Newbie questions.

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
I could build a grinder today without much trouble. When I first started making knives I’d never even seen a belt grinder in real life, and all I had for machine tools was a 10 inch drill press and a vise. It made more sense to me to buy one. I can’t even remember how I came up with the money for the grinder, but it almost made me throw up.

Looking back, I’m glad I bought one. It got me up and running immediately and started making me money. That grinder has bought every tool I own now, and I have a shop I could only dream of back then. Now that I have an array of tools I could make any grinder or attachment I want. But a big part of that is actually knowing what I want, and why. Back then I didn’t even know what questions to ask.
 

bigdan574

Member
For steels, I generally go USAKnifemaker, AlphaKnife & NJsteel baron as Heikki point out. I to started with O1, but then switched to high alloy CPM tool steels after my accident.

As for a belt grinder. Let your heart guide you. YOU know better than anyone if you are capable of building a high quality belt grinder. I knew I was, and it was absolutely the correct decision. (you’ll hear this again & again from DIY’ers). If you know you have the ability, don’t let naysayers sway you. In the end, I spent a fraction of the price of a top shelf grinder....a FRACTION! Also remember there is a difference between a hobbyist, like myself, and a someone who makes blades for a living. They don’t have the time to worry about “building” a belt grinder, when they have mouths to feed! For me, it was logical to build. Making knives is a passion for me, not a moneymaker. As well as being a DIY’er, and the enjoyment of building the grinder itself.

All that said, you build a good grinder and it will do everything $3,000 grinder will do. Remember, it’s not the tool that MAKES the blade. It’s just a helping hand. Files & sandpaper can achieve the exact same quality, given materials used are the same. And the cost savings can be dramatic. I’m not a wealthy man. I can’t just drop $3,000+ on a tool! You get arguments against this I know...but what you won’t get is the evidence I bring. So, do your research and like I said, let your heart guide you. I know there are many people here who would love to help you with anything you may need.:)

This is mine.


And here, along with the “FIRST“ DIY Surface Grinder Attachment.
Thank you. I almost pulled the trigger on a
For steels, I generally go USAKnifemaker, AlphaKnife & NJsteel baron as Heikki point out. I to started with O1, but then switched to high alloy CPM tool steels after my accident.

As for a belt grinder. Let your heart guide you. YOU know better than anyone if you are capable of building a high quality belt grinder. I knew I was, and it was absolutely the correct decision. (you’ll hear this again & again from DIY’ers). If you know you have the ability, don’t let naysayers sway you. In the end, I spent a fraction of the price of a top shelf grinder....a FRACTION! Also remember there is a difference between a hobbyist, like myself, and a someone who makes blades for a living. They don’t have the time to worry about “building” a belt grinder, when they have mouths to feed! For me, it was logical to build. Making knives is a passion for me, not a moneymaker. As well as being a DIY’er, and the enjoyment of building the grinder itself.

All that said, you build a good grinder and it will do everything $3,000 grinder will do. Remember, it’s not the tool that MAKES the blade. It’s just a helping hand. Files & sandpaper can achieve the exact same quality, given materials used are the same. And the cost savings can be dramatic. I’m not a wealthy man. I can’t just drop $3,000+ on a tool! You get arguments against this I know...but what you won’t get is the evidence I bring. So, do your research and like I said, let your heart guide you. I know there are many people here who would love to help you with anything you may need.:)

This is mine.


And here, along with the “FIRST“ DIY Surface Grinder Attachment.
Thank you again. I almost pulled the trigger on a OBM. I couldn't see spending that much on one piece of equipment either. I have settled on the path with how i am going to go about it. I bought the plans from knifemaker. I also bought the plans from Brian Housework. I really like how much his is put together. I will most likely also purchase the plate steel package from him and built my grinder. I am a tool maker/machinest I am confident I can put it together. The only thing i hesitated on was the wiring of the motor and the VFD. I have done my research and I should only have about 700 in it total. I can purchase a mini mill and build my furnace and have some left over with what I would have had in purchasing a grinder. cheers everyone!! Thank you for all the replies.
 

