Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Grinding On

Below is a photo of my bench grinder - it's a simple six inch diameter two disc set made by Delta - located between my Wilton vise and the spray booth. The bench grinder was actually a gift from a former relative, and it has served me very well since 2008. But I'm a bit lazy and prefer not to have to change the discs if I can help it. Or to put that another way, I really wanted a second bench grinder, so that I could have simultaneous access to a polishing wheel, a wire brush and a grinding wheel or two without faffing about.   

The six inch diameter wheels suit my needs pretty well, so I decided to just get another grinder the same size. Delta have made some modifications to the grinder in the last fifteen years, which we'll get to in a bit. Firstly though, I need to make space for it. There would have been plenty of space next to the existing grinder in the area where I built the paint booth. So, I just wound back the clock to 2020 and I was done: 

LOL.....not really. For one thing, I don't want to lose my paint booth. Incidentally, one of my mates, we'll call him Dave Pacific Gas, pointed out the other day that the "futuristic" inventions we were all promised as kids have mostly come true, except two things. That's right, we might have video phones, the internet and remote control weaponry, but we're still waiting for flying cars and time travel!

Fortunately, there was a solution on hand, and it started with removing the old grinder and the vise, and ripping the boards off the top:

I followed that by beefing up the left side support - this will be the approximately central support at the extended bench:

The is with the third "leg" constructed but not quite attached:

The aged redwood boards I ripped off were trimmed by a couple of inches, so they end at the center of the middle support, and I still had two of the older boards in the shop. I filled in the space with some scraps of modern redwood. I did think about sanding down the whole bench top and refinishing it with polyurethane... 

Instead, I went upstairs for a cup of Rosie, and managed to regain my composure. Then I went back downstairs and re-installed the original bench grinder in the same place, added the new one, and mounted the vise at the end.

So....what improvements/differences are there between the new grinder and the old one? The most obvious is the shape of the base - the older model has a hexagonal base and two mounting holes...

....while the new model has a rectangular shape and takes four bolts to secure it. The new model also has a small tray at the front which can be filled with water and then used to cool item(s) being worked on. A nice feature, but it would only be useful for small items.

The older model has dust guards which can be lifted out of the way for larger work pieces or when you need to get a good look at what you're doing...

...the dust guards are fixed with the newer version, which is annoying but probably safer...unless they get taken off completely. The model # and what not is also clearly visible on the new grinder. I had to unbolt the old one from the bench top to access this information. 

The older model had what Delta calls "quick release technology" for changing the wheels. Basically, the guard piece is held on with one thumbscrew, and the "nut" which holds the wheel can be flipped and removed by hand:

Delta no longer provides this feature, so the new one has the old fashioned setup: you have to remove three screws and break out the 3/4 inch wrench to change the wheels on this one. The thing is, I could never be bothered to change the wheels anyway, hence the need to buy a second grinder. In fact, isn't this where we started..... 

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