1. Welcome to the New & Improved BladeForums. New software info here. Please report problems in Tech Support, and read existing threads before posting! - Spark
  2. I've changed the default forum style to Flat Awesome based on feedback. Don't like it? Click here to change how the forums look Feedback on this is welcome here.

Grizzly Grinder? Good for knife making?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Mitchell Knives, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000
    What is the general opinion of the Grizzly grinder? Would this grinder be appropriate for a hobbyist making the occasional knife? The price is certainly attractive, and I don't really want to spend a fortune on a grinder any time soon. Has anyone here actually used a Grizzly before, and can offer some feedback?
  2. steelshaper


    Jun 14, 2007
    Yes There are many people here who have the Grizzly 2x72 belt sander. I have one. It is a fine beginer machine but you should take these things into consideration. This machine runs very fast with no reasonable way to slow it down. The speed is much to fast for some operations. You will find yourself burning up wood quite often if you are not very carefull. Next because the contact wheel is on the drive of the motor (direct drive) the motor can be in the way for hollow grinding. Some people still hollow grind with this machine and you can get a bigger cotact wheel that will make it a bit better but it will also make it faster.
    It comes with a crappy platen liner stuck on the platen you will want to take this of right away.
    There are vents on the underside of the motor. These need to be coverd with some sort of filter otherwize dust can build up inside and destroy it.
    With the Grizzly belt sander you get what you get. Unlike most other grinders the Grizzly can not be used with smaller cotact wheels and it can not be slowed down.
    Consider this it is the cheapest complete 2x72 belt grinder/sander on the market. You do get what you pay for.
  3. AcridSaint


    Jun 23, 2006
    The Grizzly will make many knives for you. I like the Coote grinders for an inexpensive option, not much more than a Griz and you have more options to grow. Wherabouts in NC are you?
  4. silver_pilate


    Oct 30, 2002
    I made many a knife on a Grizzly and only recently got my KMG in. The downfalls of the Grizzly have been mentioned already. It's a decent machine for the price, but you'll have to live with some of the shortfalls. With patience and practice, you can turn out a pretty nice grind with the Grizzly. Here's one of the last I used the Grizzly to complete from start to finish:



    It takes a light touch and steady hand for finish work because of the speed. And take your time with handle materials so as not to burn them.

    Oh, and I still use my Grizzly for just about every knife for handle shaping and sharpening (got used to doing it on the grizzly, and haven't wanted to screw up a customer's knife to learn on the KMG).

  5. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000

    I'm in Wilson. (About 35 miles from either Raleigh or Greenville.)

    Do you happen to know if there are any local knifemakers that might allow me to see the process in action and get a feel for some of the equipment? I'd be more than happy to pay them for their time or any costs it might incur.

    I have been eyeing the KMG and the Coote. I could afford a KMG setup, but I don't know if that kind of investment is warranted considering that I've never actually made a knife before.

    The extent of my "knife making" experience is reprofiling and sharpening various blades on my 1" Delta table top grinder. (Slow going for major reprofiles.) It's certaily not the same as actually making a knife, but the enjoyment I get out of the process makes me think I'd really enjoy making knives. I occasionally sharpen and reprofile blades for friends and co-workers, and I enjoy seeing their excitement when they see how much better their blade cuts.

    I've done a bit of reading on the subject of knifemaking, and I know that many people suggest starting out with files and simple hand tools. I can't really see myself doing that, as I know that a grinder is considerably faster and more efficient. My time isn't as free as it used to be, so hours and hours of filing does not appeal to me. I'm more mechanically skilled than most, so I imagine that given proper practice and time I could learn to make decent knives.

    Unfortunately, I don't know a lot about real grinders. I understand some of the basics about speeds and different attatchements, but that's about it. I've never actually seen or used one, so I couldn't really say what a "good" grinder is.
  6. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000

    Fantastic looking knife!

    If I could learn to make blades of that quality, I would be absolutely ecstatic.

    Question: If you had it to do all over again, would you have simply purchased the KMG instead?
  7. AcridSaint


    Jun 23, 2006
    We have a fairly active Guild here in NC, we should have a meeting coming up shortly that would be good for you to attend, I'll see if I can scare up a date. The Guild also works with MCC in Troy to teach knifemaking classes. They are very reasonably priced and not far from you. You can learn from some of the best guys out there, including Travis Daniel, Wayne Whitley, Ed Van Hoy, Jesse Houser, the Jones Brothers and etc. We also have Guild scholarships.

    I'm in Jacksonville and my mentor is in Greenville. Andrew McLurkin is in the Raleigh area, but he doesn't really do much making these days. Travis Daniel is our Guild president and he's in Chocowinity, which isn't terribly far for you. Wayne Whitley is there too.

    If you get a KMG or Bader and decide you don't want to keep making knives, you'll be able to get pretty much what you paid for it on the secondary market. I've seen KMGs on Ebay go for more than Rob sells them for new. You won't be able to do the same thing with a Grizzly or a Coote, although the Coote might retain a little more value.
  8. scottickes


    Oct 27, 2005
    I agree with AcridSaint. If you have the $$$ for the KMG, then get it! Even if you decide not to continue pursuing knifemaking, there is a ready aftermarket for KMG's because of the quality and high standing this equipment has. I love my KMG!!
  9. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000
    Please let me know if you find the date for the upcoming Guild meeting; I'd love to attend. I will also check into the classes held in Troy.

