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Mike Gracia

Minimum spec for a grinder (knife making) in the UK

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This is my first post - tried to post in the right section - hope I got it right!

I'm looking to start knifemaking, but on a bit of a budget at first (and possible to be mobile too - like a small trailer with the tools in, not too small - 2 horse horsebox size).

I've seen lots of 1x30 grinders, but wondered if anyone has advice about anything a bit better on a budget (2nd hand fine if working etc)? I'm based in the UK, doesn't seem as much available over here as the USA :(

When I say on a budget - I mean around £300 gbp for a grinder (knowing I may need to replace in a year or so). Also am planning a few other pieces of kit, including a gas forge (I trained as an artist blacksmith for one year at a decent place, but that was many, many, MANY years ago! - Have done a few bits & pieces of forge-work since then, but not much. Tho I did do a 4 day pattern-welded steel forging & knifemaking workshop a couple of years ago, which peaked my interest again!).

Anyways - any recommendations of a £300 (gbp) budge grinder? makes, or just what I should be looking for, size-wise/power etc? (or is my budget wayyyy too low for the UK?).

Cheers!

Mike.

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Welcome aboard, Mike! 

 

I'm going to edit your title to add "in the UK" because that's going to make a difference.  We have a lot of UK smiths here, and hopefully one of them can turn you on to something good local to you.  That said, despite the UK being rather small to an American (my work territory is the size of England south of a line from Bristol to Norwich, or all of Wales plus Shropshire and Gloucestershire), if you post your general location you may get more to work with.  You know, Greater London, west Midlands, that sort of thing.  Good luck!

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11 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Welcome aboard, Mike! 

 

I'm going to edit your title to add "in the UK" because that's going to make a difference.  We have a lot of UK smiths here, and hopefully one of them can turn you on to something good local to you.  That said, despite the UK being rather small to an American (my work territory is the size of England south of a line from Bristol to Norwich, or all of Wales plus Shropshire and Gloucestershire), if you post your general location you may get more to work with.  You know, Greater London, west Midlands, that sort of thing.  Good luck!


Brilliant, thanks for editing :)

My location is Newport(Wales)/Bristol (live one, work in the other!). Only 40mins apart so either isn't an issue.

Thanks for the welcome :)

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Welcome Mike

 

£300 is a bit low for a 2-72, the motor alone will cost you about half that. There are some knife complete grinders on eBay for about £600 but I can’t attest to their quality. There is also this one without a motor.

I got my grinder from Alistair at https://downlandengineeringservices.com but it was a bit more pricey than the eBay ones (at the time, dunno about now). Quality grinder though with a lot of optional extras available. He also does a mini grinder which will likely be cheaper. His email address is on his site.

 

I started with a 2 x 42 grinder which was about £150. Bogged down easily and took its time to grind anything but it got me by.

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5 hours ago, Charles dP said:

Welcome Mike

 

£300 is a bit low for a 2-72, the motor alone will cost you about half that. There are some knife complete grinders on eBay for about £600 but I can’t attest to their quality. There is also this one without a motor.

I got my grinder from Alistair at https://downlandengineeringservices.com but it was a bit more pricey than the eBay ones (at the time, dunno about now). Quality grinder though with a lot of optional extras available. He also does a mini grinder which will likely be cheaper. His email address is on his site.

 

I started with a 2 x 42 grinder which was about £150. Bogged down easily and took its time to grind anything but it got me by.


Thanks Charles! Yer, budget is a bit low at the moment :( Need to get a new gas forge too (doing more than bladesmithing bit deffo want to do some blades). 

What do you think would be a good option for a £300 budget? A 2 x 42 then? Or? 

What are your thoughts on something like: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NUTOOL-NT69-PROFFESIONAL-SANDER-6-BELT-9-DISK-SPARE-BELTS-AND-DISKS/283794511831?hash=item42137897d7%3Ag%3AytQAAOSwcV5d687N&LH_ItemCondition=4 ? Is it a bit odd for bladesmithing (bieng horisontal belt)??? 

Whilst I've a bit of experience with forgework (coke forge mainly, but some gas forge experience), I only used a linisher a bit in the 1 year forging I did (tho it was a LOT of years ago! it was a full time course tho - smithing, welding ard, oxy, mig, metal fabrication (box folding etc) and such) - whereas with knife making, seems you can do a fair bit with one, but unfortunately I'm not experienced enough with using them (or even know much about the liner/belt grinder options!) - So... all this advice is very much appreciated :)

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TBH I’ve never used one but I’d love to try one. Sure looks handy if the motor is strong enough and better than what I stated with. If I had the space I might have got one already. Quite a few smiths swear by the disk grinder (still need to get one) for flats. The limitations as I see them are: 1 no slack belt section, 2 no ability to use different size wheels and 3: could be a bit difficult to work small areas. I think if you had one in addition to a 2x72 that could be real handy so if you’re looking to upgrade later anyway, might as well start with something like that.


PS you may want to jimmy a work rest for the disk section

Edited by Charles dP

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That looks like a decent sander.  It was designed for wood, but it's a solid machine.  Your big issue would be finding belts.

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10 hours ago, Charles dP said:

TBH I’ve never used one but I’d love to try one. Sure looks handy if the motor is strong enough and better than what I stated with. If I had the space I might have got one already. Quite a few smiths swear by the disk grinder (still need to get one) for flats. The limitations as I see them are: 1 no slack belt section, 2 no ability to use different size wheels and 3: could be a bit difficult to work small areas. I think if you had one in addition to a 2x72 that could be real handy so if you’re looking to upgrade later anyway, might as well start with something like that.


