Tony Hills’


For some of us the art of sharpening tools on the off-hand grinder was a hard won skill which kind of sticks. Bit like learning to ride a bike. Once mastered, never forgotten. So for many the idea of setting up a machine to sharpen simple tools remains alien. But go beyond simple lathe tools and twist drills of manageable size and help is definitely needed. In all honesty the results of the off-hand gang will get by but never be as good as those from a proper tool and cutter grinder.

Then there are those things that definitely need a T&C grinder like all milling cutters, reamers, broaches, taps and so on. So the choice for the model engineer who is busy enough to blunt tools is either to find a local engineering business to do it for you, or build a machine. If you haven’t asked a local firm about the cost of sharpening tools, you might be pleasantly surprised. You might be less pleasantly surprised at the cost of building a T&C grinder, although they do make great workshop projects and have great adaptability.

But you do not have to buy sets of expensive castings to produce one. Many have been built from bar stock and even contents of the ‘useful one day’ box. The one illustrated here is by Tony Hills and was photographed at the 2013 Guildford Exhibition. It was built mostly from scrap. And a lot of ingenuity.