Maintaining a bench grinder wheel
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Photo 1: Unclog the pores
Rest the dresser on the tool rest and start the grinder. Then turn
it off and press the tool against the grinding wheel as it slows.
Repeat several times until the wheel feels rough to the touch
(wait until it stops, please!).
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This "star wheel" dresser removes built-up grains of metal that clog the wheel grit.
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Photo 2: Ring-test new and used wheels
Slide the wheel over your finger and tap the wheel in four places
with a screwdriver handle. All taps should sound the same. If
they don't, scrap the wheel. It's cracked.
Lots of DIYers own a bench grinder. But not everyone knows
which wheel to use for which metal or how to care for the
wheels. So we consulted the experts and came up with
these nuggets to keep you in the grind.
First, use aluminum oxide wheels for ferrous metals and
silicon carbide for all the others (brass, copper, aluminum).
Next, dress the wheels regularly to remove clogged grains.
Use either a “star wheel” dresser or a diamond dresser
available through our affiliation with amazon.com. The
diamond style (not shown) “retrues” the wheel a bit. But
don’t expect either tool to “resquare” your wheel—that kind
of rig costs a bundle.
Theoretically you can keep using your
wheels until they wear
down to the label. But
you should replace
them when they’re too
small to use with the
tool rest. Before you
install a new wheel
or reinstall a used one,
always “ring-test” it to
make sure there are no cracks (Photo 2). Tighten the wheel
only enough to prevent it from slipping. Overtightening can
crack the wheel.