Tag Archives: Tools

Grinder Stand

Like every wood worker, I spend time sharpening my tools. As a woodturner I spend a lot more time at the grinder. A while ago I purchased another grinder that was on sale. Having a second grinder for woodturning tools allows me to keep the jig settings without having to constantly change them when I need to sharpen a different style tool. Some turners have three or more grinders so they rarely have to adjust the settings.

My main grinder has been attached to a base and sits on my workbench. I’ve always had two issues with this: it takes up valuable workbench space and whenever I check the alignment of the tool to the wheel I have to bend over to see it. It’s that second part that I find the most frustrating. So this new grinder has been sitting in its box because I wanted to build a stand that will bring it up to my height. I knew if I unboxed it and put it on the workbench I’d never get around to building a stand.

Grinder Stand PlansI searched through my Wood magazine collection for some stand ideas and I found one in the May 2011 issue that looked promising. The only problem I had with it was the height. But that is easily resolved with a little re-design.

I had a three quarter sheet of plywood sitting in the shop and that was just the right size for my stand. In their design the side leg panels were 36 inches high, so I made my 50 inches. Because of the extra height I also made the panels wider at the base so it wouldn’t be tippy.

This is one of those projects that start out simple but then I kept adding to it. I added a second shelf to hold the jig fixtures and storage for spare grinder wheels on the back. My Delta grinder has a built in lamp that does a good job of providing light right where I need it. The new grinder doesn’t have that option. As soon as I mounted the grinder on the stand I knew I needed a light, I had an Ikea LED light that would work well for that. After I mounted the light I realized I now had two power cords to deal with, and that’s not good. I added an outlet with a switch to the side to fix that.

The centerline of the grinder sits at 56 1/2″ which is about the center of my chest and over a foot higher than the other grinder. In the few times I’ve already used it I feel much more comfortable standing straight up compared to the old setup on the workbench. The stand seems sturdy and I can slide it around the shop as needed rather easily. The only issue I have is vibration. The wheels aren’t balanced so when I turn it off the stand it vibrates as the wheels come to a stop. It doesn’t seem to be an issue when they are running at full speed, only when they hit a lower speed coming to a stop. As a work around I’m considering adding a box near the base and filling it with sand to dampen the vibration. Of course the proper solution would be to balance the wheels but I don’t have the tools to do that correctly.


Old and New grinders

Grinder Stand Side View

Grinder Stand Side View

Grinder Stand Storage

Grinder Stand Storage

It looks like I’m going to have to make one for the other grinder now.

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Golden Ratio Calipers

The Golden Ratio is represented as a ratio of 1 : 1.618…. In art and architecture the Golden Ratio is frequently used in the form of the Golden Rectangle. Because this ratio is widely considered to be aesthetically pleasing it has also been used by woodworkers for a long time. The dimensions of dressers, book cases, tables and other furniture often contain aspects of the Golden Rectangle.

In woodturning I frequently use this ratio as a guide during the design process to develop the height and width of my turnings. As an example, if the block of wood allows for a 6 inch wide vase then using the golden ratio calculation the target height should be approximately 9.75 inches high.

The other day I found instructions for making Golden Ration Calipers. Anything that allows me to spend more time turning and less time doing math calculations gets my approval. So I decided to make a set and see how they work.

The instructions are located on the Woodturners Unlimited site at: http://www.woodturnersunlimited.com/index.php/tools/29-golden-ratio-calipers-fibonacci-gauge

Take the jump over there and check out the directions. They are very straight forward. Then come back and I’ll tell you what I did differently and what I would change if I made another set.


Golden Ratio Calipers

Golden Ratio Calipers

The first decision to make is what size I want the calipers to be. To keep it easy I used the same dimensions that the author used. These seemed like they would fit the size turnings I frequently make.

I decided to make my calipers out of a spare Lyptus board I had on the wood rack. Lyptus is a Brazilian grown plantation wood that was developed from several Eucalyptus species. The tree grows quickly with long straight trunks. Being a very straight grain wood means the calipers will not easily warp.

The instructions call for 4 quarter inch binding posts from Lowes. I don’t have a Lowes close by but finding binding posts elsewhere should not be that hard. At least that’s what I thought. I search two local hardware stores where I’ve always been able to purchase any size nut and bolt but came up empty. I then tried Home Depot and again could not find them. So I ended up taking a trip to Lowes and found the parts.

I also purchased 4 nylon washers. I placed these between the pieces of wood on each binding post. I thought this would be just as effective and simpler than making my own out of acetate as the instructions indicate.

During assembly I used blue thread locker on the binding post screws instead of CA glue. If the need to disassemble the calipers occurs the thread locker will be easier than trying to break the CA glue bond.

If I make another set, one design change will be to add the ability to hang the calipers from a peg. I would do this by extending one of the long legs an additional inch above the top pivot point to accommodate a peg hole.

Caliper top

The following two pictures shows a vase I’m turning and how the calipers where used to guide me in sizing and shaping the vase.

Caliper UsageCaliper Usage

Posted in OnTheLathe

It’s Never That Easy

Of course it couldn’t be as simple as cleaning out the built up saw dust. Turns out the eccentric sleeve and the tilt shaft were grinding against each other. It took some time, muscle, WD-40 and a lot of patience to get the two apart. The shaft has some slight grooves ground into it. A search for the parts on the Delta site says that these two parts are no longer available. I will have to call Delta and ask if there is a replacement part number.
In the mean time I was able it smooth out some of the ridges on the shaft. Then I got everything cleaned up and put back together. It’s all working good now but I will have to pursue a replacement shaft so this saw can last another 14 years.

Posted in OnTheLathe

Table Saw Repair

Yes even woodturners need a good table saw. The tilt mechanism on this one has been acting up. It finally got to the point that it would not tilt at all. I’m hoping that a good cleaning of the gears is all that’s needed. The saw is over 14 years old and has held up great to this point. No reason I can’t get another 14 out of it.

Posted in OnTheLathe