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The Handheld Water Fed Grinder

Click here if you'd like to read some general information about cold working equipment.

The handheld water-fed grinder is a tool that can be used to grind or polish the surface of the glass.  These tools are fairly lightweight (often five pounds or less), easy to use (but messy), and relatively inexpensive.  They can be either air-powered (requiring a compressor) or electrically-powered (required an outlet).

In addition to power (either compressor or electricity), handheld grinders must be hooked up to a source of water.  The water automatically feeds through the grinder while it's in use, keeping the glass cool.  (This is also what makes them particularly messy; water has a tendency to go more places than just on the glass.) 

Unlike many cold working tools, the handheld grinder is brought to the glass, rather than the glass to the grinder. It's best for grinding and polishing the surfaces of the glass.  Like most cold working equipment, diamond or silicon carbide discs of different grit sizes are necessary to complete the cold working process.

The Alpha grinder (both electric and pneumatic) is generally considered to be one of the best of the brands available.  It's also one of the most expensive.  Less inexpensive alternatives include the Silent Green and the Calibre Hand Grinder, but there are many other brands.  Look for tools used for grinding granite; most can also be used for glass.

Note that most of the pneumatic models require significant amounts of air, so for those you'll need a fairly powerful compressor (or the patience to wait from time to time as it fills up again).

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

This tip adapted from posts on the Warm Glass board.

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Four Corners International, Inc.

4140 Clemmons Road, #320

Clemmons, NC  27012   USA

Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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