2012 Foot Powered Grinding Wheel #1: Concept, Design

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Blog entry by Will Mego posted 02-09-2012 07:22 PM 13699 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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So one of the other projects I wish to accomplish this year (towards spring/summer) is a foot powered grinding wheel.

gives you a vague idea of what I’m going after. The image, btw is from which might be of some interest to others.

So the main choice facing me is natural stone, either harvested around me or from a stone yard, or to make a wheel using concrete/abrasive sands, several recipes are online for such things. I haven’t completely decided which yet.

I DO know that whatever wheel I end up with, I’ll place in a trestle base with an enclosed water well, so a bottom portion of the wheel can be held under water, which lubes the work, keeps the stone and tool edge cool, and helps clear the grit. However, a plug will also be incorporated, since leaving a stone underwater will lead to crumbling and softening. If I make the wheel from pourable materials, I can then embed the crank parts, although it’s just a small design change and some serious drilling if I go with a natural stone. The book Homemade Contrivances ( has almost exactly what I have in mind on pg. 308. PS, if you don’t have that book, you might want it.

Next step, finding or making the wheel…

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

3 comments so far

View xwingace's profile


229 posts in 3605 days

#1 posted 02-09-2012 08:08 PM

Looks like the stone would be the hardest part. Old school axe sharpening sounds like a blast. Will be watching this with great interest!

-- I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 4729 days

#2 posted 02-09-2012 09:38 PM

I’m sure there will be many bugs to iron out, but I hope to use this for more than axes and field tools, but pretty much to replace any other grinding tools. For one thing in the long term I hope to use this to make grinds on tool steel to create edge tools such as plane irons.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View BigTiny's profile


1689 posts in 3905 days

#3 posted 02-11-2012 06:55 PM

How about a cast rim on plywood hubs? Two plywood disks that overlap the cast portion part way, with a dado in each side of the casting to accept the ply. As for the casting, I’d go with fiberglass resin and chopped glass fiber reinforcing. Once the casting is cured, install the plywood sides and whatever bearings you’re using, mount it on the stand, then use a belt sander to make it smooth and true. Once this is done, cut a groove across the casting to take a spline to hold in the ends of a sanding belt. These come in many lengths and grits, and with the spline to hold them in place you have the option of changing grits or just renewing the grinding surface when it dulls.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

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