There were times when bladesmithing, or cutting up metal or wood into tools and other items were considered the most honorable jobs for manhood and maturity. While making knives and such products by hand has gone out of the norm these days, the passion does survive in some hobbyists.
If you’re someone who likes to take things into their own hands when it comes to tools, you’ll need some reliable sanding equipment to complete your tasks. Today, you need heavy duty and high-quality belt grinders for knife making. With a feeble and low output belt grinder, you may end up with a total garbage knife, wasting all your time and effort.
In order to pick out the perfect belt grinder for yourself, you’ll have to figure out your requirements first. You’ll need one that comes with features like has a perfect-sized belt, a disc sander that matches your need. Honestly, a good belt sander should also help you sharpen other tools as well, in addition to knives.
To help you get started with your DIY passion right away, we’ve rounded up some of the top belt grinders that can work best if you are interested in knife making. Along with the in-depth reviews of each product, we’ve put together a detailed overview of the product itself with some useful comparisons. So towards the end, you’ll have all you’ll ever need to know about the topic.
So let’s get started!
The Sixe of 2-inch x 72 inch
1 Belt ConfigurationsIf you’re planning to break the norm and make your own knives to display or hone your own art skills, you should know about different belt configurations for knife grinders. While these grinding machines vary in belt size from brand to brand, the 2-inch by 72-inch size is the most versatile and commonly used size of all. Astonishingly, almost 90% of all knife grinder available in the US are 2-inch by 72-inch in size. That’s because it can cater to most knife grinding techniques and help you create the ideal tools for hunting or home use.
2 Popular BrandsEven if you’re an expert at the task, the long list of brands and products, all offering the tool you need can get frustrating. There are companies both new and aged in the field providing professional grade belt grinders. The former provides the latest cutting edge technology while the latter category is created with experience and expertise. If you’ve been searching recently, you might’ve come across names such as Wayne Coe, Riverside Machine, the TW90 model, and the Pheer 327. These brands have been offering high-quality grinders since the last few years and are great choices for your next purchase. Similarly, if you want to go with common brands which have been in the field for some time, there are some options for you as well. For example, the Wilton Square Wheel Belt Grinder, Burr King 972 Knife Maker Belt Grinder, KMG-1 Knife Grinder, the Bader Bill Knife Making Grinder, and few more, are all top options. While these are the more common models, there are some promising brands which provide great value in terms of functionality and prices but are not commonly used. The Grizzly Brand Grinders, Kalamazoo Grinders, and Bob Dozier Grinders are some examples for that.
2-Inch by 72-inch Vs 1-Inch by 42-inch Width: Which One is Better?
As we mentioned before, the 2-Inch by 72-inch grinders are more abundantly available as compared to the 1-Inch by 42-inch and other various sizes. Obviously, the demand curve determines the supply, which means the popularity of this size leads to its common availability in the market.
Similarly, the 1-Inch by 42-inch size comes next in place as the most commonly purchased size, in comparison to other sizes. This means that these two are eligible for comparison, to know exactly why users prefer the 2-Inch by 72-inch size more.
Here’s an overview of the main points for the discussion to give you a little insight before we begin.
Type of belt Grinder
Grinder surface area
2-Inch by 72-inch
144 Square Inches
● More grinding surface
1-Inch by 42-inch
42 Square Inches
● Good for detailing
● Less grinding surface
1 ProductivityProfessional knife makers need the belt grinders, which give the optimum productivity for their knife creations. While 2-Inch by 72-inch products are well known for their large surface area for grinding, and powerful motors which are perfect for beveling, filing or grinding, the 1-Inch by 42-inch are not far behind. Although the grinding surface area is a bit small, about 42 square inches, they’re great for handling small tasks. Also, if you’re someone who has an eye for detailing, these are perfect for you. Apart from that, the 2-Inch by 72-inch options are harder to control and need a considerable amount of expertise. Whereas the 1-Inch by 42-inch models are easily maneuverable and cause lesser user fatigue. This means you can use them for long rigorous grinding sessions.
2 PriceKeeping in mind the professional abilities of the 2-Inch by 72-inch models, with its large size and powerful performance, it costs a lot more than its counterpart. However, that doesn't mean that you should shrug the 1-Inch by 42-inch model off. This little guy can prove to be very productive for filing and beveling tasks. Also, if you’re an aspiring artist, you can always use it to refine your skills until you become seasoned enough for the larger option. Most importantly, it’s cheaper than most commonly available models so if you’re on a budget you should go for it.