    How can I get in contact with any of these gentlemen? If you don't mind me asking, who is your mentor in Greenville? I lived there for a few years a while back.

    That's what I was thinking, they seem to be quite popular. The only way I'd probably sell it would be if I was unable to make any real progress. I'm hoping that some of the local makers can help me avoid a lot of trial and error.
  10. AcridSaint


    Jun 23, 2006
    Hi, all of our contact info is on the Guild website: www.ncknifeguild.org. Alan Folts is my friend and mentor in Greenville, I've been working with him for a few years. Sorry the meetings section is not up to date, I usually don't get word from folks in time to update the website.

    I'll be in Raleigh with Alan and some other makers/collectors on the 28th of this month. If you would like to meet up with everyone, give me a call tomorrow. I'm Cap, my contact info is also all over the website.
  11. silver_pilate


    Oct 30, 2002
    If I had it to do all over again I would have theoretically purchased a KMG, but I really couldn't afford it at the time. It would have delayed my knifemaking start by 3-5 years. Get the best tools you can afford, but remember many make knives with files and a hacksaw. Don't break yourself getting set up.

  12. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000
    Thanks for the link! I was looking at the knife making classes offered at MCC, and noticed that the next available class deals with folders. Do you happen to know if this class is appropriate for a beginner? I imagine that these skills would translate into making fixed blades.

    I actually purchased the CRKT Alan Folts Minimalist neck knife last weekend; I had no idea that he was from Greenville. Small world!

    I'd love to attend on the 28th. I'll give you a call later tonight or tomorrow around noon. Thanks again!
  13. AcridSaint


    Jun 23, 2006
    The problem with taking a folder class is that you really need to be adept at working the grinder first. I would suggest taking the class on grinding with Barry and Phillip or the basic knifemaking class with Travis. I'll be putting up new class dates this afternoon, so please have a look. Feel free to call whenever.

  14. reisner


    Jul 28, 2010
    hey i just got a grizzly and the manual said that if i use the 10 contact wheel i cant use 2*72inch belts what belts should i buy
  15. D.Crawford


    Jan 15, 2008
    Not true. I have a Grizzly and use the 8" and 10" wheels. Simply adjust the tension arm to allow more belt slack to use the 10" wheel. The 10" actually makes it easier to grind on the motor side of the wheel.
    Yes I prefer my KMG, but the Griz is a good intro machine if that's what you can afford. I still use it for profiling, buffing, handles etc...

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2010
  16. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Gee, I don't know how we made knives before variable frequency drives!
    Variable speed is handy, but far too many use it as a crutch.
    The Grizzly will serve you well. You just have to learn to use it.
  17. kevin -the professor

    kevin -the professor KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 18, 2008
    I only have a grizzly. It works for me, but it has quirks. Like any tool, you have to learn to use it to get the best out of it.

    If you can afford it, go with the kmg. But, most of us were not willing to commit that much until we knew whether we were going to keep doing this.

    I will get a kmg or the like at some point, but it will be a year at least.

  18. BChou-E29


    Dec 4, 2009
    If you do decide to get the KMG congratulations but remember that good equipment doesn't necessarily produce good blades. Even though a superior piece of hardware like the KMG will definitely shorten the learning curve, keep in mind that it all boils down to the maker. A sufficiently talented idiot will screw things up no matter what (AKA me :rolleyes:). That being said I own a Craftsman 2x42". I actually only got it a week ago but its light years ahead of files and my grinds are cleaner than ever before, not that they ever were all that... The point being if you can always make a machine to work for you, even if its a POS. I remember someone on the forums made a very nice looking pocket bowie with a harbor freight sander. However, knife making is nothing more than a hobby for me. If you are ever considering to make knives professionally, I'd say put the extra thousand dollars in the KMG.
  19. BChou-E29


    Dec 4, 2009
    Sorry for thread jacking but Nathan, how did you do the jimping on that blade?
  20. silver_pilate


    Oct 30, 2002
    B, the answer if very carefully :D. Actually, I need to get a couple of checkering files. This one was made a while back, so I'm not entirely sure if I remember how I did this particular blade. Basically, I have used two methods. The first is by hand with needle files prior to hardening. I've found that can be pretty tough to get them perfectly parallel.

    The second method I've used is a cut-off wheel in a dremel. I clamp the knife in a cross-slide vise, and clamp the dremel in a second bench vise using a rag to protect it and give it some give. I clamp the dremel so that the wheel just touches the spine of the knife when I push down on the dremel. That way, the bench vise keeps the dremel in the same position relative to the knife, and I just used the cross slide vise to reposition the spine for the next notch and to make the notch the same depth.

    I haven't used jimping on a knife in a while, and I'll likely get some checkering files for the next time I need to.


Share This Page