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Looking For My First Belt Grinder Question about a specific belt grinder, other imput welcome.

#1 User is offline   zach marchetti 

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 12:48 PM

2x48 Multitool Bench Grinder Attachment.is what i am currently looking at.

Quick background. I am constantly traveling and i take my entire setup with me. I really want a 2x72 but i only have a budget of about $400 for my belt grinder. I have a Jet 1HP bench grinder. After talking to several smiths they have suggested i go no smaller than 2x48 since i will be using it quite a bit.

I am mostly going to focus on doing flat grinds (for now) and using it for handle work as well.

I have read good review, and some really bad ones. Does anyone have any advice? I'm all ears.

Thanks a million!

-Zach
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#2 User is offline   Allen Newberry 

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 06:57 PM

Here are a couple of 2x72 options near that price range:

http://www.cootebeltgrinder.com

http://www.grizzly.c...er-Buffer/G1015
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#3 User is offline   zach marchetti 

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 07:10 PM

View PostAllen Newberry, on 19 January 2012 - 08:57 PM, said:

Here are a couple of 2x72 options near that price range:

http://www.cootebeltgrinder.com

http://www.grizzly.c...er-Buffer/G1015


thank you very much. do you have any experience with these?

i like the look of the coote, and i'm sure i could attach it to my 1hp jet.
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#4 User is offline   Allen Newberry 

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 09:38 PM

I do not have personal experience with either. They are entry level knifemaking grinders. A KMG or Bader etc. would be better, but there are people actually using them to make knives. Some people are making their grinders as well and plan are out there if you want to go that way.
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#5 User is offline   zach marchetti 

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 09:46 PM

View PostAllen Newberry, on 19 January 2012 - 11:38 PM, said:

I do not have personal experience with either. They are entry level knifemaking grinders. A KMG or Bader etc. would be better, but there are people actually using them to make knives. Some people are making their grinders as well and plan are out there if you want to go that way.


Oh i have used Baders and BurrKings. they are so nice. Pricey and worth every penny. I am also contemplating using an angle grinder for the bevels. I have a friend who can do a perfect diamond grind, double edged, 4ft swords which has 30"-36" blade. Free hand with a 9" angle grinder. Its crazy. Then again he has been doing it for 20+ years.

Thanks for your help.
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#6 User is offline   jared_foster 

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 10:15 PM

I have a Coot belt grinder. It is a good beginner. Mount it on a low table so that the wheel is elbow height. I mounted mine on a table that was too tall by 2 or 3 inches and when I am knocking off the high stuff it is hard to see what I am doing. Also I would mount on the corner of the table so that the wheel is off the edge. The cost was around 500 if memory serves me correct. It took a little for me to get the courage to wire up the motor after I mounted it to my steel table...be safe with electricity and do your research.

And be sure to get the flat disk adaptor if you are doing flat grinds.

I would also add that it was kind of difficult to do a few things on this grinder but with practice and a little platten workover I can handle anything I need to with it....That may have just been the fact that I was new at it. Belt changes are easy and belt tracking is adjustable.
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#7 User is offline   Ed Caffrey 

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 07:42 AM

I've been down the road of trying to "make due" because of funds, space, etc. From experience, I can tell you this....if you have to, save your money and buy one of the top end 2x72" machines....Bader, KMG, Burr-King, etc.

Here's how the scenario will go.... You'll spend the money on one of the grinders mentioned in the above posts, and will quickly become disenchanted with it for one reason or another. Then you'll try to "step up" to a machine that hopefully will be "better", and again, you'll spend the money for another machine. Eventually you will decide to purchase one of the top end machines.....and by then, it's likely that will have spent enough money trying to "make due" to have purchased 2 or more top end machines.

I went through it myself, and have seen it happen time and time again with other people. Do yourself a favor....save up the money and buy one of the top end machines. You will not regret it, and you will have a machine that will last the rest of your life. Added incentive is... If you purchase one of the top end machines, and ever decide to sell it, you will always get near your investment back. That won't happen with a grizzly or a Coote.
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#8 User is offline   zach marchetti 

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:36 AM

Thank you Jared. The Coote was the one i was leaning towards.

