Can Angle Grinders Cut Wood?

By Tool Scout | Angle Grinder Advice

Can Angle Grinders Cut Wood

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As you might already know, an angle grinder is one of the most popular power tools on the entire market. The reason? It is a product used by both professionals and regular DIYers who enjoy doing home repair work on their own. This is due to the fact that a high-quality angle grinder can cut through everything from metal, bricks and even concrete without much trouble at all.

And now with an array of powerful cordless angle grinders being readily available on the market, the portability only adds to the enormous benefit of owning one of these much-loved tools.  

But while angle grinders are certainly a favorable power tool used by electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and weekend work warriors, are they actually a tool that carpenters or woodworkers would willingly decide to use? Well, the answer is kind of complex.

The thing is that wood is a much lighter material than metal, meaning that using an aggressive power tool such as an angle grinder, may not deliver the desired results you originally expected. In fact, using a grinder incorrectly to cut wood could result in serious injury and that is certainly something you want to avoid.

Evidently, there are a few pivotal points to ponder before deciding to break out the trusty grinder to maul that would-be piece of lumber. We did some in-depth research on this questionable topic and came up with a few useful answers on whether angle grinders can cut wood, and if you should or should not partake in this potentially risky activity.

Let’s take a look!

The Risks of Cutting Wood With an Angle Grinder

The main problem with cutting wood using an angle grinder is the fact that you will be dealing with a super powerful hand-held tool on somewhat of a delicate material. What this means is that you may not have the adequate control needed to achieve the best results, and could also increase the likelihood of encountering potential risks regarding injuries. But why is this? The answer is quite simple.

Once an angle grinder has the disc attachment on, it can spin up to 15,000 rotations per minute which can increase the chances of a strong kickback, and end up severely injuring your hand. If you are lucky you might be successful, but why risk it when there are better options such as the circular saw?

While this is a fact, it doesn’t exclude the possibility that certain types of wood are better suited to cut with a grinder. Also, are you looking for small woodcuts or something more complex? If what you have in mind is cutting edges, you will probably be fine as long as the angle grinder has its safeguard on.

For example, one material like plywood is certainly not something you would want to use an angle grinder on! Unless you want to end up with a face full of stitches or a mangled hand, you are better off using other more appropriate tools when attempting to cut plywood.

The Risks of Cutting Wood With an Angle Grinder

Is Cutting Wood With an Angle Grinder Effective?

Yes, there are certain safety concerns related to cutting wood with an angle grinder, but if you take those precautions, and you have an idea of cutting only edges and small cuts of wood that is heavier, can that be done effectively? The answer is an absolute yes! It is due to the fact that finding a power tool that is more efficient than an angle grinder is hardly likely.

With up to 15,000 rotations per minute cutting, any material with enough patience will be quite easy. But why do woodworkers recommend angle grinders, when these are not that safe?

Exactly because of the fact that without an angle grinder, the whole process of cutting and shaping wood is going to be much harder. This tool is almost perfect for tasks such as carving, sanding, and shaping, and that is why it is so highly prized on the market.

As it can perform heavy work in a fast amount of time, you have to remember that safety goggles and PPE gear are essential for your safety when wielding a grinder. Really, all power tools should be handled with care. But when it comes to grinders, there are over five thousand injuries reported each year in the united states, so considerable caution should be taken when conducting work with a grinder.

Along with that, you need to be aware of the attachments that will make the process easier and safer for you. Never remove the guard on your grinder unless the power supply is isolated. Operating a grinder without a guard when cutting material like wood may allow you more freedom to maneuver, but honestly, it's not worth it.

Ultimately, it all depends on what you are looking to achieve. Abrasive carving disks, carving wheels, and flap discs are quite important to have, especially if you are dealing with wood on an everyday basis. But for cutting wood, I'd say it still depends on the wood, the cut, and the blade you're using.

Is Cutting Wood With an Angle Grinder Effective

Can I Use a Metal Cutting Disc on Wood?

The short answer is yes. But it's not ideal and most pros would advise against using a metal cutting disc to cut wood. Why is that? Because using an abrasive blade to on a grinder to cut a combustible material like wood could result in tragedy.

Apart from that obvious reason, there is also another potential hazard associated with using a grinder to cut wood, and that is kickback.

When you're utilizing a high RPM tool like a grinder to make a cut on a piece of metal or even when attempting to cut concrete with a diamond saw blade, you're there is more resistance due to the density of the material. This isn't the case with wood. With a small change in position by slightly twisting your cut, the grinder could suddenly and radically alter the reaction force of the grinder in relation to the workpiece.

When this does happen, your reaction time will not be fast enough to counteract the almost instantaneous change and you could now have an out-of-control grinder spinning at 15,000 RPM with metal cutting disc flying across the room. Plus, grinders usually don't have an electric brake mechanism fitted to them and are slow to spin to a stop, and I'm assuming you don't want to get in the way of an angry grinder floating through space and time.

So yeah, all-in-all, making use of a grinder with a metal cutting blade to chop wood isn't the greatest of ideas.

Can I Use a Metal Cutting Disc on Wood

What's the Safest Alternative For Cutting Wood Quickly?

Well, this all depends on what tools that you have access to, but you can use either a circular saw, a miter saw, or even upgrade the blade on your existing angle grinder to effectively cut any wood material. There is a saw blade you can fit to your grinder that utilizes just three-teeth instead of the much greater number of teeth that a crosscut or ripping blade employ.

As long as you match the rotation of the blade with your grinder, you can conclusively slice through wooden material with a three-teeth angle grinder blade with little difficulty. This type of blade is designed to operate at high-speed and due to its beneficial three-teeth construction, you have minimal risk of potential kickback.

As we mentioned, this type of saw blade is relatively new to the market and could be considered a specialty blade, so finding it at your local hardware store could be a bit of a challenge. Your best bet in locating one of these unique saw blades would be to either scour the internet in-between frequent visits to PornHub or unenthusiastically venture out your front door to hunt down this mysterious blade. Or then again, you could just try Amazon -

Conclusion

As you can see the discussion on whether angle grinders should be used to cut wood or not is not that straightforward. The reason is that this tool may be too powerful for most wood materials and thus can increase your chances of injury due to possible kickback. 

That said, you do have options regarding alternatives when wanting to cut wood with a grinder as you can simply change the disc to a three-tooth saw blade.

While we think that there are certain benefits to using an angle grinder for carving, shaping and sanding, you need to be fully focused and understand the limits of the grinder in comparison to other tools. If you have other alternatives that can be used such as a circular saw, table saw or even a miter saw, you'd be better off going in that direction when attempting to make precise miter cuts or when endeavoring to rip boards of wood.

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