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Warner Smith

Grinders, grinders, grinders....

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So in typical fashion for me, I'm jumping into this hobby with both feet.  The problem is, like many others, my eyes are bigger than my budget.  Haha.   I've been doing a little research on grinders, and it seems like a decent one would make life SO much easier.  I also see that decent ones aren't cheap.  It seems like one of the most economical ones out there, that still gets good review is the ones sold on Ebay by Oregonblademaker.  For the chassis (no motor, VFD, or drive wheel), they are between $500-$550 not including shipping.  I may be able to swing that amount....and then buy the parts to complete as time permits.   What do you guys think or know about those?   Is there a better option?

                        Thoughts and feedback most welcome.....thanks in advance,

                                                           Warner

 

Here's a link to the seller's store on Ebay for reference to what I'm talking about:  Oregonblademaker's Store on Ebay

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I've had one for about 2.5 years now, and am still very happy with it.

I only used a 1hp motor and VFD, which I have outgrown now.  There are a lot of times I wish I had more power.  Early on, however, only having 1HP kept me out of trouble, and was a very inexpensive way to get up and going.

I'd also suggest that a VFD is well worth the cost, and makes learning to grind much easier because you can slow things down to the point that you can really observe what is going on.  At full speed, you can make an unfixable grinding error so fast that you don't even know what you did to cause it.

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28 minutes ago, Brian Dougherty said:

I've had one for about 2.5 years now, and am still very happy with it.

I only used a 1hp motor and VFD, which I have outgrown now.  There are a lot of times I wish I had more power.  Early on, however, only having 1HP kept me out of trouble, and was a very inexpensive way to get up and going.

I'd also suggest that a VFD is well worth the cost, and makes learning to grind much easier because you can slow things down to the point that you can really observe what is going on.  At full speed, you can make an unfixable grinding error so fast that you don't even know what you did to cause it.

Good info.....thanks Brian.

        Warner

 

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I went through the same decision a couple of months ago. I wanted to upgrade from my old Kalamazoo 2x48 to kick off my return to my shop after a long hiatus. I wore myself out before I made what was the right decision for me, my methods, my BUDGET, my shop, situation and what I had on hand. Let me be long winded (like that's novel) and give a view of my thinking about the options I had.

The Grizzly ready to go 2x72:  kind of a "one trick pony" nothing much in adaptability. One speed- OMG. The buffer side.. well, I collected motors for years and already had made buffers, besides IMHO, a buffer is one of the most dangerous tools in the shop.

The Kalamazoo 2x72 w/o motor: as much as I appreciated the old one, and still have use for it, for the price it is today I felt I could do a bit better. I am not thrilled with the belt change sequence.

The OBM. I was really drawn to it. Being an Oregonian there was a stupid "tribalism" factor. If I was going to drop the coin for the whole shebang, motor, control, grinder ready to go, I would probably gone that route but, as I said, I have motors around, none would be a direct hookup to the OBM and no speed option. If I wanted to use a pillow block-pulley system I'd be best off to buy their pillow block (so no shimming to accomodate the ones I already have) and I'd have to buy their drive wheel. Still not bad but..

I finally settled on the Coote 2x72 with a basic 6" drive/contact wheel. I don't hollow grind so the more expensive wheels were un needed. But I did like the future option of the small wheel attachment. Also the simplicity of hook up to my motor with 3 step pulleys was a contributing factor. I know that it is just a simple two wheel, but it is still a step up and, in my silly head, if I can make a quality knife, with a little more work, and I can sell them, then adding an OBM down the road is not impossible but if I can't do those things then the OBM probably won't make the difference.

I am in no way, at all, suggesting the Coote, is the right choice for everyone else, or anyone else. It just fit my circumstances etc. It was whisker close between it and the OBM. There are other systems available like the OBM as far as semi-DIY, but if you are inclined to a "turn key" some assembly, but not much, and you are on a budget, to me, it looks pretty good. Some will say "for that much you could save another $xxx and buy a YYY" but when you are having enough trouble just getting past a Sears 1" in the budget, those x's add up.

