Hard milling versus grinding.....

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
I have been building some Bowie knives. Due to health challenges standing at the belt grinder for any length of time is impossible...yesterday a I made a blade "un-sellable" by grinding while sitting. grinding is my favorite thing to do ....or at least it was till I had to sit. (The world just sorta goes away when you're grinding...you know what i mean.)

Have any of you CNC guys tried to "hard mill" a finished blade surface post heat treat? I asked an old boss of mine if he's done any hard milling and he has....using high end Japanese CNC milling machines...he suggested calling Harvey tool (expensive to me cutting tool mfg) for advise.....when I told him..."they're 60.5 rockwell C..." he said "uhh...yeah...that's getting on the hard side...." Lol....but he did not say "impossible!"

I have 23 year old machines and use fairly standard cutters and do not want to fall down the learning curve sinkhole...but I have just sold 5 Bowies and have one to finish for Gene K. and another for my son's birthday....and am somewhat over-whelmed....and weak...honestly. Literally thought I was going to faint about an hour ago.

I may take a day and just play with it...not the route I'd like to go...but I am not a traditionalist....I love mid tech when done well...HATE it otherwise....
I would like to keep making knives...and good ones at that.

One pro that I see is consistency...right now resting every 5-10 minutes is blowing my "groove"...(you also know what I mean) which affects my consistency....
heat will also be a pro as it will be manageable easier than grinding due to the super light cuts....
The doc wants me off my foot till it heals...which standing at a knife grinder is being a bad boy....

The huge con that I see is the time it will take for the cutter path to run...however...a long CNC program would mean a rest for the ol' foot...The other con is on a more traditional blade...like a bowie...I don't know how well recieved a cnc cut blade will be recieved.....?

perhaps it's time to move to folders....lol.

Anyway...a bit discouraged....thanks for the rant...any opinions/advise appreciated....
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
Ted, I can’t help you in the slightest when it comes to machining. But there are a number of makers who grind while sitting. It can be done, and done beautifully. The videos I’ve watched show that these makers aren’t propping a bar stool up to the grinder. They have brought the grinder down to have good ergonomics at the desired level, which I believe is key to any hand grinding operation, standing or not.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Ted, what about doing all the CNC work pre-HT, taking the blade to 80%, or perhaps even 90% finished. On a big thick blade like a Bowie that shouldn't affect HT'ing at all. After HT do the clean up and finish grinding as normal. Now you have a custom "hand ground" blade with all the important stuff still hand ground.

The fact you used a CNC milling to get close is much the same as using a drill press to drill holes in tang.

Comments on that idea from ya'll.

Ken H>
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
Given the situation that you're describing, folders seem like a logical and practical transition. And the work you're describing not only is it doable with folders, but it's actually common and even desired. You might have a lot more avenues for help and learning the tricks.

I'm not trying to discourage you from making Bowies if that's what you've got your mind set on. But if bowies are presenting some challenges, folders might come easier.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
Thanks john! I'll try some stuff with these bowies...but always open to doing something different if the health limitations demand it...
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
I think John Doyle nailed it. Being a machinist, folders are right up your alley. Folders take time but in my opinion are less physically demanding to make. It’s hard damn work grinding out a big blade. I actually cringe before starting a chef knife, and they’re my bread and butter. Grinding for over an hour straight on one blade is unpleasant to say the least. I can do a folder blade in minutes.

I highly recommend Don Robinson’s book “Slipjoints: My Way”. He does almost all of his work on the mill except for finish grinding and handle shaping. He goes into great detail on how he does it.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
I think John Doyle nailed it. Being a machinist, folders are right up your alley. Folders take time but in my opinion are less physically demanding to make. It’s hard damn work grinding out a big blade. I actually cringe before starting a chef knife, and they’re my bread and butter. Grinding for over an hour straight on one blade is unpleasant to say the least. I can do a folder blade in minutes.

I highly recommend Don Robinson’s book “Slipjoints: My Way”. He does almost all of his work on the mill except for finish grinding and handle shaping. He goes into great detail on how he does it.
I do have his book. One of the reasons I have avoided folders is I know that style of work....for so many years doing aerospace...that it's not as interesting as a fixed blade to me....when i look at guy's folder WIPs on you-tube etc...it doesn't do anything to me...lol.

Big chunk o' wood and steel....yeahhhh. Still if I can't do these I would indeed try something like folders. making knives is making knives...

I finish ground a blade yesterday...took me 4 hrs and I was wiped out....

Ran some #s I was given for hard machining and it'll prolly take as long....but not have me sitting or standing...I can prop my foot up. Even when that heals this lung has me fighting for air with ANY type of mask....

The game is afoot...(no pun intended...)
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
Well ,Sherlock (intended !) Seems to me that a determined and smart guy like you should be able (with some serious codgetation) be able to design a grinding station that allows you to sit with your foot raised , be comfortable and safe , wearing a respirator, and grind away.
Come on Watson. Think, man, think !!!
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
Guys Thanks...a bunch of good advise. I'm going to fight through these Bowies and then re-group....

stool on a old pallet will get me into sitting and grinding...for now...lol!
 

Rick Otts

Well-Known Member
Ted, I can’t help you in the slightest when it comes to machining. But there are a number of makers who grind while sitting. It can be done, and done beautifully. The videos I’ve watched show that these makers aren’t propping a bar stool up to the grinder. They have brought the grinder down to have good ergonomics at the desired level, which I believe is key to any hand grinding operation, standing or not.
Yeah that guy who sells the Bevel jig sits.
 

Andre Grobler

Well-Known Member
Andre Thorburn is one of my folder hero’s and he sits to grind, he does these wondrously elegant plunges… has a semicircle toolrest and table with a chair and good lighting. It takes a lot of practice getting used to a toolrest…
 

Edwardshandmadeknives

Well-Known Member
I sit sometimes when I’m grinding, as my knees are “high mileage”. I use a barstool so I’m up higher. It does take a little getting used to, and I can’t do anything decent finish wise, but for roughing it works good. If you got a high stool, give that a try. Hope everything works out for you, get well!
 

tkroenlein

Well-Known Member
I've been thinking about trying a stool. I get about 2 hours on my feet in front of the grinder and both legs are feeling like they're getting zapped with a fencer. Takes about a half hour to decompress after I do that.
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
Because I do all my grinding with files , it takes a very long time so I have to sit. My shop is basically designed around me sitting for most tasks. Benches are at sitting height ,etc. The whole idea for me is control and comfort. I literally can sit and grind (file) for several hours. I recommend that y'all try it. May be surprised at the results on both your blades and your body.
 

vlegski

Well-Known Member
Sitting in a chair or stool while grinding comes up on forums every now and then . From what I've read its more common than we think or care to admit. Biggest complaint i saw were guys sitting to close to the sparks. Seems they didn't like their crotches getting hot. Second was sitting on metal chairs/stools and getting zapped .
Hope you find a solution and things get better.
 
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