My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

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MountainMan
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My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

Postby MountainMan » Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:48 pm

OK, I have a dilemma. I want to know from the custom knife makers here your opinion.

I'm in the market for my very first 2x72 belt grinder. My level of skill is right below beginner. I've taken three classes from David Lisch, a custom knife maker here in S=the Seattle area and I've enjoyed it immensely. In the next month, two things are going to happen. First is my garage will get rewired with a couple of 220v outlets for future use as my knife shop. Secondly, I will be heading to the Oregon Knife Collectors show in Eugene for the sole purpose of selling my Ruana 17B "S" stamp skinning knife for no less than $1750 and a few other knives in hopes to hit that $2k mark. That is my seed money towards my grinder. That being all said, I see two options before me regarding my grinder......

I can either spend the money up front for upper mid range belt grinder like a Pheer grinder made in Oregon that sells for around $1700. This gets a machine that will be my main grinder for a long time to come. The downside is the high initial cost AND it will take me a long time to learn all the ins and outs the machine can offer.
The second option is to get a Grizzly which sells for $600 complete. The upside is the lower cost which gives me more money to use towards mats. The big downside is the limited ability it has.

What do you guys think? How did you start out?

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orvet
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Re: My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

Postby orvet » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

I got a Grizzly a few years ago.
For under $400 shipped it was a real deal.
I don't do a lot of blade grinding, but I could do it on the Griz if I needed to.

If you are going to be a full time knife maker, I recommend more than the Grizzly.
If you are a hobby knife maker and knife repairman like I am, the Grizzly is great.
Don't forget to save $200-$300 for some good belts.
No point in getting a good grinder and then getting cheap belts, you would be better off with the Griz and good belts! IMHO
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coffeecup
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Re: My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

Postby coffeecup » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:22 am

I've worked on Baders and Burr Kings, and a bit on a Kalamazoo a friend had; I've seen a couple of Grizzlies in use. With that in mind, I'd suggest while you are working on raising funds, find a dealer in used industrial equipment and seek a used industrial belt grinder. This way you'd get a good machine to start.

There are pros and cons to this approach. You could maybe save a bit by dealing directly with whatever company is selling the equipment--you'll pay a premium going through a dealer. But a dealer should be able to tell you: 1) what repairs are needed, and 2) who can do those repairs. If you stick with Burr King and Bader, you can get any particular knifemaking-specific attachment/fork/contact wheel/etc you need, when you need it.

Take the time to learn the ins and outs of the various belts available. Check the various forums and sub-forums devoted to knifemaking and get a feel for which belts people mention as being suited for the steel you are working.

Look into getting a heat-treating oven, if you don't have a good local means of getting blades heat-treated. Nothing will drive you crazier faster than finally getting a blade ground the way you pictured it in your head, and having to wait to get it heat-treated so you can finish it and finally hold the knife.

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btrwtr
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Re: My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

Postby btrwtr » Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:42 am

I have three 2x72 grinders. One is out of production, one I made from scratch and a KMG recently purchased from Beaumont Metal Works.. I don't like to waste money and I did a lot of reading up and studying before I bought the KMG. I believe the KMG grinders are considered to be a good bang for the buck option. You get a very good machine for the money.

Check out this site for a list of 11 different 2x72 grinders available. https://sites.google.com/site/vorpalcustomknives/shop-techniques-3/grinders.

If cost is a concern there will be many grinders that will get crossed off the list. Pheer, Grinder-In-A- Box, Kalamazoo, Coote, Grizzly and all have there merits and are lower cost options. You can find plans for making your own grinder or for some shop made grinders on eBay. There is a lot of opinion and personal preference involved with rating any one machine.

The KMG I bought is a very solid machine and you can buy them set up many different ways. I'm not trying to sell you on a KMG because there are many good grinders out there but costs are all over the board.

Check out page 17 of this thread for how I saved some money setting up the KMG I bought. http://www.allaboutpocketknives.com/knife_forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=3859&start=240
You can buy your own motor and wire the machine yourself.

Great advice on saving some money for belts. Belts are not cheap and they don't last forever. You'll need several of each grit to start. I use 36, 60, 120, 220, 320 grit belts and do quite a bit of hand finishing also. Belts are constant cost if you are busy making knives.

Good luck. Let us know what you end up with and how you like it.

Wayne
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MountainMan
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Re: My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

Postby MountainMan » Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:08 am

Sold my Ruana and got my first grinder at the OKCS. It is made in Washington state and a custom knife-maker I know highly recommended I get a variable speed version of this grinder. However, I couldn't swing it and got the single speed instead. Most expensive tool I have EVER paid for. Thirteen hundred dollars....I was nervous handing over the cash....lol
Brett Mathews makes this machine.
BeltGrinder 001.jpg

BeltGrinder 002.jpg

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btrwtr
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Re: My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

Postby btrwtr » Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:18 pm

Looks like a heavy duty top rate machine. I'm sure it will give you many years of service. What kind of motor is on it?