I hope that is clear as mud. I predict a fair amount of feedback in this thread. Listen to all of it and weigh it over carefully. 

 

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Thanks for the reply Vern.  I'll have to look this over at home when I have more time to really flesh it all out....you cover a lot of ground there.  :)

 

                       Warner

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A belt grinder is out of the question for me because I work in my basement and it would make a lot of dust and some noise. So I went for the file jig. I am surprised how fast it can be, especially when the bevels are forged. It is also sorta fool proof. I am not saying you should follow my path but I don't feel this method is an obstacle to my knife making as of yet.

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Actually, Vern, I think you just about covered it.  In the past few years we have become spoiled for choice on the grinder front.  When I started this trip in 1998 the only choice we had in grinders was the Kalamazoo, the Coote, the Wilton Square Wheel, and the Bader family of grinders.  The B3 had just come out.  Burr-King was there too, but was the most expensive by far because they used top-end Baldor motors.  Not one of these were variable speed.  Several guys with machine shop access were building their own, but then everything changed when Rob Frink at Beaumont Metalworks put what he thought were the best ideas floating around into one machine, the KMG.  They were cheaper and easier to track than the Baders, and more versatile than the others.  I saw the prototype VFD- powered KMG at one of Larry Harley's hammer-ins in 2004, and had I known just how revolutionary that was going to be I probably would have spent more time thinking about it that day.  

Since that time many many people have gotten into the grinder business, so much that we are in a sort of golden age of 2x72 grinder availability.  Except the price has not stopped rising.  I got a KMG chassis with baseplate and platen plus a set of step pulleys for about $800 in 2006.  Today that package is around $1100, still with no motor.  I used to be a crusader touting the superiority of KMGs, and they are still really good grinders, but there are so many equally good packages out there now it almost doesn't matter the brand.  

I'm still running that KMG with a 1hp motor and the three-speed step pulleys because it does exactly what I want it to do.  I would love more power and VFD control, but it's not essential.  Over the years I have added a 2" serrated rubber wheel that replaces the top wheel on the platen (unbelievable handy!), a 4" and 6" wheel from Sunray Polyurethane, rewired it to 220 volt so it wouldn't trip the breaker when I stalled it, and replaced the stock V-belt with a link-belt.  It needs a new platen liner, but that is it.  Not bad for 11 years of use!

Also, notice that time difference between when I started and when I got a 2x72?  Files for finishing and an angle grinder for roughing are an excellent way to do this.  Slower, yes.  But much less stressful.  I still file-finish all my tomahawks and swords, and almost everything else because it gives a look I like that can't be replicated on a grinder.  But you do have to have quality files, which means ordering from an industrial supplier.  No big box stores need apply.  Somewhere around here there is a thread on the steps in file-finishing, but the short version is as follows:

1. forge to shape.

2. descale in vinegar or with an angle grinder, broken stone wheel, handy rock, drag it on the asphalt out the car door, whatever works.

3. profile by any means available.  Big file, bench grinder, whatever.

4. rough in the final shape with the biggest file you have.  a 16" mill bastard is my weapon of choice.

5. drawfile with the same file.  From here on, it's drawfile only.  From the 16" I go to a 10" mill bastard, a 6" mill bastard, a 6" mill 2nd cut, and a 6" mill smooth.  By the time you put down the little smooth file you are ready to start hand sanding at 220 grit.  Yes, 220.  Proceed as high as you want.

I guess what I'm saying is, grinders are great, but not strictly necessary unless you're either trying to make money at this with a product the grinder will help you churn out faster,  or you have so little free time to play you want instant results and you have the cash to invest.

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1 hour ago, Joël Mercier said:

A belt grinder is out of the question for me because I work in my basement and it would make a lot of dust and some noise. So I went for the file jig. I am surprised how fast it can be, especially when the bevels are forged. It is also sorta fool proof. I am not saying you should follow my path but I don't feel this method is an obstacle to my knife making as of yet.

I need to go back and look at that info you sent me a while back....I would be FINE with that for a while if I got a setup that worked well.  I'm not at the skill level where I can eyeball anything yet.....

