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Knifemakers...Thoughts on a shop

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Salty dog

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In the near future we'll be erecting a building on the property to store stuff. After visiting Randy's shop I'm kinda feeling the bug. So I just might set up a knife making shop with some of the space.

With that being said, what would you recommend for equipment and any specifics regarding shop space.

Budget for equipment not to exceed 15K. (if possible)
 

WillC

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Exciting. I would say it depends entirely on what you want your approach to be. In short forging blades and maybe getting into laminating/damascus and such or stock removal?
 

Dave Martell

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Oh boy there goes another one. Go for it Scott! :)

PS - That's a good budget, you should be able to get set up pretty good. Like Will mentions figuring out what direction to go first is important.
 

Delbert Ealy

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Scott,
I just did that just over 3 years ago(new shop)
If you have interest in forging then it is a good idea to seperate the forging and other aspects of knifemaking.
I built a 16' x 32' with 8' ceiling, I divided this into 2 rooms one for forging and one for grinding.
Other than the building, all of my equipment together would not cost 15k, though I would say that I am a bit of a minimalist when it comes to equipment.
If you want to forge, then there is the question of whether you are forging blades, or making your own damascus. There are differences in the setup.
It would be good to hear what direction you would like to go and the capabilities you would like to have.
I'll post some list later in the day.
Thanks,
Del
 

Marko Tsourkan

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That's a very good budged. You should be able to get some nice equipment to start (a couple of grinders, kiln, drill press, forge, press, etc. Later as you may add power hammer, rolling mill, surface grinder, etc, you probably will have to come up with some more money.

If you can, bring in 3phase to your shop/shed, otherwise you will have to run converters for big machinery. Shop power tools (including grinders) run on 120-240V.

M
 

Salty dog

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I'll most likely progress slowly but eventually I'm thinking soup to nuts. So I want to plan ahead, although I wouldn't mind having most things in place. (That way someone else can move the stuff in at one time.) The building is going to be built to my specs so anything goes.
 

Mike Davis

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Evenheat 18 inch oven.
2x72 grinder. If you get the TW-90 it has a surface grinder attachment. It's $3600 ish but you can also go the Bader plus a surface grinder for around the same or possibly cheaper.
quench oils depending on the steels you want to work with.
Good drill press.
Metal bandsaw.
Small hand tools(files, sanding boards, etc.)
Stock up on belts and sandpaper. If you get into damascus, you will want to add Ferric Chloride and lots of windex and baking soda.
If forging, you will want a good forge, anvil, hammer assortment, post vice, and possibly a press.
Also get the best drill bits you can, cobalt.
 

tgraypots

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Hmmmmhhhhh, that Wuertz grinder sure does look nice. Might have to sell my tractor.....
 

tk59

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In the near future we'll be erecting a building on the property to store stuff. After visiting Randy's shop I'm kinda feeling the bug. So I just might set up a knife making shop with some of the space.

With that being said, what would you recommend for equipment and any specifics regarding shop space.

Budget for equipment not to exceed 15K. (if possible)
I was wondering how long it would take for you to jump into this.
 

Salty dog

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Neighbors aren't an issue.

I swore I wouldn't get into this but things seem to be calling me. I was going to put in a commercial kitchen but I'm getting a little burnt out on the cooking thing. A knifemakers shop will be less expensive and more fun.
 

tk59

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I tried to put a hammer in his hands at Randy's....He said awww....screw that. LOL!
Maybe he was a little intimidated... Taking your first swing in front of bona fide knifemakers might be too much without Depends. :poke1:
 

kalaeb

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I would take 1000 and buy as much wood as possible.
 

Mike Davis

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Wait...there was bona fide knifemakers there? Ha! Salty...I am planning a hammer in at my place here before too long. You are more than welcome to come and make something. You can even come early and practice before people get there. I would be happy to show you as much as i possibly can. I think you will find that most makers are happy to show someone new to this a few tricks :) Plus with all the sharpening and reshaping experience you have, you wont have any issues....I agree about the wood thing by the way...It is addicting as making the knives lol
 

tk59

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Actually, I was kidding about Salty. Personally, I can't stand people watching me do things that require concentration. I never do my best work that way.
 

