Gallery, Projects and General > Project Logs

Another "Next Project"

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There I was, perusing the local Craigslist ads and there it was, "Large Belt Drive Grinder". The ad went on to say the seller was including 2 extra "New" grinder wheels but no motor. I call the number more out of curiosity than any real need for such a thing. The owner says "Sure, I still have it and you can come see it at 4 o'clock."

I arrived at the address and the owner met me in the drive and led me to the basement where the grinder arbor was setting on the bench along with the extra wheels as promised. Turns out to be a brand spanking new 8", cast iron, ball bearing grinder arbor. I mean BRAND NEW, as in it had never been bolted down. "It was here when I bought the house. I'll will never use it."

The only identification on the arbor is the cast in "CB-8" inside the frame casting.

The grinder rests are sturdy, yet fully adjustable cast iron.

Another view of the grinder rest. Besides the casting numbers the only other markings is the "Ball Bearing" decal, which upon close inspection of the logo appears to have been a Timken decal.

The wheel guards are mounted on sliding adjusters as well.

I told the PO I would take the arbor and handed over his $25 asking price without haggling. "There is a box of other stuff there if you are interested."

I pulled the box out and rummaged through, finding a vintage Fairmont planishing hammer, an NOS Heller sheet metal bumping hammer and a Craftsman adjustable file frame with what appears to be a new Vixen file. I laid the treasures on the bench and asked "How much you think this is worth?"

"$25?" the PO replied. "Whatever they are, I am sure I will never use them."

I again pulled out the cash and paid the asking price, trying to conceal the glee of acquiring two of the most sought after tools on every metalshapers "Quest List".

New "Monkey Wards" Grinding wheels.

Aluminum Oxide 8"X1 1/2"X1" Medium/Fine and Medium/Course

Sheetmetal Hammers and Adjustable File Frame

What is an Adjustable File Frame? It allows you to curve the file to fit a crown.

Now to design and build a pedestal for this thing.  It should be far superior to the small grinders I have been using for lathe bit sharpening. 

Divided he ad:
Sometimes Rog' you just get lucky  ;D

Nice find... I'll look out for the pedistal/motor ass'y post. (assuming it is going to appear on this thread?)


It could be worse, seems there was more choice in 1920.....

Some interesting designs considering they didn't have wide availability of electric motors


--- Quote from: Darren on January 09, 2009, 08:02:10 AM ---It could be worse, seems there was more choice in 1920.....

Some interesting designs considering they didn't have wide availability of electric motors

--- End quote ---

Considering that electricity was not widely available in the rural areas of the US until the late 1930s these types of shop equipment were common.  Even into the 1960s electrical equipment was somewhat limited by the grid.  When my uncle moved onto the "home place", the first thing he had to do was upgrade the electric service to a 200 amp service from the 60 amp panel wouldn't carry his household appliances let alone run the milk cooler and milking machines at the same time.

Those hand cranked grinders are still available today.  At the time of that catalog those were considered a "kitchen appliance" as knives required sharpening on a frequent basis, due to the quality of steel alloys in common use at the time.  Larger models were common to blacksmith shops and peddlers carts.  I purchased one of the 3" models sometime ago at a garage sale and cleaned it up for display on my mantel.  It works as well today as it did when it was made in the 19teens or 1920s when it was made.

I have childhood memories of cranking my grandfathers grinder in his little repair shed. 

My parents would occasionally park me at my grand parents for the weekend and Granddad would take me to the milk barn to milk first thing in the morning and after breakfast ( I can still smell the fresh baked scratch biscuits and sausage gravy) he would take me to the workshop to repair the stuff that had broken during the previous week.  My jobs were to crank the centrifugal blower on his forge, crank the grinder, haul water for the slack bucket from the well, and make myself useful however I was told.  That was their idea of "babysitting" that today would probably get them arrested for something like "child endangerment".  Could you imagine a "soccer mom" letting her 5 year old wander around a barnyard with a herd of cows and handling white hot steel?


That grinder unit reminds me of my early years in the 50's. We used to have a chap come around about every three months on a bicycle, and he had one of those rigged on the back of his bike.
He had a frame that lifted the back wheel off the ground, and sitting on a back to front seat on the cross bar, then he used to pedal backwards. The drive for the grinder came from a v-grooved ring mounted on the side of the back wheel rim. He used to pedal away and sharpen all the knives, scissors, hedgecutters etc, that the housewives used to bring out to him.

We called your Craftsman adjustable files a 'Surform' adjustable file in the UK and when I worked for Rolls Royce making their custom cars, those Surforms were standard issue to the white metal line for dressing down the lead body filling to get nice sharp edges on the body pressings and subsequent build up of lead. About 100lbs of lead was used on each main steel body to enable nice sharp edges on everything. They could be adjusted to the curved form of the body panels. The doors, bonnets and boot (trunk) lids were made of ali, and were dressed down out of the thick raw material they were pressed out of, to match the sharp edges of the bodies.

I still have all my panel beating hammers somewhere, from my R-R days, all the sharp corners were rounded off and polished all over to a chrome like finish, so any slight 'slips' didn't cause any further damage.


My very first 'lathe' was made out of one of those hand grinders, with a drill chuck in place of the stone. I hand 'graved' everything to shape, and that was what got me into model engineering at a very early age.



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