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Lancelot Chan
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Location: Hong Kong
Joined: 24 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Apr, 2016 6:22 am    Post subject: Sword sharpening and modifying using a Kaleas belt sander         Reply with quote

I had 3 very heavy duty projects in mind, one was slimming down the spine of my Longship Armoury ex-blunt dadao, to reduce the drag during cuts. The other two were to put on a false edge on the Dadaos, which involves of grinding away a large amount of hardened steel. If by hands, the spine slimming project will not be feasible, while the false edge adding will takes 3 days of very tiring, 3 hours+ hand grinding. I did the false edge on the tinker dadao by hand so I already have an idea of the workload.

I was looking for something at the size of a sharpening stone, but automatic sharpening stone. I sought and I found the holy grail to my quest. Kaleas minitool belt sander, straight from Germany. To grind hardened steel, though, aluminum oxide belts may not be durable enough. So I also ordered custom ceramic belts to be used with it from USA, Econaway abrasives.

They all came on the same day at the end, and I fitted the ceramic belt on the super small belt sander, testing it out. It worked, but the belt was too coarse and stiff for the size of the sander, so it ground the bottom of the motor house off. It also ground part of the wheel housing off but otherwise it worked fine!

The sander successfully finished the spine slimming project in 2 days, using wheel grinding technique and then pad flattening technique. It also finished the first false edge project well, in 3 days. I've learned something in the process. Tip can easily heats up, so tip sharpening is still best done with hand, to avoid losing the temper. Also some belts may be a bit slippery on the inside and drifted out of the sander, while some others worked fine. I've to fix this issue by increasing the friction on the wheels if I want to be able to use all the belts I got.

Anyway, here are videos of the tools in action:
Kaleas Belt sander slimming spine with wheel. Faster grinding.
Kaleas Belt sander slimming spine with pad. Flattening the gouges.
Kaleas Belt sander grinding a new bevel for the false edge.
Kaleas Belt sander doing another bevel on the third project.

As a model builder belt sander, I did not expect it to have too much power or last very long. It exceeded my expectation. It has ok power, and is still going strong under my crazy usage. I've read amazon review of similar belt sander and they often ended up broken after 10 mins of working, either by overheat and burning the motor, or losing the tooth in the drive belt. None happened with this. Kaleas and Econaway support on their goods are also excellent.

Here are the links to the tools:
The world's smallest belt sander. Durable and capable enough even for sword-modding projects. Takes time, but you don't want to ruin your sword's temper. So when the machine is heating up, it's a good idea to stop not only because of letting the machine cool down, but also to preserve your sword's temper.
Custom belt maker who can make custom belts for size this small.

They deserve more exposure for the good business manner they offer.

Belt sander grinding is different from hand sharpening. Many metallic splinters were produced and on my first day dealing with false edge grinding where the metal fell to me instead of the workbench, I was totally under-protected. I became a pin-cushion, very irritating. So beware of splinters. You'll hate them very much.

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