Newbie with a new grinder

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Feb 17, 2019
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I made about a dozen knives in 2018 using a HF 1x30. A few weeks ago I moved up to a 2x72 grinder with adjustable speed, and 2hp motor (3600 rpm/4" drive wheel). I've got a flat platen, a contact wheel and a tool rest. And 1084, 1095 and aeb-l for steel.

I've been reading old threads regarding belts, but I'm still curious about a couple of things I haven't seen addressed anywhere.

Let's say I've cut out a rough blank, and I'm going to start by profiling. This would be done with a low grit (36 or 60) ceramic belt, at high speed and medium/high pressure?

When I'm done and I want to start grinding my initial bevels, probably still using a 60 or 120 grit ceramic? And pretty high speed and pressure?

Where in the process would a zirconia or ao/zirc belt be used? Are they used for lower speed or pressure grinding than ceramics?

And finally, if I go to an AO or Gator belt for finishing, what sort of speeds are they supposed to be run at?

Thanks!
 
You can use AO and zirc during any part of the process. The grit will be the determining factor more than the material, IMO. I tend to use ceramic more than anything else because I like how it lasts/cuts better. The cheaper AO and Zirc belts will often be used for handles and such, or sometimes I’ll use a higher grit non-ceramic for finishing and/or sharpening.
 
What you'll find is that experience will teach you what works best for you. Someone recently compiled a list of the way a bunch of makers progress through belts and they're all a bit different. If you haven't already done so, watch Nick Wheeler, Walter Sorrells and Ekim knives YouTube videos and get an idea of how they do things and then practice the various ways.
As for me- When it comes to beveling, it depends on the blade thickness. Stock that's thick (generally greater than 1/8") I'll use 36 grit ceramics at high speed to do initial "hogging" off of steel. There's more room for error. If I make a mistake at this point I've got plenty of steel left to fix it. I progress up to 120 ceramic pre HT and then after HT go back to 60 or 80 grit at medium speed. Then 120 grit ceramic once I'm close to final edge thickness. From there I usually go to AO gator belts to set up for either hand sanding or machine finish using cork belts coated with green compound.
Thinner stock I'll profile, HT and then start with 60 grit ceramics for beveling. From there it's roughly the same process.
It also depends on the type of steel. I recently finished some blades in 10V and the best I could do was a 240 grit ceramic finish with 3M 707 belts after HT that stuff nearly kicked my butt!
 
What you'll find is that experience will teach you what works best for you. Someone recently compiled a list of the way a bunch of makers progress through belts and they're all a bit different. If you haven't already done so, watch Nick Wheeler, Walter Sorrells and Ekim knives YouTube videos and get an idea of how they do things and then practice the various ways.

Thanks, that does help. And I'll check out the videos you referenced.
 
What you'll find is that experience will teach you what works best for you. Someone recently compiled a list of the way a bunch of makers progress through belts and they're all a bit different. If you haven't already done so, watch Nick Wheeler, Walter Sorrells and Ekim knives YouTube videos and get an idea of how they do things and then practice the various ways.
As for me- When it comes to beveling, it depends on the blade thickness. Stock that's thick (generally greater than 1/8") I'll use 36 grit ceramics at high speed to do initial "hogging" off of steel. There's more room for error. If I make a mistake at this point I've got plenty of steel left to fix it. I progress up to 120 ceramic pre HT and then after HT go back to 60 or 80 grit at medium speed. Then 120 grit ceramic once I'm close to final edge thickness. From there I usually go to AO gator belts to set up for either hand sanding or machine finish using cork belts coated with green compound.
Thinner stock I'll profile, HT and then start with 60 grit ceramics for beveling. From there it's roughly the same process.
It also depends on the type of steel. I recently finished some blades in 10V and the best I could do was a 240 grit ceramic finish with 3M 707 belts after HT that stuff nearly kicked my butt!

Robert do you HT before grinding bevels on 1/8” material?
 
Robert do you HT before grinding bevels on 1/8” material?
It depends on the steel. If it's something like AEB-L or most carbon steel I'll probably grind post HT. If it's something like S110V or 10V which I recently used, I ground to near final dimensions before HT.
 
I suppose grinding pre or post HT is it's own discussion, but I'm planning to try grinding some post-HT, especially the aeb-l

But generally, it sounds like I could get most of my (blade, not handles) grinding done with ceramics and gators. Which is fine by me. And I don't know about other manufacturers, but 3m has different ceramic abrasives for high speed/high pressure, versus medium pressure. So, a 984f in 36 or 60 might be good for profiling, bevels on thicker blades, and tougher steels. And then a 707 or 947 after that, then to a Gator.

Or one of the budget ceramics, then to a zirconia belt, then to a Gator?
 
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