Why I like Vintage Tools #5: Grinders

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Blog entry by brianinpa posted 10-19-2008 05:02 AM 3719 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: The Alien Planer Part 5 of Why I like Vintage Tools series Part 6: Jointer Restoration »

Every lumberjock has at least one – some might not consider it a woodworking tool, but I think if it is used for your woodworking hobby, then it is a woodworking tool.

When I started my quest for vintage tools, I knew that I would be cleaning up some rusted metal. I was in a Big Lots store and saw a 6 inch grinder for $12.00 and thought: “It can’t be that bad.” So I bought it and realized quickly that my original thought could not have been further from the truth. It took a long time to get up to speed and it didn’t take much to get it to slow down. I knew right away that I would need another grinder and that I would not be buying any tools from Big Lots.

Here is the one I got.

It is a Companion 6” ¼ HP. For those who don’t know it, Companion was the inexpensive brand name for Sears and Roebucks tools from approximately 1933 to 1941: in 1941 the Companion brand name was replaced by Dunlap and in the late 1990’s Sears brought back the Companion line.

I got this one from my father in-law – having my wife by my side for over 22 years has been good for me in more ways than one. I have used the grinder in its un-restored condition for several years but after finishing my planer, I decided it was time clean this one up as well. I am not an electrician so the motor had me a bit worried. When I took everything apart, cleaned, painted, and put back together again it did not work. It would not start spinning unless I “helped” the motor spin fast enough to start. Once it was started, it would run fine. Ah oh! I knew I did something to cause this.

I took a crash course on electric motor repair and figured out that the centrifugal switch housing was not depressing the switch on the inside of one of the motor end caps. This was due to the centrifugal switch housing sliding on the rotor shaft. I had to fabricate a permanent bushing to keep the centrifugal switch housing from sliding on the shaft and when I re-assembled everything, this time it started fine. This is a grinder that can be used to sharpen or clean almost anything. It doesn’t even begin to stall when a heavy piece of metal is being ground. I think I may have extended the life of this grinder at least another 60 years.

In addition to the Companion, I also have this little belt driven jewel that I have no idea what the manufacturer is. This one has several different uses from grinding, buffing, polishing, and cleaning. I use it mostly with a wire brush and a scotch-brite flap brush. In this set-up it removes rust in a hurry.

What’s next? I’m not sure yet, but you can bet it will be something vintage.
Thanks for reading.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

6 comments so far

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 5100 days

#1 posted 10-19-2008 05:15 AM

Old tools are great aren’t they? Please keep up the posting on the subject.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Woodbutchery's profile


434 posts in 4800 days

#2 posted 10-19-2008 06:05 AM

That’s a sweet restore! Well done.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4983 days

#3 posted 10-19-2008 03:00 PM

thats a great restoration job. i bet it looks better than the day it was bought

View Bill Akins's profile

Bill Akins

425 posts in 4913 days

#4 posted 10-19-2008 10:20 PM

Excellant restoration.

-- Bill from Lithia Springs, GA I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 4938 days

#5 posted 10-19-2008 10:32 PM

Thanks to all for your comments.

By the way, if anyone can name that green grinder, please let me know. I have been searching for two years but have come up blank.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View Tom Lesser's profile

Tom Lesser

1 post in 1483 days

#6 posted 08-31-2017 06:46 PM

I came across a photo of your grinder while doing a Google search for info about a Companion 1/3 HP grinder. Mine looks very similar to the photo in your post, except there is no manufacturer listed, just Companion and Sears-Roebuck Co. Other info on the name plate: Ball Bearing A.C. Motor, 60 cycles, 6-amps, 1750 rpm, Model S-4305 and Motor No. L2?6 … at least I suspect there’s supposed to be a digit between the 2 and the 6 in the motor number, but I can’t read it if there is.

I’m refurbishing the grinder, replacing the bearings, and hoped you might have some advice. The bearings in place are New Departure 8013. The bearings are open on one side with a steel seal on the other that protrudes from the outer ring by about 1/8 inch or less. The bearing on the left shaft (where the centrifugal switch is) was installed with the open side toward the inside. The right bearing (where the fan is) was installed with the open side toward the outside. I suspect one of the bearings might have been replaced at some time in the past … the right shaft is pristine, the left shaft is very pitted … one bearing is marked “New Departure 8013” and the other says “N.D. 8013.” In any case, I’ve ordered NOS NTN/Bower 87013 bearings and want to be sure to install them properly. Do you think the bearings as I described were installed properly, or should they both be installed the same way … either open side to the inside or open side to the outside? Thank you very much!!

-- Tom Lesser

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