What’s the Best Belt Grinder for Knife Making?

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When it comes to knife making, you can use a lot of different tools to make the task easier. However, a tool that most of the professionals I know use is a belt grinder. It’s a very powerful tool and it is very good for sharpening and shaping metal.

You can do almost anything with this tool, of course as long as you know what you are doing. But, no worries if you don’t. You can start with a smaller and cheaper unit and then move on to the big boys.

Since there are a lot of different models, we have decided to make a list of the best belt grinders for knife making. We have also made a buyer guide where we list all the features you need to look into before buying one.

Best Belt Grinders for Knife Making – Table

Products
Product NameDetailsPrice

Grizzly G1015

  • Speed: 1725 RPM
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Jet Tools - J-4002

  • Speed: 1725 RPM
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EX ELECTRONIX EXPRESS Mini Belt Sander

  • Speed: 3400 RPM
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Goplus Polish Grinder Sanding Machine

  • Speed: 3100 SFPM
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Happybuy 2Hp Belt Grinder

  • Speed: 2800 RPM.
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1. Grizzly G1015 – Best Knife Sander

The Grizzly G1015 before I used it to make a knife.

Best Features 

  • Ball Bearing Construction
  • Powerful
  • Easy Belt Changing

My Overall Rating

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

More detailed review ↴

The first machine in our best belt grinders for knife making list is the Grizzly G1015. We assumed that few of you have enough experience with sanders, so we included a sander that we find very easy to work with. If you are looking for a professional knife sander then look at the other picks.

This sander is used by beginners who started making knives. Since it’s easy to use, it will give you the right experience for knife making. But, don’t expect to make a superb knife with this one, making symmetrical cuts is difficult. Although this is a knife sander, you can use this unit for woodworking projects as well.

When I first used this device, I found that it doesn’t have variable speed settings. But, the tool is fast enough (1725 RPM),  more than enough for most metal and woodworking projects. It also comes with a 1 HP motor.

What I like most about this unit is the durability, if you buy this one you will be set for years. It comes with ball-bearing construction, an aluminum roller, and a cast-iron body. If you are just starting with metalwork, and need to gain some experience then I recommend this tool.

What We Liked:

  • Powerful – Features a 1 HP motor.
  • Fast – The Highest speed is 1725 RPM.
  • Durable – Cast-iron body and ball bearing construction.
  • Easy to Use – It is perfect for beginners and people who want to gain some experience.
What We Didn’t Like:

  • Pricey
  • No Variable Speed. 

2. Jet Tools – J-4002 – Best Belt Sander for Knife Making

Best Features  JET J-4002...

  • Cast Construction
  • Versatile
  • Used by Professionals

My Overall Rating

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

More detailed review ↴

Compared to the first pick, this one is made for professionals and people that are serious about metalwork.  The J-4002 gave us some premium finishes.

It is durable, powerful, precise, fast, and most importantly it is versatile. With this one, you can make knives and at the same time, you can also make wooden grips of knives.

In other words, except for the sanding jobs, this unit can perform the work of a jigsaw and coping saw. So, when it comes to versatility this tool is unbeatable. If you are dealing with large materials, you can use the plates of the sander and you will be able to sand, finish or grind materials outside of the curves.

It comes with a 1/3 HP motor that delivers up to 1,725 RPM. The tool is durable, it comes with a cast construction and a cast iron tilting table.

What We Liked:

  • Motor – 1/3 HP motor.
  • Fast – The motor delivers up to 1,725 RPM.
  • Professional – Mostly used by professionals for industrial knife making.
  • Versatile – Can perform the work of a jigsaw and coping saw.
What We Didn’t Like:

  • You need some experience to get the results you want.

3. EX ELECTRONIX EXPRESS – Best Belt Sander for Beginner Knife Making

Best Features  EX ELECTRONIX...

  • Mini-Sander
  • Beginner-Friendly
  • Fast

My Overall Rating

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

More detailed review ↴

Not everyone needs a big and over 60 pounds sander to make a knife. These large sanders are mostly used to make long swords and blades. If you are only interested in making a tiny knife then a small sander is more than enough for you.

The EX ELECTRONIX Mini Sander is your best friend when it comes to making knives for personal use. The tool weighs less than 2 pounds, which makes the tool portable. That allows you to carry it around in different workshops, warehouses, or projects.

It comes with a very good 1/3 HP Motor. The motor delivers up to 3400 RPM which is more than enough for knife making.  The belt and the tilt table are good too, they allow you to put a very perfect edge on the blades.

When this sander arrived, we bought some high-quality belts and we got even better results. I suggest you do that too.

The tool itself is pretty easy to use and it doesn’t cost much. So, if you are a beginner, and you are only interested in making tiny knives for personal use then give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed.

What We Liked:

  • Mini – Mostly used to make tiny knives.
  • Fast – The motor delivers up to 3400 RPM.
  • Beginner-Friendly –  Easy to use, it doesn’t need any previous experience on sanders.
  • Portable –  It isn’t very big and it weighs less than 1 kg.
What We Didn’t Like:

  • You need some high-quality belts to get the best of the tool. 

