Tool of the Week: Angle Grinder

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My dad and stepmom (S/V Skylark) called me from Curacao the other day and asked why I haven’t put the angle grinder as a “tool of the week” yet.  I jokingly said I didn’t use it that much (which isn’t true, we use it all the time) and he responded by saying “every boat should have an angle grinder,” a statement I wholeheartedly agree with.

The grinder I am holding above is a Makita that I purchased on Amazon for $57.  I also have a Dewalt at work that I bought for about $80 and a cordless Hilti that was about $500.  No offense to Hilti as they make excellent tools but the Makita and Dewalt do the job just as well.   As a matter of fact, I like how compact they are compared to the bulky, heavy Hilti.  However, it is nice to go cordless every once in a while.

You can use the angle grinder to cut through just about anything – Ive cut through a three inch solid steel bar before.  It is great for grinding down metal or fiberglass.  I’d venture to say its necessary for a major fiberglass repair job, I’ve certainly found it to be most effective in cutting out and grinding down fiberglass structures in the boat in order to build new ones.  It can also be used for sanding, Paul Calder used his to sand down and polish his chainplates.

I look to the angle grinder for large jobs, its fast, powerful, and efficient.  For tighter spaces I switch over to the multitool discussed a few weeks ago and for the really tight spots I use a dremel tool that I’m sure will have its 5 minutes of fame soon.


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