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Which to buy - Outlaw II bs Northridge Grinder

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Robert Amato, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. john april

    john april KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 27, 2006
    i am curious why you would NOT be interested in the tw-90 ?
    12345678910 and Don Hanson III like this.
  2. kuraki

    kuraki Fimbulvetr Knifeworks

    Jun 17, 2016
    It's the best system available.

    I have nothing bad to say about the Outlaw grinder. It looks well made, well built. I don't care for the tensioner, but it is adjustable and the lock out is a nice idea. The I'm either not seeing how, or the workrest is not adjustable for angle, which is next to useless for me personally.

    For a $100 difference I would absolutely buy a TW-90. If it was $500 I might have to think about it harder. But not for $100.
  3. I guess there isn’t a ton of stuff. The tracking knob is a spur, the big moon shaped platen mount, and the logo. I’m just a utilitarian type of guy. I just like the looks of the northridge a lot more. Simple, rigid, and versatile.
    mike-E likes this.
  4. jll346

    jll346 Knife maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    May 29, 2006
    He made the platen that deep for larger objects to be ground easier. Looks wierd but makes sense.

    The tracking and tension on my TW-90 was awesome. I just did not like the platen but I got by with it. Definitely an awesome machine.
  5. Robert Amato

    Robert Amato Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 10, 2018
    He is definitely not giving up the business. He’s been sending multiple batches of grinders out on a regular. He told me awhile back he thought about stopping on the grinders but decided against it.
    jll346 likes this.
  6. Robert Amato

    Robert Amato Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 10, 2018
    Not necessarily not interested, there is just a lot of information on them and videos that I didn’t need anymore on that specific model. It’s definitely on my list though. Actually have 4 on my list, Outlaw, TW90, Northridge, and Black Fox
  7. jll346

    jll346 Knife maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    May 29, 2006
    Good news. He has a nice machine
    Robert Amato likes this.
  8. ShannonSteelLabs

    ShannonSteelLabs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 9, 2015
    I have a northridge pro package. Had to get on the waiting list. But let me tell you. 100% worth it.

    I got it to replace my grizzly 2x72.
    Its basically like going from a crappy honda civic to some crazy highly engineered Supercar. No vibration, great belt tracking. 90degree tilt, VFD, and I got the ratcheting tensioner. I love it. I paid quite a bit for all my options. Added a large wheel and a few other things. Came out to $ 3750 or so. Absolutely love it.
  9. mike-E


    Mar 2, 2013
    Did that price include the nice rest they sell?
  10. jll346

    jll346 Knife maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    May 29, 2006
    For that price I'm positive it came with the r.a.t arm rest. Definitely a really sweet rest
  11. Kali4nia


    Aug 12, 2015
    I got the same package, it does come with the rat arm rest
    mike-E and jll346 like this.
  12. Alan Davis Knives

    Alan Davis Knives Knife Maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 28, 2010
    I have 5 grinders, a tw-90, a kmg, an amk horizontal, an outlaw and a homemade horizontal which is not in view here.
    I have also tried just about every other manufactured brands that knifemaker commonly use.

    I know that several makers that have the Northridge and are happy with them, but when I saw them at blade the main thing I was hesitant about was the horizontal tilting stand was not part of the machine and seemed somewhat light and not as rigid as other bases. I was also not fond of the way the tool rest arm connects to the grinder back at the main machine, with the rat arm this leaves quite a bit of work rest arm sticking out unsupported which I was able to get movement of the work rest table in relationship to the platen. Another thing although I am not positive about,is the rat arm if tilted to an angle, does not seem to have a method of returning to 90 degrees automatically. Also with the Northridge, the pro package does come with a contact wheel or tool arm.

    The outlaw's biggest draw backs imo, are similar to that of the Northridge as I can get movement between the tool rest and the platen because of the distance the arm is away from the point of connection. I also have to use a square after tilting work rest to return to 90 degrees. I also do not like the spur that used to adjust the tracking, (but Matt is a spur maker and a dang good one)However, the base is extremely well made and very sturdy. The outlaw does have one thing over every other machine I have seen, and that is the large c frame platen. This allows access for grinding in areas that were only able to be done by hand before, it gives a free and clear area behind the platen to get into the toughest of areas.

    The tw 90 is simply the best thought out machine imo and is designed and built by a knife maker/engineer. The ratchet system (which similar is now available on Northridge) makes changing belts extremely fast and easy. The tool rest is supported only inches away from whichever attachment you are using be it the contact wheel, the small wheel attachment or the platen. The tool rest goes from tilted back to 90 degrees automatically. It is extremely easy to change attachments and to change tool rests, the small wheel holder holds two sizes at once and flips between each in only seconds. Another nice thing is the little square metal plate just above the belt by the ratchet arm, it will save your face when you break a belt. I have had my tw90 since 2012 and use it for many hours just about everyday, it still runs butter smooth, tracks perfect with most belts and is the machine I use for most of my work. I like my tw 90 so much, I would actually be willing to trade 2 of my other grinders for another tw 90. That being said, the outlaw is a very close second, and may even be first choice if I only made larger fixed blades because of the deep platen frame.
    Robert Amato, 07Vette, jll346 and 5 others like this.
  13. Aidenag


    Apr 16, 2009
    Another vote for the tw90. Theres a reason its the grinder a major percentage of mastersmiths use these days. Had mine close to 5 years now, and its still perfect in every way. Moment dave lisch let me play with his one day i was hooked. Wouldnt even consider the outlaw when the tw90s price is so close. I hear amazing things about the northdrige though, and have considered getting one as a second grinder. But yeah, theres the tw90, and then everything else.
    Robert Amato likes this.
  14. HSC ///

    HSC /// KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 7, 2012
    at this price point have you considered the Hardcore grinder?
  15. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    Don't just believe what you see in a video, or what we tell you.

    It's summertime, go find a half a dozen hammer ins, see in person, maybe try it out for yourself as many grinders as possible.
  16. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    It used to be easy to pick a grinder back when it was only the big three; Square Wheel, Bador & Burr King. & no internet. lol

    I have 5 and only "need" one more, a TW-90. :D
  17. rjedoaks

    rjedoaks Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Have had a Northridge for a year and a half. Great machine. The ratcheting tension arm is nice, but with the short range of motion it’s really hard to judge how slack the belt should be. The TW arm looks much more forgiving.
    Alan Davis Knives likes this.
  18. Natlek


    Jun 9, 2015
    Can you explain a little more of what you think with this ?
  19. rjedoaks

    rjedoaks Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    The ratchet arm assembly is short. To hit the sweet spot, which is the middle of the range, the belt needs to be just slack enough. I rarely find that right spot the first try. Always need to re-position the tooling arm a second time. Not a deal breaker. I’ve not heard of any other complaints, just a bit annoying. I bought the bare bones model, but upgraded to the ratchet. Rich
  20. mike-E


    Mar 2, 2013
    I scribe lines on my tooling arms to set the distance the same each time on my homemade grinder to help with that.

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