Belt grinder?

dereklee12

Well-Known Member
Just a quick question on belt grinders. How much time do they really save? I tried a 1x30 for one knife then realized all I needed was a steady angle and went after a file system for my bevels. Tonight I hybridized the ideas to clean up some plunge lines and it took a lot longer than I thought to take the steel off. Is a 1x30 that much slower to remove the steel? I know I go through the belts quicker than a 2x72 but it seems like it takes much longer to work than a file. I thought it would make up in hand sanding but that still takes a long time. Am I doing something wrong or just saving 1500 bucks? I am working on a 3/16 stock piece instead of the 1/8 pieces I have been using for small blades but I am surprised at how long it takes for 80 grit belts to make a dent. Thanks for any help.
 

Wayne Coe

Forum Owner - Moderator
If you are serious about making knives, especially by the stock removal method, you will be wanting a good quality 2 X 72" belt grinder and good belts. I suggest the ceramic belts and if doing stock removal start with 36 or 40 grit.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Is a 1x30 that much slower to remove the steel?
Not even in the same universe as a 2x72" machine. As with anything, there is a learning curve when you "step up" to a quality 2x72" machine, but as an example, it's not uncommon for me to be able to take 5-6 blade from "as forged" to ready to heat treat in an hour with my 2x72 grinders.

I know it's a hard pill to swallow when you're looking out laying out the money for one, but the fact of the matter is that if your serious about making knives, it's something you'll never regret buying. It's not only for making knives either.....even on the days that I'm not actually building knives, the grinder(s) get used every day, for more things then I can count.

The other up side is that once you invest in a good 2x72 machine, and decide sometime down the road you don't need/want it anymore, the resale value is often close to what a brand new one costs......look around, and it's a rare thing to find a used one for sale.
 

Frank Hunter

Well-Known Member
+1 On all of that, Ed. The rough grinding on a small 3" knife can literally take two minutes, if the grinds and center are scribed ahead of time, with the 1 1/2" horsepower KMG and a Blaze belt. I never regret the $1500 or so, or the other hundreds in accessories so far. In fact, I wish I had two of them, from the get-go, and would have paid them both off already in increased productivity from not having to change tooling as much. Mine is also going to get some small wheels and a slightly different work rest and double as a pipe coper cutting fishmouths for handrail and roll cage work this year.
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
As others have stated,
The 2 x 72" with a 1 1/2 - 2 HP motor is the standard for all knife makers, Forger's and stock removal.

These are also the best value when it comes to purchasing belts. As Wayne said Ceramic belts are the king of quick removal and longevity. I use the 36 Grit then 60 then 120 grit belts.

A 1 x 30 machine with their small motor is a mere toy in comparison.

You may wish to continue using hand files? But don't underestimate what a 2 X 72" machine with a 1 1/2-2HP variable motor can do in the right hands.

Laurence

www.rhinoknives.com
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
When it comes to "how fast" a belt grinder removes metal, the two biggest considerations are belt type and speed. Next comes size/width of the belt, IMO, and then, even type of platen/contact wheel can make a huge differece.

That said, a worn or higher grit belt (220, 400, etc...) may not remove metal faster than a good file, if it removes metal at all. Sometimes you're really just heating the steel rather than grinding much of anything, if it's really worn.

Like everyone has said, a quality 2x72 grinder with some good belts on it will revolutionize knife making for you. Plus it gives you way more options such as convexing/slack belt grinding, hollow grinding, small wheels, polishing work, etc....

I think there's a video on YouTube somewhere showing the owner of Entrek knives hollowgrinding a full hardened blade blank in 2 minutes flat.
Wouldn't even be possible to do something like that with files and sandpaper.

Like frank said, a belt grinder works for far more than just knife making too. If you do anything fab work, metal work, or even wood work, you'll be surpised how often you go to the 2x72.
 

scott.livesey

Dealer - Purveyor
Not trolling, but curious. How did 2x72 become the STANDARD? I use a 4x36 and with a fresh belt can remove steel as quick as I need. and later in the process, use 800grit silicon carbide wet belts for final sanding(at 1/2 the price of a 2x72). Not trying to start anything, just how did 2x72 become the sander.
 

dereklee12

Well-Known Member
thanks guys for all the input. I wish there was someone close so I could just take a few passes on one it seems like a black and white comparison that will be clear right off the bat. thanks again guys
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
Not trolling, but curious. How did 2x72 become the STANDARD? I use a 4x36 and with a fresh belt can remove steel as quick as I need. and later in the process, use 800grit silicon carbide wet belts for final sanding(at 1/2 the price of a 2x72). Not trying to start anything, just how did 2x72 become the sander.
I'm not exactly sure when or how it became the "standard" but I do know this: You can get just about ANY kind (ceramic, zirconium, silicon carbid, aluminum oxide, engineered, etc...) of belt in just about any grit and weight for a 2x72. Also, for your average knife shape, a 2" wide belt fits the bill pretty well, as opposed to a 4 to 6" belt that's a little more difficult to use, IMO. 72" belts tend to be fairly affordable and give you a decent run for the money as well.

What I will say I'm surpised most about is the lack of "big name" manufacturers getting into the 2x72 game. If dewalt, crafstmen, jet, etc... could make a decent 2x72 for $500 or $600, they'd make an absolute killing.
 

dienekis

Well-Known Member
DO NOT GET CHEAPY WITH THE GRINDER!And buy something you know its reliable .I was trying for something more ecomonic and i regreted it :(
I had to make many more corections on the machine so it will work better.
 

