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Thread: Harbour Freight 1" x 30" belt sander: initial impressions and questions

  1. #21
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    What about those router speed controllers Harbor Freight sells? Are they just fancy dimmer switches wired into extension cords?

  2. #22
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    "What about those router speed controllers Harbor Freight sells? Are they just fancy dimmer switches wired into extension cords?"

    They can only be used on motors with brushes...
    Last edited by WhitleyStu; 09-11-2007 at 05:55 PM.
    Stu

    NRA Life Member

  3. #23
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    I've been using the HF 1" X 30" belt sander for a couple of months now and I have all the belts recommended. I have a large stash of old kitchen knives, (I used to work at the county landfill and collected dozens that were thrown away), and praticed using many of them.

    It's a great little belt sander but I'm having trouble getting a "hair popping" edge on the knives. Like Keith, I can get a "hair pushing" edge but nothing better. My wife however loves how well her kitchen knives now cut!

    I've communicated with Jerry Hossom, (who started this whole thing! ), and asked for advice. He gave some great advice but even using all his advice, I still cannot get a shaving edge with this system no matter how hard I try. He suggested instead of using the leather belt, (see below), I should strop the blade on denim or a course fabric. Still, no dice.

    I'm an older guy and my eyesight even with glasses isn't what it used to be and I'm sure my angles aren't all that consistent.

    I won't even use the leather belt, (mine doesn't flop), anymore because whatever edge I get on the blade, if I go to the leather belt, it just ends up taking the edge away.

    Has anyone tried the Surgi-Sharp 1" Universal Angle Guide that comes advertised with the leather belt? A gentleman on KnifeForums got it and says it works great. I was wondering if any of you had tried it as my sharpening angles may be the problem.

  4. #24
    I picked on up awhile ago, I couldn't figure it out at all. It destroyed a few tips, and also couldn't get it shaving sharp. It lives in the closet now, like a nonsharpening bogeyman.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithAM View Post
    I was disappointed in the performance of the leather belt. I had hoped it would be a magic bulllet of sorts. No dice. I used a very light touch, and I'm not sure whether its the belt or me, but here's my observation: the belt does not run smooth; rather, it vibrates a mm or so. My theory is that its not really just touching the edge -- it's slapping it. When it does that, I think it must be curling around the edge and rounding it. I went back to the 1200 belt and then used a regular wood-mounted leather strop using 5 light strokes per side, and got better results. I'd like to hear some suggestions from those of you who get the leather belt to work properly.
    Keith,

    I just got my HF 1"x30" belt sander today. I mounted up the Surgi-sharp leather belt and rubbed on some CrO from my Sears assortment of stick compound.

    I initially had trouble getting an edge that equalled what I was getting by hand stropping. I found the solution was a much shallower angle against the belt, and more pressure. I tried stropping on the unsupported part of the belt, and also by pushing the belt up against the belt support. I had better luck with the latter because it was easier to control the belt-to-blade contact angle.

    LedSled had the right info. I'm a hairy Italian guy and my left arm is now nearly bald. :-)

    Stay sharp,
    desmobob
    Last edited by desmobob; 09-12-2007 at 08:20 PM.

  6. #26
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    Peopla ask about wether it is good for knifemaking, it's ok but it is practically BUILT to sharpen.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene View Post
    Has anyone tried the Surgi-Sharp 1" Universal Angle Guide that comes advertised with the leather belt? A gentleman on KnifeForums got it and says it works great. I was wondering if any of you had tried it as my sharpening angles may be the problem.
    As sold, Surgi-Sharp's guide has a problem, since it only works for belts running *into* the edge. I suppose that's ok for chisels, but for knives, you risk having the belt grab and throw the blade. That could give you a very serious injury.

    I modified my guide to work with off-edge belt runs. It took a bit of drilling and filing. After all the work, I found it very difficult to keep the blade on the angle plate. The belt wanted to pull it, tilt it, and lift it off. Angle control was lost.
    Last edited by LedSled; 09-13-2007 at 12:08 AM.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene View Post

    It's a great little belt sander but I'm having trouble getting a "hair popping" edge on the knives. Like Keith, I can get a "hair pushing" edge but nothing better. My wife however loves how well her kitchen knives now cut!
    With the kitchen knives, I really wasn't aiming for hair popping anyway. I think it's still a good tool to get a working edge on a bunch of very dull kitchen knives in a short period of time. Since I plan to attempt sharpening neighbors' knives for $, it was probably a good investment.

