4-1/2-in. Angle Grinders
With the right wheel, this versatile tool can cut and shape wood, masonry, or metal.
Synopsis: Used to cut wood, metal, and masonry, angle grinders can do things other tools can’t. Author David Crosby introduces readers to these tools, provides advice on which blades to use when, and also reviews eight models, highlighting his favorite.
The four most expensive words in construction are “I can fix that.” When problems come up unexpectedly in a construction project, I’ll do just about anything to make the fix faster. That’s why I keep three 4 1⁄2-in. angle grinders in my truck, all equipped with different wheels.
Basic angle-grinder techniques aren’t difficult to master. If you select the right cutting or grinding wheel, you’ll be surprised how much work you can do with this compact power tool. Whether you need to cut a concrete block, trim rebar, remove a damaged tile, or turn a rusty surface into shiny steel, an angle grinder can get the job done.
Angle grinders are categorized by the largest-diameter attachment they are designed to accept, and metal workers often choose 7-in. and 9-in. models. But a 4 1⁄2-in. grinder has more than enough muscle for most home building applications. Features may differ, but all angle grinders share the same basic anatomy.
Safety gear is essential
I used to wear standard safety glasses when grinding, but I discovered that particles would hit my face, bounce off the back of the lenses, and land right in my eyes. Now I wear a face shield, but fully enclosed goggles are also a good choice.
I strongly recommend wearing a respirator or dust mask when using a grinder. It’s also good practice to blow compressed air through the tool to clean out accumulated grit and dust from time to time.
These tools aren’t excessively loud, but ear protection is always a good idea. Standard…