A Guide to Belt Grinders

           There are several professional grade belt grinding machines out there that the majority of American knifemakers grind with.  The standard size belt configuration is 2"x72," which accounts for most machines used in the United States.  These include: The Wilton Square Wheel grinder, the Burr King 972 Knifemaker grinder, the Hardcore belt grinder, the Bader BIII, and the KMG-1 grinder.  Some other less common grinders include:  The Bob Dozier grinder, the Coote grinder, the Grizzly grinder, various models of Kalamazoo grinders, as well as Sure-Mak and Bee grinders for those living in Canada.  Several new options such as the TW90, Riverside Machine, Pheer327's and Wayne Coe's grinders have become available since the first date of this web page.
           Why is the 2x72 size so popular in knifemaking grinders?  The best reason I can think of is the sheer range and availability of belts available in this size.  Another good reason would be economy- a given type/grit of belt will often cost 1/3 more in 2x72 than in 1x42, but consider the surface area of abrasive per cost.  A 2x72belt has 144 sq. inches of surface, while a 1x42 is of course only 42 sq. inches of surface.  So you're getting more than 3 times the abrasive for usually roughly 40%-75% more cost.  You do the math.  Oh wait, I already did.

            This is not to say 1x42 grinders are a waste of time, I have one that I use all the time, just not for most of my profiling, bevel grinding, etc.  It's good for detail work and sharpening.  Just try to get one with a good platen and work table, as well as enough horsepower.  1/2 horsepower should be sufficient.

            I am including links below to a page I have written on each grinder respectively.  Please note that these reflect only my personal experience where possible, and my reflections/opinions, as well as those of several other makers I have spoken to about grinders.  I in no way mean to officially recommend or discourage the use of any machine listed below.

Let me add here, I do not normally sell any grinders or grinder parts.  This page is intended as an educational resource for the knifemaker.  If you have any grinder questions though, please feel free to call.  I like talking machines and would be happy to help if I can.

Also, please have a look around the rest of the site if you like.  I even sell the knives that I make...