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When I reviewed a full range of 8-in., slow-speed grinders in 2012 (“Bench Grinders for Woodworkers,” FWW #226), many of the machines had bright spots but none possessed the full package—no vibration, large, usable tool rests that are easy to adjust, good-quality wheels, and friendly features. Unlike the machines in that roundup, Jet’s new 8-in. grinder appears to have it all.
The grinder weighs 57 lb., considerably heavier than the models I reviewed in that article. The extra heft is welcome, as it helps to dampen vibration. But the real bright spots of the Jet grinder are its tool rests. They are far superior to any stock rests on grinders I have used. They have large, machined cast-iron work surfaces, with vertical lines milled into them to help with blade alignment. Moreover, each one has an easy-to-read angle scale that makes setup and adjustment a snap. Adjustments require no tools—very convenient.
The grinder features high-quality 1-in.-wide Norton wheels (80 grit and 100 grit), but I’d prefer having one coarser wheel. Stout, cast-iron wheel covers are easy to remove for wheel changes. And the 1⁄2-hp motor (1,725 rpm) is well-suited to extended grinding sessions. The only real disappointment with the tool was the stamped-steel arbor flanges, which had holes that were slightly off center and caused the flanges to oscillate. That, in turn, led to wheel wobble. Fortunately, I was able to adjust the flanges to eliminate the wobble, but it was a time-consuming process and a nuisance. In my grinder review, I couldn’t pick a Best Overall because each machine had sub-par tool rests that would need replacing. But with its sizable tool rests, heft, and quality wheels, the Jet is the best grinder I’ve used.
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