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Bibble

again with the questions

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I've done a whole google session on these 1" Harbor Frieght Belt Sander/grinders and i haven't found very much knife/blade-related information on them at all.

 

Would these be alright for blade grinding? Has anyone ever used one?

I'm probably going to move up to longer blades sometime soon so in foresight i think it'd be a little better idea to invest in something bigger.

 

My only problem is i'm on the "Student's Budget" at the moment (aka poor to broke...hooray tuition... :P) so i need something i can make myself easily in a couple days.

 

Can anyone suggest something insanely simple yet oddly effective?

 

Thanks.

-Matt.

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I've done a whole google session on these 1" Harbor Frieght Belt Sander/grinders and i haven't found very much knife/blade-related information on them at all.

 

Would these be alright for blade grinding? Has anyone ever used one?

I'm probably going to move up to longer blades sometime soon so in foresight i think it'd be a little better idea to invest in something bigger.

 

My only problem is i'm on the "Student's Budget" at the moment (aka poor to broke...hooray tuition... :P) so i need something i can make myself easily in a couple days.

 

Can anyone suggest something insanely simple yet oddly effective?

 

Thanks.

-Matt.

I have used a one inch belt sander from harbor freight to make some small knives and a 4x36 one too. I too have a small budget to work with.

 

I hope this will help.

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Files and scrapers work for me. You don't need to invest in a grinder until you are ready.

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My first knives were made with the following equipment:

 

$25 dollar bench vise (from Home Depot)

Angle grinder (around $25-45 from local hardware store)

Hand files (several different "grits")

and lots of elbow grease

 

Takes longer to do a stock removal blade this way, but it is a lot harder to screw something up with a handfile.

 

On a side note about the grinder -

 

Most Harbor Freight stuff is considered under powered, but I have used a 1X24 belt sander (real old one with a very small motor) for final shaping and polishing of one of my blades and it worked pretty good. Just make sure that you are getting good quallity belts for it.

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I still have a 1"x30" belt sander that I got at Harbor Freight a long time ago. It's "Central Machinery" brand, and it works horrible. I had to take the side plate off the sander to even turn it on, because the belt overhangs on the right side, no matter how I adjust the belt tension. I don't reccomend getting one.

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I have a $1400 Riverside Machine 2x72 belt grinder in my shop and I rarely use it for knives. As Don mentioned I to just use lots of files and sand paper for my knives. I have never screwed up a knife with files but the carnage wrought by my grinder is almost 50%. A good grinder is a real asset in a metal shop but don't think for a minute they are required for knife making.

 

I have bad fusion in my eyes and never could grind straight. But I found out a couple years ago that if the knife is laying flat I can see the plunge and keep everything straigt with a file. Mostly because it is much slower and more reliant on feel then vision.

 

Everyone that gets into knifemaking owes it to themselves to learn how to use a file first before going out and buying a big ol' grinder. Baby steps!

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I suggest you to take a good, powerful angle grinder to cut and rough shape forged stuff, and use files and coarse grit sandpaper for anything else. In this way I do a lot of stuff, like integrals, without using belt grinder. I have a very good and powerful belt grinder now and, unlike the angle grinder, it's still far from being indispensable.

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I used to be an advocate for using a belt sander as a belt grinder only because I didn't know any better and there are probably one or two others on this board who went through the same phase. It is supprising how fast you can work with a file once you learn how. Get some single cut files, long ones, in bastard and smooth cut and learn how to draw file. Half round and an assortment to small files to help shape the blade are good. A file card is a must to provent steel chips from building up in the file teeth and scratching the heck out of the metal. Get a few so that you can always locate one (I can misplace mine quicker than anything) and use it every 20-30 strokes. Once I learned how to file, I found that it wasn't much slower than using my 4X36" sander. Then get yourself some polishing stones for polishing. I've used both oil and water stones and have found that the water stones are not worth the extra expence. I get my oil stones from Congress tools on the net. Get some that are medium hard.

 

I'm making a Persian dagger with an 8" blade using all hand tools. It's a lot of work but a lot of it is stuff that you can do in front of the TV is you don't have anyone around that objects to the scraping noise (and remember to ALWAYS vacuum up the filings as soon as you finish) I'll be setting up my Coote grinder this weekend but that knife is going to be finished with hand tools with the exception of drilling out the pin holes just so I can say that I did it. Just for the record, I forge my blades. If you work by stock removal, an angle grinder will probably work well for roughing out your blank. Just grind close to the outline and refine it with files.

 

Doug Lester

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I've done a couple stock removal blades and one of the reasons i'm considering the belt grinder is that i've been having a real tough time getting straight bevels when it comes time to sharpen them up.

