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Thomas R.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Sep, 2010 1:40 pm    Post subject: Belt sander & Knifemaking         Reply with quote

Hi fellow forumites,

I plan to start knife making and assemble right now my workbench. I thought about getting a stationary belt sander. Before I buy something unusable, I'll ask you, fellow knifemakers, what I should look for: What are you doing with the sander, which specs are necessary, how should this machine work? e.g. which belts do I need?

Best regards,
Thomas

http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/
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Dustin R. Reagan





Joined: 09 May 2006

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Sep, 2010 3:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Belt sander & Knifemaking         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:
What are you doing with the sander


Removing forge-scale, profile grinding, flattening, finish grinding, sharpening, etc...a belt grinder is indispensable.

Thomas R. wrote:

which specs are necessary


A 72x2" belt grinder is pretty universally accepted as the "industry standard" for knife making. I use a KMG grinder:

http://www.beaumontmetalworks.com/grinder.html

I started with this 42x2" grinder, which works, but is far from optimal. I still use it occasionally, mostly for the disk sander.
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00921513000P

The biggest tip i ever got when using the grinder is to let the belt do the grinding! Unless you are intentionally hogging off lots of metal, you should never *press* the work piece against the platen or grinding wheel...you *place* the piece against the belt and let the belt do its thing.

Dustin
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R D Moore




Location: Portland Oregon
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Sep, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to second Dustin's recommendation. The Beaumont "kmg" is probably the best for a hobby knifemaker but it is spendy. In fact a friend uses one to make custom knives commercially and has been kind enough to let me use it so I do have some experience with it. Coote makes a 2 wheel grinder for a lot less money and is well thought of: http://www.cootebeltgrinder.com/
but you'll need to buy a motor for it- luckily they're not that expensive. There are some kits and plans on the market if you want to build your own. http://www.mickleyknives.com/html/no_weld_grinder.html I'd bet you can find some great sources in Germany, too.

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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Thomas R.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 1:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay... I think the bigger sanders are a bit of an overkill for my small work bench. I'll try one of the smaller ones, I think.
Are there belts for polishing aswell? I asked an employee at my local do-it-yourself-store and he said, that there are no polishing belts available. Well, they had just only one modell of a stationary belt sander for sale there. Perhaps it's just an issue of this particular sander... And I think, the employee just didn't get the idea of what I am trying to do with the machine. He kept asking, if I want to sharpen kitchen knifes with it ... errr. yes. Big Grin

Thanks for your good advice so far!

Thomas

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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 4:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just glad you are asking about belt sanders and not the rotary grinding stone one's Those are much too rough in general vibrate like crazy and get smaller in diameter as they wear which can screw up a hollow grind real well since the radius you are using now may not be the same a few weeks from now.

Also when people use too much pressure attempting to sharpen a blade they overheat thing and risk spoiling the heat treat.

Sharpening a blade is much easier to do than establishing strait grind lines and keeping them that way.

My experience is limited but I do have enough to appreciate the high degree of skill and control it takes to grind good bevels on a knife and it's 10X more difficult on a yard long blade.

With a slack belt I can sharpen a Del Tin but I wouldn't attempt to grind a blade from scratch myself:Years ago ( decades ago actually ) I took machine shop classes and learned how to hand sharpen lathe tool by hand on a grinder and later in Art school did some crude blades using a hand held angle grinder. Actually found it easier to clamp the blade in a vice and handhold the angle grinder than take the work to a fixed grinder.

In any case like I said this limited experience makes me appreciate more the talent of those who can do it well. Wink Laughing Out Loud Cool

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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 5:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How to Make Knives
Richard W. Barney
Robert W. Loveless

Product Details

* Paperback: 182 pages
* Publisher: Krause Publications; 2 edition (September 1, 1994)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 087341389X
* ISBN-13: 978-0873413893
* Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.4 x 0.5 inches
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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 8:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What you will find going to the usual tool suppliers will mostly be woodworking sanders. What others have said is correct, the 2" x 72" belt grinders are pretty much the standard for knifemaking, and you can buy belts in this size that are made specifically for grinding hard materials. Belts for woodworking sanders use mostly aluminum oxide abrasive which works for annealed steel but will wear very quickly on hardened steel. The 2" x 72" units start at around 600$USD minimum to get one running and go way up from there.
There are a few smaller units that are used mostly by hobbyist makers, 1" x 30" and 2" x 42" are fairly common sizes here in the U.S. and you can buy decent-quality belts in these sizes, but these machines are generally under-powered for knifemaking and the belt speeds are not always ideal. If possible you want a belt size that you can buy ceramic-abrasive belts for, when working with an under-powered grinder, having sharp, agressive abrasives is even more important.
Depending on availibility of belts and voltage/current compatibility, something like this may be an option- http://cgi.ebay.com/Hurricane-3-4-HP-Belt-Dis...1c14efac44
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:

Are there belts for polishing aswell?


