January 19, 2009

Arbortech Mini-Grinder - Review

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Last week we reviewed Arbortech's Power Chisel and were amazed at how much we liked it and how well it worked. We've also been playing around with their other woodworking tool, the Mini-Grinder, and now we're here to tell you how that one worked.

The basics are the same as the Power Chisel, the Mini-Grinder is an attachment for a standard angle grinder. It attaches to the top of the grinder and uses the spinning chuck as a gear to move the mini grinder at the end of the attachment. Like the Power Chisel, it's available as a single unit (attached to an Arbortech Grinder) or as a stand-alone that you can attach to your existing grinder.

arbortech_mini_grinder_head.jpgThe Mini-Grinder comes with both small sanding pads as well as a grinder wheel. The rinding wheel has an interesting look to it, appearing more like a chainsaw blade than any fine woodworking tool we've seen. Not sure how it would react when it touched wood, we started the tool up and had at it.

After using the tool for about five minutes, we decided that we were going to email Arbortech and suggest a new name for the Mini-Grinder. To us, "Wood-Eraser" is a more apt moniker for the tool, because that's exactly what it does; it makes wood literally vanish. And with really no effort at all. While the blade is ferocious with wood removal, it is also very smooth with what it leaves behind. The tool is easy to use and within a few moments, we were able to carve out some nice straight lines or to follow a smooth arc that we marked out.

The little grinder wheel also cuts. And while the blade can't go that deep, only about 1/2", it might be one of the smoothest cuts we've ever made. The mini-grinder needs absolutely no pressure from human hands in order to slice through a chunk of red oak. Again, because it's so powerful and needs so little assistance from the user, it is extremely easy to control.

arbortech_mini_grinder_acce.jpgWe also checked out the sanding discs that came with the tool and had a similar experience. Again, the tool was easy to maneuver and very good at smoothing off any little edges or kerf marks that the grinder left.

We've never really done any wood carving, but now that we have the Power Chisel and the Mini-Grinder, we might start. Each of these tools is fantastic in its own right, but taken together, they're a one man carving arsenal. But not only carvers would find the Mini-Grinder useful. Any carpenter or serious DIYer would also have fun playing around with it.

Like we said earlier, the Mini-Grinder is available already attached to an Arbortech Grinder for about $210, if you want to just get the attachment and put it on your own grinder, it'll cost you about $120. If you decide to just get the attachment, it's worth reading this article at Arbortech for compatibility issues. We posted up a video below so you can see the tool in action.

Mini-Grinder with tool at Amazon.com and Highland Woodworking
Mini-Grinder (stand-alone) at Highland Woodworking

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at January 19, 2009 5:03 AM

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