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Old 07-21-2010, 08:51 AM
arjuna70 arjuna70 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 7
What's So Great About a Disc Grinder?

I've been selling off some things and finally took the plunge with a KMG Grinder. I'm in the process of setting it up at this time. Anyway, I was discussing my purchase with a knifemaker and he said that I should have bought a Disc Grinder. That the Belt Grinder is an overrated tool.

Am I missing something? I don't have a ton of experience but to me it seems like the belt grinder is one of the most significant tools. So what's so great about a disc grinder? What do you use it for that you can't accomplish with a KMG. Not trying to start a fight, I just don't understand what I am missing. Thanks.
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:48 AM
Jim T Jim T is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 237
The knifemaker who was mentoring me used both a belt grinder and a disc sander which he referred to as a lap (lapidary) wheel.

The belt grinder was used to do the initial profiling of the blade and the bulk of the stock removal, usually starting with 36 grit belts and working up to 120. The plunge line and the taper in the tang was done at this stage.

The disc sander was used to to refine and flatten the tang and smooth the blade before the handle scales went went on. He went up to 400 grit on the disc sander and then did the rest by hand. Yes, he usually makes full tang knives.

Now, this was his way of shaping a blade. I hardly use my disc sander, preferring to rely on my belt grinder for most of the shaping and stock removal and then hand finishing to get to where I want to go. It's slower, but I have more control and, at this stage, I'm not yet good enough to do the final finishing with a belt grinder of disc sander.

If you check out opinions on this forum, there is no one way to do things. Do what works for you. If you end up with a quality knife that you're proud of, you're doing something right. Experiment, explore, and have fun learning.

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Old 07-21-2010, 11:55 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Location: Wauconda, WA
Posts: 9,785
I think you'll find that most knife makers use their belt sanders for just about everything and don't even own a disc sander. There are quite a few who swear by their disc sanders, just luv'em, but still do most of the work on the belt sander. Personally, I've had a couple of disc sanders and find them to be nearly worthless for me. I admit, I have not owned one of the high end units that Rob Frink produces and I'm sure if I did I would find something to do with it but replace my belt sander? Fat chance......


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Old 07-21-2010, 03:57 PM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 352
Arjuna70...I have a couple of different belt sanders, and one disc sander. I do use both belt and disc, but for different types of work. My disc sander is used almost totally for rapid stock removal and coarse grit stock removal on both the blade and the handles. It does a really good job at this type of work. I have found that one single type of belt sander does not give me the complete package that I need, so I have more than just one. Collectively, the belt sanders give me better control and a more "finished" product than I am able to get with the disc sander, but I consider both to be necessary. I guess if I was forced to choose just one it would have to be the belt sander...but I'd sure miss that disc sander!
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:00 PM
george tichbour george tichbour is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Mississauga, Ontario,Canada
Posts: 478
I have three , no make that 5 belt grinders and one disc sander. All I use the disc sander for is fitting the lock angle on liner lock folders.


george tichbourne
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:01 PM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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I have two belt grinders, and four disc grinders. Until you own a disc grinder and try it for different things (learn what it can do for you) there is nobody who can explain the benefits.

Much information, either for or against, is generally personal preference, and in my experience most folks who down play a disc grinder have never had the occasion to really learn what the machine is capable of, and what it can do for them. I was one of those folks before I purchased my Beaumount disc grinder, but after having it in the shop for a few months, and learning what I could do with it, I've come to rely on it for many tasks. In short I never knew what I was missing....until I got the machine and learned to use it.

In my shop the disc has helped me cut my hand finishing time literally by 3/4, and nothing will give you truer flats on a grinder than a disc. I also have the interchangeable face plate system from Rod Neilsen for one of my disc grinders, and this system just makes it that much nicer, and less costly to use.

Of the other three disc grinders, one set up specifically for grinding locks on linerlock folders, another for grinding dovetail bolsters, and the third with a specially made disc for grinding slipjoints. All three of these have adjustable tables on them.

