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Best Sander for knife handle

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by David McCallum, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. David McCallum

    David McCallum

    5
    Oct 23, 2020
    I am new to knife making and need some direction. At this point I have only bought blanks and fashioned handles. Have an old Grizzly 1x42 but want to upgrade and need a wider belt. Looking at the 2x72 grizzly and the Kalamazoo. If I am going to stick to buying my blades, what will be the best machine for me? Thanks.
     
  2. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    I use a Kalamazoo s4 which is 4x36. I swapped out the motor for a slower 1750 rpm. I welded a frame and bolted it onto the motor which allowed me to rotate the whole unit 90 degrees and use this grinder in a horizontal fashion

    I also use a 9” flat disc grinder with variable speed and tilting table

    both are great value grinders in the $3-$400 range each
     
  3. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    545
    Jun 15, 2012
    If you love knives you will want to make blades too. I started like you not long ago, doing handles. Get a variable speed 2x72.

    A 10" wheel (mostly in horizontal) for roughing shapes/swells and a slack grinding platen to finish up on my 50x2000 grinder is what I use. Just got a 12" disc grinder with adjustable table too, hooked a VFD to it. Wish I had gotten a 16" instead though.
     
  4. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    545
    Jun 15, 2012
    Some pics of my setup

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    X2 onwhat scaniaman said and posted. I struggled on not damaging the handle from only having the platen to press against, and also not digging in the edge of the belt and damaging the handle ... until I got a slack “platen” along with scalloped edge belts (which scaniaman shows) .. that helped incredibly
     
    Scaniaman likes this.
  6. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    The one that you're comfortable using and that you can control...
    On a slightly more serious note, what do you want to spend? Beautiful work can be done with handsaws, rasps and sandpaper. Yes, it might take a bit longer, but there's little noise, the dust is easier to control and the cost is minimal compared to the ~$1000 for a decent power tool as mentioned above.
    I'm a big fan of doing things slower by hand first, then choose the tool to speed up whatever process you feel takes longer than it needs to.
     
    FredyCro and Richard338 like this.
  7. Tenebr0s

    Tenebr0s

    394
    Jun 3, 2012
    Scaniaman, would you mind showing a few more photos of how your dust collection hoods are mounted?
     
    Scaniaman likes this.
  8. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    545
    Jun 15, 2012
    In vertical the hood hangs by two decapitated nails on a sheet of plywood, lifts on and off easy.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In horizontal I have this thing I made out some left overs from when I changed the sewer pipes in the house. Two hinged parts of rails for mounting pipes in with the kind of clamp that is in the photo. I stick it in a piece of square tubing I epoxied in the bottom of the grinder chassi as seen in the photo. Goes on and off pretty quick.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    You also get a glimpse of my excellent grinding shoes in the second last pic.
     
    12345678910 likes this.
  9. David McCallum

    David McCallum

    5
    Oct 23, 2020
    Thank you all for the great info! I may get into making blades one day but that’s a ways out. I will spend some $ on sander but definitely don’t need a professional setup...maybe $1500 to get it set up nicely. I am making oyster and filet knives for friends, family and clients. The Kalamazoo s4 looks good as someone mentioned...I really like the dust cabinet that you can get as well. Anyone have thoughts on that? Scaniaman, you look to have an ideal set up but I’m sure that would break my budget and I just don’t have the space. I really appreciate the advice!
     
  10. David McCallum

    David McCallum

    5
    Oct 23, 2020
    OK, I am down to the Kalamazoo s4 (4x36) as suggested above or the Shop Fox 2x72. What do you guys suggest? I am just sanding and shaping handles. THanks!
     
  11. Spalted

    Spalted My name is Britt Askew I like making knives Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 9, 2010
    I would choose a 2" wide belt vs a 4" wide if the grinder was just for shaping handles.
     
    Scaniaman likes this.
  12. FredyCro

    FredyCro

    490
    Jan 11, 2019
    I can't find hoods like this anywhere. Can someone help me with terms for google? What did you pay for these?
     
  13. Catdaddy2

    Catdaddy2 Gold Member Gold Member

    245
    Jan 12, 2019
    Scaniaman can you show pics of how your grinder tilts. Thanks
     
  14. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    545
    Jun 15, 2012
    FredyCro likes this.
  15. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    545
    Jun 15, 2012
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Catdaddy2, CasePeanut and FredyCro like this.
  16. Catdaddy2

    Catdaddy2 Gold Member Gold Member

    245
    Jan 12, 2019
    Thanks Scaniaman.
     
  17. kbright

    kbright

    74
    Jun 27, 2004
    @Scaniaman What's the story about that knife on the wall?
    Maybe outside this topic.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    545
    Jun 15, 2012
    LOL yeah something ain't right there. I was pushing a little too hard trying to sharpen on a 36 grit belt I think...

    No seriously it's this old kind of crappy knife I used to fracture and expose fresh grit on ceramic belts. It is long gone now. I now use one of those dedicated diamond thingys.

     
  19. Taz

    Taz

    Apr 28, 1999
    I will get pics of my Franken Grinder. I use a 1725 RPM motor with a 1.5" pulley going to a 2, 3 and 4" pulley on the belt sander. It was a wet/dry 3x21 IIRC that I added an arm to so I can run small wheels on it, kinda like the Jiffy Conversion for 4x36 sanders. I can use belts between 1 and 2" wide and 30-36" long, so I will often just split a 4x36 belt. I found J Flex type belts in the 2x36. 60 grit on the 4x36, 60 on the frankengrinder, 120 grit stiff AO, then 120, 220 and 400 grit J flex and hand sand from there, goes pretty quickly!

    Great for slack belt and finger grooves and slow enough to not burn woods or kill small wheels. I use a 4x36 for hogging and profiling and then switch to the small wheel for the shaping and contouring. I typically leave it at the slowest setting with the 4" pulley.

    I have an Ameribrade FastBack with combo platen with 6" wheel and swapped the 2" aluminum wheel for a 2" rubber wheel on the combo platen. Small wheel arm, just need to order small wheels, belts and get it powered up!
     

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