There are tools designed with precision in mind such as a band saw or a wood plane. There are tools designed for specific purposes such as a nail set or a chalk line. Then there are tools designed to accomplish several tasks with a varying degree of accuracy dependent upon the user. A perfect example of this latter type of tool is the bench grinder.
The bench grinder can be used for tasks including polishing, sharpening, deburring, sanding and so on. Its myriad of uses make it a mainstay tool for most home handymen and also makes it perhaps incorrectly used for many tasks. The accuracy of a bench grinder is dependent upon its user and certain tasks such as sharpening a knife on a bench grinder is a hit or miss task that requires a lot of skill.
Bench grinders fit into many categories, but this article will review grinders designed with the home handyman in mind. These 6 inch models are low priced units with ample power for typical tasks, but not considered adequate for heavy duty projects.
First up is the Dewalt DW 756. This unit comes in at 4 amps and has a speed of 3,450 rpm. It weighs a bulky 28.5 lb and is typically priced around $90. The unit operates smoothly and quietly with ample power for most tasks. The tool rests are wide and adjust to any angle. The eye shields are thick plastic and provide ample protection.
Next up is the Delta GR250. This unit packs only 2.5 amps of power but has a variable speed motor that ranges from 2,000 to 3,450 rpm. It weighs in at 25 lb and is priced around $75. This unit features a top mounted lamp and V groove tool rest accessory. The tool rest is adjustable though only to preset detentes. It operates smoothly and quietly though ultimately lacking the power of the Dewalt.
Finally, in the bargain category is the is the Ryobi BGH615. This model pack a mere 2.1 amps and has a single speed motor with a high top speed of 3,600 rpm. It weighs in at 22 lb. It comes with a lamp and V-groove tool rest. The eye shields are clear plastic but small in size. Due to its low power, the wheels take long to come up to speed . Additionally, the tool rests are not adjustable making fine sharpening difficult.
Bench grinders are versatile tools for all do it yourselfers. The three choices above help to provide a comparison of brands and price ranges.
The above models may or may not be discontinued as the makers constantly update their grinders. If so, a comparable model will be available from each company.
Thomas Klenck, “PM Comparison Test: 5 Bench Grinders”, Popular Mechanic