One Armed

Well-Known Member
That is the truth. In fact, you can build a nice belt grinder, a good furnace, heat treat oven, hammer, tongs & STILL have enough for a good bit of steel.... ALL for the same price as ONE top shelf grinder.

Each person’s choice.
 
Hi guys, I am really just getting started.. I am only doing stock removal for now. I am using a hacksaw and a files atm. I am only in two blades in and have not even heat treated on yet. I have fire bricks on the way and I am using o1. Firstly is O1 ok to heat to non magnetic and then quench I have seen conflicting info on this.. Secondley. I am hooked and really am enjoying this.. My arms not so much presently.. HEHE.. Next question, I can and have the ablitity to build a 2x72 and am willing to do so but finding the materials for me is a drive.. Any suggestion on plans to build one? I am willing to pay for them but dont want to purchase them and then waste the time and effort and money into making a piece of garbage.. Any thoughts on OBM?? or Ameribrade?
I might be getting ahead of myself of this one.. Best way to make stencils or a place to have them made.. The marker is not a problem..
Just saw this you probably already got your grinder but if not I got Ameribrade about a year ago GREAT machine . Just starting ,watch YouTube . Build a forge. Get a Harbour Freight portable band saw. Build a table for the saw You Tube shows you how. I know this will get me in trouble but here goes. Get some bed frames cut them up on the band saw ,and some aged hard wood and start making knives. Bed frame steel will make some good knives. After you learn on the FREE material buy the fancy stuff. Good Luck. Sharp Things!!
 

One Armed

Well-Known Member
Bed frame steel?? Huh? Do not buy bed frames and cut them up for the steel. Seriously! If you want JUNK mystery steel, any no name file or saw blade can help you out. Bed frame steel??
Or.... you can continue doing what you are already doing...buying KNOWN, decent quality steel from online sources.


Bed frame steel?? Really?
 

tkroenlein

Well-Known Member
Bed frame steel?? Huh? Do not buy bed frames and cut them up for the steel. Seriously! If you want JUNK mystery steel, any no name file or saw blade can help you out. Bed frame steel??
Or.... you can continue doing what you are already doing...buying KNOWN, decent quality steel from online sources.


Bed frame steel?? Really?
Ok, not to encourage the use of unknown steel, it must be stated that in the world of unknown steel, bed frames of certain vintage are known to have been manufactured using only recycled rail. Rail is 1080ish and has known chemistry specs that must be met. I won't say that the recycling process doesn't contaminate or otherwise degrade the quality of the material, but the recycled steel folks have good success with it.
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
They make good weld stock for making things. I've used them to make tree stands and other things where cheep steels the answer. I got a small stack in my shop and pick them off the side of the road every time I see one.
I know their kind of tuff to drill thru, but hey, once the rivets are ground off and the ends are cut off it's good useable steel for fabrication.
 
Ok, not to encourage the use of unknown steel, it must be stated that in the world of unknown steel, bed frames of certain vintage are known to have been manufactured using only recycled rail. Rail is 1080ish and has known chemistry specs that must be met. I won't say that the recycling process doesn't contaminate or otherwise degrade the quality of the material, but the recycled steel folks have good success with it.
We all know that real knife steel is the best but for new people just getting into the hobby and may not even know how to use the tools free steel will give them a way to learn and not waste a lot of money. Most bed frames will make a good knife. I think more people are doing this as a hobby and a hobby should to be fun. If you start with a$100.00 worth of materials on your first knife and cant finish it you may quit before you even know how to use the tools. Sharp Things
 

MTBob

Well-Known Member
I agree that in your beginning stages, the best chances for success with come with the 10XX steels. They are in general, far more forgiving of mistakes throughout the process.