                Warner

 

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

Actually, Vern, I think you just about covered it.  In the past few years we have become spoiled for choice on the grinder front.  When I started this trip in 1998 the only choice we had in grinders was the Kalamazoo, the Coote, the Wilton Square Wheel, and the Bader family of grinders.  The B3 had just come out.  Burr-King was there too, but was the most expensive by far because they used top-end Baldor motors.  Not one of these were variable speed.  Several guys with machine shop access were building their own, but then everything changed when Rob Frink at Beaumont Metalworks put what he thought were the best ideas floating around into one machine, the KMG.  They were cheaper and easier to track than the Baders, and more versatile than the others.  I saw the prototype VFD- powered KMG at one of Larry Harley's hammer-ins in 2004, and had I known just how revolutionary that was going to be I probably would have spent more time thinking about it that day.  

Since that time many many people have gotten into the grinder business, so much that we are in a sort of golden age of 2x72 grinder availability.  Except the price has not stopped rising.  I got a KMG chassis with baseplate and platen plus a set of step pulleys for about $800 in 2006.  Today that package is around $1100, still with no motor.  I used to be a crusader touting the superiority of KMGs, and they are still really good grinders, but there are so many equally good packages out there now it almost doesn't matter the brand.  

I'm still running that KMG with a 1hp motor and the three-speed step pulleys because it does exactly what I want it to do.  I would love more power and VFD control, but it's not essential.  Over the years I have added a 2" serrated rubber wheel that replaces the top wheel on the platen (unbelievable handy!), a 4" and 6" wheel from Sunray Polyurethane, rewired it to 220 volt so it wouldn't trip the breaker when I stalled it, and replaced the stock V-belt with a link-belt.  It needs a new platen liner, but that is it.  Not bad for 11 years of use!

Also, notice that time difference between when I started and when I got a 2x72?  Files for finishing and an angle grinder for roughing are an excellent way to do this.  Slower, yes.  But much less stressful.  I still file-finish all my tomahawks and swords, and almost everything else because it gives a look I like that can't be replicated on a grinder.  But you do have to have quality files, which means ordering from an industrial supplier.  No big box stores need apply.  Somewhere around here there is a thread on the steps in file-finishing, but the short version is as follows:

1. forge to shape.

2. descale in vinegar or with an angle grinder, broken stone wheel, handy rock, drag it on the asphalt out the car door, whatever works.

3. profile by any means available.  Big file, bench grinder, whatever.

4. rough in the final shape with the biggest file you have.  a 16" mill bastard is my weapon of choice.

5. drawfile with the same file.  From here on, it's drawfile only.  From the 16" I go to a 10" mill bastard, a 6" mill bastard, a 6" mill 2nd cut, and a 6" mill smooth.  By the time you put down the little smooth file you are ready to start hand sanding at 220 grit.  Yes, 220.  Proceed as high as you want.

I guess what I'm saying is, grinders are great, but not strictly necessary unless you're either trying to make money at this with a product the grinder will help you churn out faster,  or you have so little free time to play you want instant results and you have the cash to invest.

As usual, an AWESOME response from you Alan.  Talk me off the ledge.  Between you and Joel, I'll slow down and take it one step at a time.  I need to go find the info on a file jig.  I'd BUY a good one if there's one already made up.   Suggestions?

                                Thanks again,

                                   Warner

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It reminds me of the changes in forge options since the 1980s when I was burning dried dinosaur dung in place of charcoal.

You had just a couple of blacksmith models and, all due respect, they seemed to pride themselves on costing more than the competition. That is when brave folks started plumbing their own burners the going, hat in hand, to pottery kiln suppliers for kaowool and refractory material. Now we have several forge makers, mini forges, better DIY burner systems and professional burners so you can partially DIY. I wonder how far we'd be with grinders if we we were still trying to figure out what we could rob wheels from?

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I've never had nor used a file jig, but Joel has great success with his.  Take a look at it.  Personally, the ability to file freehand is something I strongly recommend.  It just takes practice.  And a file card or wire brush.  Go to the video section and watch the Arctic Fire one with Don Fogg freehand drawfiling a dagger blade.  Invaluable.

