Brown & Sharpe No. 13 Universal Tool Grinder
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  1. #1
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    Default Brown & Sharpe No. 13 Universal Tool Grinder

    Hi, All

    I am brand new to machining. (I am a journeyman IBEW wireman, so I'm not a stranger to working with my hands, getting dirty, and continuously learning.)
    Let's start with a little backstory: shortly before I joined this forum (last November), a buddy of mine bought a lathe, a mill, a horizontal bandsaw and a really big Miller welder. They were all wired to run on 240 three-phase. (He had just finished his 32x48 shop and wanted to start doing some work worthy of his new building.) Not wanting to pay his local utility to hang three cans off the pole near his shop, he figured the most economical way to get his needed three-phase power was to install a rotary phase converter. Not knowing the specifics of what to do to make it work, he asked me if I could design a system to run his machines. I hadn't installed a rotary phase converter before, but I did the research necessary, designed a system and we installed it in his shop. It turned out very nicely and he was pretty excited to be able to start using these new-to-him machines. (I'm glad to report he has been using the machines regularly since and has had zero problems. )
    Well, a funny thing happened: while I was 12 feet in the air hanging 3/4- and 1-inch EMT off the interior walls of his new shop, I realized that I wanted some machines of my own. I figured a lathe and mill would be a good place to start. Having zero experience in the machining arena, I turned to the internet in search of a good place to begin my knowledge gathering and wound up here. And I'm glad I did: I have read more than a few excellent posts by some very knowledgable machinists. (From what I've seen, there are literally centuries of aggregated experience that frequent this forum, hence my lurking here.)
    To aid in my information gathering, about two months ago I picked up a copy of the twentieth edition of Machinery's Handbook. I have read selected parts of it, but it is highly technical and a little boring.
    This is my first thread and I wanted to start with what some may consider to be an odd question: would the machine in the link below be capable of sharpening knives? (My thinking is that if I was able to get a grinder that could sharpen kitchen knives and the various cutting tools that I will soon have, it will be an easier sell to my wife to buy such a machine.) The reason I'm interested in this particular machine is because of the multitude of accessories that come with it.
    Not wanting to burden any of you here with a question like "Is this a good price for this Craftsman lathe?", I downloaded the Brown & Sharpe 20-page pamphlet (which mostly just explains the technical specifications and the different attachments available for the machine) and the Carborundum Company's Principles of Tool Room Grinding (a wealth of valuable information) from Vintage Machinery. I couldn't find the answer I am looking for there. Given my lack of experience and inability to find this information, I now turn to the PM community.

    Brown & Sharpe #13 universal tool grinder with ori - US $1,500.00 (Fortville, IN) | VintageMachinery.org

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    I wouldn't convince your wife that with this tool and cutter grinder you'll be able to sharpen all her kitchen tools. Knife sharpening is not what the 13 is intended for! When you get it you'll be swamped with kitchen tools and probably have to buy new ones,

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  4. #3
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    Sure, you can - with practice - sharpen a knife. You can also transport of few pieces of mail in a fighter jet

    Its (the 13) probably better suited to sharpening machine shop tools - in a very organized and precise way

    Thumbnails are an example - though not on a 13
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails p1000353sm.jpg   p1000354sm.jpg   p1000355sm.jpg   p1000356sm.jpg   p1000357sm.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by johnoder View Post
    Sure, you can - with practice - sharpen a knife. You can also transport of few pieces of mail in a fighter jet
    Well put, John.

    I realize it isn't designed for knife sharpening and I don't intend to make that it's primary purpose. But considering how much a Tormek goes for (and all it can do is sharpen knives):
    Tormek T8
    I thought that buying a machine that can sharpen knives and any cutting device I may use in my home shop might be a good idea.

    I just wondered what the PM community might think; any insight or ideas I may not have thought of.

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    One of the finest TC, OD , cylindrical grinders made but is not the fastest TC grinder.
    What do you intend to do with it?
    That is a very good price with having the full tool cabinet.I don't see the steadies. It will sharpen and make many cutting tools.
    A Cincinnati #2 or #1 will sharpen most cutting tools faster.
    Most /many kitchen knives are now SS and that does not grind very well.
    I used to use one for small OD jobs and sharpening machine centers and for those jobs it was about the best machine one could have.
    Step tools, cutters, reamers gun drills the Cinci is faster to set-up and use.,
    $1500 is a bargain price. but to sit in a shop if not used is not that good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    What do you intend to do with it?
    I haven't even bought a lathe or mill yet, but I am thinking with some time and practice I will be able to sharpen any of the cutting tools I will be using. I realize that is not a specific answer, and the reason is because I don't know exactly what I want to do yet. I know enough to know I don't know. I do know I enjoy working on my various vehicles and like to do projects around the house, if that helps. My intention is to use these machines as a hobby, not to earn a living (I already have a day job).

    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    Most /many kitchen knives are now SS and that does not grind very well.
    I just quickly searched around. We have a set of Cutco kitchen knives which are made out of high carbon stainless steel. An article I quickly scanned mentioned using a diamond carbide stone to sharpen high carbon stainless knives. I assume a wheel of that type would be available to use on this universal grinder. Any thoughts on this as a knife sharpening method?