    I've gotten the best results so far on other knives from the 500 and 1200 grit belts followed by 2 strokes per side on the Sharpmaker fine or ultrafine rods, followed in turn by a few strokes on block-mounted leather loaded with chromium oxide. I suppose all this means is that the belt creates a burr -- no surprise there -- and as yet I don't know how to use the belt to remove it. Of course then you have to wonder whether it's worth the trouble since the same function could be performed, with more control and less metal removal, using the Sharpmaker alone.

    I haven't done any more experimenting with the chromium loaded leather belt. I was checking some of the edges I'd finished with it, and actually a couple of them qualify as hair popping (small Opinels) so it may be a matter of improving technique with an even lighter touch and finding just the right angle. I'm going to keep trying as I see the machine's potential for being a great tool to maintain a highly polished edge. WhitleyStu has been successful doing just that.

  9. #29
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    Really good thead! I'm new to sharpening, but have a Delta 1" x 30" and think I'll give it a try on some kitchen knives. I'll have to pop by Lee Valley to grab some belts. Maybe a strop too, by the sounds of things. Is the cromium you use the green stuff from Lee Valley?

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slowpoke View Post
    Really good thead! I'm new to sharpening, but have a Delta 1" x 30" and think I'll give it a try on some kitchen knives. I'll have to pop by Lee Valley to grab some belts. Maybe a strop too, by the sounds of things. Is the cromium you use the green stuff from Lee Valley?
    I'd stay away from it. Hand American has the same stuff in a paste that works better. Just my 2 cents.

  11. #31
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    I have a question about belts....

    I bought a selection of fine grit belts. These belts are very thin and have a butt joint that's taped on the back side.

    When I use them for metal removal and I'm pushing the belt up against the belt guide to sand a flat surface, the joint creates a pretty good bump as the belt goes around. The belts are "J-Flex" from Germany and 3M brand Microfinishing belts from here.

    Is this just the nature of the beast, or should I try another brand?

    Thanks for any info,
    desmobob

  12. #32
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    desmobob,

    Like death and taxes, that butt joint is an unavoidable problem. Working on the platen, you're going to get some slap and bounce. Working just off the platen seems to be the best solution.

  13. #33
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    LedSled,

    Thanks for the information. I'm actually happy to hear it... at least I know I didn't buy a bunch of crappy belts. :-)

    Thanks again,
    desmobob

  14. #34
    Are you guys using your belt sanders in the vertical, or turning them on their backs and running them horizontal? I've got an old Rockwell (now Delta) 1x42, and I'm wondering the best way to run it. I'm concerned about getting a knife thrown. I want to be out of the way if it happens.

    -John

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithAM View Post
    With the kitchen knives, I really wasn't aiming for hair popping anyway. I think it's still a good tool to get a working edge on a bunch of very dull kitchen knives in a short period of time.
    I got the same results only going up to 320 grit. The edge is good, not great, but good. Formerly, the knives could be sliced across a plum under their own weight without breaking the skin, now they cut fairly aggressively.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaundice View Post
    Are you guys using your belt sanders in the vertical, or turning them on their backs and running them horizontal? I've got an old Rockwell (now Delta) 1x42, and I'm wondering the best way to run it. I'm concerned about getting a knife thrown. I want to be out of the way if it happens.

    -John
    I run my HF 1x30 on its back using a mount I built out of scrap wood. The belt runs away (off-edge) from me at a 15 degree upslope. One nice thing is that I can let standing water pool on the blade at normal grinding angles, since the blade's nearly horizontal ... makes it easier to prevent overheating.

    Oh, and as long as the belt runs off-edge, you're safe. On-edge is what's dangerous.
    Last edited by LedSled; 09-16-2007 at 07:33 AM.

  17. #37
    Thanks, Ledsled, that's what I had in mind. Yes, I definitely want it running off-edge.

  18. #38
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    Since learning how to use my HF 1X30 belt sander, all of my stones, Sharpmaker, etc are in a box!

    I wouldn't trade if for anyrthing! (Unless I could justify a 2X72 belt sander)

    Ben

  19. #39
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    I was playing with the leather belt last night and made a lot of progress. I got several knives hair-popping, newsprint push-cutting, sharp. I was holding the blades almost parallel to the belt with a little more pressure. One of the blades, Bark River Mini North Star (12C27), got particularly sharp. Of course, I don't know whether it's a property of the steel or luck that got it so sharp.
    Last edited by KeithAM; 09-17-2007 at 08:37 AM.

  20. #40
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    KeithAM,

    Try playing with the angle. The belt deflects, so it's a bit of an art to get it right. Too steep, and you roll the edge over; too shallow and you don't even touch it.

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