Introduction To Bench Grinder Knife Sharpening Systems

Throughout the history of civilization, humans have used stone and metal tools for cutting, scraping and piercing. Sharp blades were a necessity for success in hunting and warfare, making sharpening an essential skill. Early man used sandstone or flint to grind metal pieces such as arrowheads into sharpened shape with the use of hand-held grinding tools. As knives became commonplace tools and weapons, metal sharpeners replaced their predecessors.

Bench grinder knife sharpening systems are metal grinders used to produce a fine edge on cutting implements such as knives and scissors. The system employs two wheels that rotate at different speeds while passing a file, abrasive wheel or leather strap between them. A bench grinder can be powered by an electric motor or manually driven by a hand crank. Depending on the type of wheel being used, shapes ranging from flat blades to pointed spear tips can be sharpened effectively with no need for honing oils or other additional accessories. The bench grinder is considered a staple tool in any professional kitchen setting due to its practicality and wide range of purposes; it has been known to sharpen axes, saws, hatchets and more in addition to knives and scissors.

Types of Bench Grinders and When to Use One

Bench grinders are the most common of knife sharpening systems, mostly because of their affordability and ease of use. There are two main types of bench grinders, each designed for a specific type of blade. The first type is a soft grinding wheel bench grinder, which uses a relatively fine grit stone to sharpen softer metals like copper and brass as well as ceramic knives. The second type is a hard grinding wheel bench grinder that features much coarser wheels, specifically suitable for sharpening tools made from harder, more durable metals such as steel or stainless steel. Both types of bench grinders are capable of producing very sharp knives.

Bench grinders are also highly versatile: with adjustable speed to ensure the correct grade for particular knives and blades. Complex edges can be created with combination stones; however this requires some skill so it’s best left to experienced knife enthusiasts or professionals. Some common blades people typically sharpen using bench grinders include kitchen, utility and hunting knives; chef’s knives; axe heads; woodworking tools such as chisels – among many others.

Benefits of Sharpening with a Bench Grinder

A bench grinder knife sharpening system provides several advantages for sharpening knives. First, it is an incredibly safe option for knife sharpening, as you are able to perform the process with a firm grasp on the handle of the grinder instead of having your fingers very close to the blade like when sharpening by hand. Additionally, you will be able to achieve a precise edge while using a bench grinder as they are usually fitted with adjustable guards and jigs that allow you to sharpen at chosen angles.

Another benefit of using a bench grinder knife sharpening system is the lower cost compared to taking it to a professional service. The initial investment does require some expense but once you have sourced all you need, most of your costs will just cover replacement parts such as grinding wheels and maybe jigs. Finally, if used correctly, the results should be long-lasting; nothing beats a good edge when properly achieved!

Features of a High-Quality Bench Grinder

1. Heavy Duty Motor: Look for a beefy motor that can provide the power you need to complete your sharpening project. Usually, motors of at least 1/2 horsepower or higher are ideal for knife sharpening projects.

2. Variable Speed Control: This feature is highly recommended when honing and finishing edges. The slower speeds help to prevent overheating, warping of the blade, and burning of the steel which can dull its edge quickly.

3. Splash Guard: A splash guard will help keep debris from entering other parts of the workspace and helps to protect operators from oil spray or sparks emitted by the grinding wheels rotating at high speed.

4. Grinding Wheels: Choose two stone grinding wheels- one coarse and one fine- with a bonding agent that won’t come off easily causing it to reduce in size more quickly than expected and slow down the process of sharpening blades efficiently . Additionally, look for rubberized mounting swivels which allow easy angle adjustments while working on knives or other materials safely in your workshop environment.

5. Tool Rest: You’ll also want to ensure that your bench grinder has detailed adjustable tool rests designed specifically for knife sharpening purposes so that you can set a precise angle on each side while honing and polishing blades accordingly – usually 30 degrees on either side is generally sufficient if you’re just starting out but experiment with other angles as you become more experienced in this task!

Step-By-Step Guide To Sharpening Knives With A Bench Grinder

1. Set the Grinder and Its Tool Rest Position: Adjust the tool rest position of the bench grinder to match the bevel angle of your knife’s blade. The knife’s edge should be about 2mm away from the tool rest for best results.

2. Place Knife Gently into Grinder: Let your knife blade rest in front of the grinding wheels at a slight 15-degree angle away from you so that force is evenly applied along its full length. When touching down, keep pressure light and consistent, as there could be chance that even with a light touch enough heat may eventually created to cause warping or discoloration in your knives edge.