Ed, Thank you for responding. The issue i'm running into is the top end grinders that i've found are between $1500-2500+. It will take me close to two years to save up that much more. Do you have any other suggestions?
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#9 User is offline   Ed Caffrey 

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 12:18 PM

I know where you're coming from about taking time to save.....I had to do the same thing. It took me 3 years to save for my first "top end" grinder. Before that I was grinding on a "homemade" 2x48" machine, which was a royal pain. After burning out the 3rd motor on that grinder, my Mrs. and I took out a small loan to to add to what I had saved, in order to buy my first "real" grinder....a Wilton Square Wheel. To give you some idea of how long ago that was, the machine cost a total of $575.00, which included the shipping. That machine is still in my shop, and still used nearly every day. (it's nearly 30 years old now)

The decision is obviously up to you, and you have to work within your situation, but I honestly believe that if you keep making knives, sooner or later you will end up with one of the "top end" grinders....and I'm only trying to save you the expense and grief that myself, and a lot of others have gone through.
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#10 User is online   Dan Cassidy 

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 12:42 PM

Zack

Ed Caffrey is giving you some solid advice. I have been to many Knife maker's shops around the country and inevitably there are one or two grinders, mills, or drill presses in a dusty corner that they purchased when they started out but later replaced with better equipment and now sit idle. I have learned from what I have seen and after doing through research each time I try to buy a quality machine just once.

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#11 User is offline   zach marchetti 

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 01:31 PM

so there are a bunch of used equipment that isn't being used? :) i still have a week or two until i make a purchase (or decide to save up longer). OH! there was one grinder that i was shown to me. RIVERSIDE INTERGAL GRINDER. I'm just curious about what you guys think? Also, they have a more expensive one as well that i like the look of at least. Belt Grinder with Speed Control.

Thanks again.
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#12 User is offline   Gabriel Ables 

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 01:38 PM

I fully support the advice that Ed and others have offered. I was lucky enough to get a used Craftman 2x42 for $25 off of a classified site. I have used this now for two years as I have been saving and piecing together a KMG. Draw filing, the Craftsman and hand sanding are still part of my knifemaking. I have purchased components for the KMG as I have had the money. I found a new Bader 2hp, 3ph motor for $100, then saved the money for a variable speed controller, then gathered Christmas money to buy the base plate and a tool arm for the KMG and just last week I took advantage of an Angie's list deal for an electrician to run 220v line to my grinder table. Now I just have to buy the main chassis and have 2/3 of that money saved. In summary I have made do for 2 years and put all my money into buying the pieces. I chose to buy as I went because I knew something would come up and it would be too easy to tap into my hobby savings.
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#13 User is offline   Ed Caffrey 

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 03:16 PM

Quote

so there are a bunch of used equipment that isn't being used?


Yep! It's all those machines that folks purchased to "get by", then found that nobody wanted them when they got a "top end" grinder.

Of those two grinders you listed.....I can't speak to either. The first one would be a "No way" for me. It would be so limited in use that I wouldn't even consider it.

The second one looks similar to a KMG, but since there's only one picture, it's hard to tell anything about the machine.

Personally, I think the KMG is the best grinder available for the money. Where it really shines is in the customer service that Robb Frink offers. I was in Tom Ferry's shop over a weekend, and his KMG had a bearing go bad...he called Rob and told him about it....Rob asked if there was red loctite on the set screw. We looked and found none. All Rob said was...."I will take care of it." The next morning (Saturday), a FedX truck pulled up before 8am, with a brand new bearing from Rob! (Tom lives near Seattle, WA., and Rob is in Ohio). You won't get that kind of service from any other outfit. I had my heart set on a Bader B3, but wanted contact wheels on the platen instead of aluminum rollers.....when I asked for that, I was told... "If it's not on the shelf, your not getting it from us." The next day I called Rob, talked about what I wanted, and he made a flat platen to my specs! I now produce those platens. But the point is that it's not only about the machine you get, but the service from the company....and Rob Frink (Beaumount metal works) is second to none.

I know that variable speed costs more, but coming from someone who used a single speed grinder for years before going to variable speed...once you have the ability to control the belt speed, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

As I said previously....if you save up and get a top end machine, you'll have a quality piece of equipment, that with minor care will last you a lifetime.
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#14 User is offline   zach marchetti 

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 03:36 PM

hmm, i'm going to ohio in a month. Maybe i will see if i can come in and figure out a payment plan and pay it off over a the next while.
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#15 User is offline   Brian Thie 

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 06:09 PM

Zach

I started out with a used 4x36 and used it for several knives, but it did not work very well. I then went to a 2X48 that just had a contact wheel. It worked OK, but I wanted a platen. Rather than redesign my machine, I bought 1/2 of a grizzly. Everything but the motor because I heard that the motor got in the way when working on the motor side unless you had the 10" wheel. I machined the housing that bolts to the motor to accept bearings and ran a shaft through the bearings with a pulley on one side and the contact wheel on the other. This too was better than what I had before, but was still kind of flimsy and had some tracking issued. I finally bought a KMG.