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

Edited by Brian Dougherty

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21 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

Also, notice that time difference between when I started and when I got a 2x72?  Files for finishing and an angle grinder for roughing are an excellent way to do this.  Slower, yes.  But much less stressful.  I still file-finish all my tomahawks and swords, and almost everything else because it gives a look I like that can't be replicated on a grinder.  But you do have to have quality files, which means ordering from an industrial supplier.  No big box stores need apply.  Somewhere around here there is a thread on the steps in file-finishing, but the short version is as follows:

1. forge to shape.

2. descale in vinegar or with an angle grinder, broken stone wheel, handy rock, drag it on the asphalt out the car door, whatever works.

3. profile by any means available.  Big file, bench grinder, whatever.

4. rough in the final shape with the biggest file you have.  a 16" mill bastard is my weapon of choice.

5. drawfile with the same file.  From here on, it's drawfile only.  From the 16" I go to a 10" mill bastard, a 6" mill bastard, a 6" mill 2nd cut, and a 6" mill smooth.  By the time you put down the little smooth file you are ready to start hand sanding at 220 grit.  Yes, 220.  Proceed as high as you want.

I guess what I'm saying is, grinders are great, but not strictly necessary unless you're either trying to make money at this with a product the grinder will help you churn out faster,  or you have so little free time to play you want instant results and you have the cash to invest.

Alan,  do you have a recommended source for good files?  I'd like to order all that I need and build a good filing jig.  I may be able to hunt through our scrap pile today and get a metal "T" to start with so the jig can be metal instead of wood.

   Let me know and thanks, 

               Warner 

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Most of them I order from MSCdirect.com, but the last few big ones I've gotten off ebay as NOS USA-made Nicholsons.  The Mexico-made Nicholsons are useless junk.  The Brazilian Nicholsons are heat treated better, but are still badly made.  I have settled on Simonds for my main brand, but the biggest they make is a 14".  I can't live without my 16" USA Nicholsons, though.  

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53 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Most of them I order from MSCdirect.com, but the last few big ones I've gotten off ebay as NOS USA-made Nicholsons.  The Mexico-made Nicholsons are useless junk.  The Brazilian Nicholsons are heat treated better, but are still badly made.  I have settled on Simonds for my main brand, but the biggest they make is a 14".  I can't live without my 16" USA Nicholsons, though.  

Does this look like a good set to start with Alan?

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/80762503  14" Bastard Cut

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/80762461  10" Bastard Cut

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/80762420  6" Bastard Cut

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/03947611  6" Second Cut

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/80762438  6" Smooth Cut

                    Let me know and thanks again,

                                     Warner

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You will need mill bastard files for finitiob and drawfiling. They are very different from regular bastard ones.

Edited by Joël Mercier
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And for grinding the bevels on the file jig, it's best with a rectangular shaped double cut bastard with 1 safe edge.

Edited by Joël Mercier
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1 hour ago, Joël Mercier said:

You will need mill bastard files for finitiob and drawfiling. They are very different from regular bastard ones.

How does this selection look?

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/06892186  14" Bastard Mill

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/40211393   10" Bastard Mill

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/80762750    6" Bastard Mill

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/75511907   6" Second Cut Mill

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/80762776   6" Smooth Cut Mill 

 

Edited by Warner Smith

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2 hours ago, Joël Mercier said:

 

You will need mill bastard files for finitiob and drawfiling

 

and what is finitiob? :)

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Finitiob is extremely important! :lol:

I can't get the links to open, but as long as they're Simonds they should be okay. Also, I grind one safe edge on all my files.  Remarkable handy to have.

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Boy, I remember trying to learn how to finitiob.  It was a struggle, but well worth it in hind sight.

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In fact I took several finitiob courses in the past. All were given by a finitiob master.

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18 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Finitiob is extremely important! :lol:

I can't get the links to open, but as long as they're Simonds they should be okay. Also, I grind one safe edge on all my files.  Remarkable handy to have.

All ordered today.  :)

     Warner

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