3. Power Up Grinder and Begin Sharpening: As you begin to sharpen, make sure to always move blade down (or away from) against the moving wheel; movement towards (or against) a moving wheel can have dire consequences –so proceed with caution! Move your blades slowly and consistently back and forth using only moderate pressure over all parts of the cutting edge while aiming to keep your movement on an even diagonal plane throughout each grind stroke

4. Test Sharpness: To ensure you’ve achieved desired sharpness without creating a pointed micro-serration effect on blade edges, often times it is wise to test it out on paper or scrap wood for maximum accuracy!

5. Repeat Steps 3 & 4 Until Satisfied : After completing step 3 make sure to assess how sharp your knives are after first grind… then repeat Steps 3 & 4 until desired sharpness is achieved!

6.Use Whetstone for Finishing Touches: After achieving desired results with your grinder consider running a whetstone over them once or twice quickly just hone out any rough spots created by initial grinding process

Common Mistakes People Make When Using A Bench Grinder

One of the most common mistakes people make when using a bench grinder to sharpen knives is not allowing the grinding wheel to come up to speed before beginning to sharpen. If the wheel is not spinning quickly enough, then it cannot create an efficient edge on the knife. To avoid this, people should use a variable-speed or variable-torque bench grinder and slowly increase the speed as needed.

Another mistake that is often made is holding the knife at an incorrect angle against the grinding wheel. This can cause the blade to become dull very quickly, or create deep gouges in it. To prevent this, it’s important to ensure that the blade remains flush against the surface of the grinding wheel and held at a consistent angle throughout sharpening.

A third mistake some make when using a bench grinder is not wearing protective gear such as gloves, glasses, and face masks when sharpening knives on it. Grinding wheels are designed to break down large pieces of metal over time – and they could easily fracture while operating at high speeds and send small particles flying around. Always wear safety gear while sharpening with a bench grinder to protect hands, eyes, and nose from potential injury.

Tips For Maintaining A Sharpened Knife on A Bench Grinder

1. Use adequate lubrication when sharpening -Make sure you are regularly using an oil or polish on your knife blade to keep it in good condition. This will help protect the blade from rust and other damage.

2. Sharpen gently – Apply light pressure while sharpening so that you don’t overheat the blade, which can weaken its structure.

3. Clean between uses – Use one of the side wheels of the bench grinder to clean off any material buildup on the knife edge after each use, preventing debris from building up and impairing your knife’s performance.

4. Store in a safe location – To prevent accidental injury or cuts, be sure to store your knife in a safe place away from pets or small children.

5. Avoid storing knives near magnetic surfaces- These surfaces can cause wear and damage to blades over time due to magnetic attraction so keep them away from these areas whenever possible.

Alternatives To Bench Grinder Knife Sharpening

Hand Sharpening – This is the traditional way of sharpening blades and involves using a honing steel rod to physically work on the blade’s surface. This can be done by running the knife through the steel rod in alternating directions several times. When done correctly, this method can hone edges and bring out a mirror-like finish.

Sharpening Stones – Sharpening stones are usually characterized as having two sides: one side is coarse and meant for removing metal quickly while the other side is finer and is used to hone and finish the edge. Many varieties of sharpening stones exist, including diamond sharpening stones, waterstones, oilstones, combination stones, etc.

Whet Stones – A whet stone is typically made of either natural stone or synthetic materials like aluminum oxide, ceramic or silicon carbide. Unlike regular sharpening stones, whet stones are soaked in water before use so they don’t become too hot during honing. Moreover, they have an even abrasive appearance that evenly distributes pressure along the length of the blade for a more consistent finish.

Electric Knife Sharpeners – These sharpeners use electric motors to generate power to run small blades that rapidly sharpen knives when pushed against them along their sides. They offer convenience because you don’t need to soak whetstones or continually monitor progress with hand sharpening; however, you must be careful not to over sharpen stainless steel knives because doing so will lead to too much softening of the metal which can make it brittle or ineffective at cutting.


Adding a bench grinder knife sharpening system to your workshop is an invaluable tool when it comes to maintaining the quality and sharpness of your knives. The right type of bench grinder for knife sharpening should feature medium-grain, 100 grit abrasive wheels; adjustable guards for improved safety; a stand with rubber feet for stability; and an adjustable pivot arm and grinding jig for precise results. A bench grinder based knife sharpening system can work quickly and effectively – providing a great deal of convenience – as well as producing better results than manual methods of honing. For those looking to keep their knives in optimum condition, a bench grinder knife sharpening system is definitely worth considering.