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Starting out. Trying different grinding methods.

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New knife maker here. Starting out doing some stock removal to get my skills down. Then I hope to move into forging my own blades. 

Since I’m new, I’m not very good at grinding.    Since I have no experience at all, I got 2 different types of jigs and for a reference I free handed. I got Fred’s bubble jig, a creative man beveling jig/file guide, and then obviously free hand grinding. I went to Home Depot and got some mild steel and cut out a few knife blanks. To keep the results consistent I made the same style knife for all three.


The first two pictures are using the bubble jig. I started out with the 10° wedge to knock my edges off and set the bevel profile. Then I moved to the 5° block. That is where I stopped for that particular jig. I got really good results on one side, and some not so good results on the other side.

The second set of pictures are using the Creativemanman file guide and jig. I started out at a very sharp angle to knock the edges off and then progressively lowered the angle until my bevels where I wanted them. With this particular set up, I did find that I grind it over my center line very easily.


The last set of pictures are my attempt at free handing. I was very happy with the one side of the blade. Obviously pulling with my right hand is my strong side. Ignore the grind marks up near the top, I flattened the steel on my Platten and that’s where some of the grind marks near the spine of the blade are coming from.


All in all, I got good results on one side doing freehand and the bubble jig. The Creativeman file guide and jig gave me semi-consistent results from side to side, there was just a little problem of grinding over my centerline. This is obviously user error. I think I stayed at the same angle for too many passes as opposed to decreasing my angle when I should have.


Take away message, I definitely need to work on my left hand pool side with the bubble Jake and free handing. And I need to work on reducing my angles at the proper time while using the Creativeman file guide and jig together. 









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Well, that's not bad for a first go at it. Pretty good actually. I also commend you on trying to get the grinding down before you start forging (if you plan to go that route). Grinding is probably the most difficult part of this art and it usually needs the most practice.

I do have a few suggestions and some bits of information. First off, there are two camps in knife grinding technique. The first camp is freehand and the second is work rest. I am in the work rest camp, so take this for what it is. The file guide jig is really not needed until you do the final grinding, which is after you do the heat treatment (hardening and tempering) of the blade. In the initial rough grind, you do not need to be terribly exact with the plunge lines. As long as they are close, you can always line them up in the finish grind. Second, I suggest you either buy or build a work rest for your grinder. Learning to grind with a work rest will help you control the grind and get your left/right side problem fixed a lot faster. I see folks trying to learn grinding and starting out freehand, and it's miserable. there are too many ergonomic hurdles to overcome. If you get the work rest technique down, the freehand grind becomes a simple adjustment in physical manipulation. 


I have a series of videos on grinding, and my technique hasn't changed a whole lot. If you have a belt grinder, you should be able to learn to grind consistently, and quickly, using this method. Here is video #1: https://youtu.be/_5WtQOWoc4s This is mostly preparation grinding for doing the bevels. The grinding of the bevels is in video #2 (should follow immediately afterward)

Being that you are starting out as stock removal, you can skip the first 9-1/2 minutes of the first video, because you already have established flat parallel sides.  The rest of the video will help you profile the blade and establish the center line.


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What Joshua said.  Opinions vary, and a lot of people feel that learning to grind any way other than freehand will eventually limit you.  However, I am more in Joshua's camp on this.  Using a rest and basic jigs at first takes some of the variables out so you can focus on a smaller set of body mechanics.  You'll know automatically when a jig becomes a hindrance to something you want to do, and you'll just take it off.


One other point, is that your approach to grinding will evolve for a while as your skills improve.  Don't get too set in your ways yet.

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