Sounds like what Ed described huh? Well if I had to do it all over again, I would start at the end of my story. I not only wasted a lot of money, but also time. Time that I could have been using to make knives. There was a lot of frustration and ruined knives in there as well. The only thing good to come from my experience is I kept the Grizzly parts and was able to cut it up and use parts to convert my surface grinder to belts.

The decision is yours to make, but I thought I would share my journey with you.

2 sound pieces of advice I can give you are: no matter what you get, strongly consider a variable speed, and use the shipping weight as one of your determining factors. A grinder needs to be solid to do good work with it.

Brian
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#16 User is offline   zach marchetti 

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 07:39 PM

i think i have a good game plan. i'm saving up for a kmg. since the shop isn't too far from my home town i will probably have the money for it saved up during one of my visits. i can save on shipping if i pick it up on my own. its probably going to take me a while but i will figure something else out for the time being. a friend of mine is going to teach me how to use an angle grinder. he has been making blades with them for over 20 years and he said he will supply me with the abrasives. Thanks to everyone who has helped me with this.
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#17 User is offline   Russell Roosevelt 

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 07:47 PM

Hi Zack

I have spent a lot of years in a shop, farm shop or knife shop. I'm still adding tools and equipment. My philosophy is buy the best.
I have spent about 15 years tooling my knife shop. Good tools will last a life time, also good tools have a good resale value if you don't
continue with your knifemaking.
I agree with Ed, and Brian. We all try to find a cheaper way to do it,and we spend to much time and money trying to figure it out!

Wishing You the Best

Russell
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#18 User is offline   Cheyenne Walker 

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 08:46 PM

View PostEd Caffrey, on 20 January 2012 - 04:16 PM, said:

Yep! It's all those machines that folks purchased to "get by", then found that nobody wanted them when they got a "top end" grinder.

Of those two grinders you listed.....I can't speak to either. The first one would be a "No way" for me. It would be so limited in use that I wouldn't even consider it.

The second one looks similar to a KMG, but since there's only one picture, it's hard to tell anything about the machine.

Personally, I think the KMG is the best grinder available for the money. Where it really shines is in the customer service that Robb Frink offers. I was in Tom Ferry's shop over a weekend, and his KMG had a bearing go bad...he called Rob and told him about it....Rob asked if there was red loctite on the set screw. We looked and found none. All Rob said was...."I will take care of it." The next morning (Saturday), a FedX truck pulled up before 8am, with a brand new bearing from Rob! (Tom lives near Seattle, WA., and Rob is in Ohio). You won't get that kind of service from any other outfit. I had my heart set on a Bader B3, but wanted contact wheels on the platen instead of aluminum rollers.....when I asked for that, I was told... "If it's not on the shelf, your not getting it from us." The next day I called Rob, talked about what I wanted, and he made a flat platen to my specs! I now produce those platens. But the point is that it's not only about the machine you get, but the service from the company....and Rob Frink (Beaumount metal works) is second to none.

I know that variable speed costs more, but coming from someone who used a single speed grinder for years before going to variable speed...once you have the ability to control the belt speed, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

As I said previously....if you save up and get a top end machine, you'll have a quality piece of equipment, that with minor care will last you a lifetime.

That is amazing. If I ever get a belt grinder, I will buy a KMG just on that story alone. It's good to see companies that still focus on customer satisfaction.
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#19 User is offline   BrionTomberlin 

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 09:01 PM

I agree with everything Ed says. Spending the money on a good machine will save you in the long run. I have a Bader B III variable speed. When I got mine Rob Frink had not started KMG. In the future I will add another grinder and it will probably be one of Rob's machines.
Also, if you can, get the variable speed model. They make things so much easier. I can't say that enough.
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#20 User is offline   Tom Dunn 

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 09:03 PM

Hey Zac,
Do you have the 50.00 knife makers book? Hope so. Bottom line, keep trying, keep asking for help and advice, and keep making those knives.
Tom
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