4. Goplus – Best Knife Grinder

Best Features  Goplus Belt and...

  • Durable
  • Dust Collector Port
  • Quick-Release Tension

My Overall Rating

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

More detailed review ↴

At our first look, this machine seemed small, but it did the job perfectly. The GoPlus sander comes with high-quality materials that make the tool very durable. The Discs are made from heavy-duty steel plus they have a strong base that minimizes the vibrations which make the tool safer and stable.

It features a quick-release tension lever which makes the belt changing very easy and fast. The sanding table can tilt up to 45 degrees, allowing you to get a perfect edge at blades.

The tool comes with a dust collection port, which means that you can connect another vacuum to the grinder to get rid of the dust. This is extremely helpful, especially if you are working inside and want to keep the area clean.

The tool features a 1/3  HP motor that delivers up to 3100 SFPM. It isn’t recommended to put a lot of tension on this one because it will shorten the belt life. Besides, the machine itself is more than enough to do the job.

What We Liked:

  • Durable – Heavy-duty steel discs.
  • Quick-Release Tension – It makes the belt changing very easy and very fast.
  • Motor – It comes with a 1/3 HP motor that can deliver up to 3100 SFPM.
  • Dust Collector – This allows you to connect another vacuum to get rid of the dust.
What We Didn’t Like:

  • It has some plastic parts.

5. Happybuy – Best Belt Grinder for Metal

Best Features  Happybuy 2Hp...

  • Professional
  • Mirror-Like Finishes
  • Fewer Vibrations

My Overall Rating

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

More detailed review ↴

If you know what you are doing and looking for a grinder that will give you the best results possible then this HappyBuy Belt Grinder is your best friend. This grinder is known for its results, it gives you mirror-like finishes. I use this grinder when I needed professional results. 

Except for knife making, this tool is also used for stock removal, profiling, and finishes.  The tool comes with a 2 HP motor that delivers up to 2800 RPM.  It is very durable, it’s made from steel construction and the steel frame is welded and which gives the tool a very precise belt. Moreover, the tool is very stable and quiet.

The belt changing is very easy too, it doesn’t require any other tools to do it. This grinder is mostly used by professionals and contractors. So, if you want to take your workshop to another level then I recommend you check this out.

What We Liked:

  • Perfect Finishes – This tool gives you mirror finishes and also is very good at stock removal.
  • Powerful & Fast – Features a 2HP motor that delivers up to 2800 RPM.
  • Durable – Made from steel-construction
  • Fewer Vibrations – Due to its steel body, this tool is very stable therefore it vibrates less.
What We Didn’t Like:

  • Pricey

How To Choose The Best Belt Sander For Knife Making?

You probably know by now that belt sanders are very good when it comes to knife making. But since there are a lot of different sanders then choosing the best knife sander can be hard. That’s why we have made a buyer guide where we will list some features you need to look into before buying one

Finding the best knife grinder isn't hard. All you need to know is the size of the project you will be working on and the material type. Find these two pieces of information and you will be able to find the perfect grinder for knives.

Sander & Belt Size

The first thing that you need to check is the sander size. You don’t need a very big sander that is very hard to install. The sander should be easy to move and install. Portable knife sanders are the best if you don’t make a lot of knives daily.

Once you find a big enough sander, you need to find a sander that comes with a belt size that works best. I find belts that are 2 inches/74 inches the best when it comes to knives. I think these units with these belts are the best knife grinders because you will be able to do both grinding and sharpening with the same belt.

Motor

The motor tells you if the sander is powerful enough. Usually, the small sanders/grinders come with a small ⅓ HP motor. These sanders are good but they are not recommended if you do knife making for a living. On the other hand, the big sanders usually come with a 1 HP motor.

A big motor allows you to sharp and grind a metal easier due to its power. But, they do cost more. On the other hand, smaller motors usually come with a variable speed setting and the whole unit is usually smaller, plus they cost less.

Contact Point

The part of the belt grinder that looks like a plate is the contact point. You will put your knife there and the contact point will prevent the knife from hanging from the side. The contact point cannot be changed, but you can put a new one on top of it.

I recommend you buying knife sanders that allow you to tilt the contact point up to 45 degrees. If you can tilt the contact point then you can sharpen the knife with it.

Speed

Speed is a very important factor when it comes to making quality knives. If the speed is low, then you will spend a lot more time making the knife. And if you are making a lot of knives daily then the quality will go down for each of the knives you make.
 
If the speed is very high, then there’s a high chance that the belt will wear out soon. The only option you got is a knife sander with a variable speed motor. This type of sander allows you to change the speed to match the project you are working on.

Dust Collector

Although metal doesn’t produce as much dust as wood, you still need a dust collector. Find sanders that come with a dust port that allows you to connect the tool to other vacuums.  That’s how you keep the area clean. You can even choose a sander that comes with a dust system collector and doesn’t need another vacuum, they will do a good job too.

