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Knife making tool mod question

2389 Views 15 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  4caster
Not sure if this is the right place for this question but I wanted to pick your brains on this. I just bought a 2x42 craftsman belt sander/grinder for entry level knife making. Im just starting out but I was wondering if I could remove the 6" sanding disk, guard, and bed and mount a buffing wheel to that shaft. From the looks of it, the disk is only held on with a set screw on the shaft and the guard/bed just has a few bolts attaching it to the body. It will all certainly come off, but I am wondering if running this with a buffing wheel will do any damage to the unit. The whole unit looks just like a bench grinder so in theory it should work. Im trying to avoid buying a separate grinder for buffing.

I guess what I want to do is make a poor man's one of these. http://www.grizzly.com/products/Knife-Belt-Sander-Buffer/G1015
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About the only potential problem I see is the motor rotates at 3,450 RPM on the craftsman and the Grizzly is down around 1725. Dunno if that is an issue or not, just pointing out a difference.
the issue will be finding a buffing wheel that is rated for that kind of speed. most will just fly apart at 3000+ rpm

My buff is a 3450 rpm unit. If you go to www.eastwood.com you can find the higher rpm wheels
Thanks for the replies. I was considering a felt wheel and it looks like they can handle 3400-3600 max rpm depending on brand. The sander has not arrived yet so I havent been able to break it down. The disk appears to be held on to the shaft with just a set screw. Im wondering if the end of the shaft is drilled and tapped or threaded since it looks like this is just a bench grinder with sander attachments (parts commonality). If not I'll have to come up with some kind of adapter. I dont have the equipment nor skill set to drill and tap the shaft, at least not correctly.
An adapter to attach a grinder wheel or buffing wheel to a plain motor shaft is a common item, almost any tool seller should have them or you can order online.
what kind of knives do you make?
i would like to see some of your work
Thanks again for the replies. I found a woodcraft store about 30 miles from here that stocks adapters and wheels, as well as knife kits. I haven't made the first one yet. Im still in the research and equipment acquisition phase. The belt grinder should arrive in a day or two, and I'll check out the woodcraft store this weekend. I'd rather screw up a cheap kit knife before I waste my time, abrasives, and fingers on any flat stock just yet. There is a lot of info on the net concerning knife making, as well as kydex sheath making. I started out looking at belt grinders just for sharpening what knives I already had, but like everything else I do, I got carried away before I even started. I thought it would be nice to make a few as Christmas presents for family. You guys are great, thanks for the help. I'll be sure to let you know how this project works out.
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I used to make knifes in my free time. Trust me, there is not much in them. 1/8" 440 flat stock is cheap.
Here's an idea that a coworker mentioned concerning the speed issue. Seems like a cheap easy fix.
thats an excellent idea. I might get one to control a blower motor.
Ok folks, quick update in case anyone had the bright idea to listen to me. Well the belt sander arrived and works great. The problem I ran into with replacing the sanding disk with a buffing wheel is that the shaft is a very tiny 3/8" dia. The only arbor adapter I found was for 1/2" to 5/8". I picked up a bronze bushing (3/8" ID 1/2" OD at tractor supply) which fit snug, and drilled it out for the set screw. The 3/8" shaft coming out of the sander is short, maybe 3/4" tops. I thought I was cooking with gas until I turned it on. The wobble was so bad that it walked itself across the work bench. Im sure someone, with a little more than the half a brain that I have, could make this work. For me, Ive decided to just get a bench top drill press (which I needed anyway) and just that for the little buffing I will need to do. Oh and what Ive discovered concerning the speed control is that the router controllers do not work with brushless induction motors (I didn't try it but it looks like some folks have). So instead of destroying a brand new craftsman sander I get to treat myself to another new toy. The saga continues.
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Go back to tractor supply and buy a 1/4 hp fan motor. That arbor will fit perfect,and, they are fairly cheap.
what kind of knives do you make?
i would like to see some of your work
This is my first victim. Its just a $15 skinner blank from Woodcraft. I believe their blanks are A6 steel. I haven't tried hardening any yet but from what I read about A6, this should be fairly easy. While surfing knife making pages I came across a tutorial on spine file work. I just had to give this a try and now I am totally hooked. Like I said, this skinner is my first victim (experiment). It was supposed to be a vine but I didn't realize that I ran it backwards until I was too far along. Then all of my hand sanding and buffing removed some of the vine and thorn's outer edges. I can't decide if I want to go back and clean it up or just slap some wood on it, finish buffing, and call it a learning experience. It sort of looks like a vine on fire, rather than thorns. This is addictive.

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looks good-i might have to get you to make me one!
i need something to carry hunting and camping that can take a edge and a beating
Thanks man. There really isn't much to it except for a lot of time consuming slow work. Just grab yourself a $15 blank, some sand paper, a chainsaw file, and go to town on it. I believe these are A6 steel (air quenched) which should be fairly easy to heat treat. I grabbed a few sheets of kydex for a stab a sheath making as well. Now if I can just finish one before I start any more. ADHD is a real PITA.
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