Red Box Heater & Blue Blower

Is it time to think about investing in a heater?

Are you tired of standing in a cold studio or work shop?

Are you letting $1000’s of dollars of turning tools sit idle because you are to cheap to invest $150 in a heater?

Main Heat

The heat in my house is base board hot water driven by a natural gas hot water furnace with 4 zones.  The 4th zone is the main heater in my studio.  It  is a  fan forced “Modine” hot water heater.

The Modine heater works great.  It is the best solution because it is efficient and no open flame (pilot light) in my studio.

Note: “Modine” is the brand name.  But, it is also commonly used to refer to and box heater that hangs from the ceiling.   May be hot water or gas fired.

240 Volt Red Box Heater

It takes about 1 hour for the Modine to warm up my studio from 50 to 65 degrees.  When I forget to turn it on early I use my red box heater for supplemental heat.

The red box heater I like is manufactured by Marley Electric Heating, Model# 402. Contractor Heater,  4000 watts at 240 volts.  Roughly 11″ x 11″ x 12″. The same heater is sold under the Marley, Qmark, Berko and Fahrenheat brands.  Just look for BRH 402 heater on Amazon.  $150 on 2/8/2013

I like this heater because.

  1. Its red and rugged!
  2. It is fan forced.  So it shoots a steam of hot air across the studio.
  3. It puts out a lot of heat!.  But, it is not to hot.  You can stand in front of it and feel very comfortable.
  4. It is portable.  You just plug it in.  It is easy to move around.  Easy to store in summer. Not to big.
  5. You can easily hang it from wall or ceiling with wire, gas welding rod or chain.
  6. It is 220 volts.  120 volt heaters are to wimpy for me!  I want heat now, lots of it!
  7. It has a knob on the back that turns it off/no and sets thermostat temperature.
  8. It is not to noisy.
  9. It is low and square.  Very stable shape.  You really can’t knock it over.  So, no fire hazard.
  10. It is easy to clean with a blast of compressed air.

The model BRH 402 heater is the smallest model in the BRH series.  It  draws 16.7 amps at 240 volts.  Thus it requires a 20 amp 220 volt circuit breaker.   However, I run the heater on the same circuit as my large 3hp VB36 lathe.   I plug them into the same wall outlet. 

It is a little known fact that you can replace the local hardware store variety single outlet 220 volt receptacle with dual outlet one.  You need a  “NEMA 6-20 duplex receptacle” ( item # 7120K942)

Marley makes larger BRH heaters.  But they require more than 20 amps.   Click here for details.

120 Volt Blue Blower with Heater Attachment

I love my “Nascar Blue Blower” it is “the best fan I have ever owned”.   I take it every where in the summer.

I love this fan because it will blow a stream of air, straight across the room, 10 feet or more. It has low, medium, and high speeds.  High = wind tunnel.  It is a small portable squirrel cage fan driven by a 180 watt motor.

They make a $30 heater attachment that snaps onto the front of blue blower.  It works pretty good.  But, I don’t like standing in front of it.  Its just a little to cool.  Because, even on low speed the blue blower moves to a lot of air.   The heater works fine if you don’t stand in front of it.

If you don’t have 220 volts then blue blower heater is a good 120 volt solution.  You just have to live with less/slower heat. I take the blue blower heater with me in the winter when I stay in cheap motels.
I don’t think they are still selling the orginal blue blower.   I have seen lots of knock offs.  Same quality?  Look around on Amazon.  Original fan $70 + heater $30.

Air Cleaner

I have a JDS 750-ER air cleaner in my studio.  It is a very important part of my heating and AC systems.

The air cleaner hangs from the low ceiling in the center of my studio.  My “Modine” heater is positioned so it blows hot air across the room into the intake on my air cleaner.   The air cleaner blows the heat around the rest of the shop.

Two Quick “Oneway” Improvements

Here are two quick improvements to “Oneway” tools

Longer Chuck Wrench Handle

For me, the bar on the Oneway Chuck handles is to short.   It slips out of my hand, hurts my hand or I can’t get enough leverage.

I have replaced the bar in my chuck handles with a 7-3/4″ long Hardened Steel Shaft. Part # 6112K44 = “Hardened Precision Metric Steel Shaft 8 mm Diameter, 200 mm Length”.  $6 on 2/1/2013.

The 8mm shaft is a perfect substitute.  No drilling, no fuss.   Just pop the red end covers off the existing the rod.  Slip in the new shaft.  Reinstall the red end covers.

I do not want the longer rod to bend easily.  Thus I use a handed steel shaft rather than cold rolled steel rod from local hardware store.   After a year of use the shaft is like new.  No bends.

The photo below shows the old back rod and the new silver shaft.

Add a Shaft Collar to Oneway Wolverine Vee-Arm

I have added a two-piece shaft cover to Vee-Arm on my Oneway Wolverine grinding jig.   I no longer have to fuss around with pencil marks on the square bar, etc.  See photos.

If you have one of those new CBN grinding wheels you will never need to move the collar.  If you have good old grinding wheels like me then you have to move it after you dress the wheels a few times.   A lot less often then you might think.

A 1″ round shaft collar works on the 3/4″ square bar IF AND ONLY IF it is a “Two-Piece” shaft collar.  One piece solid or split collar will not work.   They are just a little to big.  The extra play in a  two piece shaft collar makes it just the right size.  Or you can just take it apart and grind a little off the flat ends. Part # 6436K18 = ‘Two-Piece Clamp-on Shaft Collar Steel, 1″ Bore, 1-3/4″ Outside Diameter, 1/2″ Width’  $4.25 on 2/1/2013

Low Cost Industrial Bench Grinder

I love my new bench grinder!   I purchased it in Sept of 2012.