Delbert Ealy

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Scott,
I consider 3 pieces of equipment to be essential to make knives with any efficiency. There may be some that disagree, but I have made knives with exactly these three tools and if I had only these three I could still make knives. They are;
A good belt grinder, I have a Bader and I love it, but the wertz grinder looks good too.
The important thing is to have a 1 1/2-2 horsepower motor.
Drill press, a small one is fine, as long as it drills straight holes.
A metal cutting bandsaw, the 4 x 6 is a popular size for knifemakers.
With these three tools you can effectively make almost every knife you can think of.
Coming in at #4 is a good heat treating oven, and for you I would recommend a 22 inch deep, just in case you ever want to make something in the 330mm range.
And to go along with the oven a good quenching oil.(this depends on your steel choice)
There are many other tools in the knifemakers shop that will vary from maker to maker but I will list some other i have and those on my wish list
Flex shaft machine
wood cutting bandsaw
disc grinder
buffer

A mill(although I don't have one, or want one those knifemakers with a machining background love to recommend this tool, I always thought the learning curve was too great to make it worth the few minutes of time savings)
A surface grinder(nice to have in the shop but i consider non-essential, if you really need it done you can job this out-I do)
I am sure there are many more, but thats it for now.

For a forging shop, all tools in addition to above. This depends on exactly what you want to do, simple forging-or making your own damascus in large quantities
Forge; there are many types depending on needs
anvil at least 75 lbs with a hardened face for hand forging, larger for other tasks
post vice
angle grinder
chop saw


I would also recommend shop visits to a few experienced makers, and learn all they are willing to teach. There are quite a few in wisconsin, and you have an open invitation to mine.
Thanks,
Del
 

Delbert Ealy

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hey you guys
this stuff is suppose to be all added together for the
ultimate knife shop :)

Chuck has a good number going :)
ok some of this stuff is listed more that once..
feel free to edit this... list..to add more :)

Leather apron
Trend Airshield
Didymium glasses
gloves
fire extinguisher
ventilating system
First aid cabinet
post vise
table saw-wood
band saw-wood
drying cabinet
vacuum casting outfit
micro torch system
Sharpening stones,laps,hones,etc.
12" grinding wheels
Beer cooler
Rockwell hardness tester :)
CNC mill
CNC lathe
100# Little Giant
variable speed Bader lll
metal cutting bandsaw
drill press
Rotary table for the mill
collet indexer
2X72 variable speed, for hollow grinding
2X72 variable speed, for flat grinding
2X72 variable grinder with small wheel attachment
2X72 variable grinder with Rob Frink rotary platen
9" disc (variable/reversing)
12" disc
16" Disc Grinder
Surface grinder
Surface Conditioner
Drum Sander
BOSS oscillating spindle sander
Die Grinder
Dremel tool
400,000 rpm rotary tool
Right Angle Grinders
Metal cutting bandsaw
Wood cutting bandsaw with carbide tipped blade
Table saw
Chop saw
Beverly Shear
Welding /Cutting:
MIG welder
Plasma cutter
Oxy/Ace torch
Heavy Machining Tools
Mill
Mini Mill
Drill Presses
Metal lathe
Wood lathe
Granite surface plates
Height gage
Calipers
Micrometers
Forge with Digital Pyrometer
Hydraulic forging press
Air Hammer
Anvil
Hammers
Tongs
Several bench vises
Metal fab table
Solid workbenches
5 gallon quenching tank
Digitally controlled salt bath
Heat Treat Oven
Quench Plates
Buffers
Sand-blast cabinet
Air compressor
Variable DC Power Supply
Spectrometer for identifying metals
oxy/acetelene torch
arc welder
(MIG, TIG, etc)
lots of Hammers
Frink rotary platen
9" disc (variable/reversing)
12" disc
Surface grinder
horz Mill
Drill PressES
several bench vises
lathe, turit
lathe, Engine
drill indexs numbered, frac, and lettered
Reamers
buffers
metal cutting bandsaw
chop saw
sand-blast cabinet
air compressor
MIG welder
metal fab table
several solid workbenches
digitally controlled salt bath
forge
anvil
hammers
hydraulic forging press
lots of tongs
granite surface plate
height gage
calipers
files galore
optivisors
hand drills
leather working tools
boxes of abrasive paper
rows of belts
BOSS oscilating spindle sander
Dremel tool
56,000 rpm rotary tool
400,000 rpm rotary tool
shoulder filing guide
sharpening stones
etching machine
utility sink
5 gallon quenching tank
Air hammer
anvil 50# 100# 150# 200#
digitally controlled oven
belt grinder (KMG)
TIG welder
Sandblaster
LN dewar
a real big wish list you might need more than $15k
 

Mike Davis

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And i might add, that with some of the crafty folks around here you can have a few things made also. For instance, you can get a quench take made from some 6" round pipe(Vertical) or i have a friend that made mine, it is a 10 gallon horizontal, for about $70. After being at Randy's.....I would like to think that a surface grinder would be a DEFINITE love to have item...
 

