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Chris Throws Pots

New Angle Grinder for Kiln Shelf Cleanup - Paddle or Slide Switch?

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It's time to replace my angle grinder and I'm  torn between sticking with slide-style on/off switch that locks the grinder on, or switching to the paddle-style. I have always used grinders with the locking slide switches, but the increased safety of the paddle switch seems a good thing to invest in. However I'm concerned that keeping the paddle engaged could be tiresome and uncomfortable when grinding a stack of shelves (sometimes 30+ in a session).  What grinder do you use? Anyone have a paddle-style and love it? Hate it?  Anyone made the switch from slide to paddle?

Drilling down one more level into specifics: I have several Milwaukee M18 Fuel tools and if I go cordless for the new grinder it would be with one of the M18 brushless grinders so that I can use the same battery platform I already have for drills, drivers, etc. If anyone has experience with these particular grinders I'd appreciate your review of the tool for grinding kiln shelves. How long will a 5.0 battery last when grinding glaze spots and kiln wash?

Edited by Chris Throws Pots

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In my experience, air powered grinders will outlast any battery powered or corded grinder. The dust kills them. If you don't have an air setup, I wouldn't invest in anything as nice as a Milwaukee. Just get the cheapest corded model you can find. Get the locking switch. Holding a switch while working is super annoying.

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Harbor freight disposable angle grinder for shelves.  As Neil said, the dust absolutely makes short work of the bearings, switches and motor. At 15 dollars you can buy a new one every year and still be ahead over the cost of a nice one.

Look, on sale for 12 bucks and there's a 20% off coupon too lol.  https://www.harborfreight.com/4-12-in-43-Amp-Angle-Grinder-69645.html?ccdenc=eyJjb2RlIjoiMjc1MTE5MjYiLCJza3UiOiI2OTY0NSIsImlzIjoiMTEuOTkiLCJwcm9kdWN0X2lk IjoiOTA0OCJ9

Edited by liambesaw

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I appreciate the feedback. I don’t have an air setup so corded or battery are my current options. I see some of the corded models have a paddle switch that can be locked on so maybe that’s a happy medium?The corded Ryobi grinder I’ve been using for the last 10 years was purchased for probably $60. I don’t mind spending a bit extra for a better quality/safer product but the cordless Milwaukee is probably excessive given my only use for a grinder is kiln shelf maintenance. I’m only considering it because I already have tools using that battery platform and I can get one with a battery for $179 at the big orange box. The battery alone retails for $129 so the tool would essentially be $50. But the special is only offered on the paddle switch version, not the slide lock.  

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I have a corded Milwaukee 7 inch and do not use it on kiln wash-I use a corded Mikita 4 inch -I also have the 18v cordless Mikita 4 inch but do not trash it on wash grinding. I think a cheapy grinder for shelves is best-the harbor frieght is a good option. Wash will kill it over time

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I've seen Mark post that he has Advancer shelves.  Don't tell me you're using kiln wash on Advancer shelves?  I don't even use kiln wash on the cheap silicon carbide shelves.  Am I missing something?  I thought that kiln wash was only necessary for the old mullite shelves.  I have a set of 1" mullite that never comes out of the kiln that are washed, but I have never ground off and replaced the kiln wash.  Apparently, grinding kiln wash off shelves is a regular thing.

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High end or low end grinders will all get trashed with the dust. Makes no difference how much you pay.  I've extended the life of the grinder by taping a strip of coffee filter across the fresh air intake on the grinder.  one just has to keep it from clogging up by brushing off the dust . If one forgets it gets too hot the thermal breaker on the tool will kick.

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I like the paddle verses the slide for pure construction work and longevity as long as it’s attached to a good switch. There is a 2019 angle grinder review on you tube and if you favor some laughs, my favorite you tube reviewer would be AvE. YouTube search AvE and angle grinder reviews. If you can tolerate the presentation he will definitely deconstruct each fully and you are guaranteed to learn a whole bunch you never knew.

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Love AvE, lol.  But his reviews are highly critical.  Even tools he likes he will criticize to a point where you don't think he likes them.  But he is hilarious and will take apart just about everything so very useful.  Not for the emotionally sensitive though.

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17 hours ago, CactusPots said:

I've seen Mark post that he has Advancer shelves.  Don't tell me you're using kiln wash on Advancer shelves?  I don't even use kiln wash on the cheap silicon carbide shelves.  Am I missing something?  I thought that kiln wash was only necessary for the old mullite shelves.  I have a set of 1" mullite that never comes out of the kiln that are washed, but I have never ground off and replaced the kiln wash.  Apparently, grinding kiln wash off shelves is a regular thing.

Advancers or bonded  nitride can stick to some fluxed porcelain so I have seen folks use something like Lees Kiln wash on these to keep the fluxed clays from sticking. As far as mullite  in the studio, students often glaze with a certain flowing creativity in mind so these drips can be pretty significant and eat through enough of the wash to require grinding.

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Sure, I completely destroyed my first set of kiln shelves.  They are now recycled as raised bed planters.  I don't do much porcelain,  when I do they're either on a slab of soft brick or I dust the shelf with alumina.  Student work requires a whole different level of fore thought and protection.  I spent a bunch of years in what was basically an open studio, or anarchy central, as I liked to call it.

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On 6/25/2019 at 2:46 PM, CactusPots said:

I've seen Mark post that he has Advancer shelves.  Don't tell me you're using kiln wash on Advancer shelves?  I don't even use kiln wash on the cheap silicon carbide shelves.  Am I missing something?  I thought that kiln wash was only necessary for the old mullite shelves.  I have a set of 1" mullite that never comes out of the kiln that are washed, but I have never ground off and replaced the kiln wash.  Apparently, grinding kiln wash off shelves is a regular thing.

Yep your missing something-its called plucking and thats when at cone 10 the porcealin fuzes to a slight degree to the shelve  (advancers) and leaves a nasty rough spoton foot.

I was all my advancers so my porcelain does not stick and leave part of foot at  soft cone 11

Stoneware folks got it so easy

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I’ve had plucking at cone 6/7 using high alumina kiln shelves without wash. I always wash the shelves used by our students but keep a personal set for my own work. I never washed those... just marked them A side and B side with RIO and alternated sides for glaze firings to prevent warping. After a while I started getting plucked feet so I started kiln washing. If there’s something else I can do to prevent plucking please let me know. I’d much prefer to not use kiln wash. 

Grinder update: I bought a $40 Bosch corded grinder with a slide lock switch. It’s probably in my head and makes no difference, but knowing how wrong things can go with an angler grinder I felt better going with a brand I know and trust.

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