Grinding Wheels – What Are They?

When it comes to vertical pneumatic grinders, few professionals in metalworking, fabrication, foundry and casting facilities really think about the type of grinding wheels they’re using. But that’s not all. There are different types of grinding wheels, and each one performs a different function. Here’s some information on when to utilize a vertical grinder vs a horizontal grinder for the best work done right in your shop.

Vertical Grinder

First of all, you should never use a vertical grinder with any other type of power-driven cutting tool, such as a router, a table saw or any other machine with a moveable cutting blade. A vertical grinder is designed specifically to make a horizontal workpiece stable, and to do so without causing it to flip over. All that will happen is that the vertical grinder will clamp the workpiece to a stationary stand that has a lower jaw than the workpiece. This lower jaw will clamp down onto the piece, hold it still and make the horizontal workpiece stationary, while the vertical grinder continues to grind away at its own pace, with the workpiece at the bottom of the chuck. The speed of the vertical grinder will be determined by the manufacturer, but it should be fairly fast for heavy-duty tasks.

In addition, the design of the vertical grinder also needs to take into account the way the workpiece moves as it is moved. If you need to work with a large workpiece, or move it quickly, then you’ll probably want to choose a vertical grinder with a larger chuck, or a series of small grinders that can fit inside a vertical chuck. A big vertical grinder may cost more up front, but it will produce optimum results over time, due to its ability to accommodate an ever-increasing load. These are much better choices for the serious woodworker who wants to maximize his or her production speed and efficiency.

Yet another type of vertical grinder is the one that operates using a pneumatic vertical grinding machine, which is a little slower than the pneumatic types mentioned earlier. These grinders use a separate motor for vertical grinding, and a pulley system for counter-top operation. They’re great for producing long, even grains in hardwoods like oak and maple, and they’re inexpensive and easy to maintain. Their downside is that they don’t get as deep of a grind as the vertical grinders do, and they cost a little more. However, they produce a finely ground finish in both soft and hardwoods and have relatively little wear and tear.

The last type of vertical grinders we’re going to discuss is the depressed center wheel grinder. These vertical grinders are very similar to the vertical grinders discussed earlier except that they have a center “punching” area where the grinding stroke is made. As with the vertical grinder, the operation of this type of grinder is dictated by the height of the stock. The vertical grinders’ design makes them more suited for producing coarse finishes on softwoods like birch and oak, while the depressed center wheel grinders’ design makes them better suited for producing finer finishes on harder woods like maple and mahogany. The depression occurs right below the center of the spindle, and the raised areas are great for producing a very deep scratch in the wood. Unfortunately, these grinders can be quite loud due to their mechanical design, and they also require a lot of maintenance.

All three of the different types of vertical grinder wheels discussed here – the pneumatic, the electric and the depressed center wheel – have their advantages and disadvantages, and all three work best for specific applications. Most homeowners will find that the use of a vertical grinder is most practical for producing fine finishes on softer woods like oak and birch, and is generally the preferred method of grinding wheel activity for most furniture makers. However, there are some creative furniture makers who use their vertical grinder wheels to grind very deep scratch patterns into hardwoods, such as maple and mahogany. Regardless of the type of wheel used, one important fact must be remembered: the more grinding power a grinder has, the faster the material removal process must take place.