Top 7 Best Belt Grinder for Knife Making (Buying Guide)

If you’ve gotten into knifemaking recently or want to upgrade your knife-making tools and skills, a belt grinder is a must-have. A belt grinder is a type of power equipment used for grinding down metal surfaces. It allows knifemakers to shape blades and grind bevels according to their liking. It can be used by both knife hobbyists and professionals.

Every knife maker knows that using the best belt grinder for knife making has its perks. A good quality belt grinder can help you make knives faster and more accurately. It can also help you develop better knife-making techniques in the long run. Furthermore, it is safer to use and long-lasting so you get more value for your money.

Shopping for a perfect belt grinder for knife making can be a challenging task. Not all belt grinders are made equal. You have to consider many factors like motor, material, belt size, and more. There are also many options to choose from nowadays.

To help you find out the best one for you, we’ve tested and rounded up the most promising belt grinders on the current market. We also included a belt grinder buying guide so you can choose the best belt grinder for you. 

What Is An Abrasive Belt Grinder?

FAQs About The Best  Belt Grinder

An abrasive belt grinder is a type of abrasive machine that is used for the finishing of metals, woods, and other materials. It uses a belt coated in an abrasive material that runs over the surface of the material.

It works well in removing the unwanted texture of the material and lets the user mold their materials according to their desired finish. It comes in different sizes, types, and features as well.

What To Know Before Purchasing The Right Belt Grinder? 

What Should To Consider Before Purchasing The Best Belt Grinder For Knife Making?

1. Motor Size

The motor is responsible for the power input of the belt grinder. Essentially, the higher horsepower (HP) a motor can supply, the more powerful the belt grinder is. A more powerful grinder can grind and sharpen metals easier and faster.

Your belt grinder motor should also be suitable for your grinder's belt size. When a motor with high HP is paired with a short belt size, it may result in too much power and speed. On the other hand, using a motor with low HP for long belt sizes may result in low speeds and ineffective performance.

Remember that 1 HP is needed for every 1" of belt width for a 72" long belt.

For instance, a grinder with a 1" x 72" belt will have to use a 1 HP motor while a 2" x 72" belt will have to use a motor with 2 HP. When the belt length is shorter than 72", you will also have to adjust the motor power.

2. Belt Size

The belt sizes are important because they play a role in the efficiency and speed of your knife-making process.

The belt sizes are important because they play a role in the efficiency and speed of your knife-making process. A higher belt size provides more surface area for grinding larger areas of knives. On the other hand, lower belt sizes are more suitable for precision and detail.

When choosing the belt size for the best belt grinder for you, you have to take into account the kinds and sizes of the materials you want to grind.

There are six common belt sizes that you can purchase from the hardware store. Find out their advantages, disadvantages, and suitability for knife making in the information below.

  • A. 2" x 72" Grinders

2" x 72" Grinders belt size is considered the industry standard making it the most common belt size in the market.

This belt size is considered the industry standard making it the most common belt size in the market. It can be used for both small and large knives.

Its 72" length prevents wear and overheating so you can use it all throughout the development process of your knife.

Its 2" width can sharpen a larger area of the blade at a time making the knife-making process fast and efficient.

  • B. 1" x 30" Grinders

1" x 30" Grinders belt size is the thinnest and shortest.

This belt size is the thinnest and shortest. It is best for small knives and works well for sharpening and detailing.

Its dimensions provide a less abrasive surface that results in fast heat buildup. Because of this, the belt will have to be replaced from time to time within the knife-making process. The motor used for this belt size is also weak making it difficult to grind thicker materials.

  • C. 1" x 42" Grinders

In terms of performance and strength, the 1" x 42" grinder belts are closely related to 1" x 30" belts.

In terms of performance and strength, the 1" x 42" grinder belts are closely related to 1" x 30" belts. They are also good for sharpening and detailing.

The only advantage of a 1" by 42" belt is its longer surface area for grinding larger surface of the blade faster.

