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post #1 of 15 Old 09-26-2015, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Bench grinding wheels

Can someone please tell me what grit grinding wheels I should use for sharpening lathe tools?

Thanks Chuck
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-26-2015, 03:26 PM
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About 40 for the coarse wheel and 80 for the fine wheel. Make sure that you get aluminum oxide ore ceramic and not silicon carbide. Also get wheels with a hardness of J or K. The plain white ones are fine for starters. Later on, with more experience you might want to consider some of the fancier wheels.

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post #3 of 15 Old 09-26-2015, 06:05 PM
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I use 80 and 120 grit. This is finer grit than most people recommend, but it works fine for me.
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-26-2015, 07:24 PM
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I've used a 220 grit belt on my belt grinder to sharpen my tools, and that works pretty well for me. Going off the look of the scratches, I'd say that the 220 grit belt I used would probably be about equal to the finish left by a 100-120 wheel. Just be careful with the higher grit wheels, they build up heat a lot faster than a coarser wheel would

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post #5 of 15 Old 09-26-2015, 07:31 PM
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I have a 180 grit CBN wheel I wouldn't trade for anything else.
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post #6 of 15 Old 09-26-2015, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thx for all the help!
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-26-2015, 11:09 PM
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I've used all sorts of sharpening systems from a disc sander and belt sander to the grinders and Tormek system. It's hard to beat a good grinder with White or Blue Aluminum oxide wheels. True them up the best you can because a smooth running grinder will make it easier to sharpen.
Personally I like a grinder with the 180 grit CBN but it's a little pricey.
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-28-2015, 12:11 PM
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I took a class with David Ellsworth this summer and he has all the bells and whistles. After I used his CBN wheels I decided a pair of them had to come live here. There's simply nothing better. I set up a slow speed grinder with an 80 grit and a 180. Mostly, I use the 80 for scrapers and the 180 with the Wolverine jig to polish the gouges.

I'm a fan of belt sanding Skews and use 220 grit for them. Sharpening a Skew on a wheel is likely to leave a curve, or "Hollow Grind" on it and that's not good when you need a flat bevel to ride.

Okay, my opinion only. The two CBN wheels were pricey for sure, but they'll last forever, OUTLAST any of the other material wheels and some of my kids will have to fight over who gets to inherit them. They are true out of the box and do a better job than anything else I've ever seen.
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post #9 of 15 Old 09-28-2015, 04:48 PM
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Have the CBN wheels gotten any cheaper and where is the cheapest sorce? I haven't checked their prices in over a year.
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-28-2015, 05:16 PM
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post #11 of 15 Old 09-28-2015, 05:43 PM
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How much better would a 8 inch wheel be vs a 6" and if I could only afford one what grit would you get?
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post #12 of 15 Old 09-28-2015, 10:01 PM
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Size is determined by your bench grinder and arbor. I only bought one wheel. The 180 grit.
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post #13 of 15 Old 09-29-2015, 10:12 AM
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Again, this is just my opinion! Since you really need the best, polished bevel you can get, buy a CBN wheel to do that; 180 grit is the one. Use a Norton white wheel for your grinding and the CBN wheel to polish the bevel. The thing is, a well polished bevel will last longer than you would expect and it's easier to freshen than you'd believe.

They are expensive. I have the big ones, and the 180 grit has the rounded edges; not necessary, but a nice feature. The point about the money is the same as buying tools; basically, you get what you pay for. Buy Cheap, Get Cheap. If you get an inexpensive wheel, you'll replace it over and over. If you get a CBN wheel, you NEVER replace it. In that regard, ALL the other wheels are more expensive!

Hope that muddies up your waters. Get the CBN wheel(s). You won't be sorry.
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post #14 of 15 Old 09-29-2015, 10:57 AM
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I haven't compared prices lately but Ken usually has about the best prices and they are excellent quality wheels. http://woodturnerswonders.com/collections/cbn-wheels
There's really not much difference in the concave bevel given by a 6i" wheel vs an 8" wheel so use whatever grinder you have. Back when I used a lot of white wheels I changed to an 8" grinder because it simply took longer to wear the wheels down until they were too small to use.
I hollow grind my skews but then always hone the edge with a diamond hone as the last step son in reality I have a flat grind however small it is, and it functions like a flat grind.
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post #15 of 15 Old 10-08-2015, 11:10 PM
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+1 "I haven't compared prices lately but Ken usually has about the best prices and they are excellent quality wheels. http://woodturnerswonders.com/collections/cbn-wheels"

Thanks to this thread, I went to the site and got the 8" 180grit 4-in-1 wheel. The wheel also came with 2 free gifts -- a little magnetic lamp and washers made to help center/balance the wheel on the grinder's shaft. Shipping and taxes brought the price from $169 to somewhere in the $190's. Still a better deal than the ones in the $200+ range.

The results have been pretty good so far. I like the added bonus of using the 1" outside rim of the wheel for sharpening my skews and bedan since it's more flat than the face of the wheel. It feels much safer to use than the regular grinding wheels and I notice less vibration from the grinder since I installed it.

I also have a Woodcraft 120 diamond wheel and notice that the 180 wheel leaves lines on the finish compared to the Woodcraft wheel, which leaves more of a mirror finish. I read that these CBN wheels need a little wearing in at first. I'll leave them a nice review after I've had more time to sharpen things with it.

Last edited by Thorn495; 10-08-2015 at 11:13 PM.
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