Only three places behind you (43) and beginning to dream. Not to stereotype, but that clean workshop, through organisation and Austrian efficiency bode well for those 40 blades (and you)5 places out, be very careful please Mr. Kamon
Yes. This is so that choosing the less common size does not give an increased probability of waitlist success.If one's name were to come up on the waitlist and only one size is available, would (s)he be offered the size available regardless of the size originally requested?
Very good question and I'll try to answer from top to bottom.OK, Ben, I have to ask. Most knifemakers I know use a 2x72 inch belt grinder (that's freedom units, I think it translates to a 180x5cm in non-freedom units). You are one of the only makers I've seen that uses a wide belt for the rough grind. Using a belt wider than the work piece makes sense to me in terms of precision. Do you have any idea why it's less commonly used? Are you able to get a full variety of belts for the larger belt sander you use?
Just thought of this since you're doing handle/tang work, I presume on the 2x72 grinder.
Since this post I updated this Grinder with a VFD and a 2,5kw motor. The max speed it 20m/s now. You'll get the idea though.I have a similar question as well. I would be very interested in seeing how you use your large belt sander with water cooling. I’m a rookie kitchen knife maker who uses a custom self made 2x72 and I’m very curious how you use your sander and how it works.
Omg, that’s incredible.Very good question and I'll try to answer from top to bottom.
So first off - you're right 2x72" is pretty much the standard with knife makers and the metric measurements translate to about what you've said. In Europe the standard belt size for knife makers belt grinders is 2000x50mm which is more something like 2x79".
A knife makers belt grinder is that commonly used as it's very adaptable/flexible with all its attachments and the not so wide belts enhance this. One could run into problems sculpting handles with the 120mm (~5") wide belts I use for my water cooled blade grinding. So in that context those common knife makers belt grinders make total sense and I use one for handle grinding too.
However if one can afford another grinder it makes sense in my opinion to have a dedicated one for the blade grinding which then uses wider belts. The surface gets more evenly plain. On that note I have to say though that I don't quite understand the decisions many knife makers make, as I would also recommend water cooled grinding. Not only for quality reasons which are obvious, but also for their own financial good. I understand it's a somewhat high monetary and time consuming investment to build such a machine but from an economical point of view it pays off quite fast.
I guess there are many misconceptions about water cooled grinding and many don't seem to see the potential. As I said, not only for the quality of one's product, but also the potential as a business. So I can't answer that question for you fully as I don't quite understand it either.
An explanation for why I have this machine could be that I ruined many blades in the very beginning of my knife making. That was with a grinder that was always running at 40m/s (very fast... no way to run it slow) and I had no clue about good and sharp belts either.
However that experience was so depressing for me that I knew very early on that I never wanted to deal with the option of overheating a blade, that is ground to essentially zero at the edge, again. And I accomplished that objective. I can now grind up to 400 grit all day long applying pressure to the blade until it's gone without the danger of overheating the steel. I guess other knife makers have more talent in that regards not ruining so many blades with the wrong grinders and worn out belts .
For my big grinder I can get any belts and quality I want. Only restriction is that I have to buy 20 pieces of one quality. But I mean they don't get bad so it's just an investment and not lost money to buy more. Btw you can buy those belts in any ridiculous size. The company's that produce them, like VSM where I buy, are so used to producing any measurements that they don't even charge anything for "uncommon" measurements. If you buy the minimum order quantity you're good.
Since this post I updated this Grinder with a VFD and a 2,5kw motor. The max speed it 20m/s now. You'll get the idea though.
Hard to tell for me as I don't have much to compare to. What I can say though is that I can use dull belts too if I want to. For one I can simply use a belt longer with somewhat reasonable life in it, which would pretty surely be already too dull for dry grinding.Have you found that water cooled belts last any longer than non-water cooled, or is their failure-mode independent of heat?
Glad to hear the belts are a non-issue.
Yeah the water flowing over the blade can be irritating at first. For better vision I have 3 led spots with 2k lumen each installed above my head. Also I make sure the edge part of the thick (yet to grind) blade blank is freshly ground and therefore reflecting the light good. Btw... It's also important to grind the edge part of the blade after heat treatment to get rid of any potential decarb from the hardening.Thanks Ben! That is a very different grinding experience than grinding on a 2”x72” dry belt. I suppose you get used to having water pouring over your blade as you’re shaping it? I would think that having a wider belt would lend itself to a more even grind. I have to say that I do find the constant burning of my fingers and having to dip the blade in water a bit annoying while doing my work. Thanks again for taking the time to explain what you do. -Greg
These massdrops remind us that knifemakers aren’t working at a factory making widgets then going home to the wife and kids. They’re actually crazy people even more knife-obsessed than us making knives all day and then going home to browse knife forums while the wife complains they forgot to take out the trash againGuys, if you stop asking Ben so many questions your knives will be finished earlier because he doesn’t have to spend hours answering all these questions…