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Grinder Height

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Phil705, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Phil705


    Aug 23, 2007
    Just bought a new Bader III to install in my new shop, which is being framed. When I build my work benches, I'd appreciate any advice on how high off the floor you would recommend the grinder be placed. Normal bench height, higher, lower?? I've been using a Grizzly which has a very different configuration is why I'm asking.

    Phil Millam
    Winthrop WA
  2. Marcel J.B. Morin

    Marcel J.B. Morin

    Sep 17, 1999
    I have 2 BIII Baders. When I built my benches, I set them up so that when I am grinding my belly is about even with the center of the wheel. That's where i find it the most confortable.

  3. kc custom

    kc custom KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 20, 2005
    I've always had my grinder and buffers at 41" center of spindle height, However on my bader I've got it a bit higher maybe an inch or two and think I like it better.
  4. Bruce Bump

    Bruce Bump KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 2, 1999
    It will be unique for you alone. Save your neck and back muscles by not bending over too much. Its like buying a mattress, you will be there 1/3 of your life. :D
  5. mykulmorris


    Jul 8, 2007
    Belly height (when standing) is where mine are... its most comfortable.
  6. richard j

    richard j

    Apr 1, 2007
    hold a blank as if you were going to grind it and go from there. i tend to like my grinder up high at elbow height. i would experiment with different heights to see which works best for you before building anything permanent.
  7. Steven Penner

    Steven Penner

    Jan 29, 2006
    Grinder height -This is a good topic,

    Mine is on a bench top in the corner, which is where I plopped it down just after I got it.
    I think you are on the right track; at least you are considering what is best for you.

    My question is, what height do you grind at now and
    - what hurts at the end of the day?
    Try to determined the cause and change that.

    Why not put it on a separate pedestal instead of a bench?
    It’s more easily adjustable for height.
    Semi portable about the shop.
    Easier to attach dust collection.

    Bruce Bump had a pedestal of 2 telescoping pieces of square tubing with a hydraulic bottle jack to make the adjustments.
    (Bruce what sizes are those?)

    I found the photo.

    I like the idea -fiddle and find what works best.
    I find that I hunch over when I am working. My vision with glasses is quite good, but I still want to be closer to the work.
    I find that I hunch over as I work and those neck and shoulder muscles get sore.
    If I bring my work up higher and closer to me so that I don’t have to lean towards it, everything should be more comfortable for me.

    (oh and no light that I have is bright enough – does that mean I’m getting old???)

    Attached Files:

  8. John T Wylie Jr

    John T Wylie Jr

    Feb 1, 2007
    I always thought the way Mike Lovett has his Baders setup was slick.
    They were all set on an angle , with the rear of the grinder raised.
    and makes sense , which is the way I plan to mount mine when I rebuild the benches this fall.
  9. scottickes


    Oct 27, 2005
    You've heard of air guitar? Try some air knifegrinding. Stand there and assume your most comfortable position for grinding, making sure that you have good control grinding both left and right handed. The better your posture, and more comfortable you are, the better your grinding results will be. I've ground blades on many different grinders in other makers shops, and some of them aren't comfortable for me, because they are too high or too low.

    For example, Ray Richards grinder is just a little too high for me. However, we've all seen the results Ray achieves, so it's obviously just right for him. Grinder set up is a very personal thing, so make sure it's right before you lock yourself into a certain height.

    Oh, Congrats on the new grinder!
  10. Chris Meyer

    Chris Meyer Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    When I watched Steve Johnson's knife making video, I was surprised to see that he grinds while seated. I had never thought of doing it that way, but it seems like a great idea. I still haven't got around to trying it, but it might be a method to consider when you are setting up your grinder.
  11. SDS


    Oct 22, 2007
    I had a wise old knifemaker tell me to do myself a favor and set my grinder up for grinding while seated. Works out great for me and I'm not on my feet the whole time I'm grinding.

  12. Bruce Bump

    Bruce Bump KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 2, 1999
    I really like the adjustable height pedestal. I figure I can grind from a wheelchair if needed.

    Thanks Steven for posting the picture. It has a hydraulic bottle jack inside of 6" square tubing.
  13. ddavelarsen


    Dec 7, 2000
    Mine are at sternum height - which I guess is about elbow height too. I use my "organic tool rest" a lot. I've tried grinding sitting, and I do way too much moving back and forth to be able to grind with my arse on a stool. :D I get my whole self into it!

    That being said, spending a third of your life in front of the grinder is not far off, and it can get tiring. But if you get tired of grinding, I recommend tuckpointing a 10 ft chimney from a 45 degree angle roof. It'll make grinding feel like a vacation in the Bahamas. ;) Problem solved.
  14. Phil705


    Aug 23, 2007
    Thanks guys, this is more and better advice than I had hoped for. I like the idea of the adjustable pedistal and may weld one up.
  15. delbert ealy

    delbert ealy

    May 3, 2004
    I like mine even higher, I pretty much just use the platen on my BMII and I have it mounted so the top of the platen is just 2 inches below my nose. I am very nearsighted, and even though I have corrective lenses, I still like to have the work close. I am 6'2" without boots and so my grinder is mounted very high.
  16. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    Where I work we use grinders a lot.
    What we go for is to have the contactwheel at elbow-hight when you stand before it.
  17. Kevin R. Cashen

    Kevin R. Cashen

    Sep 9, 2003
    I have two different grinders in my shop, the one I built and use the most and a Hardcore. I do most of my heavy grinding on my home built unit and most often use a tool rest, this is set up so that the platen is level with my lower chest area and the tool rest does all the work, this way I can keep a very close eye on what I am doing and hold my custom push sticks like pencils for very tight control. This is in deed an odd way to grind but it is the way I learned so now I am locked into it. But enough about the eccentric method I grind on my custom built unit...

    Most folks will probably grind free hand on a unit like the Bader, Burr King or Hardcore. My experience has shown me that it works best for me to have the center of the platen at elbow height or below. Allow me to explain why this works for me-

    Go outside where you have a concrete slab and get a straight wooden stick. Try both pushing and pulling the end of the stick along the cement and see which is smoother. If you set your platen below the level of your elbows you will automatically be grinding in a position where the your arms and hands are pulling or dragging the steel into the belt. If you set it to where you are level or above your elbows you will always be pushing into the belts and creating vibration and chatter. Thus you are almost guaranteed to get smoother grinds at the lower setting.

    I would set the grinder at a height that makes it most easy to look straight down on the top edge of your work and below the elbows, the belly often falls into this range, however I doubt I would go below the belt;).
  18. Sam Salvati

    Sam Salvati

    Aug 6, 2007
    I have my grinder set at the height of the free table it rests on :D. It is a bit low I need to add some spacers to raise it up, I bend too much.
  19. I learned to grind while seated. I learned to do it that way from Gil Hibben and he has his 2 main grinders set up that way in his shop. So when I bought my Bader III I set it up the same way. Aside from less fatigue, it allows you to brace your elbows on your knees for more control.

    Another tip is to get a swivel chair like a secretary chair. This allows you smoothly turn and move the blade across the wheel while keeping your elbows braced. It's also easy to adjust the height of the seat.

    Grinding in Hibben's shop

    My shop. I bought a neat little swivel stool with a motorcycle seat from Harbor Freight for $70.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2008
  20. efleming


    Jun 6, 2007
    I like to grind chest high from a sitting position so that I can get a good look at the blade during the grind...


    I also have the same motorcycle style seat as MisterSat posted above. Very comfortable and adjustable height.


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