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Tools, Heating, and Materials

Joshua Pitre

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I am not sure if I should post this under tools, but his is the newby section, so here I go.

I am rather new to making knives and would like to eventually work my way up to swords, I would like some advice on a few different items in regards to tools, heating and materials.

1) After combing through the internet I believe I have decided upon a grinder to purchase, I have decided spend the cash first, (and once). I am look in at a BEE Grinder 2 x 72 but I am wondering what the difference/advantage/disadvantage would be between:

A) The 1 hp and the 2 hp,

B) The single speed vs the variable speed,

C) A 8” contact wheel vs a 10 “ contact wheel,

D) A smooth contact wheel vs a serrated wheel.

Obviously the price goes up depending upon which accessories are added and I am trying not to break the bank. Below is a link to a supplier I have located with the descriptions.


2) I am considering a heat treating oven as opposed to a propane forge due to the accurate temperature control capabilities for annealing, heat treating and tempering. I have found one that may be sufficient in regards to size for a sword and may be used for a knife simultaneously (I believe, although it may waste a lot of energy for knives alone). It is an Evenheat KF 49.5 Oven Setpro Control 10"W x 6.5"H x 49.5"D 240v. What I am wondering is:

A) Am I nuts or should I be looking into a propane forge for one third or less of the price

B) Could this do the job for both a knife and a sword

C) Would I be better off getting a custom one built where it opens like a coffin from the top (as I have read nothing but good reviews about these coffin custom builds)

D) Does anyone have any experience with this type of oven and what is your opinion on the Setpro temperature controller

Here is a link to the oven I am considering with its description.


3) I am having trouble locating a band saw that can cut metal under $1000.00, but the Proxxon MICRO Bandsaw MBS/E may be suitable for a decent shop, any thoughts or opinions?


4) My final question is in regards to the handle material known a Pakkawood/Dymondwood, I have worked with this material in the past and now knowing that the factory has gone the way of the dinosaur, I have found a replacement that may be suitable, so this is also a passing on of information to those whom may not know of it, but I would like to know if anybody has used it and would recommend it. Webb Wood.



Thanks for any assistance you are willing to give.


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look up wilton square wheel grinder i believe that's what is beeing sold as the bee grinder might be a name change for canada not sure


you can get a kmg for the same or lower price range


dymond wood is what a lot of makers start with then never go back to it has a tendency to split given time eliminates the need to finish the handle makes the shop look like yove been grinding smurfs when using blue


reel wood looks better f you wanna work a plasticized material go with micarta it will hold up better


harbor freight or grizzly sell a 4inch? band saw that cuts steel under $400 dont get your blades from harbor


built my own kiln and forge so no opinion on the even heat other than its over priced and you will most likly want a knife makers size as well due to the heat loss for knives the large kiln will have


work on your google fu theres a lot out there that your searches have been missing

Brandon Sawisch bladesmith


eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked in to jet engines

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With respect to the grinder, variable speed makes learning how to grind so much easier so I consider it a must. It is probably even a cost savings if you figure in how many projects you will ruin trying to grind a too high of a speed.


I have a 1hp on my grinder, and it is under powered. Now that I am a little more proficient with it than I was when I first bought it, I find that I push the VF Drive into overload mode pretty often. (A big red light comes on when I exceed the motor rating)


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There's no such thing as too much speed control or temperature control. You could possibly run into too much horse power but you'd have to work at it. If you heat treat with a forge then you will have to restrict yourself to more forgiving, simpler alloy steels that don't require extended soak times at a narrow range of temperatures. It would also be nice to know whether you are going to be doing stock removal or forging.



HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Thanks Brandon, the Wilton square wheel grinder definitely deserves a closer look at in comparison to the BEE grinder, I have used the Dymondwood and I know what you mean about the smurf issue. I will check out harbor freight and grizzly, I uderstand what you mean in regards to the different size in kilns.


Brian, thanks, I think I am leaning to the 2 hp variable speed.


Doug, I would like to work with more complex alloys such as 440C and others, I would be concentrating on stock removal rather than forging, but I would not rule it out as forging is extremely fun and its nice to get away from the grinder for a while and just swing a hammer.

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2-3 horsepower is good for a grinder, especially with a flat platen for profiling. A 220V 2hp variable speed is a good option.

There are a LOT more grinder options out there than there were when I started. I now have one KMG and a few other home made versions. I'm gonna get a few more just because there are some nice kits out there for almost nothing, and I have a pile of motors to use.

Look a these Grinder in a Box and SLING grinders.




I have a 4x6 horizontal/vertical bandsaw from China. It does the job, cost around $250 on sale. I don't use it for anything but chopping in horizontal mode.

The central machinery red 4x6 bandsaw is pretty ubiquitous; I see it in nearly every small shop. The other option is a similarly priced abrasive chop saw or a cold saw. The nice thing about chop saws and cold saws is they don't need much tuning to cut square. The Chinese bandsaw MIGHT cut square in SOME materials if you tune it right. I use big fat carbide toothed Starrett die-cutting blades on mine.


A used DoAll Contour-16 bandsaw is the best option that I can think of for cutting out profiles and shapes. They can be had running for $1200-2500 on ebay.



Setpro and Evenheat:

I have an Evenheat with the Ramp Master controller. I have all of my heat treating programs stored in the Ramp Master. I would say the Ramp Master is better for heat treating than the Set Pro. I don't think the Set Pro is programmable enough for annealing, but anyone else who uses them may be able to say more. For me the Ramp Master is ideal.


I don't recommend a propane forge if you're just using it for heat treating. The electric ovens are much more precise. I would not be doing stainless steels without this Evenheat. You don't want to babysit a propane forge for hours and hours to do a spheroidized anneal.


I have charcoal, propane and electric heat sources. I use charcoal for almost everything, but that's just a preference. It's a lot more tricky than the Evenheat, but I like it.

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Brian, after a bit research and YouTube videos I agree with you about the ramp master, the one I am looking at is 49" . What is your opinion on using this one for both knives and swords, I realize I would be using more power than needed and heating way more surface area when heat treating knives, but being that this is a kiln with evenly distributed heat, I do not see any reason that heating would not be completed sufficiently. Do you?

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I agree with Brian that if you are going to be using 440C or other air quenching steel you need to be using an oven that will give more heat control than a gas or solid fuel forge is capable of. Of course you do have the option of sending out your blades for heat treatment until you have the money to invest in an electric oven.



HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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