Wayne
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Wayne

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Ramrod

Re: My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

Postby Ramrod » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:07 pm

Looks just like a Bader.
::tu::
Mark

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Qadi
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Re: My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

Postby Qadi » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:06 am

I apologize for bumping...

My 1p worth. Personal opinion only. A belt grinder is worth the money only if you make tools (which I do). I do not own one of the machines that started the thread. I simply clamp a secondhand DIY belt sander ($10 at a thrift store, Makita at that) in a Workmate at a convenient angle, and have at it. Reason is, a belt grinder removes a whole lot of metal in very little time. Of course the amount you remove in a given time depends on the grit of the belt, and a wide variety of grits is available mass-market. I do recommend weighting down the Workmate. It tends to wander around the floor if you don't. I use really hefty birch logs. The best Workmates are the British pre-Black and Decker variety, they were much better made than the current crop of B&D plastic junk. I think that our models, the real bodgers of the 18th and 19th centuries, would have killed for a Workmate. I know, they are not bodgerlike, but neither are mootorised grinders, either. If you wish to sharpen as opposed to make, why a file is your best friend. Lacking a Workmate, clamp the belt sander in a big heavy vise. Oops, vice. So I personally would buy a really cheap belt sander, DIY store variety, and clamp it in a Workmate, and I would not spend my hard-earned Pounds, shillings and pence on a commercial grinder. I would gladly shell out the dollars or quid for a pre-Black and Decker Workmate, made in the UK and not in the USA or China. And I would find a secondhand belt grinder. Presto, stationary belt sander. Good enough for all bodger purposes. I find the disk sanders on the commercial machines useless. Unless you are making wooden clocks, which I am doing at the moment. But that is a most unbodgerlike activity, way off-topic.

Now here is what I consider the theory of the thing. If you are making a tool, there are several stages. Just so as we know where we are, suppose we are making a knife. First we have to cut it out to shape. Off topic. Then we have to rough out the edge. It is here where the belt sander excels. You need to remove a whole lot of metal in a very short time. In other words, rough it out. Do it on the belt sander. Then probably you want to heat treat your knife, again off topic. Then you have to refine the edge. For this I think the wet grinder is the thing. Lots of stuff on this board on that subject! Finally you have to hone it and for this I use in succesion diamond hones and Japanese Waterstones. By hand. There is no better way to get a good edge on a knife. For an axe I might use the belt sander once. To get the bevels where I want them, usually a lot less than the 45 deg a store-bought axe has. After that I file, and use a hone to get the final edge. So at each stage of toolmaking, you remove less and less material. Belt sander just one stage in a process. If I had to spend my money on a power tool to grind axes or adzes or knives I would spend it on a wet grinder. Indeed that is what I did. I can improvise the belt grinder.

BTW a note on the "Clarke" brand name (It applies to many another brand name). In spite of its seemingly British name the thing is actually made in China. It has been, as they say, "rebadged", no doubt from Rong Fu to Clarke. Not making that up, Rong Fu is an actual Chinese toolmaker. Not that many of them, as it turns out. They are rebadged under many names. In the UK, Warco and Chester come to mind. In the US, Grizzly and Harbor Freight. I happen to own a Clarke small (6cm) pillar drill. It has been completely satisfactory. But what I find with these Chinese tools is that they are a bit spotty. One day they are right on the money but next day something slipped and the tools made that day lacked something. Maybe they forgot to heat-treat some important part.So the tool is junk. It is roulette. I do not denigrate the Chinese. They are doing in a decade what it took us all one hundred years to discover. I do not blame them if they slip up sometimes. I blame myself for not checking the thing out thoroughly.

Usually apologize for a very long post like this one, but not this time.
All the best, my new article: best knife grinder for beginners

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terryl308
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Re: My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

Postby terryl308 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:13 pm

I use a Bader and have had it for close to 10 years. If I bought another one the only thing different would be, I'd get a variable speed motor. Otherwise good , well built unit. I use nothing but 3M gator belts. Good luck, ::tu:: Terry
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jerryd6818
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Re: My first REAL 2x72 grinder..

Postby jerryd6818 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:00 pm

terryl308 wrote:I use a Bader and have had it for close to 10 years. If I bought another one the only thing different would be, I'd get a variable speed motor. Otherwise good , well built unit. I use nothing but 3M gator belts. Good luck, ::tu:: Terry

You can get a variable speed AC controller for around $150. Just plug it in the line and go.
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