Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Smooth Back

For year, I resisted the urge to buy an angle grinder. It just seemed like such a crude tool. But then I looked at the mushrooming of my wedges, basically shrapnel in waiting, and decided to take the plunge. Just like with my buffer, I feel foolish for having waited so long. I keep finding great uses for this tool.

A while back, I saw these "Flap" wheels for the angle grinder at the store and thought that they might come in handy. When I was teaching at Kelly's last week, Roger Clark told me that he'd had great luck using these to sharpen his mower blades. Roger brought one in, but the mower had taken it's toll and it didn't work on the hardened steel we were working with. Always willing to take a $5 bet, I picked up a new one yesterday, and the results are fantastic.

I've been using regular grinding and cutting wheels on the angle grinder to knock down high spots on the back of drawknives while flattening, and it's proven to be faster and more controllable than I had expected. But the smooth action of the flap wheels and ease of control is far superior.

I haven't met the craftsman yet who lives for flattening the back of tools, but honestly, I'm having to control myself from wanting to grab all my knives of the rack and make them this lovely. Well done Roger!


Unknown said...

I just discovered the high value of this tool as well. About two weeks ago I was deciding to use my neighbors angle grinder to flatten some stainless steel welds. The old method I was using was fine but it was really slow and I needed to speed up the process. I got a 80 grit flap wheel and it was fantastic.

I totally agree that for years I had thought this tool looked crude but I bet someone has thought that about the drawknife as well but little do they know.

Again, great post. Nice to see you back in the shop (and at the computer).

Dave Caudill said...

Peter I like you and others dread the time it takes to flatten the back of a drawknife. That's a lot of steel. Of course after I read your post I went down to the basement to check the backs of several drawknifes to see just how flat or convex they were. AS you would suspect warying degrees of flatness. On some I would be a little reluctant to try and flatten the backs. For instance I have several Kimball drawknifes and every one of them has a failr pronounced convex back to them that was obviously done for a reason. What are you thoughts on those that seem to have been designed and produced to have this pronounced convex back. Would you flatten those or just work the edges?

Terry Kelly said...

The better flap wheels can be had at a welding shop, they thread right on the spindle and are blue, alum. oxide. They are spendy but work great. They will eat wood but are super dusty. I used these grinders for years when I used to weld. try using a grinding wheels by Walter, they are the best, Sait's are junk.

Peter Galbert said...

If the convex back seems intentional, I might not mess with it,just polish the edge as best you can, good luck

thanks for the tip, I'll look for the Walter wheels, hope all is well,

Frank Strazza said...

Peter, Is there a way to subscribe to your blog? Thanks for all your entries, such a wealth of knowledge and skill!