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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 03-18-2008, 12:17 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Grinders

At the risk of reopening a can of worm, a piece of advise for all those Newbies out there who are thinking of getting a wood working bench belt sander and putting metal grinding belts on it and using it as a grinder. If you don't already have one, don't waste your money getting one. Mine seemed like a good deal until I got my Coote set up and I saw the difference; it was like going from a tricycle to a good quality mountain bike. My 4X36" econo-delux model from the local tool-in-a-box store was a real waste of money and not a whole lot quicker than files, once I learned how to use them. It was also about as much money as it cost for a used motor for the grinder. I'm not getting into the Grizzley, Coote, KMG, or whatever arguement. I may eventually regret not going all the way and getting a KMG, that said, I also have met a knifesmith that earned his journeyman's stamp with two Grizzleys.

Think about your needs and consider what you can afford to lay out and get the best grinder that you can afford that meets YOUR criteria. Until then, stick with hand tools. There are many tools that can be adapted to metal work. A bench wood sander is not one of them, at least in my experience. If you already have one in the shop and want to try it anyway, get the best belts that you can find.

Doug Lester


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  #2  
Old 03-18-2008, 12:24 PM
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NJStricker NJStricker is offline
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Doug,

I've come to the same conclusion that you have. I'm using files and a 2x42, and saving my pennies.

Nathan
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  #3  
Old 03-18-2008, 12:50 PM
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I fought the same battle.Even after saveing the money for it buying my bader was hard.Letting go of that much money is tough.But,it's the best investment I have made and have never regreted it.


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Old 03-18-2008, 12:52 PM
DaveL DaveL is offline
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I am and have been amazed at how folks grind a knife. I started on a Wilton Square Wheel, now use nothing but Burr King and don't really understand how folks grind on a 1 X 30 or whatever. So, my opinion is simple. Buy a grinder you want to make knives and you will use it for all sorts of things. Bader, Burr King and Wilton are all there and all do a fine job.
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:49 PM
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AUBE AUBE is offline
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I started on a Sears 4x36 grinder (well first was a wood lathe with a sanding disc attachment but thats a different story) and I have to say that purchase was a complete waste of money. Personally I think you would be better off getting a $20 angle grinder and a couple of metal files and do it that way. After that I switched to a 6x48 sander and that would grind the blades flat no problem but doing the shoulder area was a pain...and belt tracking/switching was a real pain. With the money I spent on those two I could have bought a Grizzly....which is what I am currently using (after about 10yrs with the 6x48). The Grizzly is working fine for me but then when I get my KMG I will probably say "if I had saved the money from the 4x36, 6x48, and Grizzly it would have just about bought me the KMG"
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:03 PM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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My first knife was ground on a 6" Delta bench grinder. STONE WHEEL! Eeesh!

My 2" x 48" Multitool II (8" wheel) has been serving me well ever since. I had the whole thing set up on a custom mount and mandrel with a 1HP GE and mutiple pulleys for speed control. All that went belly up recently. So, I ran to Lowe's and bought the 9" Variable speed bench grinder to mount it to.

The power is WAY low (like 1/3HP or less), but I take my time and spray the motor housing with water to keep it cool, and I manage.

All this while every single piece to my new 2" x 72" Tracy Mickley designed grinder sits in the corner. I just have to finish current projects before I shut down to re-tool.

The moral of the story is that you can work with just about anything. Time and patience are the key. I have little of either, so I need to get my new grinder done after I finish this last knife!


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Old 03-18-2008, 10:07 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Dave, don't forget the us metal pounders have to start grinding at a certain point.