Easy Of Use

This is very important, especially if you are a beginner. Try finding sanders that are very easy to use, or at least can be easy to use once you get a little experience. For example, you don’t want to spend several minutes changing the belt.

There are a lot of sanders that come with features that allow you to change the belt in seconds.  This may not look important now, but once you realize that you may have to change the belt a few times to make a knife, you will realize the importance.

Tips

While using a grinder/sander to make knives or anything job, you need to follow these tips to keep yourself, the machine, and the others safe.

Wear Heat Resistant Gloves & Use Water

The blade of the machine gets heated up a few minutes after starting it. To keep yourself safe and to avoid burning your fingers, it is suggested to wear gloves.

Again, the blades can get heated up very fast. To protect the sander from burning up, sometimes you have to cool down the blades. There are many ways to do that but I prefer to throw water at them. You can even use the water to cool down the knife if the knife is getting too hot.

Use Your Body

Most people use only their hands to sharp the edge of the knife, but that can lead to bad accidents and will give you imperfect lines. Using your body will give you better control and therefore you will get better lines and you will be able to protect yourself.  You also need to use both hands.

Frequently Asked Questions About Knife Grinders

Choosing a grinder can be hard, especially if you never used one before. That's why we have made buyers guide where we listed all the features you need to look into before buying a knife grinder. All of the tools we have listed in our best belt grinder for knife making list are good.

1.Why Use a Belt Grinder for Knife Making?

A belt grinder is an electric machine that is mostly used to smooth different materials such as metal to make knives. Most of them come in a stationary version but there are portable ones too.

Bladesmithing is one of the oldest and hardest DIY tasks. At the beginning of time, people have started sharpening stones to get the job done, but they soon moved to knife making.

Nowadays, you have machines that can make thousands of knives daily. So, finding a general knife isn’t hard, finding a knife that fits your hand and has the qualities that you want is hard.

And that’s why a lot of people make their own knives. The process is hard and it may take some time, but in the end, you will have a knife that you will love and that fits your needs.

Read Also: Best Sanders for Hardwood Floors Reviews

2.Why Should You Make Your Own Knives?

This is a very common question. Why should you make your own knives when there are literally thousands of different knives being produced daily and you can just buy one of them.  That’s why we have decided to put together some reasons that you need to consider.

Art – There are indeed a lot of knives you can buy without going into the struggle to make one on your own. But, all of the knives you buy look the same. If you make your own knife then you can use your imagination and do a different design. You can even craft your own name inside the knife to make it more authentic.

Hobby – People have different hobbies, some people paint, some people hunt and some people make their own knives. If you don’t have a hobby, this can be something you should try.

Upgrading Your Skills –  If you are serious about metalworking, then you can always improve your skills. Making a knife is a good start,  it will improve your crafts and it is a useful skill to have.

Cheaper – Making your own knives can be cheaper, especially if you are making large hunting knives.  This only applies if you make a lot of knives, because if we are talking about only one knife, then buying one will be cheaper (in most cases ).

Quality – The knives you buy are produced by large companies that want to earn a lot of money. In most cases, they won’t use the best material possible. If you make your own knife then you can use high-quality metal and wood, the knife will last more and it will be better.

3.Why Do You Need a High-quality Belt Grinder?

If you want to make a high-quality knife then you need a good belt grinder. Some people make knives with their hands without using any tools and to be honest the final product isn’t good enough. That’s why you need to use a belt grinder to make knives.

Quality isn’t the only reason that you need to use machines, there are a lot more reasons:

Easy to Use –  Belt grinders are very easy to use, and they will give you the result you want very fast. You can shape the metal and give it a smooth finish without giving any big effort from your end. As long as you use minimal pressure you are good to go.

Belt grinders are easy to use, but they are not gentle, so it is always important to have full control over them and to be always focused while working. If you make knives for a living, then a belt grinder is needed, you will get faster and better results.

Smooth Finish – Most of the time you will be working with metal. Metal isn’t always clean, there’s a high chance that the material you are working on has paint or any other unwanted residue.

A belt grinder will help you remove the paint or the residue and at the same time, it will give the material a smooth finish.  You can remove the paint with your hands (using sandpaper) but that will take a long time and you will get tired.

Faster – You probably know by now that a knife grinder is fast. You will be able to remove any unwanted paint and shape the metal very fast. Doing all this with your hand will take you hours, where doing it with sanders will take you a few minutes

. Maybe if you only have to make a few knives you can do it with your hands only. But what if you have to make a lot of knives daily? And what about the quality? You will get faster and better results with a knife sander. Plus you can use the grinders for other metalwork. You can find the best belt grinders for metal here too.

4.What’s the Difference Between a Sander and a Grinder?

They are both sanders. The only difference between these two is the speed.  A “sander” isn’t very good when it comes to metal, on the other hand, a grinder is very good with metals. A grinder can go up to 8,000 FPM.

 

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