The finer the grit you use the more "polished " the steel becomes, to a point ( please forgive the pun). The sanding(grinding) marks become smaller and smaller as you use finer and finer grit, to the point you have to use a polishing compound on a buffing wheel to finish out the blade. A blade finished to 600 grit will have a clean "satin" look even without buffing though, it just depends on what finish you want for the piece.

Wayne Goddard has a book out that details some pretty inexpensive ways to get started. A word of caution here though, black boogers are addictive. http://www.amazon.com/Wayne-Goddards-Knife-Sh...amp;sr=1-1

These two books were, and still are, helpful to me.
http://www.myArmoury.com/books/item.0896892409.html

http://www.myArmoury.com/books/item.0878571809.html

And here is a link to some belts:
http://www.texasknife.com/vcom/advanced_searc...12&y=9

And there are other suppliers out there.

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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Thomas R.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am getting a lot of really useful input here. Thank you all for that! Big Grin

Chuck, I already bought a german version of one of these "How to make knives"-tutorials. It's published by a reputated german knife-magazine. But I will surely have a look at those books, you suggested.

The point, Justin made about that 42"x2" Machines may be underpowered, is just, what I thought at the local hardware market. On the other hand, the 72" sanders look like really big machines. Wow... If I buy one of these, I will have to ask my grampa, if I could use his backyard'n'shack for this thingy. But that's no problem, because I will build my little forge there nevertheless.

And thank you, R. D., for answering the question about polishing. I already assumed that you use several belts with finer grains to do the grinding and after that one of those cloth like discs for an electric drill. This employee's gibberish made me doubt in that Happy

And no worries, Jean, I won't start with grinding a whole 1,5handers blade... Just a little seax perhaps? Or one of those lavish utility-knifes which were recently shown by Michael Pikula? Happy I admit it was his thread, which inspired me in the first place, to try knifemaking myself.

Regards,
Thomas

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Justin King
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would suggest you spend some time on some forums that are specific to knifemaking, the info you have recieved here is good but there is a lot more availible. There is a lot to consider before making a purchase like this, I used a 4"x36" woodworking sander for several years before buying a 2"x72" grinder, and although I managed to make some blades on it, I would not necessarily do it the same way if I were starting over.
As a beginner, you should probably start with fairly small knives anyway, in which case you can do your first few with a hacksaw and files if you are determined. Hand tools are often underrated by modern craftsmen. A small carving knife or skinning knife can be done by hand almost as fast (or maybe faster, with practice) as with one of the little 1"x30" belt sanders.
Heat treating their first blade turns out to be a bigger challenge than shaping it for many beginners. Many have spent hours upon hours on their first only to have it crack or otherwise fail during heat treat because they concentrated all their effort on shaping and not enough on getting the heat treat right.
Bladeforms.com and KnifeDogs.com both have free basic memeberships and knifemaker's forums where you will find a lot more specific info.


Last edited by Justin King on Sun 05 Sep, 2010 11:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Lyon
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Zirconia belts are the way to go for grits from p36 to abiut p150, they stay sharp much long than aluminium oxide and will work out cheaper in the long run. Aluminium oxide from p150 to p400 or finer. Then you can get scotchbrite belts for a fine satin/polish sheen, otherwise use a buffing wheel for a mirror finish. I have standardised my belts over the years so now I go p36 - p120 - p240 - p400 - very fine scotchbrite (gray). Within these too you can choose to use a new or worn belt at each stage to get the smoothest possible finishes.
Still hammering away
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Dustin R. Reagan





Joined: 09 May 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin King wrote:

Heat treating their first blade turns out to be a bigger challenge than shaping it for many beginners. Many have spent hours upon hours on their first only to have it crack or otherwise fail during heat treat because they concentrated all their effort on shaping and not enough on getting the heat treat right.
Bladeforms.com and KnifeDogs.com both have free basic memeberships and knifemaker's forums where you will find a lot more specific info.


