Review By Dean Bielanowski  Ryobi Website - http://www.ryobi.com.au

 



Ryobi HBG620 Bench Grinder
& HBGSP1 Grinder Stand

 Review

By Dean Bielanowski

Whenever I needed to sharpen a tool in the shop, I always had to mount the bench grinder on my workbench and lock it down. I had drilled mounting holes in the bench surface for this very task. My bench (like many others I presume) is one of those that always seems to be cluttered with tools and items from the last woodworking project. Time is always at a premium so clean up tends to rate lower on the importance scale.

I had began to make a dedicated grinder stand for my grinder, but that project ended up serving another purpose out in the shed, so I started looking around for another plan as my ideas had changed since the initial construction of the first stand. Space was also a concern so I wanted something that had a small footprint. I discovered that Ryobi makes a grinder stand, and since I own a Ryobi grinder that will fit the stand without modification, I thought it would be worth grabbing.

This review, however, will not just be about the grinder stand. I thought I'd review the grinder itself since I've owned it for 24 months now and can give some feedback on its performance. So this review will group both the Ryobi HBG620 6" Grinder and the dedicated HBGSP1 Grinder stand together... So let's get into it!

Ryobi HBG620 6" Grinder
I had owned an industrial 8" grinder for many years which i bought second hand. It worked great for a few years before the motor packed it in (it was old and well worn) and I decided it was not worth fixing. And, as it happens, these things always give up the ghost on Sundays when the major woodworking stores are closed. Having a need for a grinder on that day and with only the local giant hardware chain being open, I went for a stroll in the power tool section. They had a number on display which caught my eye but the giant "SALE" tag on the Ryobi HBG620 caught my eye. A 6" grinder for AUD$70 sounded like a good deal. I was planning on buying another larger industrial model the week after as I wanted 2 bench grinders for all the various wheels I would want to use - i.e. standard grey wheel, white wheel for HSS tools and a couple felt wheels for buffing etc.

$70 lighter I left the store with the HBG620 and went home to sharpen some mower blades and shop tools. I switched one of the wheels straight away with a 1" white wheel for the HSS tools. The HBG620 just manages to squeeze a 1" wheel inside the wheel housing. You can of course remove these protective wheel covers, but I like to leave them on for safety reasons if there is not an essential need to remove them. You do have to remove them to swap grinding wheels. You are provided with one fine and one course grey grinding wheel.

Tech Specs
Before we go any further, lets take a look at the published list of specifications for the HBG620;

  • Motor - 1/3HP (250Watts)

  • No Load Speed - 2850RPM

  • Wheel Size - 150 x 19mm wide

  • Wheel Bore Size - 12.7mm

  • Net Weight - 8.5kg

Other features
There is generally not a lot to a bench grinder, however, the HBG620 does have some features you may not find on other models. This includes a 12V light that automatically switches on when the grinder is turned on, and off again when the grinder is turned off. The light is on a flexible arm so you can position it for maximum effect depending on the situation. Oval-shaped eye shields are included on both wheels and can swing up and down as required. The right side eye shield is named an "Opti View" eye shield because it features a magnifying lens to get a closer look at the item being sharpened.

The standard tool rests that come with the machine are very basic, like many models, but you would want to replace these with higher quality tool rests you can buy at most good woodworking stores. One example is the Veritas Grinder Tool Rest we have reviewed on this site. The standard tool rests may be ok for basic 'freehand' grinding but the locking mechanism and size of the tool rest itself is a little inadequate for precision sharpening needs.

A star-type wheel dressing tool is provided with the unit which works reasonably well. This will clear debris and 'grit' from the wheel, slowly removing a layer of the wheel to provide a fresh cutting surface. The On/Off switch is located on the front as you would expect, and underneath this is a pull-out coolant try. The tray is also fully removable and you would fill it with water or other suitable coolant liquids, frequently dipping them in between grinds to keep the tool cool and avoid drawing the temper. Each wheel is encased with a 270 degree (roughly) cover meaning only the front part of the wheel is exposed to the user. As mentioned previously, you may have a need to remove these covers for special sharpening applications, like sharpening using the side of the wheel for example. Always follow safety instructions and use caution of course!

There are 2 bolt locations in the base to bolt the grinder down to a solid surface, or to the Ryobi stand we will look at shortly.

Tool Tip!