Grinders....... Without a doubt the most important, and the tool that has the most impact on how good, or how poor your efforts come to fruition. A word on grinders. IF you decide to buy base on cheap price, that money is gone forever. IF you purchase one of the "Top Shelf" grinders, they hold their value. The reason you don't see many on the secondary market is because even one that has been used for a decade, demands just about the same money as a new one. Why is that important? Well, if you decide knifemaking isn't for you, and choose to see it, you will get what you paid for the grinder, or nearly so.
Building a grinder is not as easy as assembling parts. You have a series of "Wheels" that all need to align, on the same plane, and be each centered upon the other. If you have that kind of mechanical ability, I say sure.....but if you even question whether or not you can do that, then you best bet is to purchase a grinder......otherwise you'll dump lots and lots of time, effort, and money, only to be frustrated, and wind up spending more money on a "better" grinder, again, and again, until you finally get one of the "Top Shelf" grinders...... I have seen it time and time again over my career, and I was one of them too. So do yourself a favor, and "buy once, cry once".
Well said. Even though I have the equipment to build a grinder that is exactly why I decided to buy one rather than build it. FWIW, I bought a Reeder grinder and so far it seems to work well.
 
They make good weld stock for making things. I've used them to make tree stands and other things where cheep steels the answer. I got a small stack in my shop and pick them off the side of the road every time I see one.
I know their kind of tuff to drill thru, but hey, once the rivets are ground off and the ends are cut off it's good useable steel for fabrication.
Hi,
I am not a welder but I have read many times in these pages that you should not weld carbon steel. Bed frame has a carbon content they are hard they do not hold a weld. Bed frames are held together with rivets because of the welding problem if they could be welded the makers would do that it would be a lot cheaper. Be safe do not use bed frames for load bearing projects. Sharp Things
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
You might want to talk to a welder . I've been welding bed frames for all matter of things for over thirty years, they take a great weld.
I've got tree stands that have been in the woods made of bed frame and have been used over sixteen years, they'll be sat in again in about a month.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
I forge weld carbon steels on a regular basis. I have always found high carbon steels to be easier to forge weld than mild steel. Not the same process but very similar end product. Do you remember where you read that info?
 
Hi Again,
Like i said i don't weld. I only reported what I read that carbon steel is hard to weld and the weld wont be strong. Maybe a GOOD welder could make it work by getting the steel red hot letting it cool and then weld. I don't know. I would test the weld if it were to be load bearing in the intrest of safety. My big question still is why would a frame maker use rivets if he could weld it? I would think forge welding would get the steel a lot hotter than welding maybe that is why forge welding works. Again I don't know. Sharp Things
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
I did some research on this, mainly because I am interested in the properties of steel. I will assume you meant med to high carbon steels because low carbon steels like 1018 are still carbon steel but they have a lower carbon content and weld easily. Based on my research, medium to high carbon steel when welded is prone to cracking in the area of the weld. Because of the carbon content of these steels, when they are heated and cool too quickly they can become brittle where the heat was applied. This would be totally expected of medium to high carbon steel and in fact in knife making this is why we heat them and quench quickly to take advantage of the changes (hardening) in steel under these conditions. However, any brittleness of the joint post weld can be corrected by proper heat treatment. Essentially, this process would serve the same purpose we get from tempering our hardened knife blades. We apply heat to remove some of the brittleness in favor of a tougher knife. It follows that a weld joint would be no different. Medium to high carbon steels can be welded effectively but it takes more knowledge of steel and its properties and how they change and react to heat than if one were just welding mild steel. In short, you have to know how to heat treat a weld joint properly. Lets face it, you can heat mild steel to orange heat and quench it in water and it will harden very little comparatively speaking. This is why we do not make knives out of "super tough A-36 steel". Learning something new every day is cool. Next time I use medium to high carbon steel in a welding project I will know to heat treat the joint just in case it got brittle.
 
Last edited:
Top