I second this. Heat-treating is a vast topic n it's own right and one of the easiest things to get wrong, especially when learning on your own. It can also be extremely discouraging to see a blade you spent hours on crack at this point.
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Lee O'Hagan




Location: Northamptonshire,England
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.cootebeltgrinder.com/index.html
best thing out there till you hit the serious money,
supply your own moter,so the power is up to you,
pretty much get your money back via ebay if you dont like it,
forges,heat treat,you can go as simple as a few heat bricks and small propane torch on up to mega stuff,
don foggs site has great info and links,as does britishblades.com
and as Dustin mentioned,the road is littered with heartbreak,lol,
good luck Cool
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Dustin R. Reagan





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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lee O'Hagan wrote:

and as Dustin mentioned,the road is littered with heartbreak,lol,
good luck Cool


It's happened to me several times...once I literally shed a tear of frustration (I'm man enough to admit it =] ). I took a 2 month break from smithing after that!
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Audun Refsahl




Location: Norway
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 2:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

let me just recommend a different forum for you, that will answer all your questions for the next couple of years:)
http://www.britishblades.com/forums/

my advice, get a grinder that is of good quality, and make sure you can get belts for it. when the belts wear out, change them. dull belts don't grind properly, and generate to much heat. and they eat up a lot of time. so I guess find one that has available and inexpensive belts.
If you find a good used one, there is a guy at british blades that makes custom belts, and his prices are quite good, so he can sort you out if needed Happy (don remember his name right now, but he's easy to find..)
I like those disk grinders as well, great tool for knife making and such...

just bacon...
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Dustin R. Reagan





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PostPosted: Thu 16 Sep, 2010 12:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just stumbled upon this grinder kit. Looks decent and at a reasonable price:

http://www.polarbearforge.com/grinder_kit.html
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Audun Refsahl




Location: Norway
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Sep, 2010 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

you can get a lot of nice stuff for $700, but yes, this one looks good, I like the flexibility. I think its a good choise.
just bacon...
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Philip Montgomery




Location: Houston
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Sep, 2010 3:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Belt sander & Knifemaking         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:
Hi fellow forumites,

I plan to start knife making and assemble right now my workbench. I thought about getting a stationary belt sander. Before I buy something unusable, I'll ask you, fellow knifemakers, what I should look for: What are you doing with the sander, which specs are necessary, how should this machine work? e.g. which belts do I need?

Best regards,
Thomas


Hi Thomas.

I have been making broken-back seax style knives for the past year. I use a Grizzly Tool knive belt grinder. It costs $525 dollars. I am quite happy with mine. It is not perfect, by any means, but the belts are a snap to change. It works great for stock removal as well my attempts at forging steel. I use a wide variety of belts from 36 to 60 grit for heavy work up to 800 grit for finish work. I like a fairly rough finish that allows me to eliminate all the heavy grinding marks, so 800 grit keeps me happy.

G1015 Knife Belt Sander / Buffer
http://grizzly.com/products/G1015

You might check out Texas Knifemakers supply at:
http://www.texasknife.com/vcom/index.php

Texas Knifemakers supply have a wide variety of belts.

Enjoy, take your time, and show us your results.

Philip Montgomery
~-----~
"A broken sword blade fwipping through the air like a scythe through rye does demand attention."
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Thomas R.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Sep, 2010 3:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Philip,

that looks like a belt sander, I am able to use. The other ones without motors and so on looked a bit scary to me Wink
Things have been delayed recently a bit, mostly because my vacation is over and I have to finish a couple of smaller projects before I am able to set up my forge. (I've yet to finish a scabbard, and an inlay-tray for my sword bag.) But I will show you my first attempts on knifemaking as soon as possible!

Thank you all for your good advice!
Thomas

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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Sep, 2010 5:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dustin R. Reagan wrote:
Just stumbled upon this grinder kit. Looks decent and at a reasonable price:

http://www.polarbearforge.com/grinder_kit.html


I have that grinder and the price is pretty good for the kit but you still have to buy wheels, tooling arms, and other hardware, along with a motor. In the end it will likely cost you 600-700$ to get one of these running, and there is a bit of drilling and tapping involved to get it assembled. I don't want to discourage anyone, it is a great machine and I am very happy with mine, but it might be a bit much for some as an entry-level machine.
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