Felt platen

MTBob

Well-Known Member
I could not make a quality knife without my felt platten. ( most important tool in my shop )
I do not use it for grinding blades but for handles and accessories like guards and butt caps.
It softens the edges and makes the lines flow together. Try one you will love it.
I also use it when I have a SOFT handle material with stainless pins, an ordinary platten and belt tend to leave high spots where the pins are sitting or if you apply to much grinding pressure gouge out the handle material.
I have even used them on a blade spline where you want a slight rounded effect.
I use it to make pommel nuts by spinning them with a drill into the felt platten.
I found a store that sells felt liners for winter boots and simply glue it to a piece of platen material. When it wears out scrape it off and glue on another piece.


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Wow, excellent work! If having a felt platen gets these results... I'm getting some felt! (Beyond the felt, I'll betcha there's a boat load of experience and honed skills involved in your workmanship.)
 

MTBob

Well-Known Member
FWIW, Here's a method I used to make a leather face attachment for my platen a long time ago. I didn't want to goober up the platen face, so I just tack welded a clip to some 1/8" plate and suspended the fixture. It's held in position with several neodymium button magnets. Mostly used it to minimize belt bounce on finer grit belts.
I think I'll change out the leather with some felt and see how that works.
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fitzo

KNIFE MAKER
Thanks for the pics, @EdCaffreyMS . I asked Gliden07 for a pic to see how proud the felt was run of the platen wheels. Way more than I thought. Thanks for the tip. Making me think about switching over to 2 2x2" contact wheels instead of aluminum, too.

I was eyeballing my rotary sitting in the toolarm tree yesterday and decided it's time to get it out and see how it works after the long rest. Hope that belt is still in good condition. Have you had to replace the belt, Ed? They seem impervious but Time is inexorable.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
FWIW, Here's a method I used to make a leather face attachment for my platen a long time ago. I didn't want to goober up the platen face, so I just tack welded a clip to some 1/8" plate and suspended the fixture. It's held in position with several neodymium button magnets. Mostly used it to minimize belt bounce on finer grit belts.
I think I'll change out the leather with some felt and see how that works.
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Clever!
I notice you are quite a tool maker....how many of them ideas happen when watching a boring TV show with the missus....? (about half of mine do...lol)
 

MTBob

Well-Known Member
how many of them ideas happen when watching a boring TV show with the missus
Ted, There's nothing quite like watching network TV, or what passes for "news", to numb the mind and think of something creative. I'm not all that good of a knife maker, so solving problems and making tools adds to the fun.
 

Taz575

Well-Known Member
I just ordered the S2-32 felt from McMaster carr and it should be here today! I got the 1/4" thick stuff and some double sided tape to attach it. I just finished making another platen assembly for my glass platen for my FastBack, so I am hoping to try both the glass and felt out this week! I got it to blend convex bevels, but it looks like I may need to order thicker stuff? 1/4" thick and the firmest one at McMaster was what was talked about on some other forums. I am going to make up another platen assembly so I have the regular steel one the Fastback combo platen came with as well as the glass one and the felt one.

I had a KMG rotary platen a while back. It worked nicely for most stuff, but if you weren't careful, it would leave a nasty 2" belt groove in the blade. I found that the rubber belt would cup slightly width wise if I wasn't careful with it, even with high tension. Sold my KMG and Rotary Platen to Matt Parkinson and he used it during his 2nd time on FiF and put a groove in his blade. I want to get another one, but they are super pricey, so I may buy the parts and see if someone can fabricate the plate for me or something, or look for a used one.
 