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Old 07-22-2010, 06:37 AM
combs6136 combs6136 is offline
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I have 4 belt grinders and i am putting a disc grinder together now to try it out..........Anxious to try it ....Now all i need is an air conditioning unit................carl

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Old 07-22-2010, 08:02 AM
DaveL DaveL is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 449
I have watched friends do a fantastic job of flat grinding on a disk. It is a wonderful machine to use.
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:38 PM
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Woodchuck Forge Woodchuck Forge is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Salem Oregon
Posts: 634
I have relied fully on a disc grinder for almost 20 years. I started with a VERY limited (read 0) budget and almost no space. I had a disc made for me and put it on a 1/2HP 1750rpm motor. I wired it to reverse and went from there. I made a lot of knives on that setup. I graduated to a 1hp DC variable speed unit 10 years later. I now have the 1hp DC and a 1.5hp 3600rpm VFD controlled disc. I did all shaping grinding with the disc. I did major handle work with a die grinder and files. There are limitations to a disc, the paper wears out rather fast. Sometimes I have to change paper every few minutes when working really tough materials. But as Ed pointed out the flats you get are just that FLAT. With the VFD you can turn it way down and go to much higher grits. I will never give up my disc and rely upon it still for much of what I do.

I have finally taken the plunge and built a KMG style belt grinder. I have not worked with it much and just yesterday put the small wheel grinding attachment together. I can see working the handles will be much faster and more controllable. However I did some bevel grinding. I was not impressed so far with the belt. It was much more difficult to control and wound up finishing the rough grinds on the disc. I hope to get the power up more so I can really hog off the material. So it is up to you as to what you want. If you have the funds go with the belt and then go for the disc. If you are limited like I was a disc will do all you need. It has for me.

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Old 12-09-2017, 10:56 PM
nancy nancy is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: 1988 Goldie Lane Cincinnati, OH 45202
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Awesome little grinder! Because it's relatively inexpensive, I decided to buy it instead of renting a bigger 7" grinder locally. So far, it's done a great job at leveling and smoothing part of my basement's concrete floor using a diamond cup. I also used a wire wheel on it to strip away rotten wood on a planter box project. The switch is positioned ergonomically, at least for right-handed use. If you're going to use it for smoothing concrete, getting a dust shroud accessory for a shop vac is a must. I was able to find one by Damo for a low price here on Amazon and it has worked great.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:25 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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Location: putnam county NY ....about 45 mins north of new york city
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so MY opinion is if you were going to choose a KMG or a disk hands down get the KMG. I have had a KMG for a few years NEVER had a disk grinder...I have worked on a couple of disk grinders at other makers shops I can see it might make a couple things like flattening a lil easier but there isn't MUCH you NEED a disk grinder I said I have had a KMG for a few years now I just recently bought a new TW90 grinder (another 2x72 like the kmg but has a lot more attachments and adjustments) but before I bought the new tw90 yes I did think about getting a disk grinder but to me having the extra 2x72 belt grinder was more valuble to me than a disk. I have been making lots of knives and never needed a disk.....just my opinion
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:56 PM
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M&J M&J is offline
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Location: So. Cal
Posts: 411
Each of these tools have a useful purpose. Many work-around's if one doesn't have them so these may or may not be necessary depending on project. I've liked the disc for truing up parts and putting specific angles for dovetails and similar fittings. Worked really well to put specific angles on the 1911 ejector nose and firing pin stop doing a short radius beginning angle. The disc was very useful for other 1911 parts fitting.

A surface grinder or mill can do similar. Sometimes doing the task by hand is faster than setting up a machine for a specific operation that doesn't require ultimate precision tolerances.

YMMV. I'm happy to have a disc. A flat lap would be my next for doing stone but the disc manages to do that reasonably well. Just can't apply a good water drip system and keep it contained. Read that as splatter trail. LOL

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Old 12-16-2017, 01:04 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,168
Mike I have a guard on my 8" disc sander.

But the bottom part is clear and I put a tray underneath to contain much of the splatter. I use Silicone Carbide discs and also 1x42 SC belts as my Delta combo grinder's motor is far enough away from from the grinding that it isn't a big concern and I can put a piece of aluminum between them just in case. I also use the water drip sparingly if I'm grinding a finished and HT blade. It's nice to keep things cool and a must for lapidary work (not to mention stinking bone). I also put the guard on the belt grinder to keep the water off my face. But regardless it still make a mess just not as bad with the guards.

Now it says Guru and it used to say Master. I think I like Master better, though skilled would be the best description
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Old 12-17-2017, 02:42 PM
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M&J M&J is offline
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Great suggestion! Will have to see what can be done up to reduce the splatter.

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Old 12-18-2017, 02:09 PM
mityai305 mityai305 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 1
Hi all. Who uses speed 100-150 ft / sec on your grinder?
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