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    You could, I could fabricate a knife sharpening set-up perhaps belting and pulley to slow turn the 13 grinder spindle and do exactly what the Tormek T-8 does. If having that machine and using for other practical uses that might be Ok.
    I have a 13 grinder that I have altered to become a 31" industrial knife grinder. for planer, news paper and straight knives of that sort.I have a cinci #2 a koLee Tc grinder and a b&S surface grinder. So I am and have been around the block in grinding.
    Likely you could sharpen many of your friends cutting tools on the 13 grinder like end mills, reamers, lathe tool bits, mill cutters,router bits, Hogan drills, gun drills, hobs and just about any /most cutting tools. you can free download the Cincinnati #2 manual to see many TC grinding methods that also will work on the 13 grinder..

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    The B&S 13 is a good grinder! I have one. But as any grinder is capable of grinding a sharp edge but the 13 is primarily made for round work, small OD grinder, reamers, cutters, endmills, etc. Sure with the proper fixtures, spindle speed and probably coolant knives can be sharpened. It will take know how! My father was tool and die maker, he sharpened knives and scissors for my mother on a home made grinder that was nothing more than a motor with a grinding wheel attached to it! Furthermore cutter grinding takes a little more than a newbie simply buying a grinder. I'm not trying to talk the OP out of buying the grinder, I want him to understand than there is quite a bit of knowledge required and he'll probably burn up quite a few knives on a machine that is not designed for that purpose and if he tried to sharpen cutters for Friends he might make them enemies! Or buying a lot of new cutters! As John put is he'll be using a fighter plane to deliver the mail but if he wants to learn how to grind then by all means buy it, take the knives and scissors to a sharpener and claim he did it like many fishermen buy fish on the way home!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Froneck View Post
    . . . then by all means buy it, take the knives and scissors to a sharpener and claim he did it like many fishermen buy fish on the way home!


    This is exactly the sort of unvarnished feedback I am looking for. I didn't know what a B&S #13 is capable of and wanted some informed opinions. I will continue to read, read and read some more; I now realize I have more research to do before I buy a grinder.

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    Here is the Cincinnati #2 handbook. It shows that many things a 13 can do. Yes, some fixtures and wheels needed for each task.

    Operator's Instruction Book, Cincinnati No. 2 Cutter and Tool Grinder : The Cincinnati Milling Machine Company : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    Here is the Cincinnati #2 handbook. It shows that many things a 13 can do. Yes, some fixtures and wheels needed for each task.

    Operator's Instruction Book, Cincinnati No. 2 Cutter and Tool Grinder : The Cincinnati Milling Machine Company : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
    I spent about half an hour this morning quickly skimming this publication; enough to have a high-level understanding of what these grinders are capable of. I am beginning to understand why effectively operating these machines is not something you can learn to accomplish in a couple of hours. (Considering what they are capable of, I bet it must be quite an experience to watch a proficient toolmaker use one.) Thank you, michiganbuck! That is a very useful operators' manual!

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    From link in Post #5 shows it could be equipped for wet OD grinding
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails wet-grinding-bs-13.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnoder View Post
    From link in Post #5 shows it could be equipped for wet OD grinding
    Good eye, John! I skimmed that publication as well, but didn't get far enough into it to find that picture. It looks like it wouldn't terribly difficult to outfit the No. 13 to sharpen kitchen knives. Very nice!

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    The one in the article John is the older than the one in the photo you wanted to buy. The spindle is driven by a belt in the base. However either one would be tricky to grind a knife on. They probably have a knife grinding grinder on ebay,has about 1/4 of the wheel submerged in water. Wheel is also wide and has a large pulley attached to the spindle so slow speed can be attained.

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    Thanks to everyone who replied!
    I have decided to pass on this grinder; I think a Cincinnati #2 would be a better fit for my needs. I'll keep looking, hopefully I can find one a little closer.

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    a Cinci #2 is the hot rod tool and cutter sharpening machine , but not as high class as the B&S 13. Most any surface grinder will flat work grind better than those two.
    All three are not really a cutting knife grinder.
    Best to think about your needs.

    YouTube

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    I bought a Cincinnati #2 to support my horizontal mill habit. I would have relatively little use for it without many, many pounds of cutters to sharpen or modify. It does a decent job as a small, light-duty cylindrical grinder, and a crummy job as a surface grinder. I did not realize just how crummy until I got a real SG.

    Also, to the extent that your knifes have curves other than straight edges and circular arcs, the Cincinnati #2 is not going to be much help. I sharpen my knives by hand. Plane blades and chip carving knives, I do submit to the discipline of an angle-setting fixture.

    Finally, about 4/5 the cost of a used tool and cutter grinder is in the accessory tooling. Buy a naked T&C grinder, and expect to end up paying 4X as much again to equip it. Cheaper to shop for a T&C grinder that's still got all the major workheads, fixtures, centers, etc., that you might need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    a Cinci #2 is the hot rod tool and cutter sharpening machine , but not as high class as the B&S 13. Most any surface grinder will flat work grind better than those two.
    All three are not really a cutting knife grinder.
    Best to think about your needs.
    I've been thinking about all of the feedback I have gotten on my idea to use a B&S #13 to sharpen knives. My thought was that it would be easier (and less expensive) to have one machine that could do both things. I now realize that while it could be done, it would not be ideal. I had a discussion with my wife about my wants and her wants; she's fine with me buying a grinder to sharpen my tooling as long as we get something to sharpen our kitchen knives with. (I prefer to buy quality tools, so we will go the uber-$ route and buy a Tormek T8 to sharpen our kitchen knives.) I still have some reading, questioning and thinking to do regarding what the best type of grinder would be for my situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    Very cool video! I watched it and a couple more on his channel. Thanks!
    Last edited by BrandonMag; 06-16-2019 at 10:08 PM.


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