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Belt Grinder for a beginner

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by LRB, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. LRB


    Feb 28, 2006
    Any recommendations for a beginner on a budget? Coote, Grizzly, or what say you? And best place to buy one. Thanks for any suggestions.
  2. Big Smitty

    Big Smitty

    Aug 30, 2007
    I bought a Sears 2X42 belt grinder with a 6" round surface grinder attached for my 1st one. It is OK for a first grinder. It cost ~$150 so price is low. It is also a good grinder to keep for handle shaping when you are ready to move up to a better grinder. It is not a great grinder for making knives, but it will work for flat platen and slack belt grinding. If you have the money you would want to step up the ladder if possible.
  3. oldold442


    Dec 11, 2006
    +1 for the craftsman. i recently built a 2x72 kmg clone, but i still use the little craftsman all the time....
  4. smitty0331


    Dec 5, 2006
    I have a craftsman 2 x 42, but I am having a little trouble finding belts for it. Especially finer grits.
  5. Rusty McDonald

    Rusty McDonald

    Mar 28, 2007
    I also have a Craftsman 2x42 but mine has a 1hp motor. You can get the belts from Jantz and Trugrit up to 600 grit I think. I have found 800 grit on Ebay before, they sells them from time to time. good belts too same ones that Trugrit sells just cheaper.
  6. Phil705


    Aug 23, 2007
    As a beginner myself, I purchased a Grizzly grinder and have used it for the past three years. It seems tough. Someone said that if you can learn to grind a knife on a Grizzly, and if you upgrade later, you will already have some skills you didn't know you had. I'm not necessarily promoting Grizzly over other basic grinders. All I know is that you can make a decent knife on a Grizz.

    I am upgrading to a Bader already on order. But I do not regret starting on the Grizzly. I got it directly from Grizzly as I live near on of their few outlets. You can order them on the internet and have them shipped.

    Good luck.

    Phil Millam
    Winthrop WA
  7. Leu Custom

    Leu Custom

    Jun 2, 2007
    Buy the Coote from Norm Coote. Very nice guy and shipping is very reasonable! Get the step pullies from him as well. Get the 8" or 10" contact wheel models in 72" belt.

  8. bikermikearchery


    Jan 18, 2007
    I have a Grizzly and a NWG that I built from planes by tmickley. I don't regret buying the Grizzly but the NWG is by far the better machine. I use the Grizzly every day but I never put a belt finer than 100 grit on it. The versatility of the NWG is unlimited.
  9. WadeH


    Apr 24, 2006
    How much did your total build cost? I have looked at it a couple of times and it always seemed to me that by the time you buy all the wheels you need that you do not really save any money from just buying an KMG.
  10. bikermikearchery


    Jan 18, 2007
    KMG's are quite expensive. I built my NWG for less than $280.00 that was with just a flat platen to start with. each tool arm adds a bit more but you don't need to dump cash all at once. I'm working on a small wheel tool arm right now, since I have been able to scrounge most of the parts my cost for the small wheel arm is around $8.00 I had to buy new bearings and a grade 8 bolt.
  11. Bill Siegle

    Bill Siegle KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2000
    If you have been bitten by the bug you may want to simply start out with a top of the line grinder like a Bader or KMG and be done with it :) You really can't go wrong investing in great tools. That being said, I snagged a Grizzly a few years ago as a 2nd grinder and it is a very useful machine. I like it's features and with a few do it yourself upgrades, you can get some really nice work done on it.
  12. Mark G

    Mark G

    Aug 20, 2006
    I got the Coote and am happily grinding away on my first knife. No problems at all with it. Tracks straight out of the box. Got the 10" wheel by the way.
  13. bryce


    Mar 27, 2002
    I did what bill is talking about

    I even went a step farther and bought a 2 hp dc motor for my kmg and then they both sat for a year unused because i wasnt that interested for a while

    then I came back on track,

    if you have any other aspirations in doing metal work like blacksmithing or metal art the kmg is the way to go

    if you ended up doing production of quite a few pieces you can jump at getting the wicked tool arm invented by a forum member setup the machine properly and you could train someone and have anyone start making numerous pieces all the same for welding or machining or whatever you choose.

