The Gryphon Corporation of Sylmar, California has been supplying quality tools to the glass community as long as there has been a glass community. The company's glass saws are standard equipment in many of today's top glass studios and are favorites among glass enthusiasts everywhere. With that in mind, Gryphon's entry into the crowded glass grinder arena warrants special attention. As we all know, few people get into glass without the aid of a glass grinder. It has become a staple of glass craftsmanship right alongside the glass cutter, glass breaker and soldering iron.

Grinders see a lot of mileage in the typical glass workshop or studio. They are not merely used to fine tune a glass shape or remove burrs from a cut piece of art glass. Shaping, sizing, burrowing holes, beveling edges, all of these modification are aimed at the glass grinder at one time or another. These procedures can put the tool to task if it is not designed to handle the heavier load, i.e. increased pressures of removing large areas of glass.

Gryphon's new Studio Grinder houses a high-torque DC motor designed to accommodate the more aggressive craftsperson in all of us. You know the one I'm talking out; the crafter determined to push his, or her glassworking tools to their limits. The extra torque will also come in handy when addressing thicker glass pieces or chunks of material that need to be coaxed into shape.

In terms of raw power, Gryphon's Studio Grinder sports a permanent magnet DC motor running at 3000 rpm. It's got a whopping 1/5 horsepower to drive a full selection of grinding heads (See photo) tailored to just about any grinding or shaping job you and your art glass can dream up.

The Studio Grinder is 10 5/8" wide by 10" deep and 6 1/2" tall. It has a removable, grid-like work surface and a distinctive Cooling Tower that performs a number of important functions including the positioning of the clear protective visor, the flexible splashguards and the cooling sponge. The Cooling Tower fastens to the grid surface by means of small pins. This allows the user to position the tower wherever necessary. A small hole at the bottom of the tower, right behind where the cooling sponge is fastened, allows the coolant to keep the sponge moistened. Coolant is stored in the tower. This tower concept is similar to that on Gryphon's Omni I Diamond Wire Saw (See our Road Test in the June/July 2000 issue of GLASS craftsman). Water drains into the tray underneath the grid surface and finally out through another drain that expels the water from the side of the unit. A removable plug in the tray allows the user to control the flow of water out of the Studio Grinder, and makes clean up a breeze.

To win the hearts of today's glass grinding audience, you need to innovate. Gryphon's Studio grinder has a few tricks of its own that demand a look-see. The Cooling Tower mentioned above is unique, allowing users to fill the tray under the grid surface as in conventional grinders, or just keep the tower filled to govern the amount of coolant that feeds onto the sponge. The sponge .... now here is something the bears consideration. Gryphon's Studio Grinder sports an extra long, narrow sponge that doubles over to feed a second, smaller diameter bit (See photo). This solves the pesky problem of keeping a smaller bit lubricated during use.

The Tower also accommodates two flexible, rubber like splashguards on either side (See photo). Nice touch. How many times have you wished your splashguards would move out of the way? Problem solved. Another feature tied to the Cooling Tower is the flip-up clear visor. For those users who approach their grinders while wearing protective glasses, the Studio Grinder allows you to flip the visor out of the way without having to remove it completely.

How does the Studio Grinder perform? The on/off switch is found on the right hand wall of the grinder. Flip it on and the Studio Grinder revs up to a quiet whhrrrrrrr; not noisy at all. The Cooling Tower keeps the amount of coolant fed onto the sponge to a minimum, so there's no splashing, and more importantly, no bathing, if you know what I mean. Now what about that extra power? I tried my best to force a fat piece of Uroboros textured glass against the bit, enough to grind other machines to a halt .... and the Gryphon kept on going. 1 couldn't bring it to a stop no matter how hard I tried (Don't try this at home. It's not the friendliest thing you can do to your grinder). Grinding was fast and easy.

Gryphon also offers a full line of grinder bits for the Studio model. Made by E. Herrmann of Germany for Gryphon, they include the standard 5/8" and 1" cylindrical bits, a 1/8" Pin style bit for fine grinding and boring holes into glass, a 3/4" Tapering bit, a 3/4" Mirror bit, Groove grinder bit, a 1" Dual groove grinding bit and a 5/8" superpower bit. Bits come in Fine, Standard, Power and Super Power (For aggressive grinding) grits. Each is complete with Allen wrench for installation.

There you have it Gryphon's Studio Grinder. For those of you pining for more pro-powered glass working machinery, give Gryphon's Studio Grinder a spin.

Gryphon Studio Grinder Road Test

Reprinted with permission from:

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Gryphon Studio Grinder

Aug/Sept 2001 issue