, , ,


I was recently asked about my treadle grinding wheel that I posted on Youtube. There was interest in the substructure that supports the axle and bearings for the grinding wheel.  So before I give some details, I want to give a little introduction to my foot powered grinder.

Back in the late 80’s I had the opportunity to purchase the old grinding wheel at a flea market in Springfield, OH.  I was already 10 years into my passion for hand tools.  I was hooked on regularly watching Roy Underhill and the Woodwright’s Shop on PBS and often hunted for old woodworking and blacksmithing tools at flea markets as an escape from my environmental consulting work.  I still remember the look on my father-in-law’s face and Barb’s too when I tried to load the grinder into the back of their minivan.

The grinder features a big sandstone wheel that was a common item for any homestead in the 1800’s.  Most likely the grinding wheel was mined from the Berea sandstone, a 320 million year old geologic formation (Mississippian Age) that was famous for offering quality grinding stones. Settlers once mined the Berea sandstone in the Cayuhoga Valley for grinding wheels.  Here is a picture of the texture of the stone.

texture of grinding stone

Mine was originally a treadle grinder and it may have either been equipped with a water trough or a funnel above the stone for regular wetting to facilitate grinding edges on tools.  I don’t know.  Years ago I made a funnel and attached a vertical support rod so it would provide a steady drip of water. I have enjoyed using this treadle grinder and one day I might build a new carriage so the base is more stable. So far my modifications include the funnel, forging a connection link, and building a new treadle. I don’t do all my sharpening on it, but it is quite gratifying to grind a new bevel on one of my axes.


photo (51)

Looking at the pictures you can tell that the front and the rear legs look different.  The legs near the tool rest are clearly the original ones and the other square shaped legs were added later by a previous owner.

grinding wheel bearings

If someone knows more about the company, McD, that made these  I’d love to hear about it.