Salty dog

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Woah.

My brother in-law is a custom furniture maker. If the timing is right he might move his shop into the building. That wood be nice. I could eliminate anything having to do with handles. And quite frankly I would prefer he do the handles. He's quite gifted. He has some serious tools. Right now he's customizing a corporate jet.
 

Mike Davis

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Woah.

My brother in-law is a custom furniture maker. If the timing is right he might move his shop into the building. That wood be nice. I could eliminate anything having to do with handles. And quite frankly I would prefer he do the handles. He's quite gifted. He has some serious tools. Right now he's customizing a corporate jet.
Sounds like a great person to keep around :D
 

jmforge

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$15K will get you set up nicely if that doesn't include the cost of the building. if you are going to play around with the whole metal pounding thing, i would think seriously about getting either something like a rebuilt 50 lb Little Giant, the small 33 lb Anyang air hammer or one of the presses like a Claiborne. The 25 lb Little Giant is nice, but most guys who own LG's say that if you can only afford one of the smaller hammers, get the 50 lb. Del's list is a good one, but if you buy the horzontal/verticle bandsaw, the shop saw might be redundant. The typical abrasive saw works fine for chopping up say 1/4 inch stock, but it ain't worth a damn for cutting up thicker things like damascus billets IMO once you use the wheel a little bit. It gets glazed up and cuts slow and ragged.
 

l r harner

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i have a KMG (2hp and i woudl like another )
mini mill (no its not much of a reall mill but it does most any knife maker size milling job and it drills hols too)
wood saw 12 inck
roll n saw (its a must have now that i have it )
even heat 18 (wish for a 24 -36 sized one tho )
LN dewer and quench oils / Al plates and 12 ton HF press (most of my HT stuffs right there)
13 inch southbend lathe(not running ) looking for a 9 inch as its more useful in knife making

now then a few of those tools are cheap when you get them (lathe and mill ) but till you get the tooling to make them doo everything you want you can spend some reall cash
 

Marko Tsourkan

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...

now then a few of those tools are cheap when you get them (lathe and mill ) but till you get the tooling to make them doo everything you want you can spend some reall cash
True that plus factor a possible repair cost. My landlord just had his 100-year-old stair trencher (machine for making groves for stairs) fixed. It cost him $2500 in repairs, mostly travel time, daily rate and some labor (not much actually) of the mechanic. Unless you have a good mechanic in the vicinity who can maintain and fix old metal-working machines cheaply, buying them in good working order is a must. I am talking about machines like a metal lathe, a surface grinder or a mill.

M
 

l r harner

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well with mills and lathes less the bed/ gibs or bearings are shot they are hard to kill (they can get a bit sloppy tho ) and sloppy is to a tool and die maker (we are not needed to be that picky)
i am keeping my eye open for a surface grinder but really i dont need one more then once or twice a year for most of my work i would rater spen $ on a larger mill and a smaller lathe and a Ti anodizer (kind of getting into that folder thing)
 

David Metzger

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:dazed:I think the KMG grinder is the best mid priced grinder and you will want it with VFD (Speed control) Beaumont metal works. 2hp. You may also want a 9" disc grinder. You will need a slow drill press. Many knifemakers hunt for best prices and buy VFD's and motors on ebay. Measuring devices, sand paper, carbide scorer for center line making an edge, grinding belts.

At this point you can make great blades, $3000-$4000 later depending on whether you looked for great deals.

Before you get into heat treat and damascus you can find if making knives is for you. Heat treat is economical from Peter's heat treat if you send in 10-20 lbs of steel at a time. And they can do a great job.

Now you need $1000+ or so for steel maybe 01, 52100, aeb-l or ? and $500+ for handle materials. You are ready to go.

Most knifemakers use NJSTEELBARON for steel, call for things not listed.

Forging and damascus will make beautiful knives but they will not perform better than o1 flat ground tool steel. Good luck.

David
 

David Metzger

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Hi Salty, I am not sure if I you are surprised by my comments or don't believe them. I noticed it was only my first post so I would double check with people you trust. Oh and get a Dewalt portaband saw and table mount.

I have really loved reading your reviews, blogs, you tube etc on kitchen knives.
 
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