As a beginner, after forging a few blades, you want the best knife grinder for beginners for the best result. Of course, investing in a reliable belt grinder will increase the blade quality.
A typical best knife grinder for beginners should have variable speed and belts should measure about 2″ x 72″. The motor size, belt speed, and grinder dimensions should also factor in your decision-making as a beginner.
A beginner will not do so well with a grinder without variable speed. Regarding the belt size, a 2″ x 72″ belt is considered standard for grinding knives. There are various models in the market but this publication already compiles the best pick to save you the decision stress performance and money-wise.
How do you properly use a knife grinder?
As a beginner, you probably need the tips to optimally handle your knife grinder. Familiarize your craftsmanship with the following principles and techniques:
- Chattering prevention. Faster the grinder to your workbench to get rid of the possibility of chattering. While grinding, apply firm and steady pressure to the knife.
- Elbow positioning. You want your elbow to do more of the job by positioning it tightly to give you a more controlled movement.
- Have a bucket of water nearby. You need the bucket of water near the knife grinder to use to cool the knife to minimize heat build-up. Excessive heat will ruin the temper of the metal after treating heat. As your knife heats, dip it into the water. Meanwhile, ceramic belts are recommended for grinding knives for heat mitigation.
- Holding the knife. You want to firmly support the knife with a two-handed grip for stability. For a smaller knife, employ your thumb with one hand, pressing from the back of the knife.
- Grinding both sides of the knife. Occasionally, switch the hand guiding the knife when you switch the ground sides of the knife. You need to be able to grind with both hands as a beginner. Start the guiding with your weakest hands since it would be easier with your dominant hand.
Best Knife Grinder for Beginners
This section of the publication is a compilation of self-tested knife grinders by experts. We have ranked the belt grinders accordingly. Below are the best knife grinders for any beginner:
Bucktool BG2600 Combo 2″ x 42″ Belt Sander 6″ Bench Grinder, Knife Sharpener with Large Work Table
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Bucktool BG2600, commonly called BG, is the go-to bench grinder for knives. The following features make it out unique recommendation:
Built for heavy-duty construction to extend the life cycle. It even features an induction motor for supplying suitable power for the load.
It features the standard 1/3HP motor, 4480 FPM belt speed, no load speed of 3450 RPM, and 3.5 Amp.
Multi sanding angle
We exceptionally like this machine for its multi-angle sanding ability, tilting the belt from 0 to 90 degrees for the perfect positioning to conveniently work on as many knives as a beginner.
Dual work table
BG2600 is designed with 2 workbenches – convenience-oriented. We experienced better support with this cast iron belt sander work table when grinding the knife.
The base of the cast iron is quite sturdy. It also comes with a rubber foot to prevent vibrations and offer more balance.
Packs a combo 2″ x 42″ belt sander, and 6″ bench grinder for your knife grinding.
What we like:
We have confirmed that this knife grinder meets CSA standards.
Easy to use
Has a 6-inch 60 grit, tool-free adjustable eyeshield, and LED light. Its quick-release tension and tracking mechanism ensure convenient belt changes.
Weighs 39 pounds – great.
What we don’t like:
Unfortunately, this knife grinder is not a variable speed. Nonetheless, it is a great knife grinder for its price. Why we recommend it is its ability to make up for the absence of variable speed.
We figured out that this knife grinder does not support putting the belt sander arm on a different bench grinder.
No left side mounting
You cannot mount this knife belt grinder on the left side.
Drive wheel as contact wheel
You can use the bottom or drive wheel as a contact wheel but not the top or tension wheel because it has a cover.
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Huanyu Mini Belt Sander 360W Electric Polishing Grinding Belt Machine 1.2″ x 21″ Micro Knife Sharpener DIY Bench Sanding Machine with 9 Belts for Metal Wood Aluminum Adjustable Speed
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Huanyu is another name to put down your money as a beginner in need of a knife grinder. Starting from efficiency to energy consumption, this knife grinder offers them all.
This is a knife grinder with a 795 high-power DC motor. It uses pure copper wire, 360W power, and front and rear bearings. Operates quietly and is durable.
Two major technologies – automatic deviation correction and speedless speed regulation.
The design of the main wheel rib avoids the belt deviation. Its motor is provided separately @ 1,2000rpm under 24V. Speaking of the load working rotation, its high-speed rotation runs @ 0-4,800rpm.
This is a high-speed driving wheel made of aluminum alloy. It also features 3 auxiliary wheels each made of NSK bearings.
The driving wheel operates quietly, so we only hear the belt rotation sound.
There are 9 belts, each with a different grit. The larger the number, the smoother the knife polishing. For a small knife, you want to use a narrow belt.
This knife grinder also comes with a 0.8” x 21” abrasive belt to choose from.
24V, 360W, 15A DC motor power supply. Housed in aluminum with high durability and equipped with a fan.
What we like
We like the customized motor cover designed to prevent dust. We notice that it also reduces dust, which can prevent a knife grinder from working well.
This knife grinder arrives with a variable, perfect for beginners. It features a stepless speed control knob placed next to the motor.
