"Soft" wheel for new bench grinder?

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Old 01-26-13, 07:22 AM
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"Soft" wheel for new bench grinder?

I got a new Ryobi 6" bench grinder for christmas and want to start putting a new edge on my wood chisels. A friend says I should use a "soft" wheel for this. I have no idea if one of the two wheels that came with mine is one os these. How do I identify a "soft" wheel? Thanks.
 
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Old 01-26-13, 07:55 AM
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Bench grinders and chisels don't really belong in the same sentence. The wheels turn too fast and create too much heat for the sharp edges. A soft wheel will not be as grainy as the hard one. I would opt for a rolling sharpener for my chisels. It rolls at the right angle across a diamond stone. No burns, no loss of temper as you will find with using a high speed wheel.
 
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Old 01-27-13, 08:58 AM
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What chandler said. Don't ruin your chisels by grinding on them. Sharpen them by hand on a wet stone and a diamond hone or invest in a proper low speed sharpener.

As to the wheel grade (hardness), each should be labeled with a letter from A to Z. A - soft (loose grain), Z - hard (tight grain).
 
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Old 01-27-13, 12:08 PM
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Thanks guys. That clearly seems the way to go.
 
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Old 01-27-13, 05:12 PM
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Or you can "scary sharp". LINK I've been using this method for years and I prefer it to whetstones. The link doesn't provide adequate detials but it will give you an idea about the method. IMO It's quicker and easier and it's definitely cheaper. The only real investment is the blade guide that Larry mentioned. I use a scrap piece of granite countertop as a flat surface.

MarkSr - I have a set of "crap" chisels in my garage that I sharpen on a grinder all the time. I use them for rough work, hammering nails, prying open paint cans etc. I keep my bench grinder in the garage and not in my shop so that no one would ever be tempted to "touch up" one of my chisels on it.
 
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Old 01-27-13, 05:34 PM
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Sorry gang, but chisels do need to be ground every now and again. You use the grinder to remove a lot of material. You will need to do that to remove a nick in the edge or if the edge is very dull and you need to remove a lot of material to get it sharp again. You do have to be careful not to over heat the chisel when you grind. It is very easy to turn the steel blue and once that happens, the temper is gone. I keep a small cup of water nearby so I can quickly cool the chisel as I go.

What you guys recommend is called honing. You still need to hone your chisel after it is ground to get a sharp edge to it. Trying to hone a nick out of your blade is going to take forever. If you regularly hone your chisels, you will never have to grind them because they are very dull.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 05:53 AM
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Being a naildriver, I understand both sides of the coin. I have chisels that I let my guys use when they need one for a specific job. They get sharpened on the belt sander that I have set up just for that, at the right angle, etc. NOBODY touches MY chisels. Mine never get to the point of needing grinding. Sort of like a good pocket knife...only sharper.

I lent an electrician a chisel once. He was on a ladder and was having a problem with getting a wire installed..............NEVER lend your chisels to electricians or plumbers. THAT chisel was toast, and needed severe grinding and honing.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 06:18 AM
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Droop - I have two sets of wood chisels in my shop, one set is nearly 30 years old. I have never put them on a grinder. There is no need. They never get nicked or dull, just differing degrees of sharp. Just like a pocketknife.

I think we may be talking about two different animals here. General purpose chisels, the kind you lend to a helper, and woodworking chisels, the kind you wouldn't lend to your mother.
 
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Old 01-30-13, 06:32 PM
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I sort of have two different sets of chisels as well. I'll even say three. I have the cheapo garbage Craftsmen chisels for general carpentry duty for around the house. They stink and I'll use them to smash throw brads any day. The steel is so bad that they are never sharper enough to cut anything harder than pine.

I have my set of Marples for cabinet making. I take three of these to work and hone them to 1200 grit on a diamond stone. One of those chisels I use for nasty stuff like scraping glue or whatever. That I have to grind a lot. The other two I treat nicer and use them for fine work.

My third set would be 3 Japanese hand made chisels. I used to use them at work, but found it was a waste of time because most guys I work for don't appreciate quality work. So why drag them around with me? They are also harder steel than the Marples. I bring these to a polish with an 8000 grit wet stone. Because of their hardness, they are far more prone to nicks when chiseling wood. But even with the Marples, when you chisel woods like white oak or ebony, you can guarantee your chisels will get nicks.
 
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Old 01-31-13, 04:56 AM
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I may be using my chisels differently than you, but my good ones never feel a hammer, unless it is a soft hammer such as my croquet mallet with a sawed off handle. I consider mine "hand" tools. Hand pressure is mostly what is needed with them to do what I want. If I have rough work to do, I drop down to my cheap ones.
 
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