  • D. 2" x 42" Grinders

2" x 42" Grinders belt size is most suitable for woodworking.

This belt size is most suitable for woodworking. However, they can still perform fairly well for knifemaking.

It is the most popular belt size for many beginner knife hobbyists. This is because it can provide more stability compared to lower sized-belts but doesn't give out an overwhelming power.

  • E. 2" x 48" Grinders

2" x 48" Grinders grinder belt size is a go-to choice for both knife professionals and hobbyists.

This grinder belt size is a go-to choice for both knife professionals and hobbyists. It has a relatively powerful motor to make the knife-making process faster and more efficient.

It is also compact so you can easily find a spot for it in your work area.

  • F. 4" x 36" Grinders

While this 4" x 36" Grinders belt size is very common in many hardware stores, we advise you to not opt for them

While this belt size is very common in many hardware stores, we advise you to not opt for them. Unlike, the 2" x 42" belts, the 4" x 36" are just for woodworking and are not advisable for knifemaking. This is because the built structure doesn't allow usage of the belt edge.

Its motor also becomes weak because of the belt dimensions. If the motor is weak, the grinding performance is also slow. Slow grinding performance is not advisable for metals.

3. Belt Speed

The belt speed is an essential feature of a belt grinder.

The belt speed is an essential feature of a belt grinder. The belt speed of a belt grinder for knife making should be faster than the belt speed of a woodworking belt grinder. Making sure that the belt speed is appropriate will surely make your knife-making journey more productive and easier.

The belt speed is measured in surface feet per minute or sfpm. You can calculate this by the formula below:

sfpm = ( Pi x drive wheel diameter) x motor rpm.

The appropriate belt speed for knife-making belt grinders is between 4,100 to 7,000 depending on the metal type.

Belt grinders usually come in two types of speed namely:

  • A. Variable Speed

The variable speed feature lets you do heavy steel hogging at full speed while performing sanding at lower speeds. It is not a necessary speed feature for belt grinders but it can surely give you an advantage.

  • B. Fixed Speed

Contrary to variable speed, fixed speed only runs at a constant speed.

4. Type of Grinders

All grinder types share the same function of cutting, grinding, finishing, and sharpening materials like metal.

The type of grinder should also be considered. All grinder types share the same function of cutting, grinding, finishing, and sharpening materials like metal. However, they still possess various differences that are worth knowing to make a more objective decision. Remember to choose a belt grinder type that is appropriate for your ability, need, and space.

Below we go through the different types of grinders in more detail.

  • A. Stationary Grinder

A stationary grinder is not intended to be moved all-around your working area. It is usually placed on a specific area of your work area. Oftentimes, it can only be used as a grinder but can also be used as a sander with modifications or adapters.

  • B. Bench Belt Grinder

A bench grinder also called a pedestal grinder, is a type of grinding machine that is placed or attached to a table or bench. It can be raised to the preferred working height and is equipped with two grinding wheels that are usually of different sizes.

Modern bench belt grinders now have a belt sander feature and are delivered with sanding belts. For other models, you may have to turn it into a belt sander by using an adapter that allows you to attach the belt sander to the bench grinder.

  • C. Handheld Grinder

From its name, a handheld grinder is used by holding and operating it by hand. It is highly portable and can be used in different places. They can be corded or battery-powered.

Handheld grinders are also multifunctional and can be used as a sander. To use it as a sander, you can simply replace its disc with a disc made for sanding

  • D. Multi-purpose

A multi-purpose grinder has a belt sander and a belt grinder. Usually, they are more expensive than other grinders.

5. Material Quality

The material quality of your tools and equipment is important because it can influence their performance and longevity.

The material quality of your tools and equipment is important because it can influence their performance and longevity. Investing in equipment made with quality materials is always a wise thing to do and can also save you money in the long run.

Always opt for a grinder that is made with durable high-grade aluminum such as anodized aluminum. Some grinder models are made with medical-grade steel teeth. This material is also a good one because it is durable and long-lasting.