Doug Lester


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  #8  
Old 03-19-2008, 07:51 AM
DaveL DaveL is offline
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Okay, good points and just know I am amazed, in a good way, as to how you grind. You have my awe in what you all are doing. I have a older Sears 6X48 designed by Jimmy Lile that is a slow grinder that really does the job on flat ground knives. The key is a platen on the grinder made of very hard D2 with radius cuts on each end. You can flat grind or really finish and do the plunge cuts too. Yeah, I would love to see some of you using that small grinder and actually doing the knife. Good job, guys!
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  #9  
Old 03-19-2008, 12:48 PM
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SVanderkolff SVanderkolff is offline
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Well, I am not a fan of worms, other than for fishing, but I started with a 4 X 36 and used it for the first 3 years of making knives. Knives made on the 4 X 36 paid for the KMG. It is not ideal but until you get to the point where your personal skill is greater than the abilities of the equipment it really does not matter. Learning to control the grinding of a blade on the 4 X 36 was a skill easily transferable to the KMG. And frankly other then the grinding of the blade itself , the 4 X 36 is a small part of the making of the knife. So I guess my point is that the equipment is almost irralevant and it is the learning of the skills that is important. Your equipment should only become a factor when your skill level far exceeds the capabilities of the equipment.
Steve


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Old 03-25-2008, 01:43 AM
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NuViking NuViking is offline
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I still use a 1x30 for small jobs. Most of my work is done with hammers and files now. A little finishing with some of my autobody sanders comes to play.
I have thought about making or buying a 2x72 but money is a little tight in the house and as I am doing more autobody work I cant justify the money spent on knifemaking as a hobby when autobody is becoming a living.


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Old 03-25-2008, 07:53 AM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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The knifemaker who dies with the most tools..., wins!


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  #12  
Old 03-25-2008, 08:43 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Re: grinders

Maybe a point of clarification is in order. The original post was about using a bench sander, particularly a 4X36" inch model, as a substitute for a grinder. They can be used, if one accepts their limitations, I just don't think that they are worth the money spent to buy one for that purpose. If you already have one, fine, if not I recommend that you stick with files and polishing stones.

Also don't take the post as meaning that you need to get a knife grinder to make knives with. You don't. There are even some professional knifemakers who do not use them. They shape their blades with hammer and files and polish on stones and with sandpaper. As hobbiests, we have no deadlines to meet so we can take months to finish a knife if we want. We all have budgets and a certain amount of disposable income to invest in our hobby and some of us can't justify that kind of an investment. I had to kind of grit my teeth to lay out close to $700 to set up my grinder. One more monthly bill to pay and I doubt that I could have justified it to myself to get it and I would have explored the use of a palm sander to speed up polishing, at least for the courser grits. We all have to do what is right for us and only we, as individuals, can determine what that is.

Doug Lester


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  #13  
Old 03-31-2008, 03:28 PM
Paul Gibson Paul Gibson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Lester
As hobbiests, we have no deadlines to meet so we can take months to finish a knife if we want.
Well said Doug. I volunteer at the Kelgin Knife Maker's Co-Op, and a lot of potential signups get put off by the thought of having to invest a lot of money. We are always trying to stress that you don't need a ton of investment in tools to make a decent knife.

My 2 cents on grinders: in the co-op we have a Bader, a Grizzly and until recently a KMG. I'm not a professional knifemaker or anything - but I have used all three extensively. I like them all. A lot of people kind of poop on the Grizzly, but I think it gets a bad rap. I can certainly understand getting a KMG or Bader for precision work, or for desired setups that the Grizzly can't provide. But as far as bang for the buck for a hobbyist, I think the Grizzly is great. I have used it constantly for months, and haven't really had any complaints, other than the flat patten can be tricky.

I guess the way I look at it is this: Can you make a great knife on a Grizzly? Absolutely. Then why not start out with a Grizzly, and get some grinder practice. If you want to move up, get paid for your practice. Make knives on the Griz and sell them to buy a higher end grinder. Now what have you got? A great precision grinder with wheels that you can baby, and a Griz in the corner that you can abuse during hogging! It really ends up being a convenient setup.
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  #14  
Old 03-31-2008, 05:15 PM
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I agree with Paul on that one i started with a Kalamazoo,and sold knives to get my Bader.I still use the old Kal for handle shapeing and roughing out blanks. Its not a wasted piece of equipment.


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  #15  
Old 04-01-2008, 02:52 PM
Toddzio Toddzio is offline
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Now you tell me, I just got the 2x72 grinder I ordered for Christmas delivered.


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