A new work rest just hit the market

REK Knives

Well-Known Member
I posted this elsewhere but figured I'd post it up here too. This post is basically functioning as a review/intro

Hey guys, really excited about this but first - full disclosure. I have had Darren Nutt (Owner of Contender Machine Works) do some lathe work for me on contact wheels in the past when I needed them re-surfaced. When I heard that he was in the process of developing his own grinder I offered to help out with the design aspect and blasted him with a bunch of ideas. He was very gracious in listening to me and as things progressed he offered (and I accepted) some prototype parts. I nit picked everything to death and Darren is an incredible machinist so this work rest is the first major grinder part he's bringing to the market.

Having a good work rest is incredibly important to me as a full time maker, one that helps work flow and doesn't hinder it. Most of the work rests for 2x72 grinders out there today function well enough to get the job done, but in my opinion most don't excel. The Contender work rest brings a couple of really neat things to the market* in addition to just being the best out there functionality wise.

Here's the highlights of what I really like about the Contender work rest:

Linear rotation
One thing that annoys me about most work rests is the fact that they don't swing out of the way. So when you want to switch to full platen use, or swap from the platen to the small wheel attachment you have to first remove the work rest before that can be done. This is annoying and time consuming, especially if you only have one grinder like me! So the swinging aspect is huge imho. And not only can it swing out of the way, but this allows you to hit all sorts of positions when your grinder is operating in horizontal mode.

Quick adjustments
We went back and forth deciding what should go where and in the end we decided on one quick adjust handle and 2 knobs. The positioning of each of these and their specific types offer a high amount of holding power for a rock-solid work rest yet they can be adjusted on the fly. Sometimes it's the small things that make a big difference in daily use!

Tilt-ability of the table
The pivot point for the table is towards the rear of the table which allows for some pretty extreme angles, especially if you turn the long table sideways!

* Modular Design
Another thing I wanted to see incorporated into this build was a modular design that is user friendly. In other words, something that allowed for quick changes between different table sizes and even jigs. This makes the Contender work rest INCREDIBLY useful for us knife makers once you realize the potential. Wait 'til you see the sharpening jig Darren is designing... it is based off of what I have used for years in professional sharpening.

* Electromagnetic Chuck :eek:
But how could we make a modular design actually work? I had worked with magnets before on my old work rest to make it modular, but the magnets would always accumulate steel shavings and it was quite annoying. So Darren and I decided look into electromagnets and let me tell you - they are AMAZING. No retained magnetism but strong holding power. And Darren's idea with locating pins was ingenious as it keeps the table from sliding at all. But he also had a great idea of incorporating a couple of bolts through the modular base into the bottom of the table so the electromagnet could be an upgrade. This allows him to get it into more hands and knife makers can upgrade later as needed.



So in the below video what you will see is the prototype that I've been using for a couple of months... the final product is even better as it's more refined and all the parts are either stainless steel or aluminum (except for the bearings for the shafts and the tables themselves). The stainless aspect is important to me because I wet grind.

Anyway, if you have a position you are curious about this work rest hitting, please comment below and I'll see if I can accommodate. I'd love to be challenged :D

 
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KenH

Well-Known Member
That's slick and I can see lots of thinking went into the design and build of that rest. One thing (I'm sure you're planning it already) but the rectangular table that is so nice for working the horizontal position, make a couple of half circles the size of the wheels to be used. You can have 3 different size half circles to fit around the wheels and still have one size flat for use.

Good thinking on that rest. While there seem to be lots of moving parts, they seem to work well together.
 

REK Knives

Well-Known Member
That's slick and I can see lots of thinking went into the design and build of that rest. One thing (I'm sure you're planning it already) but the rectangular table that is so nice for working the horizontal position, make a couple of half circles the size of the wheels to be used. You can have 3 different size half circles to fit around the wheels and still have one size flat for use.

Good thinking on that rest. While there seem to be lots of moving parts, they seem to work well together.
Yeah it's pretty incredible, I don't know how I could use any other work rest now without getting frustrated with the shortcomings lol

Yep good point, those could probably be ground in by the end user to be specific to whatever wheel set up they had.
 

fitzo

Gold Membership
That is a way nice worktable system. I've been watching the video to see how it can be modified to work with an old KMG. I have what is essentially the proto for all these, the original Mike Kanter articulating workrest from perhaps nearly 15 years ago. It was designed for the original KMG and put the slot for the arm to the left of the main arm instead of underneath like everything is today.
I've been watching the vid to see which piece would be longer to accommodate the offset position and will be eager for him to market them. Thanks for showing!
 

