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Decent motor, poor fit and finish

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Review by sansoo22 posted 01-25-2020 06:50 AM 679 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Decent motor, poor fit and finish No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This is a review for the Shop Fox w1840 8-inch variable speed grinder. This is my first review so if I missed something just ask in the comments and I will try my best to answer it.

Model Number: W1840

Motor: 3/4 hp

RPM Range: 2000-3400

Weight: 40 lbs

Wheel Specs: 8” x 1” w/ 5/8” arbor

Purchase Price: $145 w/ free shipping

Vendor: Amazon

I bought this unit because my old, like really old, Delta is a 5” and wheels were getting harder to come by. The Delta also has a lot of downtime when switching wheels or brushes, there is no work light and its a very small 1/3 hp motor. The Delta is smooth as butter on a hot skillet though so it now lives as a dedicated buffer and is enjoying its semi-retirement.

So the things I wanted in a new grinder were power, variable speed, ease of wheel changes, and a work light. The Shop Fox W1840 has all of these things but doesn’t do any of them well.

First up a quick pick of the machine

White or cream whatever that color is will not stay that way for long. Fine metal dust is going to make a mess of it in no time but thats just me being picky.

Lets start with the pros:
1. It’s heavy at 40lbs with a large cast iron base that has 4 big rubber feet on it
2. It has an LED work light…this is also a con but will get to that later
3. The variable speed is very linear and works quite well
4. The outer guard plates are attached with thumb screws for quick and easy wheel changes

Now on to the cons. I won’t blame you if you skip to the conclusion at the end as this may get lengthy.

1. The fit and finish is harbor freight level. Below we can see the front control plate is crooked. This isn’t the only example. All threaded holes on the metal guards we sloppy and required quite a bit of force to thread them correctly as bolts we inserted.

2. The tools rests are pretty much just for show. First they are finished poorly and there are detents in the adjusters that make fine tuning an angle near impossible.

3. The LED work light is always on. Would be nice to have a switch for it. And its not all that bright. More like a cheap Defiant flash light bright

4. The wheels that came on it are not balanced well at all.

It took me 2 tries and swapping parts to get a good machine. The first one showed up with no damage to the box but one metal guard was bent so bad a wheel was scraping it. I managed to bend it enough to turn the machine on and the left side was vibrating like crazy. Since i bought through Amazon they shipped out a replacement asap. Second machine had much better fit and finish but it had a serious vibration in its start up cycle. Like bad enough a big 15/16ths wrench vibrated off the stand. So I swapped guards and wheels from the second unit on to the first and it runs much much smoother now. Amazon doesn’t have to know i scavenged parts from two machines to make a smooth running one.

I just used the grinder tonight to take a 1/8th nick out of a plane iron I’m restoring and it did quite well. I will probably upgrade the wheels very soon and in the near future add the Veritas tool rest and grinding jig.

Conclusion: This isn’t an expensive grinder by any means. So we have to take that into heavy consideration. My biggest gripe is it feels more on par with a Harbor Freight tool. The fit and finish just wasn’t what I expected. Then again it is made in China so can’t complain much because after all I bought it knowing where it came from. I think with new wheels it will serve me well. I only wish I had known to figure in that cost before hand as it would be much easier to give it a recommendation.

I hope that is enough information for my first review. Again if I missed any details please ask and I will try my best to answer.




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sansoo22

625 posts in 294 days



10 comments so far

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Phil32

940 posts in 543 days


#1 posted 01-25-2020 06:19 PM

I would consider the defects to unacceptable. You should not have to scavenge two machines to make it acceptableIt.

It looks almost identical to the Rikon “slow speed” grinder.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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LittleBlackDuck

3677 posts in 1460 days


#2 posted 01-25-2020 09:53 PM

sansoo’, several times you mentioned variable speed but did not mention the range... I probably could Google it, but that wouldn’t take anywhere as long as me posing the question here and may save others overtaxing Mr. Google further depleting the global internet bandwith.. yeah, blame it on climate change.

