what to buy when setting up a new shop

KMG makes a great grinder but they have the worst customer service of any company I’ve ever dealt with. There’s a thread on it around here somewhere. Maybe my experience was just a fluke but I’ll never know because I won’t be doing any more business with them.
Ed, I haven't been on this forum for very long but I've noticed that you go "All out" when someone poses a question to you. Your reply to me above is hands down super valuable! And I thank you much for you taking the time to compose such a time consuming and detailed response. I will check out Beaumont ! Thanks again sir.
I took his advice and bought a KMG-TX and am very very glad I did. I don’t know what happened in your case Randy but I had the best customer service I’ve ever experienced with them. My grinder shipped together in 3 packages FedEx ground and my packages were seperated in the shipping process, I contacted the kind lady at Beaumont and she followed up with me AND with FedEx then called me 3 seperate times to ensure I received my order and that it was undamaged and that I was happy with it. I really enjoyed my experience
Sorry if I get overly wordy! :) I answer questions the way I do, because I was once in the same position, and would often get 1/2 the answer, or in some cases, flat out mislead or lied to. I try not to assume anything, and try to be objective, keeping the following in mind ..... "What would I want to know if I asked that question?" :)
I started on a 1x30 ($50) and quickly moved to the single speed Grizzly 2x72 ($680). After using the Grizzly for a couple of years and honing what little skill I have I moved to a variable speed Pheer 2x72 2 H.P (around $2500) which I ran on 110v so it was essentially a 1.5 H.P. grinder. I worked that way for another two years and fried my KBAC 27D twice ($200 X 2) running it on less than optimal voltage. I figured the problem out and had my shop wiring upgraded ($780) and added a dedicated 220V circuit for my grinder. Looking back on this journey I will tell you a few things. #1 make sure you have adequate power supply for the machine you intend to run BEFORE YOU BUY IT. The 1x30 will work for a few knives then you will have to buy something better. This is where I differ from others opinion. I do not regret buying the Grizzly 2x72. Because I was learning to grind knives (not as easy at you think) the Grizzly was the perfect affordable option to give me a decent grinder to use and see if I could develop my skill to the point someone might buy a knife from me. After two years, I sold the Grizzly for $400 and put that money on my Pheer. So in truth, I paid $280 to use the Grizzly for two years to find out if I wanted to continue making knives enough to pass the kidney stone and throw down on a QUALITY 2x72. I also regret selling that Grizzly because many, many times I wish I had it in the shop for various reasons. The Grizzly is not perfect, it requires a little tweaking for which there are youtube videos and it is only single speed but for a hobbyist exploring the craft it can be a good interim machine which will still be useful when you upgrade. It would not make the grade as a sole grinder in a full-time shop though. Now, all of that being said the two biggest things which have improved the quality of my grinds have been the ability to control the speed of my grinder and the bubble jig Fred created. I will also say there is no comparison between the same grinder run on 110v as opposed to 220v. It was like a whole new grinder when I upgraded to 220v, it was well worth the money. I am a hobby/part time artist blacksmith although I did not sell squat in 2020 because all of the craft fairs were shut down. I just like to give advice form the hobby/part time perspective it does not mean I think the other guys are wrong.

I actually thought about it for a few minutes and decided to come back and add this part. If you stay in the hobby/craft long term you will not be happy until you buy a quality 2x72 (like the Pheer) and have the ability to vary the grinder speed and use other attachments like small wheels and stuff. It all depends on which path you want to take to get there.
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All the advice so far is gold. The first thing is a good grinder, go for 2x72. Lots of options there including building your own. I wouldn't bother with the smaller grinders. You'll just be replacing it with a 2x72 in a short time.

At first consider only doing stock removal and then move towards forging. Forging is a whole new level of knowledge, equipment, etc.. And since you have a little one on the way you're gonna find that your time for "hobbies" will be very limited.

Another possibility is sometimes there are "community forges" that have forges, hydraulic equipment, etc. where you can be a member and have access to the equipment without having to buy and maintain your own. I'm in a small town and we have one locally. Even if it is a short drive to another town, it would be worth it.
Sorry if I get overly wordy! :) I answer questions the way I do, because I was once in the same position, and would often get 1/2 the answer, or in some cases, flat out mislead or lied to. I try not to assume anything, and try to be objective, keeping the following in mind ..... "What would I want to know if I asked that question?" :)
Ed: Your lengthy details are VERY MUCH appreciated from this newbie. Your approach is great!! If this new contract lasts as long as expected, I won't bother with the smaller belt grinders, I'll just go for the 2/72, 2hp with speed control. I'm actually looking at the KMG-TX today, here's what

I've chosen so far: 1616098493615.png I wasn't planning to buy the 220V but after reading an article here, I'm reconsidering.
Could you please tell me WHY would someone consider this option (shown below) when the KMG-TX comes as shown?
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When Beaumont first came up with the rotary platen, I was one of the testers. IF a person does a majority of slack belt grinding and/or full convex grinds, then the attachment is priceless. That being said, I simply don't use it very often, but when I do need it, it's there.

In addition to the "package" you have pictured above, I also consider a flat platen a necessity.

When it comes to 110V versus 220V.....there is simply no contest..... 220V all the way. The 110V is there for folks who do not have 220V capability, and either do not want to, or cannot acquire it in their shop/work area. In a grinder application, the same HP motor wired at 220V will open your eyes wide with the difference in power/performance versus being wired at 110V (that is assuming the motor is capable of being wired for either)

I personally run 3hp motors, but I suspect for most folks, the 2hp 110/220 motor will make you more then happy.
Either I don't know what I'm looking for or Beaumont doesn't offer a "flat platten". At least searching on their site doesn't come up with anything. Did you buy it elsewhere?
This here: you also need a 1-1/2” tooling arm

This here: you also need a 1-1/2” tooling arm

Thanks very much.
When I bought my KMG-TX from Beaumont, it came with the 10" wheel and a flat platen, and I added the articulating tool rest.