Down Grading a New Bench Grinder

by Roy Mackey

     A guy tells me this story awhile back... He was just polishing up some project on his new General imported bench grinder he just bought. Not unlike the one shown above. His son walks in all down and out and tells his Dad the bad news. Turns out he just got laid off from his job at the Baldor Bench Grinder factory. "Dad... no one is buying expensive Baldor Grinders anymore" The Dad tries to stand in front of his bargain deal bench grinder so the son won't notice. Things all of a sudden start to feel awkward for the dad. So much for bragging about his new score he just picked up from Bulk Buyz.

     He thinks about about bringing up some old adages that dad's are known for to maybe help his son. You know things like, "back in our day we got a job and saved our money", or "you gotta get a job at a good company and stick it out till retirement", or "we had to walk to school and back in forty below weather and it was up hill both ways". The trouble is even he knew those don't work any more. When he bought his first house he was making ten bucks an hour. A good house then cost $40,000. Today that same house is worth $400,000. Ten times as much and that same job pays barely $20. an hour, only twice as much. Even dad was realizing that all the profit he would make on his house if he sold it was going to come from someone else's son just like his. This was like forcing someones  young kid into paying for his retirement. After all most peoples biggest investment (and often retirement fund) is their house. His only relief to that painful thought was "oh well everyone else is doing it..."

     It turns out the only option for the dad was offer his son a place to live until he could find another job. He never said it out loud but did think it was a good thing he was frugal with his money by spending it on cheap tools. That was partially why he was able to save enough money and could now afford to pay his sons way for the next while. He may have failed math but he was not stupid... 

     Now it was not that hard to feel this dads discomfort. A lot of people would feel the same if they thought about their biggest asset and the fact it is only worth that if some young guy making half the money is willing to buy it. Now even though I don't have kids and don't really care much about anything other than vintage tools and art I still thought it might be a good idea to avoid a similar awkward situation. Thus I opted to downgrade my new General bench grinder so it looked like a vintage one instead. OK it did not turn out that great but only took me a couple of hours or less so I am not really complaining.

     Now normally I would have just picked up a vintage one and thrown this one in the landfill where it belongs but slow running bench grinders in the vintage era seem to be very hard to come by, at least so far. Since I do need a slow running (1740rpm instead of 3450rpm) grinder I had no choice.

     So as you can see above, out came the paint stripper. Since this is a cheap imported piece of junk designed by accountants I knew the paint was going to be thin... sure enough. It only took one coat to strip it all of. 

     Now as you can see it did not make a huge difference but does look at least a little bit older. I took off the "cash flow" light it had on it. Those take the cheapo bulbs that aside from being hard to find burn out after a week or two of use, thus creating cash flow for the company.

     As you can see if you are sharp I ditched the cheapo push button switch for the old style but quick and easy to use toggle switch. Way faster to shut off in case of an emergency and looks way better. I had to make a little steel insert once I took the old switch out.

     This was likely a waste of time as I am not counting on this machine to last much longer but at least it fits in with the rest of my tools a little better than it did.