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what is the best grinder out there?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Travis Fry, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. Travis Fry

    Travis Fry

    Jun 11, 2010
    I've been saving for a new grinder and nearly have enough for what I think I want. My search begs the question though: what is the best grinder there is for knife making? The corollary: what is the best grinder for the money? I encourage all to weigh in, because it will likely influence my decision.


    Travis Fry
  2. Tait


    Sep 26, 2009
    Top few usually mentioned (in no particular order):

    - Travis Wuertz TW90
    - KMG
    - Dozier Grinder

    Each has strengths and weaknesses. I don't have experience of any but the KMG - which I love and would have a hard time trading for anything else.

    That said, there are lots of folk who like the TW-90 and the Dozier.

    I'm sure the thread will get lots of hits and maybe (if you're very lucky) turn into another holy war thread...
  3. Robert Carter

    Robert Carter

    Sep 26, 2011
    Bm-2 all the way my grandfather father and myself all use a Bm 2 although melvin has modified his but its still a Bm-2
  4. AltonaHunter


    Mar 13, 2009
    If i had the spare change for it i'd go the tw-90 for its versitility and quality of build. I dont have $3400 sitting around so Im currently making a grinder x4 with similar features.
    For a simple value priced grinder you cant beat a kmg is still right up there.
  5. Hankins


    Dec 7, 2008
    What Tait Said :thumbup: Same order
  6. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    See the reviews in the links

    TW 90 with surface grinding attachment is interesting

    but it's $4,400 plus shipping and taxes

    That's more than the price of my car.

    Spending that amount of $?
    I'm thinking 1 or 2 grinders-no setup changes
    & Milling machine / Lathe / Welder / hydraulic press / rolling mill

    Build them if you can.

    Tool arm
    Small wheel
    VFD Variable speed.

    Grinder / Tools

    In my opinion, variable speed and a small wheel attachment are essential .
    You can almost always improve tracking with more belt tension. It needs to be way tighter than youfirst think.

    Hand Tools
    You can do it all by hand with files and abrasive cloth like the Green Pete video.
    Photo of a nice bevel filing jig

    Entry Level Grinders
    Many makers start with the Sears Craftsman 2x42 belt grinder

    Low Speed Modification Craftsman 2x42 belt grinder

    Commercial Production 2 x 72” Belt Grinder Reviews

    Mapp arm – Grinder Toolrest

    DIY 2 x 72” Belt Grinders

    KMG Clone Free Plans

    NWG No Weld Grinder

    EERF Grinder (EERF =“Free” backwards)

    Buy the kit

    What Belts to buy?
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
  7. AVigil

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

    Feb 17, 2009
    I built my own and it is pretty nice.

    I have used a Raidus Master and it is built like a tank and is precision built and does just about everything. I would love to have one but only if it had a variable speed.

    Burr king is a good one for the money as well as a Bader.

    If money was no object then the TW 90 is the way to go.
  8. javand

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

    Oct 17, 2010
    I've used the TW-90 extensively, have one GIB build, and am building another. I've played around with the Wilmont grinder also.

    The question you ask is tough without more specifics. If I had to live with only one grinder, but budget wasn't an issue? I'd buy the TW-90, no questions asked. Personally, I think having 2 or 3 GIBs outfitted with different tooling is much more convenient if you've got the space, and the ability to build them. Ultimately I have plans to have 3.

    If I wanted a great grinder but didn't want to build my first, but didn't have space concerns or the desire to have 1 grinder for everything? I'd give the Wilmont, or Wayne Coe's grinder serious consideration.

    All that being said, I wouldn't even consider a non-VFD grinder, but that's just me. KMGs, Baders, Wiltons, Burr Kings, etc, etc, all seem great, but I don't see what they offer over the aforementioned grinders personally, and they seem to generally be as costly or more so. Rock solid choices, no doubt, but I'm not sure what they bring to the table that the newer options don't for the price.

    Obviously, this is a highly contentious subject, so YMMV, and opinions, as they say, are like assholes. Take it for what it's worth.
  9. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    I have a Radius Master and a KMG. I love the KMG even though I wish that I had a bigger motor than the 110 compatible 1.5 hp variable speed, but the Radius Master may very well be the WORST design in it's price range. Aside from using an oddball belt size, whoever came up with the belt tensioning system on that machine should be taken out back and flogged until they are bloody and unconscious. The place I bought it from had a Burr King sitting right next to it and I still kick myself for not buying the proven product instead of the "cool" looking one. For what i have in that RadiusMaster, I could have taken that money and what I spent on a KMG and bought a TW90 with the surface grinder attachment or my KMG with all of the toys and some other neat stuff like maybe a surface grinder, a serious pipe threading machine for twisting or a real mill.
  10. unky_gumbi


    Aug 28, 2009
    I think the best one is the one you can afford, and like the design features of. I would love a TW-90 with all the bells and whistles, but my budget has me on a GIB with a multi platen. Don't get me wrong I love my GIB, but the thought of having a surface grinder and horizontal grinder all in one would bee the bees knees. You never know after I can afford a milling machine maybe I will be able to come up with a surface grinder attachment for the GIB.
  11. knife to a gunfight

    knife to a gunfight KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2007
    For me, it'd have to be the KMG based on cost vs. value and versatility.

    To give a really brief overview of what I have found after doing the math: If you have about $3500 to $4000 to spend, you can get ONE TW-90, which is a vertical OR horizontal grinder with variable speed, contact wheel, flat platen and tool rests.

    OR you can buy a TWO grinders from beaumont and have a vertical AND horizontal set up with variable speed.

    Granted, there is a little more that can be said about the pros and cons of both (as well as a few more purchase options from KMG) when doing a direct comparison of features, but for me, the cost of the KMG is much more easily justified.

  12. Fred.Rowe

    Fred.Rowe Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    May 2, 2004
    Purchase horse power whatever you decide on. The difference between a 1.5 hp machine and one driven by a 3 HP motor is simply astounding.

    There are many good machines available, just make sure it has enough power, so you can get everything out of it that was designed into it.

    I have three 2X72 belt grinders in my shop, each set up with a different tool arm, it makes shop work go very smoothly.

  13. omniviking


    Feb 9, 2008
    if starting out you may want to look at a Grizzly Knife making grinder for $450 -$500. it is a place to start.

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