How to Use a Wire Wheel Brush

Written by jonra springs
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How to Use a Wire Wheel Brush
Score the rust off old tools with a wire wheel brush. (old tools image by Pavel Bernshtam from

A wire wheel brush makes light work of heavy duty cleaning, paint removal and grinding off burrs. The wire brush is intended for use on a rotary tool such as an angle grinder. The rotation of the tool spins the ends of the wires on the cleaning brush at high speed for an operator to hold against metal or wood objects. Wire brushes make it possible to clean items that may otherwise have to be thrown away.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Angle grinder
  • Safery goggles, or safety glasses and face shield
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Protective clothing

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  1. 1

    Loosen the spindle nut with the special wrench that comes with the angle grinder. Pull off the top spindle washer. Set a wire wheel brush over the spindle, place the washer on over the wheel and tighten the spindle nut on over it.

  2. 2

    Put on safety gear including goggles, or safety glasses and a face shield, protective clothing and heavy work gloves. A wire brush throws pieces of dirt and debris at high speeds which can be damaging to unprotected eyes and skin.

  3. 3

    Secure the object in need of the cleaning brush with clamps or a vice. Avoid contacting loose objects with a spinning wheel brush.

  4. 4

    Hold the angle grinder with the rotation of the wire wheel brush turning away from the edge of the item being cleaned. Rotating toward the edge will cause undue damage to the wires.

  5. 5

    Hold the wire brush against the object with gentle pressure so the very ends of the wires rub across the cleaning surface. Forceful pressure will cause the wires in the brush to break.

  6. 6

    Stop the cleaning occasionally, take the wheel brush off the spindle, rotate it and secure it to the spindle to cause the rotation in the opposite direction. The opposite rotation sharpens the wire ends as you clean.

Tips and warnings

  • Never remove safety protector shields from rotary tools.
  • Do not stand within 50 feet in front of anyone using a rotating cleaning brush.

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