It’s the variable speed that has me interested. I have 2 slow speed grinders (hard to get here in Aus. so I snapped them up when they were available) to run 300mm flap wheels and 200mm buffers (or in your speak 10 hickey and 8 hickey respectively – hickey in my speak is ”... too old for love bites). They both run at around 1,400 RPM (don’t know the imperial equivalent) and it’d be nice to be able to vary as required…

Yeah, I can mount the buffs individually on my variable speed lathe… or even 3 inline… but I didn’t acquire this Adonis body by over exertion. I also have this penchant for dedicated machinery function...
My planning is nearly as bad as my measurement prowess, and I find I never fully finish a process and have to swap back out to backtrack… and thus begins that endless loop!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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sansoo22

625 posts in 294 days


#3 posted 01-26-2020 12:46 AM

Phil – I still have a few weeks left to decide if i want to return for a refund. I’m not sure what else I would get in this price range as most share common complaints about fit and finish. I’m kind of stuck in a spot where I need both hi and low speed function but dont have the shop space for dedicated machines.

LBD – The RPM range is 2000 to 3400 rpms. I updated the review with those specs. I think it slows down more than 2k on the low side though. My guess would be around 1700 but I will check it with a tach laser to verify if i can find that little bugger.

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LittleBlackDuck

3677 posts in 1460 days


#4 posted 01-26-2020 01:35 AM


... I will check it with a tach laser to verify if i can find that little bugger.
- sansoo22

Damn, stop it… I haven’t got one of those!

As I say to salespeople in shops… ”Just looking for something I don’t need, but can afford.

2,000 is probably still too fast for a 10” flapper.


..... I m kind of stuck in a spot where I need both hi and low speed function but dont have the shop space for dedicated machines.
- sansoo22

Is it space or budget… If space, consider....

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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sansoo22

625 posts in 294 days


#5 posted 01-26-2020 02:13 AM


Is it space or budget… If space, consider....

- LittleBlackDuck

Right now its more of a self imposed budget constraint. I have shop funds set aside but they are intended for a new table saw once they fully ripen. My ambitions have outgrown my DeWalt job site saw.

I also have to keep an eye on space restrictions since…like yourself…my interests seem to be far and wide. To many dedicated tools leaves less room for a CNC or laser cutter.

As the old saying goes I tried to “squeeze a dollar out of 15 cents” on this purchase and came up short. Sorry not sure what that translates to in AUD or what the exchange rate would be.

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LittleBlackDuck

3677 posts in 1460 days


#6 posted 01-26-2020 02:40 AM


... Sorry not sure what that translates to in AUD or what the exchange rate would be.
- sansoo22

All gets lost in the translation… Basically, if you can’t afford jet fuel, don’t buy a jet!

I don’t travel, drink cheap casked vino, wear the same clothes (in fact been invited to a wedding and informed I can’t wear workboots and trackie pants… since retiring, no formal wear in the wardrobe), but when it comes to tools, I’m like a high society woman in a shoe shop… talking about jets (above statement wasn’t wasted)... the sky’s the limit!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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robscastle

6735 posts in 2844 days


#7 posted 02-01-2020 10:28 AM

What has happened to the snake and lions shirt?

-- Regards Rob

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LittleBlackDuck

3677 posts in 1460 days


#8 posted 02-01-2020 08:06 PM



What has happened to the snake and lions shirt?
- robscastle

OK, One piece of formal wear… for weddings and a workshop!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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sansoo22

625 posts in 294 days


#9 posted 02-01-2020 08:33 PM

LDB – Found my photo tach and then in another closet found the reflective strips. I can confirm the Shop Fox specs of 2000-3400 RPM are just about on the money. I was reading 2065 on lowest speed and 3425 on high speed.

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LittleBlackDuck

3677 posts in 1460 days


#10 posted 02-01-2020 08:56 PM



.... specs of 2000-3400 RPM are just about on the money….
- sansoo22

That’s a fair range, especially for a cheapie… I’ve seen variable speed controllers by themselves here (in Australia) for close that price… Neverteless, the slowest speed is still not the optimum maximum ( sounds like a Transformers movie) for buffing and flapping!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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