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Am i Crazy???

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by David Nowlin, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    Learn to do something by hand first and understand what you do.
    Then speed up with machines.
    A cheap drill press is the first machine that is hard to do without.
    Do get quality bits
    115Italian likes this.
  2. Scaniaman


    Jun 15, 2012
    @JTknives have you considered getting a (used) lab freezer for your needs? They are expensive but will take you to something like - 120 F.
  3. Justin King

    Justin King

    Nov 8, 2009
    I would actually recommend against a brand newbie starting out with a full-bore, 1hp+ variable speed grinder. No disrespect to newbies, but you don't put a 15 year old in the seat of a racecar and toss him the keys so he can learn how to drive.
    I would have missed a lot of nuances if I had started out that way. Steel dust on the floor is not art or creativity.
    I cobbled knives together for years with my only power tools being a small HF drill press, a 6" bench grinder, and, later, a 4"x36" Craftsman belt/disc unit. None of those machines cost more than 100$, and they all still had uses once I upgraded to better stuff.
    I'm not saying I made nice knives with them, but that's not really the fault of the equipment.
    The initial outlay in money is not what's important, it's the outlay in creativity, and motivation, and whatever else drives a knife maker. Still trying to figure that last bit out myself, but if you have it, then it's inevitable that once you start, you won't be able to stop.
    Josh Rider, Hengelo_77 and LCoop like this.
  4. Busto

    Busto KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 26, 2011
    Purchase a "Kit" knife from Jantz Supply....study the design for a few hours read the assembly instructions...decide what tools are needed like clamps and drill/bits, epoxy, sandpaper, and purchase as necessary. Assemble the kit and decide if knife making is the therapy you're searching for.
  5. navman

    navman Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    I made over 100 knives on a good old Craftsman 2x42 grinder, with a few modifications such as a better flat platen with a ceramic glass plate (easy to do). A drill press is a good investment and you can get one from Harbor freight , sears, pawn shop...etc. Files, sand paper and a dremel and you are off to the races!.

    A knifemaking mentor told me, "Knifemaking ain't difficult, take a piece of metal, remove everything that doesn't look like a knife."

    Check out Aaron Gough's youtube videos to see what can be done with just files and a jig.
    allenkey likes this.
  6. Scaniaman


    Jun 15, 2012
    If you are a practical/handy person, have a thing for good tools and gear and know you are passionate about knives, I'd say buy the absolute Best you can afford. Otherwise your wasting your time and money in the long run .
  7. wkfl

    wkfl KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 28, 2011
    What’s your budget?
  8. David Nowlin

    David Nowlin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    I would like to say $2000 over a 6 month period but my wife would say much closer to $0.....
    Probably why I won’t ask her, you think?
  9. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    THAT would be a really good idea for larger scale, bulk, cryo treatments. Liquid nitrogen is not cheap ... so not having to buy that will offset the cost of the freezer...
  10. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    I would respectfully argue against this point. As a newbie maker who has just shifted to a 2x72 with VFD versus either a HF1x30 (or an older 2x??), the grinder has given me: much broader range of belts, more space to maneuver the workpiece, much better work rest, and the ability to SLOW the belt down and really pay attention to how things are changing before something gets out of hand (personallyni really enjoy running slow: much more relaxing!). FWIW...
    AVigil and Scaniaman like this.
  11. wkfl

    wkfl KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 28, 2011
    I’m in Stuart, if you want to float down some time and check my shop out, feel free.
  12. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    Are we talking as a hobby. And maybe selling one or two? Or full professional maker?
    As a hobby, go to harbor freight. Pick up some of the basic stuff mentioned above. I like to tinker a lot. A drill press and belt grinder would make life so much easier.
  13. Scaniaman


    Jun 15, 2012
    Aint nothing wrong with starting out with good tools. I started making my own blades a few months back. I'm really happy I went with 3 HP motor, VFD, horizontal/tilt, small wheel set, slack grinding attachment, 10" contact wheel and a platen. Everything single feature has been great to have and I have no regrets.
    I don't see the point in starting out with something inferior that you are just gonna end up regretting and sell at some point. I have completely stopped doing that and advise against it, if you can afford a better option.

  14. BOLD1

    BOLD1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 16, 2016
    None of the answers above are not wrong but you have to figure out what works for you and your budget. I started with a filing jig and a file, a hand drill and some sand paper. I shaped the knife with a 4 1/2” grinder with a cut off wheel. I purchased a 12” bar of O1 from amazon and sent it off to be heat treated. After I was done I was hooked but there was no way I was going to spend that much time hand filing again. I sold some stuff I could do without and bought a 2X72 grinder and never looked back, but I use the belt grinder for more than just knives. I only do this as a hobby, but I don’t regret spending the money on it. But I will say filing helped me appreciate the grinder even more. Since then I have picked up more equipment for Christmas, birthdays and when I have saved up for the more expensive stuff. I say get your first knife done and then evaluate how much knife making is worth to you.
    milkbaby and seanj like this.
  15. Scaniaman


    Jun 15, 2012
    Having a hobby that you are passionate about brings so much award, meaning and well being. So don't settle for crap because you're "only" a hobbyist. On the contrary. If you have the passion, go all in.
  16. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    Yeah we have looked at the ultra low lab freezers. Cheapest used one I can find that works is around $2500-$3,000 plus fright which would be another $500-1,000. That’s not to terrible but the hidden cost I have been researching is power to run it. Thy pull quite a bit of power and could in-fact cost us more in power then what we pay for liquid nitrogen. But I am open to the idea.
  17. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    Even with the bigger throughput? Nitrogen will scale upward with the number of knives you treat (I think??) ... but the cost of running the freezer should stay more or less constant. so if you business continues to climb, the cost per knife will go down for cryo???? (again, I think)
  18. Ken H>

    Ken H>

    Dec 31, 2011
    Don't worry about the wife, once you make her a couple of nice kitchen knives she won't complain at all about cost.

    With your $2k budget you can do it pretty much right with drill press, portaband saw, and 2X72 with VFD. Plan to send to JT for heat treat and you'll be set for SS or carbon steel knives.

    drill press: https://www.harborfreight.com/8-in-5-speed-bench-drill-press-60238.html ($60 shipped with 20% coupon)
    portaband: https://www.harborfreight.com/10-amp-deep-cut-variable-speed-band-saw-kit-63444.html ($120 shipped with 20%)

    There is the new Northridge Mod-E grinder for a tad less than $500 shipped http://www.northridgetool.com/grinders/ (maybe $450 shipped?)

    My preference would be to spend an extra $150 ($200?) and get the Reeder package for $650 shipped:

    Either of the two will need a 3 ph motor and VFD to complete the package.
    2hp motor: https://bit.ly/2KtNXYV at 3600 rpm for $162 shipped.
    VFD drive: https://www.ebay.com/itm/122794378916? for $67 shipped - you will need 220vac available and better to place some filters over the air inlets to prevent steel dust from getting inside. I've been running this type of NEMA 1 enclosure for VFDs for 6 or 7 yrs now.

    A total package for less than $1100 if you go with Reeder. Good luck and have fun. You might have some tools already, if not - the above will get you started. Of course, the other $900 in your $2k budget will be needed for supplies, etc.

    Ken H>
  19. Ken H>

    Ken H>

    Dec 31, 2011
    That is one nice looking chef knife! The mirror finish on the bevel really sets off the Damascus pattern.
    milkbaby likes this.
  20. Scaniaman


    Jun 15, 2012
    Seems so much smoother to operate than LN2 as well, in a production setting like yours? I don't know the life expectancy or maintenance costs of those freezers though, something to consider as well.

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