Taz575

Well-Known Member
Got the felt in yesterday, slapped it to my regular platen with double sided tape and put a A45 Trizact Gator belt on. I pulled out a small 1095 utility style blade that was already ground and was able to put a convex into it around 1/8" up the blade easily. The felt is the S2-32, 1/4" thick and SUPER hard. It is supposed to be 80 durometer according to McMaster carr. I think I may get the thicker stuff that is slightly softer, but I am going to try grinding some blades on this to see how it does from start to finish. I still want a rotary platen and am thinking of ways that may be more simple/less expensive.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
Got the felt in yesterday, slapped it to my regular platen with double sided tape and put a A45 Trizact Gator belt on. I pulled out a small 1095 utility style blade that was already ground and was able to put a convex into it around 1/8" up the blade easily. The felt is the S2-32, 1/4" thick and SUPER hard. It is supposed to be 80 durometer according to McMaster carr. I think I may get the thicker stuff that is slightly softer, but I am going to try grinding some blades on this to see how it does from start to finish. I still want a rotary platen and am thinking of ways that may be more simple/less expensive.
good feedback. Thanks.
 

REK Knives

Well-Known Member
Just Teflon sheet?
I've played around with different thicknesses and this is the one I settled on. It has one side prepped for adhesive spray which is perfect, and enough give for convexing. I can get a lot of blades out of one platen the way I grind (slow speed and water cooled).

And I know Ed uses his sticking way out but I use mine basically flush to prevent premature wear. Ymmv though!
 

REK Knives

Well-Known Member
Here's a pic of mine and the felt I use w/ the teflon over top.

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And a few grinds I have finished this way... works great in my opinion. If I try to use a straight slack belt there always seems to be an issue with the tip getting rounded out, but with the firmer backing you can keep it perfect.

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I've also got all of the Carother's upgrades (the third wheel option for a rubber backing belt to go under the abrasive belt) but it's almost so flat it's not convex when I use it ... it does produce nice grinds though, but I need to find a slightly wider rubber belt (otherwise I have to drift tracking to one side or the other so both edges meet). It's just slightly a pain to set up so I rarely use it haha. Here's a video (from another knife maker) on that in case interested

 
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REK Knives

Well-Known Member
just finished up this one on the soft platen (well, the edge was on the soft platen), blended the convex edge into a flat grind. Great for those who like to do wood work! finished it up on a leather belt, I suppose I could dull the polish down a bit with some scotch brite but it looks good as is I'm thinking.

 

MTBob

Well-Known Member
Today I tried some carpet backing that I picked up from the local flooring store. It has a composite felt-like material with rubberized backing. The stuff is about 5/16 thick.
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I used 3M Feathering Cement to mount the padding on the platten attachment so I can lift off a worn strip and put another one on.
This is how the material looked after about an hour's use.
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I tested pulling the padding off without messing up the glue and it worked mostly - good enough to stick another pad on over the remaining glue.
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I found that I was grinding in one location a lot, so I modified the platten attachment so it now has clips on both top and bottom. That allows me to simply flip the attachment up side down if I wear a spot.
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The platten & attachment are set back to a position so the belt has little non-grinding contact.
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I also coated the padding with silicon spray to make it a bit slicker. Here's how the pad looks after about 3 hours of use, running the belt at about 40-50% speed. Still very usable.
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I cleaned up two rough convex kitchen knife grinds with this padding today, and I'm impressed! What a great way to get a soft, smooth grind. I haven't tried it yet, but if I wanted an even softer platten, I may try gluing two of these pads together. Scrap carpet padding is cheap (free) and readily available. I think I have enough padding for about 5 life times.
 

Taz575

Well-Known Member
I had a chance to play with the felt more. The S2-32 is very hard, very little give. It gives a hair, and will out a convex edge, but it takes a lot of pressure. I tried a piece of 1/4" thick F3 felt today on a S30v santoku. Gave a much better convex edge with a lot more food release and got it thinner behind the edge too. I flat ground the blade, then used the hard felt on it to start the convex and then the D3 to finish it off. Worked great on zucchini and mushrooms tonight!
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
I'm going to give the felt a try. However I've been grinding my kitchen knives vertically on a glass platen. I get them nice and flat that way. When would you want to transition to the felt to get a good convex edge?
 

Taz575

Well-Known Member
The blade started out as a flat grind, but very fat behind the edge. I flat ground it with the hard felt S2-32 and then went to the F3 felt. I would grind the blade flat on the glass platen to at least 220 (I went to a30 gator and 800 grit cork) and then go back to A160 Gator with the F3 felt and worked my way back up the grits and blended everything.
 
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