What bench grinder?

I always wanted a bench grinder so I looked at the big box stores today. Which should I get?
8", 10", 12"
Does it matter that all the plastic protection plates looked flimsy? Does it matter to have a water tray attached?
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On Sun, 6 Jan 2013 05:52:28 +0000 (UTC), Jackson Jones

All that stuff matters. What you need depends on what you want to grind. Are you heavy into metal working? Knife sharpening? Automotive tinkering? Tool sharpening?
No matter what you buy, get a decent pair of safety glasses or a face shield to wear when you use it.
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Face shield! I'm not saying I never grind with just safety glasses-- but face sheilds are a much better habit to start right from the gitgo.
Eyesight is paramount-- but having a 4" long hunk of metal sticking through your upper lip is no fun at all.- a good grinder will be able to toss some pretty sizeable crap at your face.
Jim [the 8"(6?) dual wheel grinder I got at Harbor Freight for about $40 is one of my *few* dissapointments from them- It is powerless- the stand is nice, though]
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For the record, my personal policy is to never buy anything that 'plugs in' from one of those ultra discount places, and/or 'dollar' stores.
Should a for real name brand product be found in one, thats another matter...
Erik
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On Sun, 6 Jan 2013 05:52:28 +0000 (UTC), Jackson Jones

6" is plenty for typical home use. You need a face mask for good protection. Still won't protect you if you let what you're grinding fly. So the tool rest is what I look at first. Some are really lousy with wingnuts/connectors that come loose or are hard to adjust. After that I like a light and water tray. Any container does for water though, since you usually fetch water because the tray dried up. A tray attached to the grinder is more handy.
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Personally, I wouldn't even bother with a bench grinder. A 4" belt sander is more practical and useful. When I was a machinist, the grinder gathered cobwebs while our Baldor belt sander was in constant use. Metal, plastic, wood, tools, drill bits, etc. The only thing the grinder got used for was grinding special lathe bits. Now, most ppl don't even know how to grind a lathe bit. A good belt sander like a Baldor is gonna cost ya', unless you buy used, but it's worth every penny. It'll see more use than any bench/power tool in your shop.
nb
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I guess that goes back to what Steve asked-- what are you going to use it for?
If I could only have one-- for my shop- I'd probably go with the belt sander. [even a portable one]
but there are times when I'm glad I've got [even my underpowered junker] a bench grinder.
Jim
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They can also throw themselves pretty tragically.
A friend of a friend used the friend of the second part's grinder, complete with 3/4 metal wheel shields and protective glasses. That didn't stop the wheel itself from shattering and launching itself into the friend of the first part's face. End result, first-part-friend lived, but was no longer first choice on the bar scene.
nb
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Years ago I saw a wheel come apart... luckily no one was hurt or injured. Scared hell out of me...
It was obvious beyond a shadow of a doubt, that more than lethal kinetic energy was released... even in the smaller wheel chunks.
To this day I give all grinders a lot of respect, and try to never be in line with a spinning wheel.
I suggest buying a 'real' grinder and wheels... neither of which will likely be found in a big box outfit. Also, read, heed, understand and follow all safety precautions... every time you use it. Also, secure from from kids, morons and/or anyone else likely to cause an accident.
Just my .02? worth.
Erik
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Even a belt sander will kick the work good enough to draw blood, but a belt is not likely to take out bones and major organs. The only advantage I see to a grinder is using a wire wheel, but even then it spins a wire wheel fast enough to make heavy wire extremely dangerous. Gimme a brass wire wheel in a 3/8" drill motor. Slower, but mucho safer.
nb
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Jackson Jones wrote:

What do you want to grind?

Not much IMO, YMMV

Can be handy.
More important than any of the above - again, IMO - is the tool rest. Most all bench grinders come with rests that vary between bad and lousy.
--

dadiOH
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Along with the rest of yer face.
nb
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I have been using the same manual bench grinder from my dad for 50 years ? I should get a new wheel. Fairly small, no more than 6 inch.
Greg
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