6. Contact Point

The contact point is the part of the belt grinder that looks similar to a dish or plate

The contact point is the part of the belt grinder that looks similar to a dish or plate, This is where you will place your knife. It is responsible for preventing your knife from hanging from the side so it's important to consider this when shopping for a belt grinder.

The contact point can't be changed but you can always place a new one above it. We recommend buying a belt grinder that has a tilting feature so you can sharpen your knife easier.

7. Noise

Noise is one of the factors that doesn't just affect the knife maker but also other people near their working area. Some belt grinders have loud noises that are disturbing and damaging to the ears. That's why you have to know the noise level of the belt grinder and check if it is suitable for you and your work area.

8. Dust Collection

The metal in knife making doesn't necessarily produce much dust as compared to wood.

The metal in knife making doesn't necessarily produce much dust as compared to wood. However, you will still need a dust collection system or port to eliminate metal dust. Getting exposed to metal dust can cause dizziness, nausea, and even lung damage so it should be cleaned immediately.

We recommend buying a grinder with a dust port that is suitable to connect with vacuum cleaners. Modern belt grinders also come with a dust system collector that doesn't need an external vacuum. This will help you clean your workspace trouble-free and faster.

9. How easy to use?

You should always remember to choose a belt grinder that is easy to operate and use especially if you are a newbie to knife making. If the belt grinder is easy to use, you can avoid confusion, ensure safe usage, and fast learning.

Always opt for a belt grinder that is easy to clean and maintain, provides tilt function, and features easy belt changing.

10. Price

You have to consider the grinder belt size because it is often a strong indicator of quality.

You have to consider the grinder belt size because it is often a strong indicator of quality. Essentially, if the price is high, then the quality and features are also good. Belt grinders can cost from $100 to thousands of dollars depending on the type and quality.

Select what kind of grinder and belt size you want and find out the price range for that particular type. Do not always buy the most expensive one, instead check the quality first, then make a decision. Remember that even if expensive belt grinders may deliver superb quality, you still shouldn't spend above your means.

Our Top 10 Best Belt Grinders Review

01. RIKON 50-151 Belt Grinder with 5" Disc Sander

31tTlQARQdL. SL500

Why It Stands Out to Us

This belt grinder uses a 1" x 30" belt which works well for knife sharpening and detailing. Although it is not wide enough for flattening off large knives' materials and has a less abrasive area, they are still great affordable investments for knife finishing.

RIKON Power has a solid build and the screws are threaded in metal making it very sturdy and dependable. It is easy to use and powerful enough for grinding or polishing woods and aluminum easily.

It also features separate dust collection systems that can be connected with a vacuum cleaner. Overall, it's a good product for its price range.

Our Experience With It

  • Using this grinder was very easy and had less vibration compared to other grinders in this price range.
  • The dust collection system is an excellent feature for keeping the work area clean.

What We Didn't Like

  • It takes some work to change belts. Instead of a latch or screw, we had to undo three screws with a screwdriver.

Who Is It Great For

This grinder is best for people who are just beginning their knife-making journey and want to start with the most basic and affordable belt sanders.

SPECIFICATIONS

  1. Dimension (L x W x H): 15" x 12.63" x 14.63"
  2. Disc sander: 5"
  3. Belt: 1" x 30"
  4. Belt speed: 1900 SFPM
  5. Motor: 1/3 HP
  6. Weight 18 lbs.

Pros:

  • Sturdy build
  • Dust collection system
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Replacing the belts could be a difficult task

02. Palmgren 2" x 42" Belt Grinder

41BfUXoLvWL. SL500

Why It Stands Out To Us

This Palmgren belt grinder offers more stability compared to lower-sized belts. The 2" x 42" belt offers a good surface area for beginners in knife making. The 6" disc is also suitable for smaller knife-making jobs such as beveling knife handle scales.

It can also be used for sanding, polishing, contouring, and deburring various materials including metal and wood.

