Vicmarc Grinding System
Reviewed by Terry Martin
Conventional grinders are outdated technology with many disadvantages: the tempering of tools is easily destroyed by overheating, the abrasive debris can damage your lungs, the wheels require constant dressingand, most alarmingly, the wheels can disintegrate with deadly results.
I am a recent convert to wet grinding which has none of the above problems, but it is slow, which is a major drawback, particularly for shaping of tools. The arrival of carbon boron nitride (CBN) wheels has solved this problem. I don’t need to understand the chemistry of CBN to know that it passes every test I can throw at it. No overheating, no debris, always runs true, and sharpens far better than conventional grinders.
Until now the main way to switch to CBN in Australia was to order the wheels and fit them on your existing grinder. But now Vicmarc Machinery has produced its own CBN grinding system and it works wonderfully.
The 1500 watt grinder runs at a slow 1500rpm, which means less heating. The wheels are a hefty 200 x 40 mm. Set-up is simple if you follow the handbook. Two slide assemblies are attached to the bench either side of the grinder for accurate positioning of the grinding accessories.
The Grinding Rest is similar to traditional rests, but it can be quickly adjusted with repeatable accuracy for many operations. The Quick Tool Setter makes setting the most popular angles easy.
The Sharpening Jig is a swinging arm for simple shaping and sharpening of the kind of complex bevels that give many woodworkers nightmares. It is a robust device that accommodates many tools that can’t be sharpened in some other jigs, such as shorter tools.
The left wheel is a coarser 80 grit, suitable for shaping, while the right wheel is fine enough at 180 grit to give a silky finish. While the system will particularly appeal to woodturners, other tools, knives and scissors can be sharpened on this system. The abrasive also wraps 40mm around the side of the wheels so you have a flat surface for special grinding jobs. My workshop is now cleaner and my old grinders have been put out to pasture. This system will save me money and time as tools will last longer and cut more efficiently.
Reprinted from Australian Wood Review, issue 87. Available from Vicmarc Machinery (07) 3284 3103, www.vicmarc.com
Terry Martin is a regular contributor to Australian Wood Review, learn more about him at www.terrymartinwoodartist.com