The bench grinder is primarily used for sharpening but can also perform other tasks, such as shaping and honing. In addition, it's good for removing burrs from castings, dressing rough metal and handling general metal shaping. Several types of wheels are used on bench grinders:
- The aluminum oxide wheel is used for grinding hard surfaces. It's especially good for sharpening blades.
- Fiber wheels and wire wheels are good for removing rust.
- Silicone carbide wheels are used for grinding finer surfaces.
- With the help of a little wax, a cloth wheel can be used to turn a grinder into a polisher.
- A silicone carbide wheel attached to a bench grinder can sharpen metal tools.
- To sharpen the edges of a slotted screwdriver, for example, rub the tip and sides of the screwdriver along the rotating silicone carbide wheel. This wheel attachment can also be used to round off the edges of metal pipe and to clean or sharpen a piece of sheet metal. Always wear eye protection when grinding or sharpening metal.
- A fiber wheel is attached to a bench grinder to remove burrs or rust from metal.
- A buffing wheel is attached to a bench grinder to buff or polish a work piece. Before turning on the tool, apply wax or another buffing compound to the entire circumference of the wheel. Then hold the piece to be polished against the rotating wheel.
- To change the wheel on a bench grinder, use an adjustable wrench to loosen the nut and washer from the drive shaft. Remove the wheel, and place the new wheel in the drive shaft. Secure the nut and washer over the new wheel to hold it in place. Do not over-tighten the nut: it will automatically tighten as the wheel rotates.