wire wheels

Empire Abrasives Wire Wheels

What are Abrasive Wire Wheel Brushes?

These abrasive attachments for grinders and power drills are crafted with a series of metal wires/filaments extending out from a central hub. Wires will either appear to be extruding from the center in a crimped or a twisted/knotted structure.

Empire Abrasives has carbon steel wire wheels and stainless steel wire abrasive wheels to help you with your next project.

How does a Wire Wheel Work?

The wheel attaches to one of the tools listed below for either handheld use or set in a stationary power tool depending on whether the center has a 1/4 inch shank or an arbor connection. The ends of the metal wiring have sharp/jagged tips that work as an abrasive when the wheel is spinning against a surface.

The operator should only use the ends of these wires to grind down the surface they are working on. These wires are flexible and have a specific amount of give, but the utility of the abrasive wheel brushes comes from the sharp ends, so you won’t need to use much force to get the most out of these attachments.

As the tool is used, the tips of the wires are designed to break off small pieces instead of dulling down. This keeps the wheels sharp enough to continue working for extended periods and lengthens the life of the wire brush.

A major difference, and benefit, or using wire wheels and other wire abrasives compared to coated abrasive products is that they do not accumulate particles of the surface material that is being removed.

Empire Abrasives carries wire wheels to be used on the following power tools:

  • Wire Wheels for Angle Grinders - 5/8″-11 arbor
  • Wire Wheels for Bench Grinders - 1/2", 5/8", or 2" arbor
  • Wire Wheels for Die Grinders - 1/4" shank
  • Wire Wheels for Power Drills - 1/4" shank
  • Wire Wheels for Walk-Behind Saws - 1" DPH arbor

Crimped Wheels vs Twisted Wire Wheels

As mentioned above, there are two types of wire brush grinding wheels: crimped and twisted (knotted/braided).

Crimped Wire Wheels

The wires extending from the center of these wheels appear to have a wavy or pinched shape. The strands of filament on a crimped wheel are all separated from one another allowing for flexibility with the tool. This added flexibility makes the crimped versions better suited for uniform brushing and jobs that require less aggressive brushing. They also provide more flexibility on uneven surfaces than their knotted counterpart.

Twisted Wire Wheels (Knotted/Braided Wire Wheels)

For these wheels, you will notice the wires are extended from the center in groups of twisted bundles that resemble cable twists. This design adds rigidity to the wheel that allows for more aggressive brushing, extra cutting/cleaning power, and a longer life for the product.

What is a Wire Wheel Brush Used for?

There are a variety of uses for these brushes, some of which are better suited for crimped wire wheel brushes (less aggressive grinding) and some better for knotted wheels (more aggressive grinds).

  • Metal surface preparation (Best with Crimped Wheels)
  • Removal of paint, dirt, and rust (Best with Crimped Wheels)
  • Removal of weld spatter, and scale (Best with both Crimped and Twisted Wheels)
  • Removal of rubber flash or extra-heavy rust (Best with Twisted Wheels)
  • General cleaning (Best with Crimped or Twisted Wheels)
  • Deburring (Best with Crimped Wheels)
  • Edge blending (Best with Crimped Wheels)
  • Roughening for adhesion (Best with Crimped Wheels)
  • Pipeline welding junctions (Best with Twisted Wheels)
  • Cleaning bead welds (Best with Twisted Wheels)
  • Preparing expansive joints (Best with Twisted Wheels)

Wire Wheels vs Wire Cup Brushes

Sanding brush wire wheels and wire cup brushes perform many of the same tasks and can be attached to most of the same tools like power drills and angle grinders. The main difference is the angle at which you can use each. Wire wheels can be used horizontally or vertically while cup brushes are made to be pressed toward a surface, but are capable of accessing harder to reach areas and crevices that a wheel cannot. The design of a cup brush also makes them the recommended tool for use on larger surface areas.