I didn’t even know these existed. When I was assessing my shop for ‘tools with tails’ (electric motors…) that needed eliminating, I saw my grinder sitting quietly in the corner. Without a grinder, sharp is not possible. Without sharp, well, nothing is possible. At least nothing in woodworking anyway. So I began looking for the hand-crank grinders like Roy Underhill uses on his memorable and still current television show; I think Roy is in the middle of his 34th season of The Woodwright’s Shop!
This is a hand-crank grinder like Roy uses. But he has more coordination than I do! Holding a chisel or plane iron with one hand and cranking with the other is more than I thought was reasonable…
But I started hunting on eBay for hand-crank grinders anyway, determined to get rid of the need for an electric grinder in my hand tool shop. Low and behold! I saw a couple of listings for a pedal powered grinder like this on eBay:
This was the ad for the grinder above, and yes, it did sell for that much! So, after seeing sold ads like that I was terribly intrigued, but figured they were out of my price range. And how would you ever find one local enough to avoid some ridiculous shipping charge for something that crazy big…
Enter: Craig’s List. I have a love-hate relationship with Craig’s List. There’s more scams and dead-beats on Craig’s List than anywhere I think, but I’ve found a bunch of great deals, too. Like the huge stainless wash sink we put in our mud room that cost us all of $30 (it was a $300 sink!). I couldn’t help but try looking for a pedal-powered grinder, and bang! One popped up in good shape, local, and then the guy proceeds to say he’ll deliver it to me for no charge! That was just a gift from the Lord I suppose, because you could hunt an awfully long time for one of these and pay a whole lot more than I had too – I paid the fellow $150.
Now, the grinder was in good shape, great shape even. But the shaft was a 1/2″ bolt rig job, and the wheels were unbalanced and pieces of junk. Remember Mr. Hood from this post? I was definitely going to need him for this. I had an old electric grinder from my years of learning to turn on a lathe and the motor was completely shot. I disassembled the grinder and stole the shaft out of it. I took the grinder, shaft, and washers to Mr. Hood and in less than a weeks time he called me and said I was ready to go. While I was waiting, I ordered two new wheels for the pedal-powered grinder; nice soft white wheels that wouldn’t burn the steel when I was grinding.
It took a little fiddling, like any old equipment does I guess, but with Mr. Hood’s work, a little tinkering and the new wheels I was thrilled to hop on and go to grinding!
There’s no silver bullet for moving away from dependence on our throw-away society, but if you start to take those first steps, before you know it, you might find yourself using pedal-power for more and more jobs on your homestead; after you grow a few veggies, you’ll want to grow more and more of your own food; you might even contemplate milking a cow! We’re having a blast and we hope you’ll work with us to be less and less dependent on the big government-crazed, Made In China, disposable society we’re in!