It comes with a built-in switch. You can also select between 110V or 220V before connecting the grinder to your power supply depending on what you want.
We received a power cord and 9 belts (60, 120, 180, 240, 320, 400, 600, 800, and 1,000), each with different roughness.
The fuse size of the motor supply is a slow-breaking 6.3A, 3*10.
What we don’t
Knife jig unavailable
Unfortunately, the package does not include a knife or jig. You need to buy them separately.
You cannot tilt this knife grinder but you can adjust the angle.
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JET J-41002 2″x42″ Bench Belt and Disc Sander (577004)
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It is correct to refer to the JET J-41002 as the best knife grinder for beginners. Below are its features:
Arrives with Deluxe miter gauge. It can turn and lock for common angles, 45 degrees left and right.
A perfect tool for your knife grinding or finishing of outside curves. You could even add an oddly-shaped knife to the belt.
Features a steel base, cast iron construction, and rubber feet.
Multipurpose abrasive belt
The abrasive belt unit functions as a coping saw, a jigsaw, or a hand file while removing and finishing material.
Easy to adjust. We could get into small openings during the tests. Also, it can handle oddly-shaped knives.
What we like
This machine comes with variable speed. The control box is already installed. If you do not get a control box, you need to purchase one, alongside the wire setup.
Also supports a 1/2 belt
You can cut and use belts as small as 1/2 inch wide without a problem.
Belt and pad
We received 3 belts and 1 pad.
What we don’t like
220 volts rewiring
Unfortunately, you cannot rewire the JET J-41002 to 220 volts.
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XtremepowerUS 1″ X 30″ Belt / 5″ Disc Sander Polish Grinder Sanding Machine Work Station
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XtremepowerUS is a brand of knife grinder for beginners who want the best result. Safe to say it beats many knife grinders out there. Features we believe every belt grinder beginner needs include the following:
The disc sander is built with heavy-duty steel – quite durable. It also has a strong base designed to prevent heavy vibrations during operations.
This XtremepowerUS model comes with a powerful motor for small and large knife operations. You can use it for intricate contour sanding and shaping.
You receive the necessary assembly hardware in the package. An assembly guide is also included with clear and brief instructions, so no professional is needed for the installation. You do not also require professional tools, which saves time and resources.
The design is simple and convenient. You can tilt the belt and disc tables up to 45 degrees. Equipped with the quick-release belt tension lever, this makes it easier to change the belt.
Dust collection port
The dust collection port of the disc sander reduces debris and sawdust cleanup to keep your work environment clean.
What we like
We love that the table can tilt on the disc side.
Sanding disc type
The sanding discs are adhesive, not hook and loop.
What we don’t
No dust collection bag
There is no dust collection bag but this knife grinder for beginners uses an outlet or port on the left side of the plastic panel. You can hook up a shop vac to the outlet to collect dust and debris.
Belt not reversible
Unfortunately, the belt moves down but is not reversible.
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How do I choose a knife grinder?
As a beginner, you want to look for the following features when choosing a knife grinder:
The variable speed factor is important in a knife grinder. It allows you to handle heavier knife steels hogging at full speeds and finer sanding at low speeds.
The Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) controls the speed and is attached to a three-phase motor on the knife grinding machine. A knife grinder with variable speed adds up the cost but can be incredibly useful to beginners.
While moving from coarse to fine grit belts, it is important to reduce the grinder speed to reduce heat, which prevents stripping the grit off the belt.
The 2×72 belt is quite a popular knife grinder size and is generally among professional knife makers.
Knife grinding machines are compact and feature several accessories, including wheel and surface grinding attachments.
The length of the belt is important for how fast wear and heat are accumulated, which affects the useful life of the abrasive.
You need high belt speed and high pressure to grind a knife with abrasive belts. The larger the motor, the better. For instance, a 2″ x 72″ grinder performs better with a 2hp motor. However, a 1″ x 72” grinder would grind the knife well with only 1hp.
If you reduce the length of the grinder belt, ensure to also reduce the motor power.
The belt speed factors greatly in grinding a knife. You need a belt that moves significantly faster than a wood grinder to optimally grind a knife made of steel.
Although you can use a lower-speed grinder, the stock removal rate will be strained. You can calculate the belt speed like:
sfpm = (π x drive wheel diameter) x motor rpm.
Unlike sanding steel like a knife, wood sanding would typically require only 2500-3200sfpm. As such, you need a better speed for a better stock removal rate on a knife.
Knife grinders can be classified by the belt width and length. A 1″ x 30″ grinder uses a 1-inch wide belt, which is 30 inches in circumference, while a 2″ x 72″ uses a 2-inch wide belt, measuring 72 inches in circumference.
The wider the belt, the more friction on the flat platen of the machine. This needs enough power and a longer belt for less time between belt changes.
Final thoughts on Best Knife Grinder for Beginners
For a beginner, it is advisable to invest in a decent knife grinder to aid your craftsmanship. After forging the best knife, you can only complement your abilities with the right belt knife grinder.
As a rule of thumb, it is better to be worse than your knife grinder than for it to be worse than you. This means that even a beginner needs a reliable knife grinder for the job.