In the same way that not all fasteners are the same (self-drilling, nuts and bolts, security fasteners, etc.), not all grinding wheels are the same. All the differences raise any number of questions about our grinding wheels.

What factors should be considered when choosing a grinding wheel?

Before selecting a grinding wheel, you should know exactly what task you want to accomplish with it. Wheels vary in the following ways:

  • diameter
  • type of abrasive
  • optimal speeds
  • grit
  • wheel thickness
  • shape
  • grinding area
  • material

What are the different grinding wheel configurations?

Grinding wheels are categorized according to shape and purpose. These categories are called types and labeled with a number. Occasionally types are subcategorized, and the number is followed by a letter (Type 27A, for example). There are numerous wheel configurations, but the four most common are Type 1, Type 27, Type 28, and Type 29.

What are the applications for some of the different wheel shapes?

Type 1 is called a straight wheel because from the edges through the center, the wheel is a straight line. This is the type of wheel most people envision when they think of grinding wheels. Straight wheels differ from other types in that their grinding surface is the outside edge of the wheel. Because of the shape of the grinding surface, straight wheels may be used on cylindrical surfaces with a concave shape. Typically attached to a bench, they are also used to sharpen other tools. 

Type 27 is a depressed center wheel. As the name implies, the center of the wheel is lower than the rest of the surface of the wheel. This creates a larger grinding surface because the flat area of the wheel can be used without interference from the center connection. Type 27 is great for grinding flat surfaces or cleaning edges. 

Type 28 is a saucer-shaped wheel. It looks similar to the depressed center wheel except for the surface of the wheel is angled rather than flat. The angles make for easier visibility because the entire surface of the wheel is not being used at one time. Saucer wheels are helpful for corner and side grinding as well as de-burring work. 

Type 29 is a flexible wheel. As the name indicates, it is more flexible than the other wheels discussed so far. The flexible nature of this type of wheel reduces vibrations the user experiences, which, in turn, reduces user fatigue over long stretches of time. Flexibility also provides a closer fit for smoothing and grinding contoured surfaces.

Where is the best place to store a grinding wheel?

While most tools are typically stored in a garage, workshop or truck bed toolbox, it is best to store grinding wheels somewhere with a bit more climate control. Like paint, the bond that holds the abrasive to the wheels can become comprised at extreme temperatures or humidity levels. If the abrasive does not adhere to the wheel, the grinding function will be poor. Store your grinding wheels in a dry location with a fairly constant temperature.