brynnb

Best type of belt sander for bladesmithing?

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Gloves around grinders are an invitation to lose digits. That heat you feel is a signal to slow down and take your time. If you don`t like the heat then cool the material or use files.
This is not a race it is a journey,enjoy the lessons and sights along the way. To paraphrase an old saying; "haste makes the scrap pile grow".

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On some grinder work I intentionally keep my ungloved finger on the work just opposite of the wheel. As soon as you're uncomfrotable with your finger there it's time to cool the work again. It's a good way to preserve you temper.

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Small grinders bog down if you bear down on them, so you need to use a light touch -- which generates heat. Overheating is a problem when you're grinding blades, so you have to go slow and cool the blade frequently. This is why I said using a small one like this is S - L - O - W.

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Lesson learned! No gloves and don't overheat. I was kind of wondering about the heat part, but since I was just grinding away on scrap I wasn't really concerned.

I thought I was being safe with the gloves, but I guess not! Good thing I'm taking a class soon so I can hopefully learn to not do that sort of thing.

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A quick question about idler wheels as i am going to be ordering them online tonight from usaknifemaker. I see that they offer both aluminum wheels and poly wheels which are rated @ 70duro. Aluminum wheels seem to be the tried and true choice but the poly wheels can be used as a contact wheel as well. My question is which is the best choice? What are the pros and cons of them both? Which would you recomend? Thanks in advance for the input.

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"It's a good way to preserve you temper." Nope seen many a maker shaking their fingers and swearing up a storm.

It is a good way to preserve your *blade's* temper however.

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A quick question about idler wheels as i am going to be ordering them online tonight from usaknifemaker. I see that they offer both aluminum wheels and poly wheels which are rated @ 70duro. Aluminum wheels seem to be the tried and true choice but the poly wheels can be used as a contact wheel as well. My question is which is the best choice? What are the pros and cons of them both? Which would you recomend? Thanks in advance for the input.


As someone who's just working on his own grinder now, I'm not sure I'm the best one to give advice. But personally, I wouldn't buy poly for an idler unless my design allowed me to also use it as a contact wheel (which, in fact, my design does allow!). I think aluminum is a good deal more durable.

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This is surely far from the 'best' belt sander for a bladesmith but it might be the cheapest solution for a hobbyist. I bought this Craftsmen 3"x21" belt sander from the junkyard for $6. I put it on my drill press table and cranked the table up to clamp it in place. Belts are available everywhere and they're cheap. Portable belt sanders like this are a dime a dozen on Craigslist (ok, you might have to spend $10 or $15). Don't have a drill press? Improvise. Or find a drill press cheap on Craigslist (you need one anyway). It's a buyers market right now. Watch out for home store junk.

Try it. If you really get into bladesmithing then buy yourself a better one.

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On 8/23/2011 at 8:38 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Filing can be very meditative it also teaches you to forge as close as possible to finished form and the necessity of good hammer control---once you can see how *1* bad ding from the edge of the hammer can cost you an extra hour filing you *make* the effort to get it right!

I have been debating whether or not to get a machine. I enjoy the mindless flow of filing and sanding, and it sure does teach finer hammer control. But if I were at a production level, the machine would be a must. I am at the angle grinder to file to paper stage. The machines probably render the finished product resistant to being inbued with arcane qualities.

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30 minutes ago, 671jungle said:

resistant to being inbued with arcane qualities.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clark.

At some point any method of blade making is stock removal. There's nothing wrong with power tools, skill is skill. It's not like you're looking for a machine to do all the grinding and finishing automatically. . . Is it?!:o 

If you were looking for CNC or mechanical blade finishing machinery you'd need a couple million for entry level machinery. Locally we have a commercial Ulu maker in Anchorage and to make their Ulus compatible with their automatic grinding and drilling equipment they are all identical and have a very specific radius on the profile. There's nothing wrong with their Ulus, they take and hold an edge well and are perfectly functional. 

Hand made Ulus are inconsistent in a number of aspects, even from the same maker. That only matters if hand made by an Alaskan Native counts to the customer.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Mr. Frosty,

You have enlightened us with a pithy quotation from Mr. Arthur C. Clark.  Namely,  "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clark.  Thank you for that.

But the quote is a justification for not doing some reading to learn the concept in question.

Invoking magic and sorcery is a cop out.

Just sayyin',

Regards,  Arctic Good guy,

SLAG.

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I see it as Mr. Clark explained it. Just an observation and a reason to try to explain whatever. Put another way, "Just because you don't understand it doesn't make it magic." Another version I use more often, "just because you can't do it doesn't mean it can't be done." 

I don't have a "standard" version I usually say it in context with the current conversation and or the person I'm applying it to. One of the guys I used to work with was always saying, "you know everything" till someone explained my response, "it just seems that way to some." Another one that really griped me was, "You're just lucky you know so much." "How about cracking a book instead of a beer?" No luck too it, except maybe not liking to drink very much?

Anyway, reading between the lines I think Mr. Clark was harshing slightly on folk who don't bother to learn about the mysterious stuff. Its certainly not a justification.

My best to you and the marvelous Marge.

Jer

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On ‎12‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 2:13 PM, 671jungle said:

I have been debating whether or not to get a machine. I enjoy the mindless flow of filing and sanding, and it sure does teach finer hammer control. But if I were at a production level, the machine would be a must. I am at the angle grinder to file to paper stage. The machines probably render the finished product resistant to being inbued with arcane qualities.

inbued with arcane qualities.

I like that.

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I figure it's all the cussing you do trying to clean up forging mistakes by hand, not to mention bleeding on it, that imbues it.  A lot of makers consider heat treat as when it takes on it's "soul"; but I sure have seen a mort of blades that seemed possessed by gremlins, if not Murphy himself, in the polishing stage! 

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First law of Thermodynamics pretty much states that all that cussing (spell casting) and blood (sacrifice) coupled with the smithing (ceremony) has to go somewhere.

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