For those of us who have a dual-purpose wet grinder/stropping wheel, one of the most inconvenient parts of it is having to get to the other side of the grinder for stropping or to sharpen on the pull of the stone, or just to get access to the adjacent tool rest. Enter the swivel base: Sharpen the tool, rotate the grinder, and strop. Quick, fast, and easy. Options for these on the mass market are pretty slim, but making one is remarkably simple, and can be done in only a couple hours. Here's how to make one for yourself.
All of these supplies are setup for my particular grinder (a Grizzly T10010ANV). Remember to adjust your sizes (particularly the size of the plywood) and supplies according to your needs. Most of these can be had from your local hardware store. The only thing I couldn't get from mine was the bar stool swivel base, but you could also probably find one on a bar stool from a thrift store.
- 1x 7" Heavy duty bar stool swivel base - https://amzn.to/2EIa783 (affiliate link)
- 4x 1/4"-20 x 1 1/4" machine screws and matching nuts
- 4x #12 5/8" wood screws 12x 1/4" washers
- 1x piece of 3/4" plywood: size to your grinder- in my case, I had a piece of 16" x 34" ply, so I used that.
- (Optional) 1x 1/2" dowel at least 2 1/2" long
- (Optional) Some scrap wood for a knob for the optional locking peg (I used more 3/4" ply)
These are just the tools that I used to make these. You can absolutely use alternatives (circular saw instead of a table saw, drill gun instead of a drill press, etc.) This is a very simple project and doesn't require much in the way of tooling!
- Table saw
- Drill Press
- Sanding block/sandpaper (120 or 150 and 180 or 220 grit)
- Brad point drill bits*: 1/8" and 1/4"
- Appropriate screw driver or driver bits (likely phillips)
- Combination Square
- Calculator (because I can't math in my head. If you can, great! Cross this one off the list)
- 1/2" Forstner bit
- Lathe and appropriate chisels
- Turner's sandpaper (high-grit sandpaper up through your desired grit - I went to 600).
*Standard twist drill bits are OK, but they may walk. Be sure to use a marking punch if you use these as this will help keep them running from walking at the start. Brad point drill bits are less prone to this and are my preferred weapon for wood.
Step 1: Step 1: Cut the Plywood Base and Top
Determine the ideal size for your base by measuring the dimensions of your grinder's footprint. In my case, it was about 13" x 10 3/4". So the minimum size for the base would be that, however I also wanted to allow room for a peg to lock the base in position (optional, but recommended). So, I made my swivel 13" x 13", which gave me just over two inches on the one side for the peg.
Once you've determined your ideal size, rip your 3/4" plywood to size to end up with two identical pieces. Remember to use your safety devices!
With the main pieces cut, we can move on to mounting the swivel base.
Step 2: Step 2: Center and Mount the Swivel Base to the Bottom Piece
Given the purpose of this fixture, it's important that we get the swivel base pretty close to dead center. We can make this task pretty easy with a combination square and some math!
- Place the swivel base in the corner of the base plywood piece, ensuring the edges are flush with each other (pic 1).
- Measure the distance from the left edge to the swivel base edge (write that down!) In my case, this was 5 7/8".
- Measure the distance from the bottom edge to the swivel base edge (write that down, too!) As my base is a square, the measurement ended up being 5 7/8" as well (but never assume that it's even- the swivel base may not be perfectly square).
- Divide the measurements recorded in steps 2 and 3 by "2" to get you distance from the edge to center. In my case, this gave me 2 15/16".
- Set your combo square to that measurement (2 15/16"), and mark some lines to determine the placement of your swivel base.
- If you want to double check everything, use your combo square and measure the distance from the left side and right side - this should be the same. Same thing with the top and bottom.
- With the swivel base centered, rotate the top so that you have access to the bottom.
- Using your center punch, mark the divots for the screw pilot holes near the center of the base slots.
- Grab your 1/8" drill bit and, before you chuck it in the drill, grab some blue tape. Hold the drill bit up to the side of the plywood so the tip is about halfway down the thickness of the plywood. Wrap a small piece of that tape at that point (see photo) to serve as a visual bit stop! Now you have a repeatable way to drill perfect depth holes!
- Drill the holes using the divots you marked in step 8.
- Place the swivel base back in place and secure it using the 1/4" washers and #12-5/8 screws.
Next up, we mount the top.
Step 3: Step 3: Mount the Top Piece to the Swivel Base
The process for mounting the top is pretty much the same as the bottom, but what I did was measure the distance of the holes from each side with a combo square and marked the holes on the top. Like a complete jagaloon, I completely forgot to take pictures of this process, but it's not too difficult to figure out.
- Mark the holes for the mounting screws on the top of the top piece.
- Using a 1/4" (or 17/64" for a little wiggle room) drill bit, drill holes all the way through the top piece.
- Place the top piece on top of the swivel
- Secure the top piece with screws, washers, and nuts.
- Protip: if you use an adjustable wrench, you can "hang on" to the nut, placing the washer on top of it while you twist the screw from above.
- Make sure the top piece is flush with the bottom piece as you secure it.
Before we move on to making the locking peg, let's put some finishing touches on the top piece.
Step 4: Step 4: Finishing Details for the Top
As much as I love the visual appeal of sharp, crisp edges, I'm not a fan of bumping my flesh into them. And splinters are cool and all, but those can also be quite inconvenient. So we can sand the top down after breaking the edges. First decide if you want to just break the edges, chamfer the edges, roundover the edges...
- Break the edges.
- With 120 grit sandpaper (it's plywood, so it's ok to start around here) on a sanding block, place the sanding block on the corner at a slight angle and give it a few quick swipes all the way around. (look at the first pic and pretend it's a sanding block.
