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Blaming My Tools?

Discussion in 'Working the Steel' started by ToddR, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    I'm not really blaming my tools here, I know I need more experience. But, is it easier to grind straight lines etc. with a higher quality grinder? My homemade grinder does a good job but I don't know if some of the problems I hAve grinding could ve helped with a more "true" machine. I guess I'm getting a little frustrated. I will keep at it because I can't afford a kMG right now but did any of you see a difference when you switched to a higher grade machine?
     
  2. Icho-

    Icho- Staff Member

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    The way I look at it is a grinder speeds things up. That is good and bad. The good is that you can usually finish a knife faster because you can remove the material quicker. I still always go back to hand tools and hand sanding for final touch ups. Now the bad. A nice fancy powerful grinder can screw up a blade in a split second.lol. So really it comes down to the person operating the tools and equipment. Some of most prestigious knifemakers out there don't even use or own a belt grinder.
     
  3. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Hi Todd,

    I have never used a KMG.

    I did find when moving from files and 1 x 30" grinder to the 2 x 72" belt grinder I had to slow way down. I soon found the new grinder and the quality of the belts removed material faster and demanded I be extremely careful. What used to take a few seconds now was done in a fraction of a second. That meant quite a few lessons learned. Go slow! Just because the videos on YouTube show 4 foot thick streams of sparks shooting off doesn't mean that's the best way for us learning makers to grind. Sparks like those are rare at my place. In fact, I take at least 100 passes across the belt to get the bevel formed on some 3/32" steel. This is more about finesse than brute force stock removal.

    Does the belt wobble side to side? If the belt is moving laterally, it's going to be difficult to get plunge lines to look good. Sometimes belt wobble is due to lower than desired belt tension, other times I have found some belts are not made as well as others.

    I have seen some amazingly crafted knives made with files and sandpaper...so I am guessing the answer to your question is patience.

    Dan
     
  4. Kevin Cox

    Kevin Cox KC knives

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    Yes I did . I think that's like any think if you have better tools it makes life easier . But there is people out there with cheap tools that do some very nice work.
     
  5. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    I will point out having the machine running true and work surfaces squared and true from left to right. I ran into a aggravating situation with a knife that no matter what I did the grind was different from side to side and that was with the use of a blade holder.
    Short story - my work surface which was 12 or 14 gauge material had bent on one side somehow, this changed the angle of the grind by 2mm over a 50mm blade width.
    Still not sure how it happened but that work surface is recycled and a smaller thicker one is in its place.

    Even with the 6000 SFPM belt speed as top end I generally only use that for initial grinding and slow down to 80% on the second belt for A100 to A65 and 50% for the final 400-2000 grit belts.
     
  6. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    In my opinion, the answer is yes -- and no.

    There are so many variables that can affect the outcome, it's very difficult to point at one thing. Sure, having a really good grinder (home made or not) that runs true and straight is going to help considerably. But you won't notice a difference if the belt is wonky or worn out, if the blade blank is slightly warped, or if you're just having "one of those days" when nothing goes right. It doesn't matter if you use a high-end grinder or files, the joy and pain of knife-making comes from never being 100% sure what you'll end up with. A lot of really amazing knives have come from salvaged mistakes.
     
  7. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    I figure patience is the answer too Dan. I kinda knew it.
     
  8. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    thanks everyone. I was being silly and hoping somebody would say "oh yeah, it's so easy to make perfect bevels with GrinderCo. brand grinder". Just had a tough day in the shop yesterday. I was working on a little neck knife. Had the perfect grind going, everything was looking great and then i noticed the lines were different on each side. I kept fiddling and fiddling and now it's a mess. I either toss it or try to fix it with hand sanding. I hate the idea of tossing it and yet, i suspect, it's done all the time. I need to get over that too.

    My grinder rest is definitely off but i can adjust it and square it up (which i do everytime now) and the belt doesn't move really at all with my new spring. I also started using a stop guide for the grind which also helped some. It's like I resolve one thing only to find the next. I'm just not being patient enough. I picked up woodworking so much faster than this. I have to be honest it is frustrating me.