Jeff Conti

Well-Known Member
Gents, I have used a 2x48 knife grinder for 30 years. The belts became difficult to get, they wore out fast etc. But still my sander became the focus of many operations in my knife and woodworking shop. I looked at information on the KMG and then the No Weld Grinder. Hands down the best and least amount of money I could spend was the no weld grinder (that I welded). I am supremely happy with the quality of knife work done and the speed is a lot faster than the 2x48. I can't conceive grinding a knife on a 1x30.

There are several YouTube videos out showing knife making on a 2x72 grinder. Whether you invest money to purchase one or time and some money to build one, you will never look back. You might use your 1x30 for grinding the bevel on your wood turning tools although I much prefer the OneWay stone on my grinder. Otherwise, this sander will become a participant of craigs list when you find out how much time you save on a 2x72.

If you are ever in the Seattle Tacoma area, I'll be happy to have you over and spend some time grinding with you.

Good luck
 
Last edited:

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
I'm not exactly sure when or how it became the "standard" but I do know this: You can get just about ANY kind (ceramic, zirconium, silicon carbid, aluminum oxide, engineered, etc...) of belt in just about any grit and weight for a 2x72. Also, for your average knife shape, a 2" wide belt fits the bill pretty well, as opposed to a 4 to 6" belt that's a little more difficult to use, IMO. 72" belts tend to be fairly affordable and give you a decent run for the money as well.

What I will say I'm surpised most about is the lack of "big name" manufacturers getting into the 2x72 game. If dewalt, crafstmen, jet, etc... could make a decent 2x72 for $500 or $600, they'd make an absolute killing.
The Companies,
Burr King and Bader were the first to offer a grinder with attachments etc for the custom knife making industry and they thought that the existing size of a 2 x72" belt would be about the best size for the job. You can also run 1" 1 / 1/2" belts on these machines.

Can you think of a belt size you think would work better? Sometimes I have thought that a 3" x 72" would be a bit better? But then the wheels for hollow grinding as well as every other attachment part would be 1/3 bigger & heavier and the cost of the tooling & belts would go up with it.

Laurence

www.rhinoknives.com
 

scott.livesey

Dealer - Purveyor
about the only name maker i know that does 2x72 is Kalamazoo, they have 4 or 5 different configurations, the basic one is 2 wheels, a frame, and a place to attach either a motor or pulley.
 

Brad Lilly

Moderator and Awards Boss
2x72 is Kalamazoo
I have one. They have some issues I don't like. You can't adjust the platten for a glass liner, the liner will still work but not great. The platten if left without a liner has too much metal on the frame side to track the belt over the edge to grind the plunges. It runs at the same decible level as my chainsaw.
The pros are they are cheap and the platten has a 2" (top) and 3" (bottom) contact wheels on it. You can rotate the platten 180 deg and use it as a slack belt. For the money it is not a bad machine however the little things drive me nuts now.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
Coote probably makes the best two wheel grinder out there. It doesn't cost much more than the Kalamazoo. It's more flexible with more attachments. Some people use a Grizzly grinder and I know a smith who earned both his Journeyman's and Master's stamps with two of them but I would still take a Coote over both of them. Some think that the three wheel type, like the KMG are better still. I've not used one so I can't compare.

Doug
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
about the only name maker i know that does 2x72 is Kalamazoo, they have 4 or 5 different configurations, the basic one is 2 wheels, a frame, and a place to attach either a motor or pulley.
I would pass on those machines. The original Square wheel was a good machine, it's my understanding that they are all made overseas now and are a cheap intro machine.
My choice of a ready made and least expensive machine is the 2 x 72"
I purchased 15 years ago and still own along with two other 2 x 72" machines.
www.cootebeltgrinder.com

Laurence

www.rhinoknives.com
 
Last edited:

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
I should give a plug for the NWGS as well. I built one about 3 years ago or so, when I was first getting into knife making, and it's been a fantastic machine. I've had to make a few tweaks and mods to it over the course of its existence, and I've replaced a few parts for wear over the years, but honestly, I don't think I could do better for the money.

In the future, I'll probably build my own KMG style grinder, or something along the lines of a Wilmont, but for now, the NWGS gets the job done while I spend my hard earned money on things like mills and surface grinders. Next comes the lathe, then probably some smithing tools. THEN I'll probably build a grinder.

I might also look into getting a GIB grinder. Somewhat modeled after a Bader, it seems to do a very nice job for a lot of makers on a budget as well.
 

TacticallySharp

KNIFE MAKER
I got a 2x72 from a clone maker of grinders, it made a world of difference in my work. I am saving for this one now with a 2 hp motor and VFD. It has all the option you can think of and more available. Save your money and get a great grinder, or if the bug really bites you buy something you can live with for a few months while you save to get what you really need. That is what I did and the clone will be my spare and backup unit.

See it here: http://www.twuertz.com/ The TW-90 grinder.
 

GWF

Active Member
Well I have come around to the notion of the DIY kmg style grinder as the best route forward. No thread jack meant but unfortunately the drill press question is just as important and as far as I know you can't DIY them to save some money. :)

It's discouraging to read so many negative customer reviews of every drill press costing $500 and less as recorded on the Amazon site.

As I hope to build folders I'm led to believe that more precision is needed from your drill press than that needed to do fixed blades.

The number of apparently drill press knowledgeable buyers who have expressed great dissatisfaction with the build quality and lack of precision of all these < $500 machines is surprising. No precision, poor quality, vibration, warped tables, tables not aligned 90 degrees to spindle, etc. etc. the list of problems is pretty long.

I'm now wondering if a top model Foredom tool and guide might not be better? No access to second hand pre-war and American made gear unfortunately.

What all drill presses are you folder guys using?

thanks, barney the noob.
 
Last edited:
Top