I had to replace a 10 year old Delta 8″ bench grinder that was giving me trouble.


The Grinder

It is a Dayton Bench Grinder model # 2LKR9.   8″ x 1″ wheels, 3450 RPM, 3/4 hp, 120 volts, 7 amps.

It only cost me $210 from Zozo Tools on the web.  This is a very good price for an industrial quality grinder.  This grinder comes with a cast iron base and impressive cast iron wheel guards.  Good quality 3/4 HP motor.

When I first powered on this grinder on I got this “WOW” feeling.   This is a quality tool!   It runs really smooth and sounds great!   You just want to turn on the grinder and admire it!

The grinder comes up to speed fast when turned on and coasts for a long time after you turn it off.

I really like the 21″ width of this grinder.  When grinding a tool, I don’t have trouble with the tool handle or my hand hitting the “other” wheel. The center to center distance between the wheels is 16.5″.

Beware! The grinder comes with dust collection hoses.  Metal working dust collectors are explosion proof.  Woodworking dust collectors are not explosion proof and thus CAN NOT be used.  I just discarded the dust hoses.

Grinding Wheels

The 8″ grinding wheels that come with the grinder are better than the low quality ones that typically come with cheap grinders.

On cheap grinders you mount the grinding wheels onto the motor shaft by pushing them up against a washer or C ring.  The washers flop around and make it hard to mount the wheel so it runs really true.

The wheels on this grinder run really true!  Because, the grinder comes with these fancy aluminum “Inner Wheel Flanges” that slip over the shaft.  The flanges have a wide face that registers against the wheel on one end, while the other end extends back down the shaft into the grinder where it registers up against the motor.

You can’t teach and old dog new tricks.  So, I decided to replace one of the grinding wheels with my favorite grinding wheel.  A Norton 8″ x 1″ x 1″, Gemini, Alundum (Aluminum Oxide), 100 Grit, Fine, Grinding Wheel.  In some places it is listed as 100/120 grit.  Norton part# 88280 or part# 07660788280.  Zoro part# G12205592, stock# 6A092.  Beware, this wheel use to be a gray color with a colorful “Gemini” label on it.   Norton has changed the color and packaging.  The wheel is now a brown color with a boring blue Norton label.  Same great wheel!  Not to soft and not to hard.  Not to fine and not to course.



Use Drill Bushings

Most 8″ grinding wheels come with a 1″ mounting hole and these plastic bushings so you can mount them on a grinder with 5/8″ diameter shaft.  The nested plastic bushings may cause wobble.

I use steel Type “P” Drill Bushings rather than plastic bushings.   There are precision ground to 0.0014″ tolerance. Type “P” = Headless Press Fit.  1″ outside diameter, 5/8″ inside diameter, 1″ long.


2 of Zoro part# G3591761, or Mcmaster-Carr part# 8491A562

The Tool Rests

The tool rests that come with  grinder are better than average.  But, I discarded them because I really like the Wolverine Grinding system from Oneway.


Cheap Grinders Cost More!

The wheels on this grinder run true!   Thus this grinder does not require those fancy Wolverine Wheel Balancers from Oneway.

Other 8″ grinders go for $120 to $150.  Wheel balancers are $70 each.

$120 + $70 + $70 is $260.   My new grinder was only $210.

10 years ago you could buy a cheap grinder that did not require wheel balancers to run true.  It seems those days are long gone.

Not Variable Speed

I was looking for a 2 speed or variable speed grinder when I found this grinder.  I wanted 1725 rpm to 3450 rpm.  I could not find a good or even reasonable quality 8″ variable speed bench grinder.  I decided to
live with this 3450 rpm grinder because I liked the quality and I personally only use 3450 rpm.  The variable speed was for my friends and students.

Dayton does make a very similar 8″ variable speed grinder model #2FDB6. But it is 1.5 hp and thus costs $470. To much!   It also makes a similar 1725 rpm grinder model #2LKT2.  But it uses 10″ wheels.  To large! No

I only like 8″ grinders. I do not like 6″ grinders.   I can’t grind my tools to the shapes I like on a grinder with 6″ wheels.  If 6″ is ok with you then Dayton does make a similar 6″ variable speed grinder model
#2FDB5 for $278.  Beware!  Dayton makes other 6″ grinders but the wheels are not 1″ wide.  They are  only 3/4″ of an inch wide.  To narrow!

Zoro Tools

I found Zoro Tools on the web.

I have purchased a few things from them.  Low prices!  No problems.

My New Grinder Stand

I mounted my new grinder on a new grinder stand.  It’s my 2nd generation stand.  My 1st generation stand was good. This one is even better.   A friend was over last week and, he really liked the height of my grinder.  Center of grinder wheel is 46″ off the floor.

I like having my grinder mounted on a stand that I can easily move around the shop as needed.  My new stand is built on a base I purchased from Grizzly tools a long time ago.  It is 32″ tall.  I just saw a very similar stand for less at Harbor Freight.

Here is what my new stand looks like:




More photos are here:

The stand is made out of 3/4″ local hardware store plywood. I buy the better, almost cabinet grade $38 plywood.  The stand is sturdy because I lock the plywood pieces together with 3/4″ wide by 1/4″ deep dado groves. All joints are glued and screwed.  All exposed plywood edges are belt sanded before assembly so they look nice. Sizes: Top platform 19″ wide by 11″, Middle platform 20″ wide by 10″, Bottom platform 20″ wide by 13″, Back 8″ wide by 19.5″, Middle platform supports are 9.5″ wide by 6.25″ + 0.5″ for dados.