    Anyway, thanks for the psychiatric help guys. I know my grinder is good, I have an idea how to do the work. I just need suck it up and practice more.

    THanks for the help.
     
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  9. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    saving up for a kmg i think... my grinder is pretty good.. the belt doesn't move at all with my new spring but i have issues with the rest and some of the finer adjustments.
     
  10. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    My very first knife was a salvage. I know that i didn't do a great job on getting all the marks out but and the bevel lines were horrid. But, after nearly wearing my fingers to nothing sanding it out, it looks great. I'm hoping i can save this little neck knife too. I'm sure it won't look so bad today. I was just in this perfect zone where everything seemed to be clicking and then it all fel apart. It had me really PO'ed last night.
    Thanks Myth.
     
  11. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    So true about using new belts.

    If it helps, I (as well as most others I know) waste a fair bit of steel. I have a my BBB (Bucket of Botched Blanks) mistakes that range from holes drilled in the wrong place, cracked or un-fixable warp, but the main reason something hits the BBB is a brain to hand to grinder issue. Yup, ceramic belt going by at 80 km/hr.

    So relax and enjoy the pain. LOL

    Dan
     
  12. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    I have a few on the shelf of shame as well. had a chuckle here thinking if a new maker was complaining about getting steel or having things go wrong everyone could mail them their bucket of shame too practice on. At least working on a junker to start with is not as bad when you mess it up.
     
  13. SDMay

    SDMay Active Member

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    I have one of three bushcraft knives that I am making that got ground too far on one side. I didn't realize it till I was comparing profiles. So now I have to decide whether to junk it or to make a short, thick letter opener. Making mistakes are part of the fun. Expensive but part of the fun.
     
  14. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    I have two on the bench that I did free hand and even with the centerline marked managed to get them crooked. I figure my brain was on vacation at the time and started over with a blade holder and regrinding them.

    So far the thick one was pretty easy but the two in 3/32" 154cm might be a different story. At worse the edge will be a little shorter and I may have to change the profile but see it as a learning experience and they may come out looking good (fingers crossed)
     
  15. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    I went back at it like a madman with sandpaper and, it turns out, it's my cleanest looking knife yet. I'm actually really pleased with it. The plunge lines are even and clean and the sanding looks great so far. Im thinking about a big bulbous round box elder handle for this little guy. [​IMG] [​IMG] thanks for the suggestions everyone.I'll post more pics once I'm done.
     
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  16. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    I went back at it like a madman with sandpaper and, it turns out, it's my cleanest looking knife yet. I'm actually really pleased with it. The plunge lines are even and clean and the sanding looks great so far. Im thinking about a big bulbous round box elder handle for this little guy. thanks for the suggestions everyone.I'll post more pics once I'm done.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  17. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Sometimes sandpaper and elbow grease is the way to get where you want to go. Slow but sure.
     
  18. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    I am learning that very thing... slowly
     
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  19. Grahamm

    Grahamm Active Member

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    How did this end up? Did you post the final picture? I need closure :)
     
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  20. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    I'm sorry Grahamm. I started a new job recently and it put an immediate halt to my workshop time. I had completed a handful of knives after Christmas. I only needed to finish the sheaths and then sharpen them. Sadly, i have not found even an hour to get back to this. On top of all that, i started a photo box for taking decent pictures (i'm awful at photography).

    I really apologize to you guys. I feel horrible for not posting more pics and leaving everybody hanging. I know how much we love to see each other's work and I feel that i'm not doing my fair part. I will try to get some time over the Easter weekend. They might not be sharp (like at all) but I can take pictures at least.

    This one in the picture actually turned out so well that a friend of mine who hunts deer saw it and got really excited. Something about being small enough to fit inside the neck or the head or something (i tuned out when i started seeing all the blood and the dead deer head - i'm a big ol' wuss ) . Also, one of the other shorter EDC knives i made I showed to my son in-law. He's an electrician and he immediately grabbed it and tested it for stripping wire. He wants one. I'm encouraged because, regardless of their imperfections, people are definitely seeing them as usable tools. It's all I really asked. I feel much better about how i'm doing. Now it's simply a matter of how much i'm doing : )

    Sorry Grahamm.
     

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