The HBG620 (like many other dry grinders) is a high speed tool. The grinding wheels turn at high revolutions and as a result can produce a lot of heat on your tool being sharpened.
You must constantly keep the tool cool by not engaging it with the wheel for more than a few seconds at a time and by dipping the grinding edge into a coolant regularly. If the tool becomes
too hot, you can draw the temper in the metal which makes the metal soften and become less effective as a cutting device.

In use
Apart from the features mentioned above, a dry grinder like the HBG620 does only one thing, and this to spin the wheels at its stated revolution. In the 24 months I have owned this model grinder, it has never had a problem and I have not yet managed to stall it or strain the motor. I would imagine you could possibly stall it if you applied hard pressure to the wheel, but in doing so, you risk the possibility of damaging your tool through excessive heat buildup. With correct sharpening technique, 1/3HP is certainly enough power to do the job.
Ball bearings are used to help prolong tool life and the lengthy time it takes for the wheels to come to a stop after shutdown can be seen as a good sign of bearing quality and life. The grinder is pretty quiet at full speed with no load and is very stable if you have a balanced wheel on both ends of the machine. The wheel enclosures prevent sparks flying out from the back of the wheels and with proper technique, sparks should be directed down from the cutting edge. The eye shields are there for a reason so they should be used all the time. The Opti View lens does a fairly good job at bringing you closer to the action visually, although you have to be standing in just the right spot to get the maximum effect and clarity, however, this is a result of normal human lens function anyway.

The HBG620 continues to provide reliable service for me after 2 years of use. Although it does not get half the use (time-wise) of some of the other machines in the shop, I am expecting it to provide many more years of good service. If at some time in the years to come the machine does pack it in, then I know there is a good service network available with the Ryobi line, or I will be content in knowing that my AU$70 investment has certainly been good value for money.

Overall, while not the most expensive machine you can buy, it certainly has some features others in the same price range cannot offer and it continues to provide me with sharp tools whenever I need them!

Ryobi HBGSP1 Grinder Stand
At last my grinder has its own stand! The HBGSP1 is a pressed metal construction grinder stand that will suit most benchtop 6" and 8" grinders, as well all of the Ryobi range, as you would expect. It ships in 2 parts, the stand itself, and the circular base the stand sits on.

The stand when assembled reaches about 810mm (80cm) upward, so its designed for sit-down grinding on your favorite workshop stool or seat. You can of course mount it on a small cabinet or box to boost it up to whatever height you need if you prefer grinding standing up. The base footprint is only 390mm x 390mm, so it will fit easily in a small space in your shop. It weighs 15.5kg when assembled, which is light enough to carry around, but you may find you need to secure it down to something else to provide a little more stability with larger grinders. If you have wooden sub-floor in your workshop, you can easily bolt it down to that and you will have no problems at all. With the HBG620 attached, when powered up to full speed, the stand is very stable.

Because of all the jigs and tool rests I have gathered over the years for my grinder, I opted to add a sheet of ply in between the grinder stand and the grinder itself (not shown). This provides a little more surface area around the grinder for attaching these jigs and devices and doing this is a simple affair.

The stand itself has 2 slots for grinder wheel storage. The wheels slot in nicely and the slots are angled down so your wheels cannot simply roll out onto the floor and cause all sorts of nasty damage to them.

A small tool draw is also located underneath the 2 wheel slots and this is handy for your grinding accessories such as oil cans, cloths or honing compound, as an example.

Apart from saying that my Ryobi grinder fits straight onto the stand without any modifications, there is nothing much more to mention. A stand is a stand, and as long as a trampling herd of elephants doesn't run through my shop and snap it in half, I'm expecting to keep it for a lifetime. Its a great little stand that finally holds a home for my smaller bench grinder. Come birthday time, I'm sure a second stand will be on the wishlist for my 8" grinder. The HBGSP1 retails for AUD$69.95.

Thanks goes to Andrew Miller from Ryobi Australia for
his assistance with this review.
 

Ryobi HBG620 Photos
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The HBG620 Grinder with a white wheel attached.


Wheel Dressing Tool sits up top.


The flexible worklight is a very handy feature of the HBG620


The Opti View eye shield on the right side provides good magnification.


The standard tool rest. The paint work has worn away a little over the past 24 months of use.


Only two main parts to the BHGSP1 Grinder Stand.


4 bolts through the base and assembly is complete!


The pull out draw has a good amount of tool and accessory storage.


3 adjustable mounting positions for different sized grinders on the top, plus 2 wheel storage bays below.


The Ryobi HBG620 6" Grinder bolts down to the inner threaded holes with no problem.


My grinder finally has its own stand!


Grinding out some nicks on a chisel

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