    not everyone has the motive to do that though

    none the less the reality is that if you went and bought 10 good files you can litterally shape ANYTHING for a knife

    Slow work is good work that is definate

    if you dont care about doing anything but pleasing yourself and having fun making knives

    files are unbeatable

    Not to attempt to be overly long winded but a disk grinder is also a very easy way to learn to flat grind because the whole blade will be in contact rather then 2 inches

    you could buy a disk from rob and get yourself a 1 hp 1725rpm motor and get to work very easily cheaply and the abrasives are dirt cheap as well
  14. PIndelicato


    Sep 16, 2002
    I also have the Sears 2x42, and here are my thoughts:

    Good: cheap (~$100 on sale), small, uses 'normal' electricity, some good belts available from TruGrit, etc.

    Bad: in my novice opinion, it runs way too fast for good control grinding blades, limited belt selection compared to 2x72 and the same or higher cost, small disk is not all that useful as far as I can tell, crappy platen

    Bottom line is that I bought it because I wasn't sure how long I might stick with this hobby so didn't want to put much money in it, but with hindsight it probably isn't a great grinder for the intended purpose and the extra cost of belts will probably erode the price difference between it and a 'real' grinder fairly quickly (not to mention the limited belt selection.) I would say that if you think you want to give this a more than haphazard go and you can swing the additional money upfront, jump to at least a NWG/Grizzly/Coote with pullies for speed adjustment.
  15. Chuck Gedraitis Knives

    Chuck Gedraitis Knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 10, 1998
    This is what everyone starting out needs.

    Brand New Delta SA180 Delta ShopMaster 1" Belt / 8" Disc Sander
    # 1"x42"
    # 8" diameter disc

  16. koyote


    Mar 29, 2007
    1x42 - grizzly, craftsman, delta. a 1 inch grinder is going to be endlessly handy forever, so just go ahead and get one :)

    for 2x72, go coote. I've used the grizzly and the coote and I like the coote. You'll have to rig a motor up, but that's scroungable (or worst case you go to TSC)
  17. Return of the J.D.

    Return of the J.D.

    Nov 29, 2005
    If you're going for the Craftsman model, be aware that Sears sometimes has online offers of reconditioned products, and it seems to me I've heard of a belt sander being offered that way at one time. You'll have to do the internet looking, but that's a possibility for getting a Craftsman on the cheap.
  18. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    I agree with this post from Chuck. You can actually make knives using one of these or in a pinch even make due with the Harbor Freight 1x30 grinder too only its a little under powered. In 1x30 or 1x42 you can buy ceramic belts to fit these units and a lot of various grits for all other types of belts in aluminum oxide, or zircon most of us use in the bigger 2" width sizes as well.

    I know makers that have had special wheels made for using 1x72" belts on their KMG or Bader grinders and thats all they've ever used to do all their work. Seems Reese Weiland told me on the phone the other day that he is doing that with his grinder too now and using a 1" belt with wheels he had made up special for his top line grinder. He told me where he had those wheels made. I wrote it down. Have to find it though. Its not coming to mind right now. Point is though this is not the first time I've heard this for sure and I have to admit, I work a lot with my little 1x30 and find it handy and useful. For the price of the unit you get here that Chuck has posted you can't argue with it. You won't hollow grind with it but you can do some decent flat grinds with one and sharpen as well as many other jobs.

  19. Chuck Gedraitis Knives

    Chuck Gedraitis Knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 10, 1998
    I figure that you can flat or convex grind with the belt. You can flatten handle material, square up or dovetail bolsters and maybe even grind on the 8" disk.

    A great machine for just over $100.
  20. R.C.Reichert


    Jul 26, 2008
    I just bought the Delta 1x42 grinder and like it a lot so far. It looks like the identical twin of the Grizzly 1x42. The thing that I love about this grinder is dust collection system. I can hook it up to the shop vac and it removes almost all the dust. I don't have the money to spend to have a big specialized workshop. I make knives in the basement, so eliminating the dust problem is key. I tried a 1x30 Mastercraft model, but found it was way too under powered at 3.2 amps, and the dust collection system was horrible. Keep that in mind. I don't think I could use a Grizzly 2x72 in my basement working on toxic hardwoods and such without an extensive and expensive dust collection system.

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