JET 8" Bench Grinder & Pedestal Stand
Hefty, powerful and smooth running
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 11-4-2010
From the time I started using my first cheapo 6” bench grinder I knew that I needed a much better one. Over the years I have spent around $300 on bargain priced bench grinders trying to cheap my way into a decent machine. After way too long and far too much money spent on “bargain” grinders I came to the realization that I needed to stop messing around before I went broke and get a good grinder. After shopping prices on the better grinders (I still wanted good value) I settled on the JET 8" Bench Grinder (JBG-8A) and the JET Pedestal Stand (JPS-2A). As you will note at the end of this review I spent nearly enough while “saving money” on those cheaper machines to buy two JET 8" Bench Grinders. Right now some of you are quickly adding up what you have spent on grinders (or other machines) so we will wait for you to reach the same (unsettling) conclusion that I did. Enter your expletive here.
The JET 8" Bench Grinder Basics
The JET 8" Bench Grinder is a true 1-HP, 120-volt bench grinder that turns the wheels at a consistent 3450 RPM. JET rates their motors using a continuous duty cycle that gives you a precise representation of the real power available during use, not the “peak” or “max developed” figures many other manufacturers still use. The JET 8" Bench Grinder is 19”-long by 12-1/2”-tall by 10”-deep and weighs about 60-lbs because of the hefty motor and the liberal use of real cast iron and steel. That weight along with precise machining and manufacturing techniques result in a silky-smooth running grinder. If this grinder vibrates, look at the wheels!
The JET 8" Bench Grinder comes with two 8”-diameter by 1”-wide vitrified wheels, one 36-grit and the other 60-grit that fit the 5/8”-diameter arbors. The arbors themselves turn in sealed, permanently lubricated ball bearings for minimal friction and long lasting smooth operation. The wheels are enclosed within cast iron safety housings, each with a debris chute that exits towards the rear of the grinder.
Iron tool rests are mounted at each wheel and can be adjusted in and out to match the current wheel diameter. The JET 8" Bench Grinder also includes clear shields for each wheel on adjustable mounts that let you set them to give you the best vision and protection for the job.
The Pedestal Stand Basics
Made from lots of cast iron the 52-lb Pedestal Stand stands 37”-tall with a heavy three leg base that spans 17-1/2” between legs for stability. Each leg has a cast-in hole for bolting the stand to a suitable floor. The 3-1/2”-diameter column is very tough to handle the larger grinders over the long haul. The top plate is 11”-wide by 10-“-deep and slotted to accept all JET grinders as well as many other popular grinders.
The Pedestal Stand comes with a water tank and tool tray bracket that can be mounted anywhere on the column to make it comfortable for the operator. Assembling the Pedestal Stand requires only a 6mm hex wrench because everything is secured with factory-installed Allen bolts. The Pedestal Stand is very simple but very strong.
In the Shop
Assembling the Pedestal Stand and JET 8" Bench Grinder went very quickly. The only tools I needed were a 6mm hex wrench, 10 and 12mm wrenches and a Phillips screwdriver. I love it when a manufacturer makes assembly simple and straightforward. Kudos to JET on that count! The only pieces I had to come up with myself were the two bolts that hold the JET 8" Bench Grinder to the Pedestal Stand.
The JET 8" Bench Grinder has plenty of power for any kind of rational grinding operations I can think of. If you slow this machine while grinding I am confident that you are leaning on it way too hard! The combination of 36 and 60-grit wheels seems perfect for general grinding needs common to the home-based or factory settings. With a light touch and the 3450-RPM you can create a very fine scratch pattern right off this grinder. The JET 8" Bench Grinder wheel size is very popular so there is a huge array of grits and wheel compositions to choose from to fit specialty needs.
During the evaluation I did everything from sharpening chisels, fixing screwdrivers and shortening bolts. In all of those situations I was able to get the job done quickly and with a surprisingly smooth finish by simply using lighter pressure on the 60-grit wheel. If you wanted to refine the finish even more the JET 8" Bench Grinder gives you a great starting point!
The cast iron wheel guards with the debris chutes are effective but do not get in the way. The dust and debris shields are easily adjusted to give the operator a clear view of the wheel and still offer good protection. The iron tool rests are adjustable to compensate for wheel diameter only. If you require tilting or other specialty tool rest designs you will be looking for aftermarket components. I suspect that the stock tool rests will serve most needs as they are.
If there is something deficient about the JET 8" Bench Grinder I sure can’t find it! The power and smooth operation makes the JET 8" Bench Grinder easy to use yet it can remove material very quickly when needed.
The Pedestal Stand is tough, heavy and stable. Everything you need in a grinder stand. While it is stable just standing on a flat floor, using the provided holes to bolt it down makes it far safer. As with the JET 8" Bench Grinder, I cannot find any deficiencies with the Pedestal Stand other than wanting more tool storage space. However, that is a very individual need and JET could never design one tool tray that would work for all of us so I think they provide a good compromise. Having the water pot is a necessity and the supplied bracket lets you put that right where it works best for you.
Grinding is a core capability in virtually any shop. The JET 8" Bench Grinder and Pedestal Stand give you all of the power and wheel size you will need for everything from small sharpening tasks to large reshaping jobs. The heft and quality of the JET 8" Bench Grinder mean that it will continue to perform for a very long time.
With a street price of $179.00 (11-3-2010) for the JET 8" Bench Grinder and $74.99 for the Pedestal Stand you can add full on grinding capabilities to your shop without stomping on the budget. This is a classic case where buying the good one first saves lots of money. Just ask me about the $150 or so I threw away while trying to save money on the way to this grinder! If I would have gotten the JET 8" Bench Grinder and Pedestal Stand first I could have had right around $150 to spend on other tools!
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