A bench grinder is most commonly used for shaping, sharpening and honing rough metal. This grinding tool is usually mounted on a pedestal and uses abrasive wheels that rotate.
Bench grinders can also be used to sharpen tools and drill bits, depending on the grade of the grinding wheel. There are several types of wheels that can be changed out depending on the job, including aluminum oxide wheels, silicon carbide wheels, fiber and wire wheels and buffing wheels. While the wheel works well on tough metals like steel, it should never be used on soft metals like aluminum because the metal can become lodged in the pores of the grinding wheel, which can eventually become dislodged.