REK Knives

Well-Known Member
That is a way nice worktable system. I've been watching the video to see how it can be modified to work with an old KMG. I have what is essentially the proto for all these, the original Mike Kanter articulating workrest from perhaps nearly 15 years ago. It was designed for the original KMG and put the slot for the arm to the left of the main arm instead of underneath like everything is today.
I've been watching the vid to see which piece would be longer to accommodate the offset position and will be eager for him to market them. Thanks for showing!
They are up on his site, I think he will list them here tonight maybe. He's got a black Friday/intro sale going on right now. Anyway, post a Pic of your grinder and I'll see if it would work but I'm pretty sure it would accommodate the offset position no problem.
 

fitzo

Gold Membership
They are up on his site, I think he will list them here tonight maybe. He's got a black Friday/intro sale going on right now. Anyway, post a Pic of your grinder and I'll see if it would work but I'm pretty sure it would accommodate the offset position no problem.
Thanks! I see they're priced now. Yesterday it still said $99,999.99. That was a little pricey, I felt. LOL
I'll get a photo and post it tomorrow.
 

fitzo

Gold Membership
I'm not good with fotos. Hope this works. This is my "ancient" KMG with one of the early Mike Kanter (AdamMichael Knives) MAP arms. As far as I know, his efforts started the bunch of articulating rests that are out there now. It definitely pre-dated any commercial product. And, yes, that's a 2HP DC VS motor on pulleys, the "cat's a$$" power train at the time. My how times have changed. LOL

Things are heavy enough for me now I am finding some hassle holding the arm in position and tightening everything down. The Contender arm, with its design, would eliminate that problem for me. And, not being a wise guy, if it isn't easy any more, I can't physically do it. Getting old and frail has been a whole lot of revelations.

Please let me know if you think the Contender would fit this scheme as is. Thanks!KMG1.jpg
 
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REK Knives

Well-Known Member
I'm not good with fotos. Hope this works. This is my "ancient" KMG with one of the early Mike Kanter (AdamMichael Knives) MAP arms. As far as I know, his efforts started the bunch of articulating rests that are out there now. It definitely pre-dated any commercial product. And, yes, that's a 2HP DC VS motor on pulleys, the "cat's a$$" power train at the time. My how times have changed. LOL

Things are heavy enough for me now I am finding some hassle holding the arm in position and tightening everything down. The Contender arm, with its design, would eliminate that problem for me. And, not being a wise guy, if it isn't easy any more, I can't physically do it. Getting old and frail has been a whole lot of revelations.

Please let me know if you think the Contender would fit this scheme as is. Thanks!View attachment 79666
Whats the distance from the center of the work rest arm to the center of the tool rest arm?

Btw that is a cool piece of history right there!! How old is that thing?! Can't believe that contact wheel is running on pillow blocks lol
 
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REK Knives

Well-Known Member
I'm not good with fotos. Hope this works. This is my "ancient" KMG with one of the early Mike Kanter (AdamMichael Knives) MAP arms. As far as I know, his efforts started the bunch of articulating rests that are out there now. It definitely pre-dated any commercial product. And, yes, that's a 2HP DC VS motor on pulleys, the "cat's a$$" power train at the time. My how times have changed. LOL

Things are heavy enough for me now I am finding some hassle holding the arm in position and tightening everything down. The Contender arm, with its design, would eliminate that problem for me. And, not being a wise guy, if it isn't easy any more, I can't physically do it. Getting old and frail has been a whole lot of revelations.

Please let me know if you think the Contender would fit this scheme as is. Thanks!View attachment 79666
OK so the center of the table to the center of the arm is 7.5"

i-VsLw7v9-X2.jpg
 

fitzo

Gold Membership
I measure 4” between centers of the tool arms and 6-7/8” to center of big wheel.

I *think* the grinder was new 2004. It was a couple weeks after they were on the market. If Ed remembers when he got his I was a week or so later. I’m pretty sure both of us had S/Ns, so to speak, less than 10.

The 14” wheel was a couple years later, and, like the grinder, very early manufacture in its existence at Beaumont. I used to chat with Rob a lot. I saw something on a forum one day and called Rob to point out he needed to talk to Onion right now. A while later I got one of the earliest rotary platens, too. My two KMGs have been good to me.

I’m told Rob cruises the Caribbean on a sailboat nowadays. :)

Thanks so much for measuring and taking the foto! It appears it may work as is.
 
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REK Knives

Well-Known Member
I measure 4” between centers of the tool arms and 6-7/8” to center of big wheel.

I *think* the grinder was new 2004. It was a couple weeks after they were on the market. If Ed remembers when he got his I was a week or so later. I’m pretty sure both of us had S/Ns, so to speak, less than 10.

The 14” wheel was a couple years later, and, like the grinder, very early manufacture in its existence at Beaumont. I used to chat with Rob a lot. I saw something on a forum one day and called Rob to point out he needed to talk to Onion right now. A while later I got one of the earliest rotary platens, too. My two KMGs have been good to me.

I’m told Rob cruises the Caribbean on a sailboat nowadays. :)

Thanks so much for measuring and taking the foto! It appears it may work as is.
Yep it will work perfect and swing out of the way for ya when you do tool arm changes (if you ever do ) the rigidity of the entire unit is pretty awesome as well.
 
That’s an awesome grinder @fitzo! Piece of knife making history right there. Here’s another neat feature about this work rest concerning reach. Multiple arms can easily be added to extend it out as far as needed. Every arm will increase its reach by 3.5 inches. They could also be staggered back and forth with special pivot pins with snap rings to keep gravity from dropping them to the floor. That would keep the height the same and eliminate the stair step effect of stacking them on top of each other. Though I do think the standard two arms is plenty for your grinder. C2B36607-DB23-4930-82E4-F12FD50F96D5.jpeg
 

fitzo

Gold Membership
Contender Machine, thank you for pointing out what I should have figured out on my own. "Add another section." DOH, mike. :rolleyes:

You have several products I want. Nice stuff. Time to update. Might be after Christmas, but I'll be in touch. Thank you, sir!
 
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