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kraythe

Harbor Freight Ginder for Short Term Use?

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Hey, I would really love to get a KMG grinder to start working on some knives but alas I have trouble comming up with the 970$ just now. So I was wondering if I could use a cheapo harbor freight grinder to get me by in the meantime. I was thinking of the 4"x36" belt 6" disc grinder. I was wondering if people had experience with this grinder, what problems I might run into using it and any other pieces of advice. I suppose one might say "forget it and save up" but I would reply that it will take me a couple months to be able to afford a KMG so I would need some good reasons why the HF one wouldnt work. Also would the HF one be of ANY use once I get the KMG?

 

Thanks

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The short answer is "no, it won't do the job".

 

You really need access to the edges of the platen, which this won't give you, and you'd like to be able to grind on the idler wheels, which you can't do, and you'd like to have some slack belt area for grinding, which this doesn't have. Plus the motor is wimpy, there is not much selection in belts, and that should be enough.

 

You'd be better off, IMHO, to get a bench grinder, the kind with stones, and learn to grind on that. Better yet, get good with an angle grinder and draw filing. The Coote is probably the least expensive thing out there that is built for knife grinding, pretty much everything thing else is up from there. I think you'd be better off saving your nickels and buying a good tool built for the purpose, rather than buying inexpensive general purpose tools that will give you indifferent results, and then still have to buy the right tool in the end.

 

Tools won't make you a knifemaker, seat time will. The big tools just make it easier to make more knives, not necessarily good ones.

 

Just my simple opinion,

From your local simpleton,

 

Geoff

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Ive got one like that and to be honest its pretty rubbish for making knives. Like Geoff says you need to use the edge of the platen which means every time I change sides on the blade I have to track the belt to the edge of the correct side which means it takes about three times longer for me to grind blades on it than it does on a KMG. Ive made lots of knives on it though.

 

So the answer is 'yes' you can use one but it will make grinding a miserable job that takes ages and is no fun at all.

 

Jamie

 

Its great for flattening big blocks of wood though!

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I agree that the harbor freight are really of little to no use all of the non 2/72 grinders are not worth it. I did a lot of work on a 1/42 when I first started out and other than for small knives (folder blades and very small knives) I found it almost useless and all of the finishing of larger blades was done by hand , every thing changed when I got the chance to work on the badders I have now.

 

that being said I would argue against the suggestion of using a bench grinder. it is not a safe option. bench grinders use a vitrafide(SP?) bond wheel that is designed to only grind things LIGHTER in weight than the wheel it's self (lathe bits, drill bits, etc) there are wheels that can grind a blade, but they run much slower and in general are larger than the average 6-8" bench grinder. I have been in a shop when one of these wheels broke. (due to grinding a overly large part on it.) the wheel broke into 10 or so pieces and ... well exploded . parts of the wheel were in bedded in the block wall 4' away, the guard on the grinder was shredded and the guy that it happened to needed 10 stitches in his arm. I have seen the same thing happen with serfice grinder wheels (those are designed to cut larger material) when a cracked wheel was used.

 

I have worked on the grizzly 2/72 grinders at the school I teach at. I don't like them but they work and for the money they are a workable grinder. a bit under powered, the large contact wheel can be hard to use as the motor gets in the way and they are a little under built (not stiff enough) leading to some tracking issues if you push the grinder a bit to hard and there are no small wheels for it . even with all of that it is a workable grinder that a lot of fine work can be done on.

MP

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have you looked into building your own grinder? there are numerous plans on the internet for building one yourself.

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have you looked into building your own grinder? there are numerous plans on the internet for building one yourself.

 

The problem is by the time you buy the wheels and motor and so on, you might as well buy one. I want a Beumont metal works grinder but I will have to wait.

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The problem is by the time you buy the wheels and motor and so on, you might as well buy one. I want a Beumont metal works grinder but I will have to wait.

 

The KMG is definately a good, solid grinder. You can't go wrong there.

 

You can build one for less with a little time. The grinder in a box can be built for under $800 for a single speed. If you get a vfd and motor from Wayne Coe you can set it up for variable speed.

 

Jamie

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I did the 4X36" sander with grinder belts and it turned out to be wasted money. I would have been much better off applying that money to a 2X72" belt grinder. As a matter of fact, the $99 that I spent on it would have just about covered the cost of the used motor that I got for my Coote. I would say the the Grizzly 2

x72" grinder is just about minimal for knife making. As said above, it's power is is rather low. It's also spins a bit fast and you'll probably do better with a 10" contact wheel to clear the motor housing with your work. I did meet a bladesmith who earned both his Journeyman's and Master's stamps with two of these machines, however. Until you can afford a purpose made belt grinder my recommendation is to stick with an angle grinder to rough out the blade and then files to refine the outline and to draw file the bevels. Sand paper and/or oil polishing stones for polishing the blades.

 

Doug Lester

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A lot of it is making use of what you have.

I'd bought a craftsman 6x48 for woodworking and 90% of it's use is blades.

 

It's not ideal, I badly want a KMG or after looking at the TAG-100, I'm wanting that one even more.

Those would great just for the versatility.

Until I can sell enough to buy one tho, my 6x48 is just gonna have to do for me.

I do a lot of various stuff on it too. I've adapted to it in a lot of ways, but it still lacks in others.

 

I know a bladesmith that wants a custom 6" grinder with belts lots longer than 48".

I also know another who does the majority of his grinding on one as well. I wish I had his, as it was made probably in the 50s.

 

One add-on I've seen others do, that I've not yet done is add a 1/8" plate to the platen to raise it a bit and allow you to do the plunge area easier.

 

Ideally I want a 2x72 with variable speed.

I certainly won't get rid of my 6x48 though.

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