Crusher will actually pass out 15-20mm pieces.
If you put in the third pin in the top-most position (3), the range of size produced is reduced. The capacity in wheelbarrows per day is also reduced as it takes more time to pass the pieces through as the Swing Jaw no longer opens and closes at the bottom releasing the stones. The middle setting (2) is a compromise between the two others, allowing a modest range of sizes through. Another type ofhand powered rock crusher.
Crushing rubble for brick making: Set the bottom pin of the Fixed Jaw to the bottom hole nearest to the Swing Jaw. This will make the gap about 6 to 8mm. The handle on the Square Bar cannot be turned to a fine adjustment (2mm each) when the jaws are this close together the pin must be removed, the Square Bar rotated, and the pin re-inserted if you want to change the spacing of the jaws. Re-grind the material sieved out of the first pass. It might be as little as 1/4 of the original volume. It will generate a lot of very small particles and has a slower throughput than before. Sieve the output again for any flat flakes that have made it through the whole process uncrushed. Keep these aside and dump them in when the next batch goes through for a second pass.