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2x72 belt question

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Trauma, May 31, 2019.

  1. Trauma

    Trauma Gold Member Gold Member

    May 26, 2019
    So, I ordered my 2x72 grinder (I know I am new to this but as I am currently hand filing my first blade, I am telling myself, this sucks) and now need to order some belts. I have done a bunch of research on belts and am left confused. I got the gist that using a 36 grit ceramic for the initial rough in then move up to 80 and 120 grit to finish the work and then make everything nice using 220 and on up. But I have also seen many people recommend using ziconium belts too. Also, for finishing work, are AO belts as good as the engineered abrasives?

    But what brands are the "go to" brands? I have found some "no name" brands being sold by different websites but are they worth it?

    Here are some kits I have found. Are these deals?



  2. Travis Talboys

    Travis Talboys

    Oct 30, 2018
  3. john april

    john april KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 27, 2006
    i would say the AO and zirc are just as good in quality, what differs is how long they last. AO is the cheapest but has the shortest life. ceramics are the most expensive but last the longest in my opinion, especially when hogging/profiling. the starter kits look ok but for example the combat kit i would go 36- 60- 120 and skip the 80. usually grits are doubled when you move up and the 80 doesnt seem to fit in. the preferred abrasives kit looks like it has stuff you may not use, like the scotchbrite belt. i also suggest pops knife supplies. i go ceramic for the 36-60-120, and AO for the higher grits.
    Alpha Knife Supply likes this.
  4. AVigil

    AVigil Adam Vigil knifemaker working the grind Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Platinum Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    I use TruGrit. They are a cater to knifemakers but are a real industrial abrasive supply house and a family run buisness

    They have everything from the least expensive to the most expensive and do not have a minimum order on belts.

    You can try all the styles and manufactures belts and see what works for you.

    Currently I am using Norton Blaze in 50 grit to almost finish the blade then switch to Hermes AO 100 grit to refine the grind and plunge lines on to AO 220.

    Then I will move to Trizact (Gator) A65 (240) A45(400) Cork 400 for satin or move to cork 800 grit and hand sand back to 600 grit AO.

    If your belt speed is not really fast a Zirconia belt in 50 and 100 grit work well also.

    Dont get lock into only using a certain belt because that is only what your supplier has. Try Klingspore, Hermes, VSM, Norton, Merit,3M.
    Coy Ranch and Alpha Knife Supply like this.
  5. Fred.Rowe

    Fred.Rowe Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    May 2, 2004
    Knife making "eats" 36 and 40 grit belts, where all the profiling and rough grinding takes place. Buy the best you can afford, unless you really like standing at the grinder. Cheap belts, just like cheap anything is not worth it. I use 3M 984f belts in 36 and 120 grit. They are not cheap, neither are the other quality belts.
    Buying Gator belts for your finish work, 220, 400, 600 grit is a good choice in that they work well on many different materials. They last forever if not abused.
    Take the time to set up your new machine properly. Install a glass platen cover.
    Enjoy the work, Fred
  6. Trauma

    Trauma Gold Member Gold Member

    May 26, 2019
    Ok, total newb question. What is a glass paten cover?

    Also, I ordered from Pops some VSM ceramic belts in 36, 60 and 120 and 3m Trizact belts for finishing. I also bought some cheap AO belts for handle finishing in 120-400 grit.
  7. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 1, 2013
    VSM Ceramic belts are my choice, Merit are fine as well and at that cost,!i don’t care if I only get 1-2 knives out of each belt. I do all of my Bevel & tang tapering after HT, I use maybe 50-60% of the grit and I’m done with bevel grinding because they create to much heat. They can still be used for profile or other grinding tasks. Double the grits works best. 36-60-120 then I go to Scotch Bright belts for finishing. Each of usebgrinds at different speeds, Pressure etc, you will find what works for you!!
  8. garyc01

    garyc01 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 9, 2016
    I start at 60 and then move to 120 and then 220 prior to heat treating. Then after heat treating come back at 220 and move up to 400. I use Norton Blaze 60 and 120. Also use JFlex at the 120, 220, 320, and 400. When I first started following a buddies lead that was teaching me did everything post heat treatment and that ate up some belts and had to stay with the ceramics until up at 220.
    Always heard use belts like they are free because of how much heat and time a used belt eats up. And hate to say it but that it’s correct and saves time and doesn’t get nearly as hot.
    Keep a slightly used pile near for little work and clean up when a new belt isn’t needed. I have a pile that I go back to all the time. Slightly used, used, and then what in the crap this 60 belt feels like a 220.
    When buying online always and I mean always look at the shipping cost. Last year was about to order belts for Blade Show and checked a couple of popular sites and the one with the cheapest price on belts had the most expensive shipping and would have cost about $15 more.
    Another thing I did was invested in a 10”x1” wheel from USA Knifemaker and a belt splitter. Cut my belts in half and get twice as many blades out of one belt. I can normally get 2 or 3 blades out of a belt when profiling and it took that to 4 or 6 per belt. Save that money back on no time on the belt side.
  9. Storm W

    Storm W

    Feb 19, 2019
    You ordered what I would recommend at pop's for your first order. I really like blaze and buy a few of them every order but save them for grinding more wear resistant steel. I think it's hard to beat VSM at pop's price point. They aren't the best but they are pretty good and being able to buy 2 for the same price as a premium belt is a big deal. The belts are going to last far longer than you expect probably but its only partially true. The belts cut most precisely when they still feel sharp. I burned up 2k worth of belts before I worked out a rotation that works pretty well. For myself I have found that the new belt is used first to bring the last bit in on a hardened blade. I am grinding most blades after hardening now for several reasons but one is that I find that I am more consistent. A newish belt can still cut pretty well and that's how I use them after they loose that first sharpness I do maybe %70 of my grinding with belts in this mid condition. After that the belt turns into a profiling only use. A good ceramic belt will still last for a while in the last stage since hoging off the profile is the only time there is enough pressure to fracture grit well.

    That's what I have learned in my little journey the past 3 years. There are others that have much different results and know more than I do although I had 20 years in the welding field to help me start. My advice is given as someone who understands the struggles of starting out and not as a expert. Good luck
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    Jason Volkert likes this.
  10. J. Keeton

    J. Keeton Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 15, 2005
  11. Jrmysell


    May 18, 2014
    The glass platen cover is a piece of pyroceram glass that you attach to your metal platen and grinad against it instead of the metal. They produce less heat and arestay flatter for much longer. I attached mine with JB weld, other people have had good results with certain brands of carpet tape. Do a search on here and you can find a few threads discussing how to apply them, etc. Use this on google: "site:bladeforums.com pyroceram platen" type what's in the ""
  12. jll346

    jll346 Knife maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 29, 2006
    Never bought belts any place but pop's. Recently tried combat and was not impressed in the least

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