3 AvailabilityYou’ve already been through the list we compiled for the popular belt grinders available, and needless to say, most of them are 2-Inch by 72-inch models. So if you’re out looking for a 2-Inch by 72-inch model, there's a chance that you’ll find a reliable brand to go for. However, the problem you’re likely to face while purchasing a 1-Inch by 42-inch model is that the availability margin is so scarce, it’ll be difficult for you to find a brand you can trust. Well, that’s exactly the niche in our review today. We’ve rounded up the best 1-Inch by 42-inch belt grinders available for professional knife makers. So here are the three suggested belt grinders in case you are interested in more effective knife making.
3 Belt Sanders for Knife Making Reviews 2020 - Compared
To ease your quest for the best 1-Inch by 42-inch inch belt grinder, we’ve gone through all the potential products and narrowed the list down for you. Finally, it comes to these three. Let’s dive into the details for each one so you can make a final choice for yourself.
Grizzly Industrial is a US-based company working to bring you the best equipment for about 35 years. They offer an array of heavy-duty tools with optimum performance to help you nail your craftsmanship. Their 1-Inch by 42-inch belt grinder is no exception, let’s check out its features to see why.
This is one of the best options for someone looking for a perfect belt grinding machine for knife making. It gives a flawless performance at all grinding levels from beveling, filing to profiling. Also, it’s versatile enough to handle an array of tasks.
It has a 3450 RPM motor, which enables it to perform well. The 1-inch by 30-inch sanding belt and 5-inch disc sander work together to complete the toughest tasks at hand. You can use it as a benchtop sander for increased portability. Also, this makes it easy to carry or move from one place to another according to your needs.
Most importantly, this model is highly adjustable. The disc sander and the sanding belt can be tilted up to a 45-degree angle, to give you extra maneuverability and leverage over your material. This helps you create more intricate cuts and lets you cater to details as well.
Similarly, you can take up intricate part sanding such as dry sharpening, and contour sanding with this product. What makes it more accessible is the removable belt platen and idler roller guard. These two provide the perfect conditions for contour sanding, so you’ll never make an error while working again.
The only problem with this product is its construction. Comprising of an all plastic outer body, this machine lacks the superior durability of a cast iron or metal belt grinder. While this does make the machine considerably lighter and easier to manage, you can face a lot of maintenance issues in the long run.
Apart from that, the plastic construction may cause more user fatigue due to vibration. Also, you’ll find it difficult to take up multiple tasks in one session, and it may take you longer to complete a task as compared to a larger model.
Users give this product a 3.8 star rating out of five. That’s because, even though there are a few complaints here and there, there’s no product that can avoid that. The point is, most users state that with this model, they get what is advertised.
Remember, you’re buying a low end, small sized belt grinder to sharpen your knife making skills.
The machine does face a few issues, such as the lever is too feeble and may come off if operated roughly, and it’s difficult to get correct angles with the grinder. Apart from that, it functions well and is easy to use and set up, which is great for newbies.
Overall, this is a good benchtop sander and grinder to replace your old grinding belt. With a 100 volts horsepower motor encased in Grizzly’s compact frame, you get great value for the price you get it for. So if you want something to hone your knife making skills further, go for this one.
Kalamazoo Industries is a known brand in the United States as versatile and innovative manufacturers for sawing and sanding tools. Their products range from abrasive sanding tools to powerful grinders. They cater to the different needs of users as well, which makes their business approach stand out from others. Let’s check out the details for their 1-Inch by 42-inch belt grinder.
Designed as a versatile bench belt sander, it can help you complete the detailing and final toning of your projects to make them look like professional works of art. Basically, the approach for the Kalamazoo 1SM is simple and straightforward. There are no fancy bells and whistles, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get any productivity out of it.
The belt on this model is 1” by 42” inches in dimensions. While Kalamazoo has a range of belt sizes for you to choose from, the size in concern can help you nail small tasks and put finishing touches or begin more professional tasks as well. Similarly, you can learn to make better knives by practicing at this machine.
Apart from that, it has some highly accessible features as well. You can change or remove the belt if you want to in a swift one click motion.
Also, if the belt requires tensioning or maintenance during operation, you can do it without using any tools. Simply set it according to your needs and tighten the screw at the end to get your preferred tension level.