The Palmgren belt grinder has a heavy-duty capacity motor so you can work smoothly. Its belt and disc come with a tilting table that can be tilted so you can operate them in different positions. It also has a dust collection port to keep your working area neat.

Our Experience With It

  • This belt grinder is surprisingly user-friendly and we didn't have any difficulty using it for different knife making jobs.
  • We also liked the tilt function of the working table. It made knife making more convenient for us.

What We Didn't Like

  • The belt alignment is not that impressive and the belt tended to slide off as we used the belt grinder for a longer time.

Who Is It Great For?

This belt grinder is perfect for all beginner knife makers who want a larger surface area.

SPECIFICATIONS

  1. Dimensions (L x W x H) : 11" x 20.5" x 22.25"
  2. Disc sander: 6"
  3. Belt: 2" x 42"
  4. Belt speed: 4400 SFPM
  5. Motor: 1/3 HP
  6. Weight: 35 lbs.

Pros

  • Stable usage
  • User-friendly
  • Has a work table with a tilt function
  • Features a dust collection port
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Challenging belt alignment

Also READ: Top 7 Best Anvils for Blacksmithing (Reviews and Buying Guide)

03. Bucktool 2" x 42" Belt Grinder, Upgraded model

41oHglqpylL. SL500

Why It Stands Out To us

The Bucktool Combo belt grinder claims to meet Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards which are the standards for electrical appliances, machinery, and other equipment in Canada. This multifunction sander uses a 2" x 42" belt that is suitable for beginner knife makers. It can be used for almost all sanding and finishing needs for most materials for knife making.

The belt features a swivel mechanism and can tilt from vertical to horizontal. This function allows you to have multiple ways of using the machine or changing the belt.

Bucktool Combo also features a quick-release tension and tracking system so you can easily change the belts whenever you have to. It is also equipped with a cast iron table for better support in sharpening metal.

Our Experience With It

  • Despite having a small motor with 1/3 HP, this belt grinder was able to perform smoothly for both high and low speeds.
  • We especially liked the cast iron table which gave more support for shaping and sharpening.
  • The adjustable belt angle of 0-90 degrees made belt changing a lot easier and faster.

What We Didn't Like

  • We pretty much liked the overall quality and performance of this belt grinder. However, we think that the price could be too high for beginners.

Who Is It Great For?

This belt grinder is great for beginners who want to learn basic grinding procedures and develop grinding techniques.

SPECIFICATIONS

  1. Dimensions (L x W x H): 24.7" x 19.6" x 11.8"
  2. Disc sander: 6"
  3. Belt: 2" x 42"
  4. Belt speed: 4480 FPM
  5. Motor: 1/3 HP
  6. Weight: 39.1 lbs.

Pros

  • Has both a grinder and a sander belt
  • Equipped with cast iron table for more support
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Features 0 to 90 degrees belt tilt function
  • Allows fast-changing of the belt

Cons

  • Its price might be a little over the budget for beginners

04. Shop Fox W1834 Knife Belt Sander / Buffer

41Dw61MJarL. SL500

Why It Stands Out To Us

The Shop Fox W1834 is the best 2x72 belt grinder for knife making for its price range. It features a 10" rubber-faced drive wheel and an all-ball-bearing construction. It is easy to set up and has an adjustable tool holder for stability.

The sanding arm can also be tilted to a horizontal position for more convenience. It is equipped with an adjustable tool rest for more efficiency as well. Its overall build is dependable and is highly suitable for grinding metals and wood for knife making.

Our Experience With It

  • We were able to use the machine for all necessary processes of knife making. That includes deburring, beveling, and sharpening.
  • Despite having low HP for a 2x72 belt grinder, it was able to run smoothly and without delay.

What We Didn't Like

  • It is not as efficient as other 2x72 belt grinders and the motor is relatively weak, however, this is understandable given its price.

Who Is It Great For?

This is great for hobbyist knife makers who are trying to upgrade their skills and learn more knife-making strategies.

