Suggestions for good clean bevels and ricassos?

wall e

Well-Known Member
Am trying to get the hang of using softer easy to grind steel 1080 and is also easier to screw up. So am asking for some tips and tricks, or is it just the suck it up buttercup and keep grinding itll happen? Lol any help or critique will help and taken w a grain of salt. Here is the first attempt and is a bit ugly and uneven. Is just the 50 and 80 grit belts so far on this pic
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Steady even pressure when grinding. The exact amount of pressure varies with belt coarseness and speed. Try to mount your grinder so that you are comfortable when grinding. Be sure that your grinding belts are tracking evenly. A wobbling belt tends to jerk the piece in your hand and blows the slow even pressure thing out of the water.
There are tons of videos out there that show how others grind their blades. I'm sure though that you will develop your own personal preference and style.
Watch your work closely...listen to what your grinder is saying...keep your mind free of distractions....practice, practice, practice.
Everything you do improves, or has the chance to improve with repetition.
Just my 1 cent.
Thanks Lagrange. Im using the old entry level,broke man harbor freight 4x36 belt sander and its kinda a slow speed. I am using 50,80,100 grit belts then draw file to even and smooth then 220 sand paper. I still have to ht the blades so thats probably plenty if not too far of a clean up.
I can't over state how important new belts are for a good grind. As the wear out, use them for roughing out blanks. New, sharp belts will improve your results immensely. To keep the grind line straight, you might consider using a guide that clamps onto the blade. Then the front and back lines will line up perfect. And don't forget to practice, practice, practice.
In addition to what these guys said, don't try to take your grind too high (up towards the spine) too soon. Take it down to, or close to, the edge thickness you want prior to heat treat and then 'walk' your grind up higher on the spine. I leave myself a little bit of 'meat' at the top of the grind line (plunge line) to deal with after heat treat so I don't break the spine of the knife with my plunge line.

My first initial grinds on each side, as I set my pre heat treat edge thickness, may only go up the blade 1/4". After I have my edge set, I walk the grind up to where I want it.
This might be elementary, but I use a grinding jig. I took a piece of angle iron, drilled and tapped two holes in the one side to make an angle and I clamp my blade to the other side. I use that to guide my grind, always staying at the correct angle.

I've tried to grind without it, and I make a mess each time. So while I learn, I'm using a jig. It's working well for me so far, but eventually I know I'll have to drop the training wheels.
I came up with my own grinding jig design and I use it "start" my grinds. Once I get them roughed out pretty close to where I need it, I take the jig off and go by hand the rest of the way. The jig establishes my plunges and gets them even on both sides. It's way easier from that point on to keep it straight. It's also a big plus, at least for me, to have a variable speed grinder that I can slow down when I start chickening out near the finish.

Here's my opinion, and it's just that...Wall e, I have one of those exact belt sanders you are using. I only use it for woodworking (and it's not great for that) and I can't imagine trying to get a good grind line with it. I think you would be better off just using it for roughing out and then fine tune with a file. I'm a newbie, but my first knife was made by filing the bevels and it had near perfect plunge lines. Now that you have some annealed steel, files are an option. You are severely limited with your current equipment. Good luck!
I mark where the edge will stop on the bottom spine (what will be the edge) so you can see it from both sides while grinding. As J. Doyle mentioned, cut at a 45 degree-ish angle first to get down to your pre heat treat edge thickness, then work up. I also start the very first touch to the belt right at that line I drew to get it even on both sides. However, once it's there, every other time i touch the blade to the belt, I start an inch or so off of it and work back to it and then go back to the tip of the knife. This way you work into the plunge line instead of having to start on the exact same place every time. Does that make sense?
Ok so what I am getting from all the helpful input has come to the general concensus of repetition and control as well as pati ence and stability are my main things to focus on for improving my grinds. The other option is my bench grinder with about a 100 to a 150 grit wheel. Its faster than the belt sander and gave me some nice shiny grinds on the D2 blades.
What is the hardest and or most expensive part of building a good grinder? And what is the best grind for the buck 2x72 or a 2x? Space is an issue so a smaller vertical grinder may be a better idea?
I just ordered an Esteem grinder, variable speed with Platen and got a great deal on it. Like you, I've been working on a simple belt grinder to get started (1x30 from HF) but I'm enjoying making kbives so much I budgeted for an upgrade.