PS you may want to jimmy a work rest for the disk section


Great, will consider it then - thanks :)

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6 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

That looks like a decent sander.  It was designed for wood, but it's a solid machine.  Your big issue would be finding belts.

Ahhhh thanks Alan, I hadn't actually considered that - Working long hours at the moment so doing this in small breaks between! 

What would you recommend in terms of belt coarseness/material? So I can look for what's available for this machine? Sorry for the very noob, potentially dumb question! I guess for:
 

- Shifting a lot of metal for shaping initially (tho will likely forge too, nice to have the option of working without)

- Bevelling

- Sharpening

Feel free to tell me to bu55er off and use the search function ;) Just asking as thought you may know, and typing during work breaks - Hope I'm not being tooooo cheeky! :D  

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Our built-in search is not the best, so if I told you to use that I really would be telling you to bugger off! :lol:  I will tell you to read this thread, there's a list of UK suppliers on it:

 

Even better, go take a class from Owen, actually learning the techniques and using the equipment will set you years ahead.  

 

If you had a 2 x 72 I'd give you a long list, but as that is a 6 x 48 your choices become far easier.  You have three or four abrasive choices, and 12 grits to choose from, whereas with 2 x 72 you have hundreds.  Here's a link to a site in the US that sells belts to give you an idea of what's available:  https://trugrit.com/product-category/abrasives/abrasive-belts/abrasive-belts-by-size/6x48/

 

Ceramic grit is the most aggressive for the longest, but you have to use a lot of pressure to keep it cutting or it will glaze over.  Zirconia is very similar.  Then there's silicon carbide, which is good, but not as good as the first two, then aluminum oxide, which is merely okay for metal, but is great on wood.    

 

Also, on that machine you can raise or lower the belt part, it can be run vertical, horizontal, or anywhere in between.  

 

Then there's always files and sandpaper, which is all I used for years.  Slow, but it works.  

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4 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Our built-in search is not the best, so if I told you to use that I really would be telling you to bugger off! :lol:  I will tell you to read this thread, there's a list of UK suppliers on it:

 

Even better, go take a class from Owen, actually learning the techniques and using the equipment will set you years ahead.  

 

If you had a 2 x 72 I'd give you a long list, but as that is a 6 x 48 your choices become far easier.  You have three or four abrasive choices, and 12 grits to choose from, whereas with 2 x 72 you have hundreds.  Here's a link to a site in the US that sells belts to give you an idea of what's available:  https://trugrit.com/product-category/abrasives/abrasive-belts/abrasive-belts-by-size/6x48/

 

Ceramic grit is the most aggressive for the longest, but you have to use a lot of pressure to keep it cutting or it will glaze over.  Zirconia is very similar.  Then there's silicon carbide, which is good, but not as good as the first two, then aluminum oxide, which is merely okay for metal, but is great on wood.    

 

Also, on that machine you can raise or lower the belt part, it can be run vertical, horizontal, or anywhere in between.  

 

Then there's always files and sandpaper, which is all I used for years.  Slow, but it works.  

 

 

Thanks for all the info :) I'll check the links out tomorrow.


Read Owen's thread - very interesting. The Hereford college he mentions that does the Blacksmithing course, that's where I did my 1 year Blacksmithing course many years ago, so that's cool :) I've only done limited smithing since (done bits here & there over the years, but nothing to shout about!).

I did a 4 day bladesmithing training a couple of years or so ago... I did look at Owen's training at the time, but he was booked up, so I found a bladesmith with availability and paid for a 1 on 1 course for 3 days, but we extended to 4 days. Covered pattern welding (had done fire-welding at Hereford a fair bit, and used a power hammer quite a lot, so concept wasn't new, just the different grades of steel was very interesting - and GREAT to get access to a decent power hammer again!!!).

Really looking to build on that though, so may well take a look at Owen's training when time & budgets permit. For now am very keen to get some basic kit set-up, so I can start to play a bit (nothing too serious, partly just miss smithing, and knife making has a big interest for me).

 

One tough part, if I'm honest, is I was recently diagnosed with a small unruptured brain aneurysm. It's one of the lowest risks ones so is on watch & wait only, treatment not needed... the tricky part is I have MRI scans every 6 months or so just to monitor (if it changes, will prob be an operation to fix) and whenever I go for an MRI, they ask if I've used grinders recently (as the MRIs are SERIOUS magnets and it'd be risky if I had metal fragments in me... I think they wouldn't scan if I had). Ha. So I'll be donning serious leather when I', grinding ;) Will prob stop a couple of months before each scan, just to be safe, too ;)

 

Anyways - cheers again for all the info, will have a good look at the links you gave and also will see what I can buy belt-wise (and disks) in the UK for that grinder ;)

Mike.

 

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i wanted to make the absolute simplest grinder i could and this is what i came up with, the only trickyish thing is you need to be able to move the motor or tracking wheel to tension the belt, thats why i used the slotted aluminum frame. you could use any telescoping tubes as long as they are stiff enough, there is no spring on mine, the frame is from a bowflex exercise thing.

 

 

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10 hours ago, steven smith said:

i wanted to make the absolute simplest grinder i could and this is what i came up with, the only trickyish thing is you need to be able to move the motor or tracking wheel to tension the belt, thats why i used the slotted aluminum frame. you could use any telescoping tubes as long as they are stiff enough, there is no spring on mine, the frame is from a bowflex exercise thing.

 

 

 

Looks great!

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