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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 10-09-2001, 11:27 AM
Kevin Miller
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Grinding Belts


What belts should a beginner start out with?

What are the different grits used for?

What grit belt should you profile your blade with? I started with a 36 grit and noticed that little particles from the belt were starting to fly off the belt. Also, do you use the platen or the contact wheel?
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  #2  
Old 10-09-2001, 12:32 PM
Don Cowles
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Because I make mostly smaller knives, I no longer use 36 grit belts. The scratches they make are just too deep to make for reasonable cleanup for me. I profile with 60 grit on the contact wheel, and yes the pieces of grit do fly.

When I get to grits above 120, I switch from heavy-backed (X-weight?) to "J" weight flexible belts. I grind through 400 grit before heat treat. The more scratches you can get out at this point, the easier it is after HT. Some guys even mirror polish before HT.

If you don't have it, I'd strongly recommend that you get the book "How to Make Knives" by Barney & Loveless. It discusses belt selection and the reasoning behind it in great detail.
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  #3  
Old 10-09-2001, 01:02 PM
Bob Warner
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When you profile a knife, you are grinding against a sharp edge. The sharp edge ripps the grit off of the belt and wears them down quickly. Many makers use worn (but still good) belts for this task. I profile on the contact wheel but either the contact wheel or the platten will work.

As for your question on; "What are the different grits for?"

Grit is the term used to identify the courseness of the belt or sandpaper. The higher the number the smaller (finer) the grit. A small number like 36 means the particles are large and remove a lot of metal at once. A grit like 220 is finer and removes less metal and a 600 removes less still. Each grit will leave scratches on your steel, so you use progressively finer grits to eliminate the previous grit scratches. As you progress through the belt sequence that Don Cowels already outlined, you will have a really smooth surface at Heat Treat time. After heat treat you keep the progression going until you reach the desired effect on the steel. Many knife makers go to 1000 or even 1500 grit on their knives.

Hope this, in conjunction with Don's reply clears it up for you. If not, just ask for more info and we will help.
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  #4  
Old 10-09-2001, 01:48 PM
Kinger
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The grit of a sandpaper refers to how many particles are on each square inch. So as you move to lower grits bigger particles are needed to fill that square inch of space; and these larger particles, in turn, cut away more metal with each pass. Hope this helps.

Jusin
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  #5  
Old 10-10-2001, 07:43 AM
Kevin Miller
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Thanks for the info.


Don - I have the book you mention. I will go back and read the section you suggest. I don't recall any mention of the use of 36 grit belts, the author used 60 grit to profile the knife.

I take it that profiling means to grind out the outline of the knife as opposed to the bevels. I have an 8 inch contact wheel and I find that after profiling, there is a slight angle to the edge and is not exactly 90 degrees (square). That is why I was wondering if the platen was used.

What I meant by my original question "What belts should a beginner start out with?" was this - If I was to order, say a dozen belts or so, which ones should I order to start with. Do you use more 60 grits than say 400 grits?
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2001, 08:05 AM
Don Cowles
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Re: Thanks for the info.


The angle you describe on the profile of your blades is a function of the placement of the support table with respect to the center of your contact wheel. Raising or lowering the table will change this angle.

If I were buying a dozen belts, I'd get the following grits:

(2) 60
(2) 120
(2) 220
(4) 400
(1) 60 micron
(1) Trizact 45

The top four would be used for pre-heat treat grinding, and the 400 grit also for post heat treat cleanup. The 60 micron for grinding the rough final edge, and the Trizact 45 for the final finished edge.

I'll add that the 36 grit belts probably aren't mentioned in the book because they are a fairly recent development. They do remove a lot of material, but that's not always a good thing. I stick with 60, or even 80 grit for my first rough hollow grinds.
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