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I Forge Iron

Blacksmith in need of a grinder

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Im what you’d call a serious hobbiest in this craft, with a focus on ornamental work. I am not a knife maker, but I do make knives for friends and family occasionally. 

Currently I have a home built 2x72 from plans I found watching old hickory forge on YouTube. I find I use it all the time for everything from blacksmithing, knife making, and general fab work. In my opinion It’s quite possibly one of the handiest tools to have in a shop, anyone who works with metal should own one.

The grinder works, but tracking could be better, it lacks a vfd and is generally subpar to what I believe I will get from a professionally built and designed piece. For example, I have trouble edstablishing crisp plunge lines without a lot of hand sanding (I hate hand sanding). 

Considering I make knives somewhat infrequently, I don’t think I need all the bells and whistles. I just want to upgrade to a grinder that is well designed and will last years without tinkering. The options out there are somewhat overwhelming. 

budget 2-2500$ if that’s possible these days? 

any recommendations much appreciated!




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I built my own 2" x 72" as part of a club grinder build clinic and being as so many guys with minimal shop skills and a host who prefers to eyeball rather than (GASP!:o) measure, it has issues.

Tracking is the most common. An uncrowned drive wheel doesn't help but a single strip of electrical tape down the center of that wheel improved things considerably, I no longer have to use a stick to keep the belt on while it comes up to speed. I shimmed the vertical telescoping tensioner tubes so they stopped leaning on start and redesigned the adjustment screw, which improved tracking. I replaced the sloppy pivot "holes"(:blink:) with a welded, square and centered single tube bushing which really improved tracking. I changed the tracking adjustment mechanism mostly tightening things up which improved things again. 

I also discovered I need to remove the belt when it's not in use or it stretches slightly and not necessarily evenly, that made a HUGE difference. I still hang them but over 1 1/2" round exhaust tubing hangers so they hang straight and don't develop an almost crease, tight bend caused by small diameter hangers. Laying them flat wasn't a good thing and leaving them coiled as shipped worked but took up a lot of shelf space. This made a surprising difference in how long it takes for the belt to settle down after starting the first time in a day of use.

She isn't perfect but only requires minor tweaking in use, mostly after changing belts.

No help on pro belt grinders, mine does all I need as she sits.

Frosty The Lucky.

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My 2X72 use a 5" polyurethane caster as a drive wheel.  Based on advice I read somewhere, I popped the wheel in the freezer for a while, then mounted it on the grinder and crowned it with a coarse file.  Seems to work pretty well.  (The grinder is based on an old Harbor Freight 8" buffer -- think Grizzly knife grinder, but not nearly as "nice" :D)

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We decided to go with a 3 speed KMG 2x72 grinder from Beaumont Metal works. It's has proven to be very efficient and reliable, has a multitude of accessories and the customer service is outstanding. At the time the basic package cost us $1700 if memory serves me. Over the years we have bought different wheels and spare tool bar to make changing them out easy. I just checked and that same package is now $1825-$1950 Pretty good for holding the line on price increases if you ask me. Links are not allowed but a search for KMG Grinders will bring up their site.

I can't control the wind, all I can do is adjust my sail’s.
Semper Paratus

PS: ESSA also bought 4 of them when we were in charge (actually Debi was in charge and I was her minion gofor) of the metal/blacksmith shop. No one has been able to destroy them and everyone knows how hard students are on equipment.

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