SPECIFICATIONS

  1. Dimensions (L x W x H): 29.5" x 39" x39"
  2. Disc Sander: 10":
  3. Belt: 2" x 72"
  4. Belt Speed: 4500 FPM
  5. Motor: 1 HP
  6. Weight: 59 lbs.

Pros

  • Good performance for its price
  • All-ball bearing construction
  • Easy setup
  • Has a sanding arm with tilt function
  • Adjustable tool rest

Cons

  • Relatively weak motor for a 2" x72" belt grinder

05. Grizzly G1015 - Knife Grinder, Sander, and Buffer

41KBttloAvL. SL500

Why It Stands Out To Us

The Grizzly G1015 is a versatile belt grinder that can be used in almost all metal tools like knives, scissors, and more. The belt drive wheel is 8" which is good to use for beginners who are trying to learn knife-making methods seriously.

The belt can be tilted from a vertical to a horizontal position so you can work according to your preference and need.

The belt can be changed easily through its quick-release belt mechanism. It also has a cast-iron frame body making it sturdy and long-lasting.

Our Experience With It

  • Using this belt grinder was easy and didn't cause any disturbing vibrations.
  • We especially liked the build quality of this product and its quick-release mechanism.

What We Didn't Like

  • We thought that its price is a little too high for its specs and functionality.

Who Is It Great For?

This belt grinder is best for knife hobbyists who want to upgrade from their 1" x 30" grinders or 1" x42" belt grinders. It allows every newbie knifemakers to experience a more efficient knife-making process without overwhelming them with so much power.

SPECIFICATIONS

  1. Dimensions (L x W x H): 30.5" x 16.25" x 15"
  2. Disc Sander: 8"
  3. Belt: 2" x 72"
  4. Belt speed: 3600 FPM
  5. Motor: 1 HP
  6. Weight: 59.9 lbs.

Pros

  • Multi-functional
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Quick-release mechanism for removing the belt
  • Stable build quality

Cons

  • A little pricey for its build quality


06. Happybuy 2 HP Belt Grinder Variable Speed

Why It Stands Out To Us

The Happybuy 2 HP belt features a non-slip design for the abrasive belt and a high-speed copper motor for a faster and more efficient knife-making process. This motor makes tracking more stable and convenient. It is made with durable steel making it steady, long-lasting, and easy to maintain.

It is equipped with a variable speed mechanism with a frequency converter. Adjusting and changing the belt is also easy because of its adjustment handle. It works well with a wide variety of materials like wood, acrylic, metal, plastic, and others.

Our Experience With It

  • This belt grinder didn't disappoint us. It was able to run smoothly all throughout our tests.
  • Changing the belt was also easy and only took seconds.
  • Its motor was able to live up to our expectations. It was strong and delivered fast grinding speed.

What We Didn't Like

  • We didn't have any difficulty or concerns when we tested the product. However, a quick scope on the reviews shows that some buyers experienced electrical issues with this product.

Who Is It Great For?

This belt grinder is great for knife makers who are aspiring to shift from being a hobbyist to professional knifemakers.

SPECIFICATIONS

  1. Dimensions (L x w x H): 35" x 13" x 20"
  2. Disc sander: 12"
  3. Belt: 2" x 82"
  4. Speed: 2800 rpm
  5. Motor: 2 HP
  6. Weight: 190.6 lbs.

Pros

  • Non-slip design for the abrasive belt
  • Powerful motor
  • Stable tracking
  • Made with durable steel
  • Has a variable speed function
  • Easy belt changing

Cons

  • There is a risk of electrical issues

07. TECHTONGDA Belt Sander/Grinder

41fe Sau9NL. SL500

Why It Stands Out To Us

This TECHTONGDA belt grinder comes with a full range knife making accessories for making knives, blades, scissors, and other tools. It features a 1500W copper wire motor that provides sufficient power for making knives in a relatively short period of time.