- Chamfer the edges. There are two easy ways to do this:
- Use a block plane. This is my preferred method as it is the fastest and easiest. Grab a block plane, angle it on the corner at about 45 degrees, and give it a few passes all the way around. Bada-bing, bada-boom, move on.
- Use sandpaper. Do the same thing as if you were breaking the edges, but start at 80 grit and give it several more passes. This can take quite a bit longer depending on the plywood and the quality of the sandpaper.
- Use a router with a chamfering bit. I won't cover this in too much detail, but chuck up a chamfer bit into your router and run it around the perimeter. Don't forget to sand after!
- The world is your oyster, and here's your chance to eat it! Or... whatever the expression is. If there's a specific look that you want, like a Roman Ogee, feel free to grab that router bit and your router, or if you have moulding planes feel free to use those. Have fun with it!
After you profile the edges, give the top some love with sandpaper, sanding up to at least 180 grit.
Cool! At this point, you have a fully functional swivel base. You can drop your grinder onto this and go to town! But, if you want just a little bit more, let's go make a locking peg.
Step 5: Step 5 (optional) : Make and Mount the Locking Peg
The concept for this is pretty simple: measure and cut your dowel stock, make a couple holes, then shove the stick in 'em. Here's the breakdown:
- For this, we will use the 1/2" dowel stock. Using your combo square, measure from the top of the top piece to about halfway down the bottom piece and add 1/2" or so*. That will give you enough meat to grab onto once the peg top is in place. Once you have your measurement, cut it of with your weapon of choice (I used a miter gauge on the table saw). That's pretty much it! See the pictures for the full breakdown. The next step, another optional one, is to make a topper for the peg. This will make it easier to grable and handle the peg
- With the dowel cut to length, choose the corner you want to use for reference (if it's a square, remember, it doesn't matter what corner you use first). Now, place your dowel in a good spot and trace a circle on around it.
- With the corner drawn, head over to the drill press and, using the fence or another vertical flat guide and a suitable forstner bit, drill a hole all the way through the top piece and halfway through the bottom piece (if your drill press has a depth stop, now's a great time to use it). NOTE: Since there is no support on the bottom side of the top piece, you can expect a fair bit of blowout (pictured). As this is a shop fixture, I didn't worry too much about this, but if you are worried, feel free to place a supporting material (scrap wood works great) in between the top and bottom.
- After drilling the first corner, we can drill a hole in the opposite corner. While you can drill a second hole in the top to align to the existing hole in the bottom (using stop blocks), I found it easier to use the top hole to guide the drill bit into the bottom piece (this is what we're doing here). Using the drill press fence as a guide, rotate the bottom of the base 180°, run the drill down enough to align everything with the top hole, then turn the drill on and plunge through the bottom of the base.
- Finally, take a sanding block and rub one end of the dowel at a sharp angle to give it a slight chamfer. This will make it easier to insert the peg into the hole.
Now we have a base that rotates fully and locks at 180°. The next step (if you want) is to make a top for the peg to make it easier to handle.
*If you are going to just leave this as a stick, I would add a bit more to the length to give you more material to grab onto- a 1/2" may not be enough.
Step 6: Step 6 (Also Optional): Make a Top for the Dowel
Having a knob to hold onto is far easier than trying to grasp the vertical dowel surface. If you want to, you can just drill a 1/2" hole into a piece of scrap wood, glue it onto the top of the peg, and call it good. But we're gonna take this a bit further than that!
- As stated above, we will use some scrap wood (I went with some more 3/4" ply). You can use whatever you want (Solid wood is an excellent choice here!) Using the same forstner bit you used to drill the holes into the swivel base pieces, drill a hole about halfway through your selected material. Don't stress too much about centering this in the knob stock - we're going to run this through the lathe in a bit. Get it "ish" but it doesn't have to be perfect.
- Cut out around the hole, leaving enough material to turn later. If you have a bandsaw, feel free to cut out a circle around here (this is far easier, actually). I opted to cut out a square on the table saw since my bandsaw is set up for resawing and I didn't feel like swapping blades.
- With your knob stock cut out, put some glue in the now recessed hole and on the end of the dowel. Press your parts together, then clamp then together. I just used my bench vise as this was super convenient, but clamps or even a brad nail will work just fine if you so desire. Whichever way you choose to go, be sure to let it cure before moving onto the next step.
- With the peg knob cured, chuck it up into the lathe. If you have pin jaws or soft jaws, this would be a great place to use those. I didn't have this at the time, so I made do with what I had, which caused my peg to get damaged. It worked just fine- it is shop furniture after all!
- Turn the knob into whatever shape you want (sorry for no in-progress photos. I was not setup for that at the time of this project). This is your knob, so have fun with it! I wound up with a slight tapered edge with a circular design on the top of it.
- Sand the hole thing, but be careful not to take off too much material from the peg shaft. Every bit you sand will narrow it more and more, and you can easily end up with too lose of a fit.
- Last but not least, it's not a terrible idea to put some wax on it. This will help you slide it into and out of the holes easier. To do this, put some Howard's Citrus Shield furniture wax or whatever wood wax you have laying around on a shop towel, turn the lathe and and go nuts! I put wax on the knob, too, but that's more so because I like the feel of waxed wood.
Step 7: Conclusion
If you have to spend any amount of time going back and forth on the grinder (typically if the grinder doesn't have a reverse switch on them), then you know how much of a pain it is to pick up the grinder and turn it around, especially if you've got water in the tray. This project can be made for less than $20 with some scrap wood laying around, and as with all things woodworking, is completely customizable to suit your particular grinder and tastes.
If you build this, please share your experience! I'd love to see any variations and improvements y'all make!
Also, this was my first Instructable, so I'd love to hear any constructive feedback.