How to Properly Use a Bench Grinder to Clean or Polish Metal

What You'll Need
Protective goggles
Thick leather gloves
Buffing wheel
Bucket of cold water

A bench grinder is a useful piece of equipment because it has a number of different uses. By understaing the traits of a bench grinder, you will always be aware of the practices needed to use a grinder properly and to keep yourself safe whenever you are cleaning or polishing metal.

Step 1 – Peruse Manual

If you have retained the instruction manual for the bench grinder, it is a good idea to peruse it if you are not used to changing the wheel. In addition to the type of wheel, it should also confirm the size of the wheel required so that it fits at a distance of approximately 1/16 of an inch away from the table rest.

Step 2 – Change Wheel

You must initially ensure that you are using the correct wheel for the job and this will involve fitting a buffing wheel. Begin this process by switching off the bench grinder at the mains. You will then be in a position to remove the safety guard and table rest so that you can access the wheel fully. Locate the fasteners that secure the components in place and remove then with a screwdriver or wrench before storing them safely.

You should be able to remove the safety guard completely and pull out the rest until it is free from the wheel. Use a wrench to loosen and remove the nut holding the wheel in place. Carefully withdraw it from the spindle and store it in a safe place by laying it flat. Reverse the process to fit the buffing wheel into place, making sure the nut is fully tightened. Properly secure the table rest and the safety guard.  

Step 3 – Safety Preparation

As with any tool, you must undertake some preparation to ensure that you remain safe when using the bench grinder. Use close fitting overalls or an apron that has the cords tightly secured so that they do not hang loose. In addition to thick leather gloves to protect your hands and improve your grip, wear goggles to protect your eyes.  

Step 4 – Technique

Reconnect the power supply of the bench grinder and stand to the side of the tool when you switch it on. Allow it get reach its full speed before attempting to use it. Firmly grip the item that you intend to buff or clean and move to the front of the grinder. A flat item can be laid against the table rest and slowly moved toward the wheel, ensuring that you are keeping a firm grip of it throughout.

Alternatively, you can simply hold onto the item and move it slowly toward the buffing wheel until it makes contact. Keep a firm grip of the item and steadily move it to ensure that the clean or polish is undertaken evenly. Do not let yourself be distracted or allow your eyes to wander from the wheel while you are using it. Be aware that metal will get hot using this method so keep a bucket of water to hand to dip the item in to cool it down.