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Best 2x72" grinding belts

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Marlin01, May 7, 2012.

  1. Marlin01


    Sep 20, 2011
    I have been the cheap route and averaged about one knife per belt. What belts would y'all recomend I get? Norton Blaze, Zirconia any others. Thanks
  2. AVigil

    AVigil knifemaker working the grind Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Platinum Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    I have tried many. I am lucky in that I can walk into TruGrit and get any belt I want one at a time and see if I like it before I buy a bunch.

    Currently I am using

    Blaze 36, 50
    Gator 120, 240, 400
    Hermes J Flex 240, 400, 600

    It has worked out well. I take off the material with the 36 and 50. Tune grind with Gator 120-400 and fine tune with the Hermes Jflex.

    I am really happy with the Hermes J Flex for the final grind and working the plunge.
  3. Marlin01


    Sep 20, 2011
    Thanks for that info AVigil.
  4. Remyrw


    Jun 17, 2010
    I'm still trying things out but so far I'm liking the 3m 967 Cubitron belts for heavy work. Then I'm using the 707JE belts in 120 and 220 to refine things but I think I'm going to look at other options for general 120/220 use since they don't seem to last real well. The trade off for how thin and flexible they are is that there's not a lot of abrasive there. I still really like the Gator's and usually start with the A65 and go through A30. These are my favorite belts but they're not general grinding belts, more a finish/refinement belt. I literally go A65 through A30 in ten minutes including changing belts and keeping things cool....

    The two sairon belts I've used both have a bad wobble to them but seem to wear well so I'm using them on flats.

    I haven't used them much but the hermes J-flex are REALLY soft and flexible. I used them on the two handles I've done with the new machine and they worked great. AVigil isn't the first to praise them and suggestions here are what prompted me to try them out. I'm not sure I'll use them on metal but I may try them for plunges, they're even more flexible than the 707JE's. They're an incredibly soft belt.

    I'm using a Trizact A16 belt and the Norax X16 and X5 belts. I'm not sure which I like better yet but both seem to work great. I wasn't sure how much use I'd really have for them but I think I'll pick up the rest of the set of whichever I decide on.

    For scotchbrite I've got the medium and should have started with the fine. Medium looks like around 80 grit scratches. They're shallower than that, but that's the look. Other than that, it works as advertised and I suggest including the fine/very fine version with your belt order unless you really don't like satin finishes. I think I'll probably find lots of uses for the medium other than just as a finish belt. Blending edges on other projects, cleaning up rust on old tools...

    Other than that, consider this a subscribe :) I'm curious what else folks suggest. I'm waiting on some 984 cubitron II's to try out and have a 977 in 36 grit to try still. Blaze is on my list, particularly since they come in a 120 grit too. I'm just waiting a bit since folks are reporting problems with the backing leaving black crud all over the platen and sometimes even the wheels. Norton's aware of it and looking into it, but I figure I'll use other stuff till they offer a solution.
  5. jonnymac44


    Sep 27, 2007
    3M Cubitron Gold 967's in 60 grit for hogging and roughing in bevels. After trying lots of different zirc and ceramic belts I've settled on the 3M's for their performance.

    As far as 120 grit and higher goes, it can depend on personal preference so I recommend trying out lots of different stuff to see what works for you. I like the 3M 977's for 120 grit finishing, then I usually use some cheap 180 grit AO belts to refine that just a bit without spending lots of money. Next it's off the gators for final finishing. After the 180 AO's I start at A100 Gators and usually end up with A45 or A35 for final finish. I tried the new Norax Ceramic structured abrasive belts for finishing. They are pretty damn cool, but the price is just a bit too high for what you get in my opinion.

    Good luck!
  6. elementfe


    May 3, 2008
    I gotta put in a plug for the yellow Cubitrons too. Love the way they cut.
    Also, the belt grinder gets used a lot for general metalwork- I just did a house full of book shelves with some forged and mostly cut/fabricated steel and used an old 967 belt for cleanup on about a brazillian parts- couldn't believe how much work I got out of it, paid for itself many times over after it was way too shabby to use for knives. Bonus!
    That's a faithful belt.
    Andy G.
  7. Remyrw


    Jun 17, 2010
    JM, how much life are you getting out of the Norax? I heard they can have a crazy long life span, thus justifying the cost. I haven't used my two enough to tell yet, just some light finishing and sharpening. I originally just got them for putting edges on and figured I'd try them out for surface finishing too. Of course, the same can be said of the standard Trizact belts. I'd love to hear from folks that have worked with both. The A16 I've got seems to work well but I've only just started using it.

    Thanks for the suggestion of the 977 for 120's. I'll pick up a couple of those and maybe some of 3M's other ceramics in that range. Like you I'm pretty happy with the 3M belts, they seem to be less prone to wobble and have a good feel in use.

    The only "issue" I have with the 967 is my burnt fingertips from finding out how fast the fall off is when they're done. lol. I was finishing roughing out the bevels on a 1/8" thick small edc blade and singed myself real well. That knife is now looking spectacular with oregon maple burl from Mark, so it was worth it.
  8. Marlin01


    Sep 20, 2011
    Thanks everyone for all the information on grinding belts. It's a good topic, without them we would all be using files. I have worn out a few of those.
  9. thartman


    Apr 4, 2010
    My most used belts are the 3M 967F 80 Grit cubitron,3m 977 80 grit cubitron, 3M 977 120 grit, 3m 707 regalite 220 grit and 3M A100 Trizact or gator belt. My favorite Jflex belts are the Hermes 220 and 400 grit. I use a Hermes 600 J belt to finish the edges on my blades.

    When Gators were first introduced I bought several different grits and I experimented with them but never used them a lot. Lately I rediscovered the A100 Gator belt and found it to be an excellent choice to clean up my main bevels before heat treating.
  10. javand

    javand KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2010
    All of you guys need to try the 984F cubitron ii's. I find them much longer lasting than the gold cubitrons, the abrasive breakdown at human pressures is much more efficient. At machine pressures the gold belts may be better, but I think the 984s are engineered for faster grit breakdown (which exposes fresh abrasive at a faster rate).

    YMMV but I love them.
  11. Marlin01


    Sep 20, 2011
    Feeling the strong urge to go the 3m cubitron route. I really like this forum and apreciate all the good information. I have learned stuff on here about knifemaking that I would have never come up with on my own.

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