Forge vs. Grinder.

Jul 14, 2000
I got my grizz stone grinder today,and im not disappointed.However,it is hard to keep the grind even,causing a little bit of frustration on my part.

Im also obtaining bit by bit,the pieces to build a forge.I talked with Max the other day about forging,and it sounds like a plan to me,since all the shaping is done with the fire instead of the grinder.

I got a coupla questions... do you keep your grinds even with a stone grinder?
2.What kind of pipe should i get for my forge? I need something that will keep air flowing through it,and not fuse back together when it gets red hot. do you keep your grinds even on a stone grinder?
4.does this outfit make me look fat?

thanks for your help,
Mo: I'm on knife #5 and still having trouble (with a belt sander.) Practice man, practice! Get some mild steel from a hardware store (it may be called plain steel) and practice grind on that, if you want. It can't be hardened, but it grinds easily too. Good practice stuff.

"Come What May..."
Good grinding is a matter of learning. You have to have lots of practice to do it right on any kind of grinder.

The pipe of the forge can be made of simple steel. The air flowing through the pipe will keep the heat away from it so it won't even get red hot.
you can forge all you want, but in the end you still have to grind it to shape!
and like the man said, practice, practice, pratice.

John 1:14
Love is Stronger than Death!
Yep, as ugly as it is to say it...practice...and more practice. Now I, on the other hand, ground my first blade perfectly...

HA HA, I've yet to grind a perfect blade and probably won't ever, but practice has a way of almost magically changing what we end up with.

A stone grinder is really tough to get a smooth grind on, but it is possible. What wheel size? What hp?

As far as the forge, I am just getting into that aspect of knifemaking, but it's fun for sure (well, that's what I say now that I'm not pounding on steel that doesn't agree with me on what it should do

Just keep practicing and hanging around here, it will help more than you know!

Good luck and keep us posted on your work!
Hi Mo,

I'm a novice doing both forging and stock removal. I don't have a lot of knives under my belt, but I definitely agree with Tom Mayo. You're going to have to grind the blades true anyway after forging.

One thing I have learned is that stock removal is more or less 2-D, in that your stock is already flat. You only need to profile and grind the edge. Forging seems to be 3-D, meaning that it is really easy to warp/bend the blade when it is hot. Not a big deal, but I seem to be spending time straightening out the blade. I expect I'll learn how to control that better.

As for stone grinding, I use a belt grinder, but I did do some stone grinding years ago. If your stock is annealed, you can use a sharp file to reduce the stone-wheel marks then clean up with emory cloth. Laborious, but it works.

BTW, it sounds like you could benefit from Wayne Goddard's book(s.) His knife made from the $50 knife shop looks great, and he mentioned doing it on a stone grinder.


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If you are useing a stone grinder, remember to dress the stone. If it stops cutting and starts heating the blade it is plugged up. Buy one of those diamond tip wheel dressers and touch it up often to keep the wheel straight, true and sharp. Norton makes good stones. Big diameter wheel and slow speeds will help too. Bruce B
Glad to hear that you are interested in forging. I just built a new forge and does it work great. I used a rim from my truck(one of the two that I bent this winter...hehe) as the body of my forge. Then I used an arc welder on high to blast out the section in the bottom to fit the pipe that will later have holes in it. I spot welded that piece in. Then I cut a hole on the underside of the pipe with holes and welder a muffler pipe to it making a 90 degree joint. This pipe can be hooked up to any air source(i.e. A dryer pipe and a hair dryer) I set this whole mess on top of my old small forge that has a crack blower on it. I then mixed up adobe clay and made myself walls inside the rim. This forge looks like a smaller version of Tai Goo's forge on Ron Hoods the way...on the pipe that lets air into the coal, I drill holes every 2 cm or about every 3/4. When I had them spaced 4 cm apart, it worked fine but there was back pressure against the blower so more holes did the trick.
I have been using this forge for a few days now and it works great. I can get a very even heat on a 12 inch piece of steel. I haven't welded with this forge yet but I know it is easily capable of it. I use natural wood coal that I make behind our shed in a big barrel.Mom gets mad cause it sticks the house up but as long as I tell her that I will have her set of kitchen knives done soon, she doesn't mind.
I also made my own grinder. I used 2x4's, an old motor, Wheels that I turned on the lathe, coat get the idea. It uses 2x72 belts and is good enough for me because I do most of the work in the fire. The best part of all this is that It was perty much free. I just had to try stuff and be a bit innovative.
thanks for listening,
thanks for the replies everyone.