The Techtongda belt sander uses inverter speed regulation to easily adjust the grinder speed depending on your needs. It is ideal for flat grinding, arc grinding, and concave grinding. It has a stable base, and an adjustable table for convenience as well. Its polished look also makes this machine stand out.

Our Experience With It

  • Its powerful motor was impressive. This machine was able to supply the power we needed in making different sizes of knives.
  • We especially liked that it is capable of flat, arc, and concave grinding for metals.

What We Didn't Like

  • Unfortunately, this product is difficult to find and purchase. some online shops offer them but have limited stocks.

Who Is It Great For?

This belt grinder is a good option for any knife-making hobbyist who wants to shift to professional knife making.

SPECIFICATIONS

  1. Belt: 2 " x 72"
  2. Speed: 2800 rpm
  3. Motor: 2 HP
  4. Weight: 175 lbs.

Pros

  • Powerful motor
  • Comes with a full range knife making accessories
  • Adjustable speed
  • Stable build
  • Adjustable table

Cons

  • It could be difficult to purchase this product as most online stores have it in limited stocks.

FAQs Regarding The Belt Grinders

Q. When was the first belt grinder made?

When was the first belt grinder made?

The oldest ancestor of the belt grinder is the sandpaper which was first used in 1760. It was not until 1900 to 1910 that simple sandpaper and emery cloth, a type of abrasive material, was used in mechanical processes. They were used in an endless belt form in the wood industry. This is considered the earliest form of the belt grinder.

In 1930, the belt grinding process was used in metal processing. From then on, the use of abrasive belts became widely popular and gave way to the development of modern belt grinders.

It is difficult to trace the first modern belt grinder invention because of the lack of data. Nevertheless, a patent for a contact wheel belt grinder was filed in 1956 by inventor Cecil D. Barnes.

The patent file describes the contact wheel belt grinder as a machine that is used to remove flash and mold marks from castings, finish metals, and grind and polish operations.

Q. What are the differences between a belt sander and a belt grinder?

Although their features are often considered similar, the truth is, a belt sander and belt grinder are different. To have a better understanding of their differences, We have listed them down in detail.

Belt sanders

Belt sanders
  • Best for woodworking and some models are not suitable for metal works.
  • Can be used for removing paints and finishing wood very effectively
  • Offers linear action for leveling surfaces
  • Features freehand rounding and shaping
  • Makes use of an electric motor that turns a pair of drums where the sandpaper is mounted on a continuous loop

Belt grinders

Belt grinders
  • Optimized to use for heavy thick materials like metal.
  • Has a stronger motor and faster speed compared to a belt sander
  • Offers concave finish by belt grinding.
  • Versatile and can function as a sander by changing attachments.
  • Composed of an engine, two wheels on each side, and an abrasive metal-coated belt.

If you are looking for versatility and more power for knife making, then a belt grinder is a much better option for you.

Q. Can I use a belt sander as a grinder?

The short answer is no. A belt sander doesn't have the capacity to perform tasks of a grinder like cutting hard material. It is specifically designed for sanding and finishing materials. In addition, it is best used for smoothening soft materials like soft metal, wood, and plastic.

On the other hand, grinders can be used as sanders with the right attachments that allow, sanding, polishing, and much more. They are more versatile and powerful.

Conclusion

Purchasing the best belt grinder for knife making is not an easy task at all. It requires time and a lot of research to make a good decision. There are bunches of criteria you need to consider before buying a belt grinder.

These criteria include; motor, belt size and speed, grinder type, material, contact point, noise, dust collection, ease of use, and price.

Taking note of these criteria and features will surely help you decide the best belt grinder for you.

You can also visit the links to our belt grinder recommendations. These recommendations went through our strict quality testing. They are ensured to deliver consistent top-notch performance.

We also made sure that their brands and sources are reputable and trustworthy. Furthermore, they are all available on Amazon so you can have more convenient shopping and have your belt grinder delivered to your footsteps.

Finally, we want to wish you all the best in your knifemaking journey!

Ryan Cesare
 

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