Besides that, it’s equipped with a powerful 115V, single phase motor. This gives it a staggering 1725 RPM speed so you can complete your grinding in no time. In addition, the machine has easy on-off operations and belt tracking as well. Just move the lever on the top to tune the belt as you need it.
Overall, the design is compact and lightweight to ensure ease of use. That’s great for beginners as they can handle the powerful motor well through this construction. Also, it has commendable safety features to prevent any mishaps or errors during your grinding sessions.
Users absolutely love this belt grinder from all aspects. Being a high-end product, users expect it to work flawlessly and cause less maintenance and operational issues, and luckily it ticks all the boxes.
The best part about this machine is the Goldilocks effect - it’s neither too large and heavy duty, nor too small and feeble. It has a compact body which can be stored and carried easily, but the motor is heavy and helps the machine stay in place to avoid any operational accidents.
Also, users love the easy tracking and tool-less adjustment functions, which enables you to get the most out of your machine.
Finally, we’d say that for a 1-inch by 42-inch belt grinder - this model is quite expensive. But, since we were talking about the best belt grinders in this size, this model has all the features and specifics to make our list.
It’s a great combination of versatility and ease, which can help you nail tough tasks and learn along the way. At the end of the day, it’s worth your money and can replace a 2 inch by 72 inch grinder any day.
JET Tools is a reputed name which provides equipment for workshops, plants, and machine shops all across the United States.
While this company has modest roots beginning 50 years ago from Washington, today there’s no match for their quality and reliability in their wide range of tools and accessories. Let’s check out how its belt grinder fares among other reputed products.
This product by JET Industries is a high end, versatile solution to all your grinding needs. With this at hand, you’ll be able to complete beveling, grinding, or filing tasks effectively. It has a powerful motor that gives an amazing performance. The 115V motor allows the machine to run the belt along with your material as much as you require to give a professional finish.
In addition, you can take up tasks such as carving, drum sanding, and deburring, with the power take-off option. Just mount an optional flex and work at the tasks you desire. Also, for extra versatility, the abrasive belt on this belt grinder works as a makeshift jigsaw as well. So it’s a great product to have around your workshop for minor sanding and grinding needs.
Besides that, the platen is removable. This allows you to use the grinder to the optimum level. This way you can finish edges and curves and sharpen knife edges exceptionally well.
Apart from that, this belt grinder is designed for rigorous, rugged use. The cast iron body will endure all kinds of rough usage you put it through. Although it can get heavy and strenuous during usage, it increases the functionality as well. The benchtop table included is made out of cast iron, similar to the base. However, it has rubber attachments at the bottom for a sturdy grip and easy movement.
It sports a 1-Inch by 42-inch narrow belt, which makes sure there is precision and detail in your work. This is perfect for making knives for hunting or home usage. Also, it has exceptional features such as an adjustable tilting angle, and meter gauge so you can be sure about an error-free session.
Similarly, the dust chute and dust passage keep debris and residue out of your way while working. This omits any obstructions to ensure precision and makes it easy to maintain after use.
This belt grinder works well for most knife makers. The fact users love about it the most is that it’s an all-rounder, so you don’t necessarily have to use it for making knives. It can be used for various purposes in your workshop. Also, it works smoothly and lasts long term.
The only concern is that this model stretches the budget out for some, and it’s not an amount you would want to pay for a 1 inch by 42 inch belt grinder, no matter how amazing it is. The lack of surface area is still an issue, so if you need more productivity than detailing, there are other options for you.
Another thing is that this belt grinder is tricky to get a hang of. The heavy-duty motor is difficult to keep steady and operate smoothly at the beginning, so you need time to get a hang of it. That’s why it gets 3.3 stars out of five from users.
This belt grinder by JET Industries is the best one from these three models according to us. Taking into regard it’s high functionality and amazing features. However, it’s not important that fancy features and high prices are the only factors that make a product ideal for you.
If you’re a beginner who needs to sharpen their saw on this grinder, or an artistic knifemaker looking for a narrow belt, this is way too expensive for you.
Coming towards the end of our review article, let’s sum it all up in a short discourse. Belt grinders for knife making are useful tools that every professional or beginner knife maker should have. Establishing this point, we listed the products available and provided a comparison between the two most commonly available belt grinder sizes.
Thus, we found our niche, which was to help people get further insight about 1-Inch by 42-inch belt grinders to choose the best one. All three of the mentioned products are amazing, and contrast each other in features, design, and price. So choose the one you think fits you best and get back to work today!