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2 hours ago, Jeremy Russell said:

I was told I would need a belt grinder... Searching online I can only find belt sanders... I looked for grinding belts but again only found sanding belts. What is it I need?

The standard workhorse grinder in the knife maker's world is the 2"x72" Belt grinder. Do a Google search for Knife making grinder and you will see a whole lot of different styles and companies who make these things. Then mosey on over to the Tools and Tool making Forum and check out the threads on grinders. This one is a good start.

You can also try making one of your own, or buying a kit and assembling it. Your choice. I have my opinion and everyone else has an opinion as well.

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"Need" is a relative term.  Many guys start out with not much more than a hacksaw, a good file, and some sandpaper.  I'm not saying that you'd regret buying or building one (Wayne Coe is a great resource if you plan on building your own), but just know that it's by no means a necessity.  

Back on topic though, in general a sander is designed for use with wood and other softer materials, a grinder is designed to be used on metals.  A grinder will run at a higher RPM and typically have more horsepower behind it.

If I can recommend I thing for you to do, it would be to read through all of the pinned threads at the top of the Beginners Place, Hot Work, Fit and Finish, Tools and Toolmaking, and Show and Tell subforums.  You'll learn a lot and get started off in the right direction.

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I started with a crappy Harbor Freight 1x30 belt grinder, and while it worked, it didnt work WELL.  Then I bought my Grizzly and the difference was night and day. 

But I have also busted out the filing jig and beveled a whole blade with just files. On unhardened steel a file will remove material a LOT faster then one would think. 

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On 8/2/2019 at 2:58 PM, Robert D. said:

I started with a crappy Harbor Freight 1x30 belt grinder, and while it worked, it didnt work WELL.  Then I bought my Grizzly and the difference was night and day. 

But I have also busted out the filing jig and beveled a whole blade with just files. On unhardened steel a file will remove material a LOT faster then one would think. 

I have a bench grinder... Can I make the bevel with that?

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3 hours ago, Jeremy Russell said:

I have a bench grinder... Can I make the bevel with that?

If you have files, what you can do is run hollows in the bevels you want to create and file down to them. Don't grind too much though. Essentially what you're doing is making the filing easier and faster because there's less material to remove. It'll save your arms and files a bit.

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5 hours ago, Jeremy Russell said:

I have a bench grinder... Can I make the bevel with that?

Do you have an angle grinder? There are lots of guys who do the rough grinding with one of those. You can get flap wheels in assorted grits for the clean up too.

Edited by Joshua States
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Yes, I have an angle grinder... I'll just list what I have so far...

Angel grinder

Bench grinder

Air compressor (for making resin scales)

Bench vise

What I'm looking at getting

Drill press

Band saw

I know I need files but what kind do I need and where is a good place to find them

The forge and bigger equipment such as power hammer i have access to in a rental studio situation so i will make the basic metal there and do the stock removal method at home...

So any thoughts on equipment would be appreciated.

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I started off with an angle grinder and files, and eventually got a cheap-o harbor freight 4x36 belt sander. That thing was a little workhorse honestly. It was so under powered, so doing anything took a while, but it always worked. Under powered is probably good for newer makers, when you have a lot of hp and a lot of rpm, it is very easy to make big mistakes quickly. The only downside is that 4x36 belts are kind of hard to find in common grit options, 2x72s have a lot of variety in that category. In the end, i would recommend getting one.

Eventually i built a 2x72 with a 3 horse motor, its not too complex of a build if you have some fabricating skills.

Edited by Will W.
Grammar
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3 hours ago, Will W. said:

I started off with an angle grinder and files, and eventually got a cheap-o harbor freight 4x36 belt sander. That thing was a little workhorse honestly. It was so under powered, so doing anything took a while, but it always worked. Under powered is probably good for newer makers, when you have a lot of hp and a lot of rpm, it is very easy to make big mistakes quickly. The only downside is that 4x36 belts are kind of hard to find in common grit options, 2x72s have a lot of variety in that category. In the end, i would recommend getting one.

Eventually i built a 2x72 with a 3 horse motor, its not too complex of a build if you have some fabricating skills.

I can get my hands on a 1 x 30 belt sander. I'm primarily thinking that would be used for shaping handles... What grit would I use for the blade? Just wondering in general as I'm looking into 2 x 72 belt grinder...

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All this has been answered many many times before.  Here's two to get you started on belts:

 

 

And here's one on files:

 

The built-in search engine isn't the greatest, so do a targeted Google search, like "belt grit recommendations site=www.bladesmithsforum.com".   

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An angle grinder with one of those hard molded plastic backings will be better on bevels than your ordinary bench grinder.  Unless you want a shallow hollow grind on all your bevels.  The trouble with grinders in general, or any other radius like tool is that it will make scoops.

That's where a nice flat platen on a belt stander makes a difference, and a file is even better than that.  the difference is speed and the cost of the tool. 

I've been getting away with an old belt sander that I modified a little for metal work for years.  But I'm starting to hear the bearings squeal.  But that's 15 years of what I would call moderate use. If you are thinking about heavy use, and quite often, then the 2x72 is the way to go.  

Depending on what size bench grinder you have, their may be a belt sander attachment made for it. 

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I got a bench grinder for my first tool, It can be done, but as mentioned above, there is a lot more cleanup then doing it by files or with a belt grinder. 

However, they do work pretty well for profiling a bar into a blade if stock removal is where you are looking to go. 

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