2x72's are expensive, really expensive actually. But it's a HUGE step up from what you are using.

But honestly, keep using the simple tools for now, and make sure it's worth it to you to invest in a better grinder set up. Just keep at it, and have fun.
Pick something you think you can handle and go for it.

Your money will go into wheels and a motor, they just don't give'em away.

Regardless of the tool, practice is the best teacher and you have to realize that initially you'll be chucking blades away. You can use every trick and jig in the book but sooner or later you'll have to go it on your own.....learn to grind freehand first and master the tool. For the moment keep it simple, start your bevels with a chainsaw file and work your belt into it without going past it. Stop grinding when everything blends together. You can't rush it and get good results.

Wall e, start collecting parts for a grinder, and before too long built it. I found plans for the KMG grinder when I was looking, but it's made out of 3/4" plate, which would be a lot of work. I found 3 or 4 other plans out there too.

In the end, I bought some plans from a forum member on here, Wayne Coe. He calls his plans Moe's Grinder, named after his shop dog I think. I won't say they are perfectly drawn or the perfect design or cheapest price, but his grinder is easy to build and it uses materials that are easy to find and cut. It tilts over to be a horizontal grinder too, which can be pretty handy. He's got a youtube demo video of it. I still want to build a KMG clone someday, but this one's good enough to start with.

I modified the plans for using a bigger contact wheel and made my horizontal tilt sturdier. I got a motor free from a factory that had went under and was about to be torn down. Modified a Grizzly 10" contact wheel to work with bearings. Got a VFD from a surplus outfit (but you can build it with regular motor). Used scrap steel where I could. All told, I think I only have about $250-$300 in it.

my grinder.jpg my grinder 1.jpg my grinder 4.jpg
I bought the No-weld grinder plans from Boss...but never used them as my guys at work built me this.

I think I am allowed to give away my plans, as long as I delete my copy...

Boss Dog, is this correct?

If this is copesthetic...then you Wall-E, you are welcome to them... Just PM me if I get the OK from Boss.
- Jason
Thank you gents for the tips of keep at it kid and itll happen and the file suggestikn as well as a jig. My main issue is grinding away my clean plunge line and destroying a clean ricasso. Newbie moves I know. Chevy do all chev guys have to use red on the cool things? Lol looks good man. I know a couple fellows who may be able to help me get some parts and pieces, motor may be an issue for a lil while or not? Idk what hp to get 1.5 2 be too big or about right?
Jason if boss says its an ok agreememt will do that for sure.
And that is a slick looking set up both grinders are nice, the cup holder is a nice touch.
You want a t least 1.5 hp.
As for the plunge lines I use a guide I made from some stainless pieces I had. The guide actually rests on the side of the platen so your plunges are always even on both sides. The only thing you need to control is depth and angle.

I ground knives on a craftsman 2 x 48 for a couple of years with decent results.
Hey! Don't knock the red! Actually, if you knew me, you'd know that I'm about the biggest cheap skate around. It's not that I don't have the money, I just like building stuff and salvaging things. That red paint is 8N Ford Tractor Red, left over from overhauling the motor in my tractor. I bought 2 cans for the tractor, but only needed one, seemed like pretty tuff paint, so I used it here.

As for motors, mine is a 3 phase 1hp. My VFD is single phase 110v input, but 3 phase output. I don't need more motor, I can't hardly even slow the motor down pushing as hard as I dare. If you're going single phase, you might need to go a little bigger like Eric said. I've seen lots of motors go cheap on Craigslist, so if your patient, you can find deals out there.
Chevy was all in good natured ribbing. Will have to save my pennies for a good motor. Slatroni, yep I can weld lol thanks for the e mail. Heres what I did before making knives. Built from junk of others and 9 mo of my time