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I used to be an advocate for using a belt sander as a belt grinder only because I didn't know any better and there are probably one or two others on this board who went through the same phase. It is supprising how fast you can work with a file once you learn how. Get some single cut files, long ones, in bastard and smooth cut and learn how to draw file. Half round and an assortment to small files to help shape the blade are good. A file card is a must to provent steel chips from building up in the file teeth and scratching the heck out of the metal. Get a few so that you can always locate one (I can misplace mine quicker than anything) and use it every 20-30 strokes. Once I learned how to file, I found that it wasn't much slower than using my 4X36" sander. Then get yourself some polishing stones for polishing. I've used both oil and water stones and have found that the water stones are not worth the extra expence. I get my oil stones from Congress tools on the net. Get some that are medium hard.

 

I'm making a Persian dagger with an 8" blade using all hand tools. It's a lot of work but a lot of it is stuff that you can do in front of the TV is you don't have anyone around that objects to the scraping noise (and remember to ALWAYS vacuum up the filings as soon as you finish) I'll be setting up my Coote grinder this weekend but that knife is going to be finished with hand tools with the exception of drilling out the pin holes just so I can say that I did it. Just for the record, I forge my blades. If you work by stock removal, an angle grinder will probably work well for roughing out your blank. Just grind close to the outline and refine it with files.

 

Doug Lester

 

Can you recommend any articles on how to file properly?

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sorry about the triple post, but I keep forgetting to ask.

 

Those of you with belt grinders, how fine do you normally grit-wise before you switch to hand sanding?

Edited by Bibble

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Filing is all about feel and eye-hand coordination. Practice, practice and more practice. Use good lighting and one trick that works well for me is to blacken the area with a felt pen. That will let you see where your file is cutting. I keep mine clean with a spray of carb cleaner (w/o lube) and keep them dusted with graphite powder.

 

Most of all get good quality files. Simonds Nu-Kuts hog alot of steel and leave the equivalent of a 220 grit finish. They will last 20 times longer then Nicholsons and the tooth design does not clog up.

 

multi-kut.gif

Edited by B Finnigan

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Those of you with belt grinders, how fine do you normally grit-wise before you switch to hand sanding?

 

It all depends. Belt grinders that you are able to change the speed on, either pulleys or variable speed units, will allow you to slow down the belt. Slower belt speeds are good for finer grits because the fine belts generate more heat. Nothing like doing a perfect grind on the rough grits, switching to a finer grit and overheating the edge. Words of sufficient intensity have not been invented! On grinders that are not variable speed, my experience is limited to my old Grizzly. I can go to 220 grit if I'm careful but, I tend to stop at 120 grit and hand sand from there.

 

I bought the cheap little 1"x42" central machinery belt/disc grinder from Harbor Freight about three years ago. I used it for flattening out the backs of handles and other woodwork. No metal. It lasted about one year. The switch went bad on it and replacing it cost almost as much as the grinder did in the first place. Shortly thereafter the switch went bad again. At that point I sold it at a garage sale to some old guy who thought he could fix it. I wasted a lot of time, money and effort on that little grinder. My opinion is that you would be much better off taking the money you have to buy the grinder and buying some good quality files. Remember to remove the scale from the blades before filing them. The scale is harder than your files and will dull them quickly. You can wire brush the scale off or soak it in vinegar overnight. I soak it in vinegar and then wire brush the remaining stubborn bits. If you are impatient, have extra metal on the blade, and have a steady hand and angle grinder can be used. Grinding discs for angle grinders are far cheaper than belts for a belt grinder.

 

I've done a couple stock removal blades and one of the reasons i'm considering the belt grinder is that i've been having a real tough time getting straight bevels when it comes time to sharpen them up.

 

Somewhere on Don's site he tells how he does this. He has a self-centering scribe he built, to mark the centerline of the edge. From there he files a steep bevel to the center mark. Next all you have to do is make sucessively shallower bevels until you have your lines where you want them.

 

~Bruce~

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I think that I had to Google filing and/or hand filing. Wikipedia give a lot of information on the different types of files. Files only cut one way. You could also do a search here and on the other knifemaking sites. As you are pushing a file as one normally does, it's on the forward stroke and you let up on the pressure as you draw back. To draw file, you push or pull the file sideways along the surface that you want to file. It will leave a smoother and more level result. To tell which way the file cuts when you draw file look at the teeth. If you want to cut on the push stroke, the teeth have to face away from you, on the draw stroke the teeth will face towards you. Again, remember to ease up on the opposite stroke and hold your hand on the file close to you work to avoid flexing the file as much as possible. The reason that I recommended a smooth single cut file is to get as smooth as surface as possible before going over to polishing stones. Also remember that the steel billet will need to be annealed to file. Once hardened, your filing is done, and if you need to got back to files, you will have to reanneal. I would even recommend that you go up to 400 grit on the polishing stones before hardening. It will save time on polishing after hardening and remember that the stones only polish. They remove metal way too slowly to use for shaping, so make sure you're through with one phase before going over to the next. The job ain't done until it's done.

 

Doug Lester

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