lukers-it sounds like youve got yourself a set up.i have been toying with the idea of building a grinder,but that will come after the forge is complete. for the adobe,what materials do you use? just ash,clay,and water?
thats the one thing im having a problem with coming up with,the rest will be a breeze.
The forge is a awsome tool. I was lucky enough to visit a hammer in put on by the Blue ridge tribe of the Neotribalmetalsmiths.
With my own two eyes I watched Dana Acker & Phillip Jones forge a bowie down to the cutting edge. There won't be much grinding on that blade.

sammy,thats what i would like to be able to do.if you can get the shape of the entire knife on the forge,then all you would have to do grinder wise is to get rid of the slag on the blade.just grnid till its shiny

Why not buy the Lively Washtub Forge Kit? I'm planning on it. For $50 + shipping I don't think I'll be able to build one much cheaper.

The reason I want to forge is because I know how very much steel it will save. I hate the thought of wasting a good 30% of the steel to make a knife with stock removal. That, and hammering is much more fun than standing at a grinder all day.
actually,the forge im building is very similar to tim lively's. i got the tub for 7 or 8 bucks,plus a couple for a pipe,other hardware,and then at most 15 for a blow drier.

it will be cheaper than the 60 shipped.
I got my ash from a brick-oven, wood fired pizzeria in the area. They pay to get rid of it, so were glad I asked for some.

I mixed the ash with water. That way, most of the charcoal floated to the top. I skimmed it off, then stirred again and skimmed, until the charcoal stopped coming to the top.

I then drained off the water and pulled out other large pieces of debris. It might help to pour the mixture into a cloth and suspend the cloth to drip to get more water out. I didn't do this, but will next time.

For clay, I used kitty litter, like Tim or Tai Goo. I had some trouble getting the clay to break up. You may need to experiment with the brand name. I think Tim gives some good info.

I mixed the two together by eye. No measuring, which may be a mistake. Then I packed it into my steel bucket. I used a cylindrical form to get it to forge-tube shape, leaving a hole for the venturi.

I let it air dry, smoothed it some, then built a charcoal fire in it. Once the fire was going good, I used a hair dryer to get it red-hot, glowing, to cure the mixture.

Some cracking has developed in mine over repeated use. I have sealed it with furnace cement (contains silica, not lime and is available at a hardware store for $5-10.) I cut the furnace cement with water a little and painted it on. This has helped prevent cracking a little.


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Thanks Mike!
thats everything i need to know.i never thought about kitty litter,though. Ill give it a try.
About the kitty litter. Make sure it says 100% clay on the package.

Make sure your tub and pipe aren't zinc coated. That could be bad. Zinc is toxic if burned.


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Maurice and All-
Sounds like you guys are on the right track. It is cool to know that there are other neo tribal dudes around. yeah I used the Ash, diatomacious earth(kitty litter) and water. I recommend using as much ash as you can because it keeps the heat in better. A Warning with the kitty litter(i used oil absorber stuff). My dad is a physics professr and at the college he works at, and his chemistry teacher friend told him for me to be careful using the stuff. When you are working with it when it is dry, be sure not to breath it as it collects in the lungs over time. I am thinking of changing my clay recipe because of this. I hope I am not being paranoid but I would like to make this as safe as possible. Do you guys experiences "miners lung" when forging. I blow black boogers out after forging a few hours and that concerns me. Any suggestions? I use natural wood coal(just whatever my neighbor gives me and what is on the farm) that I make and it can't be much worse than a camp fire except the fuels is used at a much quicker rate.
This is an interesting thread, lets keep it going!
P.s. Something I learned today, when it rains, don't leave your adobe forge out. It kind of...well melts it

hi guys,
i got some clay today..real stuff instead of kitty litter.gonna get my ash seperated from the charcoal here in the next day or so,then get to work on my forge.