A few years ago, Shannon Rogers did a post about what to look for in a hand crank grinder. With that information and my own research, I made a list of what I was looking for.
- Clamp mechanism - must not be bent and has to hold the unit firmly to a table top.
- Wheel nut not frozen. I almost purchased a hand crank grinder on Etsy recently, but the seller couldn't get the wheel off. (I suspect the wheel nut had a reverse thread and the seller tried to take it off the wrong way.)
- Smooth working gears - should be no "chunky" action or roughness when cranking.
- Wheel capacity - must be able to take a 6" wheel.
- No wobble - the wheel should run true without side to side wobble.
- Arbor size - should match whatever wheel I purchased (this turned out to be unimportant, as there was a flange that fit on the arbor and the wheel fits on the flange).
- Tool rest - I didn't want to have to make something myself (though I might do something in the future to make it easier to hold an edge to the wheel more accurately).
|As-found: really grungy like all old grinders|
|Taylor-Sales Co. label|
The wheel on this unit was a 5" Norton with "coarse grit" aluminum oxide abrasive and a 1" arbor hole. This grinder can easily take a 6" wheel. The current wheel is still about 4 7/8" diameter, so not overly used, but I'm still replacing it. I recently bought a new Norton 6" x 3/4", 60 grit Aluminum Oxide wheel. I'll keep the old wheel. It looks a little more coarse than the 60 grit wheel and might come in handy sometime.
|Surprisingly, the wheel that came with the grinder was in decent condition|
The wheel nut is a reverse thread. This is common on grinders with the wheel on the left side. I think most (if not all) power grinders have a reverse thread on the left wheel. This way, as the wheel turns towards you, the nut won't loosen.
|Can you tell it's a left handed thread? Look at all that crud in the threads!|
|The lineup of nut and washers that tighten up the wheel|
|Broken washer stuck in the recess|
The top of the gear box was covered by a piece of metal, held in place like a spring.
|Top of gear box|
|Removing the cover by sliding it to one side (viewed from below)|
|This reveals the gear|
|Full view of the gear - note the angled teeth|
|Here's how it meshes with the drive gear|
One funny thing I found was a washer stuck to the inside of the gear box, smothered in grease. I'm not sure if it is supposed to be installed somewhere on this grinder, but there was no obvious need for it. I wonder what else I might find in there if I could get the gear out!
|Arrow is pointing to a washer stuck in the muck on the wall of the gear box|
|Drive shaft / arbor (cleaned and oiled)|
|Close-up of the step in the shaft|
|Arrow points to the nut holding the back end of the shaft|
|Arrow points to step in shaft|
So I learned something today. When tightened, the shaft is free of the body. It touches the inside of the shaft hole, of course, but it is free to spin as it is not tightened to the body.
The large gear in the gear box is on its own shaft, one side of which protrudes out to the handle. The handle is held to the gear shaft using a set screw that fits into a hole in the shaft. There's a little play, but that doesn't bother me at all since I'll only turn in one direction.
|The setscrew in the handle tightens into the hole in the shaft|
|Handle side of casting with gear shaft protruding|
|Left side of casting|
|A look inside the casting on the wheel side of the gear|
Well, after cleaning it up and liberally oiling all threaded or moving parts with 3 in 1 oil, I reassembled with the new wheel and tried it out. I first had it clamped to a T&G 2x6 board and had the board clamped in a vise (see first and third pictures at top of this post). But I soon realized that I needed to get the grinder further from the bench top. Getting my finger caught between the handle and the bench was not fun. Now I have a 7 1/4" wide board and my hand clears the bench top easily.
|View from above|
|View from side showing clearance between hand and bench when cranking the handle|
I still need to get a wheel dresser - they're on backorder from TFWW, where I got the wheel. But I tried it out anyway on a plane blade and a crappy chisel.
|Action shot of grinding a chisel (sorry, no sparks show up in the pic)|
Oh, one last thing - when I tried it for the first time, the wheel was wobbling about 1/32". I tested for wobble by holding a pencil to the side of the spinning wheel to see where it marked the wheel.
|See pencil marks on the side of the wheel?|
Grinding capability - finally!!! Now it's time to practice!
EDIT (16-Feb-17): The broken plastic washer from the recessed part of the flange was 0.031" thick. I replaced it with a washer made from a piece of plastic milk jug that was 0.019" thick.