Many tools around the shed will suffer from a little wear and tear over time,
and their cutting edges will dull. Don’t be tempted to sharpen your tools with
an angle grinder, as they’re not designed for it, and could be dangerous.
Files can be used, if you have enough patience and energy, but the tool that’s
right for the job is a bench grinder.
Your grinder should be bolted to the bench in a convenient spot where sparks
won’t land on anything flammable. They have two grinding wheels (one coarse and
one fine), tool rests, face shields and guards. Some – like this Ryobi model -
will also have a work light, coolant tray, wheel dresser and magnifying face
Before you start grinding a tool, you should adjust the tool rest to match the
angle that it was originally ground at. Then bring the tool gently up to the
spinning grindstone, and move it back and forth across the face of the stone,
using gentle pressure. Never grind on the side of the grinding wheel.
Regularly cool the tool in water or oil. This will avoid overheating of the
metal, which can soften and weaken it.
Apart from sharpening, some tools need attention at the other end as well. Cold
chisels, for example, can “mushroom” on the end that you strike with the hammer.
This is dangerous because small pieces can sometimes fly off when you’re hitting
it. To fix this, grind the end flat, and grind off the mushroom at 45º.
Many tools can be used straight from the grinder, but some (such as wood
chisels) will need additional honing on an oilstone.
A sharp tool is safer to use
than a blunt one, because the tool will do its job easier, without undue force.
Ryobi tools are available at all good hardware stores.